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The best macro lenses in 2021: get closer to your subjects than ever before!

Included in this guide:

best macro lenses
(Image credit: Nikon)

With the best macro lenses, you can get closer to your subjects than ever before, rendering the tiniest things in vivid detail. However, this isn’t their only use – macro lenses tend to be generally excellent primes across the board, as macro photography requires a lot of detail and sharpness. This means they can be great for all kinds of photography, particularly portraiture, as they tend to have longer focal lengths. So while the price of some of these lenses may look steep for macro photography, you’re actually buying quite a versatile tool. 

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To count as a “true” macro lens, a lens needs to have a 1:1 reproduction. In practical terms, this allows it to fill the entire image sensor of a camera with a subject that’s as small as a postage stamp. So tiny insects, little flowers, the kinds of details too small to be really appreciated by the human eye, can suddenly be rendered with stunning detail and an amazing level of enlargement. 

As mentioned, macro lenses tend to be on the longer side in terms of focal length. A short telephoto focal range of around 90-105mm is generally regarded as ideal, but there’s room to play on either side. You want to be able to get nice and close (but not too close) to what you’re shooting, while still fitting plenty of it in the frame. Using too short a focal length can lead to unforeseen complications – the front of your lens can get so close to the subject that it casts a shadow over it, or scares it away if it’s the kind of subject with legs and/or wings. 

We’ve included lenses for a host of different systems in this guide – Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Fujifilm and Micro Four Thirds. The lenses in this guide come at a range of price points, and have their own individual strengths and weaknesses. We’ve also looked at third-party manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron for lenses to include as well, as there are some real gems to be found here – such as Sigma’s fantastic 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro Art lens for Sony and L-mount. We’ve also divided the guide up into sections for different systems, to make it easier to navigate.

Best macro lenses in 2021

Canon macro lenses

1. Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Macro

Still the best macro lens for full frame and APS-C Canon DSLRs

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A
Elements/groups: 14/11
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Stabilizer: Yes (hybrid)
Minimum focus distance: 0.3m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 79x117mm
Weight: 610g
Reasons to buy
+Superb image quality+Effective hybrid stabilizer+Robust weather-sealed construction
Reasons to avoid
-Forthcoming service center update needed for use with EOS R-Nothing else at the price

The latest generation of Tamron’s enviable 90mm macro lenses ditches the gold band around the middle in favour of a silver band at the rear, which should hopefully avoid any buying confusion with the older version. Upgraded optics include two XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) elements and one LD element, plus dual nano-structure and conventional coatings. Good build quality includes weather-sealed and a keep-clean fluorine coating on the front element. There’s also a ‘hybrid’ optical stabiliser, which counteracts the effects of X-Y shift as well as vibration, enhancing performance in close-up shooting. Even so, it’s no real substitute for a tripod as you near the very shortest focus distance.

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

Canon’s top macro lens for full frame and APS-C DSLRs goes ‘hybrid’

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF
Elements/groups: 15/12
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Stabilizer: Yes (hybrid)
Minimum focus distance: 0.3m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 78x123mm
Weight: 625g
Reasons to buy
+Typically strong ‘L’ series build quality+Hybrid optical stabilization
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively expensive to buy-No sharper than competing Sigma and Tamron lenses

Along with sturdy L-series build quality, Canon’s 100mm macro features hybrid optical stabilization. Typical upmarket attractions include ring-type ultrasonic autofocus and a three-position autofocus limiter switch, which can lock out the short or long end of the range. The lens also has weather sealing and an Ultra-low Dispersion element. Image quality remains impressive throughout the aperture range, right down to f/22, helping you to eke out a little extra depth of field. Autofocus is fast and accurate and quiet but, more importantly for most macro shooting, the manual focus ring is smooth and precise. 

If you're an EOS R user, the new Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM boasts wit 1.4x magnification, 8 stops of stabilization and a bokeh control ring. 

Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro

(Image credit: Canon)

3. Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

A stunning macro lens - Canon R-series users are in for a treat!

Specifications
Mount: Canon RF
Elements/groups: 17/13
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Yes
Stabilizer: 5 stops (2 stops at 1.0x) / 8 stops on Canon EOS R5 & R6
Minimum focus distance: 0.26m
Maximum magnification: 1.4x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 81.5x148mm
Weight: 730g
Reasons to buy
+1:1.4 reproduction ratio+Ridiculously sharp+SA (bokeh!) control+Near-zero focus breathing+Possible 8 stops of IS
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive, inevitably-Only for Canon RF cameras

The Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM takes everything that was great about the EF version of this lens and makes it even better. Magnification? Boosted to 1.4x. Stabilization? Upped to 8 stops (on the EOS R5 and R6). Bokeh? Even more beautiful, thanks to a control ring that shifts the lens elements. Focus and breathing? Faster and more controlled than ever. It's a superb standalone portrait lens as well, with pin-sharp rendering and a flattering focal length. If you're an EOS R-series shooter and you want to photograph close-ups of small things and large things alike, you've just found your next purchase! Start saving...

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

This is a great budget macro lens for Canon DSLRs

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Sigma SA
Elements/groups: 16/11
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.31m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 78x126mm
Weight: 725g
Reasons to buy
+Good build quality and stabilization+Impressive overall performance
Reasons to avoid
-No weather-seals-Relatively pricey in the US

Despite its budget-friendly asking price (in the UK and Europe, at least) this Sigma lens boasts fast, quiet and accurate ring-type ultrasonic autofocus, a three-position range limiter switch and optical stabilization with dual static and panning modes. Quality glass includes two SLD (Special Low Dispersion) optical elements, and the lens is supplied complete with a soft case, a hood, and even a hood converter to optimise efficiency with APS-C format rather than full-frame cameras. Sharpness is highly impressive and the effectiveness of stabilisation is worth about four stops in general shooting, but of little use for extreme close-ups.

(Image credit: Future)

A full-frame Canon EF-mount macro lens that's strangely familiar

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F
Elements/groups: 9/8
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.3m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 55mm
Dimensions (WxL): 73x95-98mm
Weight: 515-525g
Reasons to buy
+Impressive image quality+High-precision manual focusing+One-touch Clutch focus ring
Reasons to avoid
-No weather-seals-Inner barrel extends at shorter focus settings

Tokina’s AT-X PRO 100mm macro lens was launched all the way back in 2006. The replacement atx-i (interactive) model came to market in 2019, with a fresh look that makes the lens appear more up-to-date. Looks can be deceiving though, and the newcomer has the same optical path as the original, featuring two aspherical and two Super-Low Dispersion glass elements. Further similarities are that it has an extending inner barrel which protrudes further at shorter focus distances, and that only the Canon mount edition has an autofocus motor. Image quality is very good with impressive levels of sharpness and minimal distortion, while lateral chromatic aberration is fairly minimal. It’s a good buy at the price but the ‘redesign’ is mostly cosmetic.

(Image credit: Canon)

6. Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM

A great option for EOS R-series shooters that doubles as a great portrait lens

Specifications
Mount: Canon RF
Elements/groups: 12/11
Diaphragm blades: 7
Autofocus: Stepping motor
Stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.35 m
Maximum magnification: 0.5x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 78x90.5mm
Weight: 500g
Reasons to buy
+5-stop image stabilization+Doubles as a great portrait lens+Quiet focusing
Reasons to avoid
-Not 1:1 magnification

If you're an EOS R-series owner, then this is your best bet as far as macro lenses go. While the 0.5x magnification might be a little disappointing for some, there's lots to like here. The 5-stop image stabilization system is excellent, and pair it with the in-body image stabilization in the EOS R5 or R6 and this improves even further. Focusing is quiet and smooth, while the build quality is also very good. Optically, it won't disappoint either, with the lens rendering excellent levels of sharpness. The relatively fast maximum aperture of f/2 and classic focal length of 85mm also make this an ideal portrait lens. 

7. Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

A lens that literally shines a light on macro shooting

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF-S
Elements/groups: 10/6
Diaphragm blades: 7
Autofocus: Stepping motor
Stabilizer: Yes (hybrid)
Minimum focus distance: 0.13m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 49mm (via hood)
Dimensions (WxL): 69x56mm
Weight: 190g
Reasons to buy
+Build-in LED light+Hybrid optical stabilizer
Reasons to avoid
-Short working distance for macro shooting -Built-in lamp is quite dim

Designed exclusively for Canon’s APS-C format DSLRs, this lens features a stepping motor autofocus system which is very quiet and enables ‘fly-by-wire’ manual focusing. As with the larger Canon 100mm lens in the group, it has a hybrid image stabilizer that can correct x-y shift as well as vibration, making it more effective for close-up shooting. With its relatively short focal length, the front of the lens comes to just 3cm from the object you’re shooting, when using the minimum focus distance for maximum magnification. However, its built-in LED ‘Macro Lite’ helps to offset the blocking out of ambient light. Even so, it’s not particularly bright and you’ll need a slow shutter speed of about 1/15th of a second at f/8 (ISO 200). Image quality is good overall but barrel distortion is more noticeable than with most macro lenses.

(Image credit: Canon)

8. Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM

This remarkable little EOS M lens gets you much closer to your subjects

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF-M
Elements/groups: 11/10
Diaphragm blades: 7
Autofocus: Stepping motor
Stabilizer: 3.5-stops
Minimum focus distance: 0.09m
Maximum magnification: 1.2x
Filter thread: 43mm
Dimensions (WxL): 61x46mm
Weight: 130g
Reasons to buy
+Built-in ‘macro lite’+1.2x Super Macro mode
Reasons to avoid
-Limited working distance-Plastic lens mount

Despite having a chamfered front end on its extending inner barrel, this lens’s working distance for full-magnification macro shots is so short that it can often cast a shadow over the object you’re shooting. As with Canon’s EF-S 35mm lens for APS-C format DSLRs, a built-in LED ‘macro lite’ adds illumination. Again, you can alter the brightness level and choose whether to use the lamp as a circular ring-light or just to employ one side or the other. Other similarities include a hybrid image stabilizer and stepping motor autofocus system. The smaller EOS M’s party trick is that it adds a Super Macro mode, which increases the maximum magnification factor from 1.0x to 1.2x, though you can't focus on far away subjects in this mode. Taking the crop factor of the smaller EOS M sensor into account, this lens gives nearly twice the maximum magnification of shooting with a 1.0x macro lens on a full-frame camera.

Nikon macro lenses

(Image credit: Nikon)

9. Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S

A stunner of a macro lens for Nikon Z cameras

Specifications
Mount: Nikon Z FX
Elements/groups: 16/11
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Yes
Stabilizer: 4.5-stops
Minimum focus distance: 0.29m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 85x140mm
Weight: 630g
Reasons to buy
+Spectacular all-round performance+Pro-grade build and handling+4.5-stop optical VR
Reasons to avoid
-Costs 50 per cent more to buy than Nikon’s Z MC 50mm lens, but well worth the extra outlay

Nikon’s MC 105mm is one of two new Z-mount macro lenses. There's also the cheaper Z MC 50mm f/2.8 which is a good lens, but this MC 105mm has a more practical focal length for macro photograhy and is a properly pro-grade lens - it's well worth the extra cost. Sublime image quality for both general shooting and extreme close-ups is backed up by a super-fast and highly accurate autofocus system, along with highly effective optical VR (Vibration Reduction) that can work in tandem with the in-body stabilizers of Nikon’s full-frame Z-series cameras. Handling exotica includes a multi-function OLED display, a customizable Lens-function button and control ring, plus an autofocus range limiter, along with an electronically coupled focus ring that enables ultra-fine adjustments. Everything’s wrapped up in a tough, weather-sealed construction. Image quality, all-round performance and handling are simply sensational.

(Image credit: Tamron)

10. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro

A top-quality macro lens for Nikon APS-C and full frame DSLRs

Specifications
Mount: Nikon F
Elements/groups: 14/11
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Stabilizer: Yes (hybrid)
Minimum focus distance: 0.3m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 79x117mm
Weight: 610g
Reasons to buy
+Hybrid image stabilizer+Weather-sealed build
Reasons to avoid
-Firmware update required for use with Nikon Z-series cameras

We’ve always found this Tamron lens to give better close-up image quality and all-round performance than Nikon’s pricier AF-S VR Micro 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED. The Tamron is sharper and has a more effective ‘hybrid’ image stabilizer. This counteracts x-y shift as well as the more usual angular vibration, making it much more effective at very close range. Even so, for full 1.0x macro shots, it’s a poor substitute for using a tripod. The weather-sealed construction is of very good quality. Ring-type autofocus is quick and quiet, with the usual full-time manual override. All in all, it’s a great macro lens at a competitive selling price. However, a forthcoming firmware upgrade is required to make the lens compatible if it's to be used with Z-series cameras via an FTZ mount adapter. Unlike with the Canon-mount version of the lens, you should be able to apply this via Tamron’s optional TAP-in USB console, rather than having to send the lens to a Tamron service centre.

(Image credit: Sigma)

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

A versatile macro lens for Nikon DSLRs at a bargain price

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Sigma SA
Elements/groups: 16/11
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.31m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 78x126mm
Weight: 725g
Reasons to buy
+Impressive performance and image quality+Upmarket build, downmarket price
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks ‘hybrid’ optical stabilization-Not weather-sealed

This Sigma lens exactly matches Nikon’s own 105mm Micro for focal length, as well as featuring similarly fast and whisper-quiet ring-type ultrasonic autofocus and 4-stop optical stabilization. Unlike in the competing Tamron 90mm, the stabilizer is a conventional rather than ‘hybrid’ unit. As such, stabilization is very effective in general shooting, and comes complete with switchable static and panning modes. Indeed, the Sigma works very well as a fast, short telephoto lens for portraiture and sport photography. However, stabilization is less effective when shooting extreme close-ups. An autofocus range limiter enables you to lock out either the short or long end of the range, either side of 0.45m. Image quality is impressively sharp and, although the lens doesn’t feature weather-seals, it feels very solid and well-built. Ideal for any Nikon DSLR, it’s also a great macro lens for Z-series mirrorless cameras, via an FTZ mount adapter.

12. Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8 G IF ED VR Micro

The top-notch Nikon lens for macro with Nikon DX and FX DSLRs

Specifications
Mount: Nikon FX
Elements/groups: 14/12
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.31m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 83x116mm
Weight: 750g
Reasons to buy
+High standard of build quality+3-stop optical stabilization
Reasons to avoid
-Stabilization fairly ineffective for close-ups-Expensive to buy

This is Nikon’s top-flight FX format macro lens, although it’s equally attractive for shooting close-ups on DX cameras. Like the 85mm DX lens in the group, it includes a ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system with fully internal focusing, 3-stop VR II stabilization and Nano Crystal coating. Both lenses also feature 14 elements in their optical paths with a single ED element. As FX format lenses need to produce a larger image circle, to cover the bigger image sensor, the 105mm is rather wider in diameter. The working distance from the front of the lens to the subject at the minimum focus setting is very similar, at 15cm compared with the DX lens’s 14.5cm. The VR system is effective for general shooting, similar to that of the Sigma lens, but lags behind the performance of Canon’s and Tamron’s hybrid stabilizer for close-ups. Image quality is good overall with impressive sharpness across the whole frame.

(Image credit: Future)

13. Tokina atx-i 100mm F2.8 FF Macro

A full-frame Nikon-mount macro lens that's strangely familiar

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F
Elements/groups: 9/8
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.3m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 55mm
Dimensions (WxL): 73x95-98mm
Weight: 515-525g
Reasons to buy
+Impressive image quality+High-precision manual focusing+One-touch Clutch focus ring
Reasons to avoid
-No weather-seals-Inner barrel extends at shorter focus settings

Tokina’s AT-X PRO 100mm macro lens was launched all the way back in 2006. The replacement atx-i (interactive) model came to market in 2019, with a fresh look that makes the lens appear more up-to-date. Looks can be deceiving though, and the newcomer has the same optical path as the original, featuring two aspherical and two Super-Low Dispersion glass elements. Further similarities are that it has an extending inner barrel which protrudes further at shorter focus distances, and that only the Canon mount edition has an autofocus motor. The Nikon mount version relies on AF drive from the host camera body, unavailable with the likes of D3xxx and D5xxx DSLRs, as well as when using the lens on a Z-series mirrorless camera via an FTZ mount adapter. The Nikon version also adds an aperture control ring. Image quality is very good with impressive levels of sharpness and minimal distortion, while lateral chromatic aberration is fairly minimal. It’s a good buy at the price but the ‘redesign’ is mostly cosmetic.

14. Nikon AF-S DX 85mm f/3.5G VR Micro

Nikon’s top DX format lens exclusively for APS-C format DSLRs

Specifications
Mount: Nikon DX
Elements/groups: 14/10
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.29m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 52mm
Dimensions (WxL): 73x99mm
Weight: 355g
Reasons to buy
+Better working distance than Nikon’s 40mm DX macro lens.+‘Vibration Reduction’ stabilizer
Reasons to avoid
-F/3.5 aperture is narrower than average-Lacks sharpness at wide apertures

Nikon makes a cut-price 40mm DX format macro lens but this is a far superior optic for close-up shooting. Its minimum focus distance is more generous and the inner barrel doesn’t extend at shorter focus distances. The net results is that the working distance from the front of the lens to the target in full 1.0x macro shooting is 14.5cm compared with the 40mm lens’s paltry 3.5cm. Further advantages include VR (Vibration Reduction) and an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element, both of which are lacking in the 40mm lens. Sharpness is uninspiring at f/3.5 but much better at medium to narrow apertures, more commonly used in macro photography. Ultimately, the Tamron 90mm and Sigma 105mm lenses still have the edge for shooting with DX as well as FX format cameras.

Best Fujifilm macro lenses

Best macro lenses: Fujifilm XF 80mm f2.8 LM OIS WR Macro Lens

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

15. Fujifilm XF 80mm f2.8 LM OIS WR Macro Lens

Fujifilm’s magnificent macro lens is a pricey but enticing optic

Specifications
Mount: Fujifilm X
Elements/groups: 16/12
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Linear Motor
Stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.25m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 80x130mm
Weight: 750g
Reasons to buy
+Superb image quality+Solid, weatherproof build+Also a good portrait lens
Reasons to avoid
-Hefty price tag

While Fujifilm users do have to fork out a considerable chunk of cash for this macro prime lens, it is a wonderful piece of imaging technology. Image quality is, of course, gorgeous, just as we’ve come to expect from X-mount Fujinon lenses. The maximum aperture of f/2.8 gives you plenty of depth-of-field flexibility, and the equivalent focal length of 122mm means it also functions as an excellent portrait lens. The minimum focusing distance of 25cm lets you get nice and close to your subjects for true macro work, and the extensive weatherproofing around the chassis means you can fearlessly take the lens out into wet and otherwise inclement conditions.

Best Micro Four Thirds macro lenses

16. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro

A small lens that goes large on image quality and overall performance

Specifications
Mount: MFT
Elements/groups: 13/10
Diaphragm blades: 7
Autofocus: Stepping motor
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.19m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 46mm
Dimensions (WxL): 56x82mm
Weight: 185g
Reasons to buy
+Compact and lightweight+Well engineered+Smart focus distance scale
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks optical stabilisation

The Micro Four Thirds system is a good fit for telephoto and macro photography, the 2x crop factor delivering double the ‘effective’ magnification from a lens that’s compact and lightweight yet beautifully built and comes complete with weather-seals.  Stepping motor autofocus systems are renowned for their virtually silent operation but rarely feature a focus distance scale. This lens’s smart focus distance/magnification indicator is a bonus. Due to its relatively short focal length, the minimum focus distance is just 20cm, compared with around 30cm for many macro lenses. At maximum magnification, however, the working distance between the front of the lens and the subject is reasonably usable, at about 10cm. Image quality and handling are very good in every respect, making this our favourite MFT format macro lens, and not just the best option for Olympus mirrorless cameras, but for Panasonic G-range cameras too..

(Image credit: Panasonic)

17. Panasonic 30mm f2.8 Macro LUMIX G ASPH MEGA OIS

A high-quality MFT macro lens that's ideal for day-to-day shooting

Specifications
Mount: MFT
Elements/groups: 9/9
Diaphragm blades: 7
Autofocus: Stepping motor
Stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.1m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 46mm
Dimensions (WxL): 63.5x58.8mm
Weight: 180g
Reasons to buy
+Great performance even wide open+Small, light and solid
Reasons to avoid
-No weather sealing

Sharpness, lightweight build, tremendous ease of use, effective stabilisation and snappy autofocus. The Panasonic 30mm f2.8 Macro LUMIX G ASPH MEGA OIS, which provides an effective focal length of 60mm, does all of this in a tidy, affordable package, and is a very good choice indeed for MFT users, functioning well as an everyday lens with solid 1:1 macro capabilities. The lack of weather seals is a little disappointing, but really is the only black mark on this excellent lens's ledger. We'd definitely recommend this lens to any Micro Four Thirds user looking to shoot beautiful close-ups, especially given the extremely close minimum focusing distance of just 0.105m.

Pentax macro lenses

(Image credit: Pentax)

18. Pentax 100mm f2.8 SMC D-FA WR Macro

This Pentax macro for APS-C and full frame DSLRs is hardy and affordable

Specifications
Mount: Pentax K
Elements/groups: 9/8
Diaphragm blades: 8
Autofocus: Motor
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.3m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 49mm
Dimensions (WxL): 65x80mm
Weight: 340g
Reasons to buy
+Useful quick-shift focus+Excellent image quality
Reasons to avoid
-Unsophisticated autofocus

Relatively compact considering its generous 100mm focal length, the Pentax 100mm f2.8 SMC D-FA WR Macro Lens is an eminently solid and reliable macro lens, producing a reliably sharp image and providing a weatherproof outer casing. It'll work with Pentax's full-frame and APS-C DSLRs (providing an equivalent focal length of 153mm on the latter), and its eight-bladed aperture allows it to produce images with attractive bokeh in shallow depth of field.  A useful Quick-Shift focus system allows you to quickly toggle between auto and manual focusing, though be aware that the autofocusing is not internal and does cause movement of the lens and the control ring.

Sony macro lenses

(Image credit: Sigma)

19. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro Art

Sigma's classic macro lens gets a major redesign for its Sony version

Specifications
Mount: Sony FE
Elements/groups: 17/12
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Stepping motor
Stabilizer: No
Minimum focus distance: 0.295m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 74x134mm
Weight: 715g
Reasons to buy
+Spectacular image quality+Great handling+Excellent build quality
Reasons to avoid
-No optical image stabilizer-Narrowest aperture is ‘only’ f/22

Sigma already makes an excellent 105mm f/2.8 macro lens for DSLRs, but this version has been completely redesigned for mirrorless cameras. For revealing ultra-fine levels of detail in anything from insect and bug photography to extreme close-ups of all things small and smaller, this is a fabulous macro lens. It’s super-sharp and delivers stellar image quality in all respects, while the feature-rich, high-quality build ensures wonderfully refined handling. The lens also works well for portraiture and general short-telephoto shooting with Sony full frame cameras (it's also available in an L-mount version).

20. Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS

Packs in plenty of high-tech features for APS-C and full frame mirrorless

Specifications
Mount: Sony E
Elements/groups: 15/11
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (motor)
Stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.28m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 79x131mm
Weight: 602g
Reasons to buy
+Excellent autofocus and stabilisation +Impeccable image quality
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Quite heavy 

Typical of Sony’s recent G-series and G Master lenses, there’s no shortage of quality in this 90mm macro prime. It’s fully compatible with full-frame and APS-C format E-mount cameras, and packs plenty of high-tech features, including a Dual DDSSM (Direct Drive Super Sonic wave Motor) autofocus system for rapid, accurate and near-silent performance, plus ‘Optical SteadyShot’ stabilization. The optical path includes aspherical, ED and Super ED elements, built into a precision-engineered, weather-sealed metal casing. Handling benefits from a super-smooth and precise focus ring, with an electronic fly-by-wire coupling. There’s also a three-position autofocus range limiter switch and a focus hold button. Image quality is outstanding but it’s a pricey lens to buy.

More lens buying guides:
The best close-up filters
The best 50mm lenses
The best 70-200mm lenses
The best budget telephoto lenses
The best 150-600mm lenses
The best fisheye lenses
The best Canon lenses
The best Nikon lenses
The best Fujifilm lense
The best Sony lenses
The best Micro Four Thirds lenses for Olympus or Panasonic cameras

Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 


His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 


In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.