Macro photography is a great way to create memorable images that really stand out to your viewers. Whether you are photography insects, flowers and plants, textures, or anything else, macro photos can be quite unique and powerful.

Although the term “macro photography” is often used to describe any close up photographs, true macro photography involves at least 1:1 magnification. In order to get this you will need a dedicated, non-zoom (prime) lens. Many other lenses are good for closeups, but if you want true macro photos you will need a macro lens. A true macro lens will be able to focus at a distance close enough to your subject for it to reach 1:1 magnification.

On this page we’ll take a look at some of the best options for Canon users wanting a macro lenses. All of the lenses on this list are capable of producing quality macro images.

You may also be interested in these other articles in the series:


The Best Macro Lenses for Canon

6. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens

We’ll start off our discussion with a quality, affordable lens from Canon. This is one of the least expensive lenses on this list, so it is a great option if you are just getting started with macro photography. It focuses from infinity to 1:1 (minimum focusing distance of 12 inches). The max aperture, like most of the lenses on this list, is f/2.8. It does not feature image stabilization, but for macro photography you are going to be using a tripod anyway, so this is probably not a big deal. This lens is relative lightweight at about 1.25 lbs.

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal length: 100mm
  • aperture range: f/2.8 – f/32
  • image stabilization: no
  • 58mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 1.25 lbs.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens

5. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens

The next lens is one of two third-party lenses on this list. This one is from Sigma. The Sigma 105mm macro lens focuses from infinity to 1:1 magnification (minimum focusing distance of 12.3 inches) and also offers a max aperture of f/2.8. This lens does come with image stabilization. The minimum aperture if f/22, as compared to the f/32 of the previous lens. With a combination of affordability and excellent image quality, this lens is a great option.

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal length: 105mm
  • aperture range: f/2.8 – f/22
  • image stabilization: yes
  • 62mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 1.6 lbs.

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens

4. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD Lens

The highest-rated third-party lens on our list is the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8. This is an affordable lens that is comparable in price to the previous two lenses, and much less than our top three lenses. Price isn’t the only thing to like about this lens. Equally important, it is also cable of excellent quality and sharpness. Focus is possible from infinity to 1:1 (minimum focus distance of 11.8 inches). This one also has a max aperture of f/2.8. With this lens you also get Vibration Compensation (image stabilization).

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal length: 90mm
  • aperture range: f/2.8 – f/32
  • image stabilization: yes
  • 62mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 1.34 lbs.

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD Lens

3. Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM Lens

Our third-ranked lens comes with a big step up in price, at roughly double the cost of the Tamron lens. This one is an L series lens from Canon and delivers on the quality that you would expect from an L series lens. This lens stands out from the others on this list. Instead of being in the 65-105mm range, this is a 180mm lens. Also, the maximum aperture is f/3.5 as opposed to f/2.8. If 180mm is a better option for your needs than 100mm, this lens could be the right choice. Like the others so far, this lens is also capable of focusing from infinity to 1:1 magnification (minimum focusing distance of 19 inches).

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal length: 180mm
  • aperture range: f/3.5 – f/32
  • image stabilization: no
  • 72mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 2.4 lbs.

Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM Lens

2. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens

One of the most popular macro lenses, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L is an excellent combination of quality and affordability. It is an L series lens that is capable of high-quality images, but it is also priced very reasonably at just a little more than the lenses we have ranked 4-6, and significantly less than our third-ranked lens. At 100mm with a max aperture of f/2.8 the measurables are similar to the lenses we have ranked 4-6. It can focus from infinity to 1:1 magnification (minimum focusing distance of 12 inches).

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal length: 100mm
  • aperture range: f/2.8 – f/32
  • image stabilization: yes
  • 67mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 1.38 lbs.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens

1. Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo Lens

Our top-rated macro lens for Canon users is the MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x. This lens is unique and stands out from the others on this list for a few reasons. Most importantly, it allows for 1:1 to 5:1 magnification. Being able to photograph at a 5x magnification is a huge plus if you do a lot of macro photography. All of the other lenses on this list are true macro lenses that can offer 1:1 magnification, but none can match the 5:1 offered by this lens. The minimum focusing distance of 9.4 inches is also quite impressive. The other factor that is unique is that this lens is manual focus only. That may or may not be a big deal to you, but certainly it is something that you will need to consider. As far as price is concerned, it is the 2nd most expensive lens on our list.

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal length: 65mm
  • aperture range: f/2.8 – f/16
  • image stabilization: no
  • 58mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 1.56 lbs.

Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo Lens

How to Choose the Right Macro Lens for You

All of the lenses discussed on this page are good quality lenses, however, they may or may not be right for your needs. The biggest factor you’ll need to consider before purchasing a macro lens is what focal length is best for your purposes. You may be able to get a 1:1 magnification with any macro lens, but you’ll need to be a lot closer to your subject if you’re shooting with a 50mm lens as compared to a 100mm lens. If you plan to photograph insects or small animals, getting close is not always an option. If you get too close you’ll chase it away. Four of the six lenses on this list are in the 90mm to 105mm range, which works well for most macro photos, allowing you to shoot without needing to get too close. However, the 180mm gives you even more reach.

Of course, any time you are buying photography gear your budget will be a factor. Several of the lenses on this list are priced very well and are close to each other. The lenses we have ranked #1 and #3 are higher in price and will stretch the budget more.