Before spending out and investing in a macro photography lens you need to slow down and have a proper think, otherwise you are likely to end up making a costly mistake. The first thing you have to ask yourself when you are looking to buy a macro lens is “what am I going to photograph?”
Most photographers argue a macro lens with a 100mm focal length is best, however this all depends on what subjects you want to photograph. Macro lenses with longer focal lengths, such as 100mm, do give greater working distances (i.e. lens to subject distance) but if you don’t need high working distances, there is no point in having a long length macro lens, is there?
If you intend on shooting still life subjects, i.e. things that don’t move, being as far away as possible (and still managing to get the level of magnification you want of course) isn’t necessary. In these situations you can be “on top of” the subject and still get the shot you want, although you do have to compensate for lower light levels. A macro lens with a 60mm would be more than adequate in these situations.
If you intend to take macro shots of living creatures, such insects, mini beasts and other critters you need longer working distances since getting too close to the subject is likely to see it crawl away, scuttle off or take flight. If you want to take macro photos of insects you need a lens with a long focal length. It is possible to buy (comparatively) very long reach macro lenses, such as the Canon 180mm L series lens, and whilst these provide the greatest working distances, they are also big and heavy lenses and terrible for “out in the field insect shots”.
If you have insects in captivity and they have nowhere to hide, and you can set the camera and lens on a tripod, the long reach macro lenses are perfect. If you do not shoot like this, like me, the big and heavy macro lenses are a total waste of money and I would strongly advise against buying one.
If you want to take macro photos of insects and creepy crawlies the best compromise is one of the 100mm macro lenses. The 100mm macro lenses are light enough to carry around all day hunting for insects, but provide enough working distance to allow you to get the shot without the insect disappearing off. The 100mm macro lens is a versatile lens that you can use for taking macro photos of both living/moving subjects as well as still lives.
So what is the best macro lens for you? The answer to this is pretty easy:-
The most difficult part is choosing between the various macro lenses currently available…….
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.