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Choosing the best macro lens for your Canon camera

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a new lens – It can be quite daunting especially if you are new to the photography scene evaluating between the many lenses to choose from. Here are some tips on picking your perfect beginner macro lens.

What is a macro lens?

Lenses with a focal length of 50mm to 100mm are generally considered macro lenses. This allows images captured to look most natural when compared to our own perspective of around 50mm.

“The great thing about macro photography is you have to experiment, explore and find inspiration from the act of doing, because it gives you a different way of seeing.”

Jackie Ranken

What is a macro lens good for?

Nature photography

Insects, flowers and water often comes to mind at the mention of macro photography. This is due to the ability to capture extreme close-ups of small details, magnifying the subject until it has filled the frame or sensor until it is life sized.

Learn more about capturing the biodiversity of your backyard with Bryce McQuillan's experience utilizing the Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM.

Normal photography

Although macro lenses are designed specifically for close-up photography, they can be extremely versatile! Lightweight and compact macro lenses are extremely versatile for everyday and travel photography, take it on the go for portraits and landscape.

Portrait photography

Macro lenses are a crowd favourite for taking portraits, especially at a mid-range focal length such as 50mm. This represents your natural vision and wider apertures allow you to isolate your subject and achieve beautiful blurry backgrounds.

Landscape photography

It’s easy to reach for a wide-angle lens for landscape photography by default but a macro lens can help achieve sharp and stunning results especially when using a flat-field macro lens.

Food and product photography

Lightweight, portable macro lenses are every foodie and product photographer’s friend. Opt for a closer focal length such as an 85mm to provide a comfortable distance from the table allowing you to capture crisp and delicious details.

Choosing the best macro lens for your Canon camera

How does a macro lens work?

Macro lenses are specially corrected for the challenges of close-up photography, enabling photographers to explore the intricate details of insects, plants and patterns. The magnification ratio of 1:1 (or greater) also makes for a perfect focal length for portraits and product photography.

Get hands on by putting Canon Master, Jackie Ranken’s macro photography tips to the test.

What do the lens names mean?

Understanding how to read a lens name can be helpful when trying to decide which lens is best suited for your photography needs. There are different components which break down the compatibility to specifications:

E.g., RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM
RF - Mount system
35mm - Focal length
f/1.8 - Aperture

Macro - Lens type
IS - Stabilization
STM - Motor type

RF Macro lenses

What is the best RF macro lens for me?

In this video we compare the different RF macro lenses in our EOS R series range, to help you find your perfect match

The RF 35mm f/1.8 is great for everyday snapshots, travel and macro photography since it has a close resemblance to your normal perspective. This highly versatile lens is handy for intricate shots like food, flowers and product photography. It’s also a master in low light environments thanks to a fast and wide f/1.8 maximum aperture.


This lens is a great step up from your standard kit lens for macro. Make your subject stand out with soft blurred backgrounds with a large aperture of f/1.8 and create artistic, impactful images particularly great for portraits or food photography. It has a minimum focusing distance of 14cm and weighs only 270g making it a great lightweight lens for everyday use.


The 85mm focal length is ideal for flattering portraits, producing elegant results with beautiful soft backgrounds thanks to a wide f/2 aperture. It can focus from 35cm magnified up to 0.5x, excellent for closeup macro shooting. Handy for more intricate shots like jewellery, food, flowers and smaller subjects.

Perfect for portraits and macro
Blurry backgrounds
Great option for both photo and video

This lens delivers detailed macro shooting with the 1.4x magnification. Great for intricate subjects like food, jewelry or traditional macro subjects. Explore creative macro shooting with the help of the Spherical Aberration (SA) control ring on the lens barrel that allows you to adjust the depiction of the image’s background bokeh.

Magnification for intricate subjects
Change shape of bokeh
Steady shots hand-held or in low light

Canon EF Macro lenses

What is the best EF macro lens for beginners?

Capture intricate detail with the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, perfect for enthusiast DSLR users wanting to get up close with macro photography. Deliver 1:1 life size image repros of miniature life with 100mm focal length and minimum 30cm focusing distance and is perfect for creating attractive and even background bokeh when isolating subjects at wide apertures.

Fast and quiet auto focus macro magic suitable for wildlife photography
Beautiful background blur with 9-blade circular aperture
SHybrid Image Stabilizer designed for macro

Watch Patty Lagera shoot some macro photography with the Canon EOS 90D DSLR with Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens