There has been an upsurge of interest in macro photography during the lockdown, which is not surprising as opportunities for travel have been restricted – and these restrictions could continue into 2021. If you want to get frame-filling shots of small subjects then you need to add a macro lens to your kit bag. These specialist optics can be expensive, but we’ve rounded up the best-value macro lenses on the market so you can get close-up imagery without breaking the bank. Indeed, some can make great last-minute Christmas presents.

Canon EF-M 28mm f3.5 Macro IS STM
Price: £309
Canon’s range of small mirrorless cameras are often under-rated and one of the best lenses available for cameras like the M50 and M6 Mark II is the fast aperture 28mm macro lens. Now, this optic is special because it comes with a twist; as well as offering a 28mm focal length that converts to 45mm with the APS-C crop factor, but the lens also features a unique part piece in the shape of a ring of LEDs around the front element. This genius feature banishes shadows that can often be a challenge when a lens is used to close to a subject. Better still, the premium optic, which has a 1:1 magnification ratio, comes in at just over three hundred pounds, which is amazing value-for-money. With a compact, portable design, the 28mm Macro tips the scales at just 130g, so it won’t even take up too much room in your kit bag.
What we like:
Unique LED ring lights
Compact dimensions
Fast F/2.8 aperture

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro Art
Price: £699
Sigma’s Art series of lenses has drawn great acclaim and the new 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro Art raises the bar even further. Built for Sony E-mount and L-mount cameras (Panasonic full-frame, Sigma and Leica), this lens is a little weighty at 715g, but is all about one thing – premium image quality that will find appeal from professional image makers who make their living with a camera. With this in mind, the £699 price-tag, while more expensive than many others in this shortlist, is actually incredibly good value-for-money when compared to rival optics.
Benefitting from a high level of weather sealing that resists dust and moisture, the lens features a focus limiter and an aperture declick switch, which widens the lens’ appeal to videographers who want to capture close up footage but want to be able to adjust the exposure during the take with recording any clicks from the lens.
What we like:
Premium image quality
Weather sealing
Declick aperture switch

Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 MACRO VC
Price: £649
Tamron has a long history in making great macro lenses and the SP 90mm is no different. A high-performance all-rounder that boasts a number of key functions that will make a real difference out in the field, the build of the lens features weather sealing to keep out moisture and dust, meaning you shouldn’t have to worry using this lens in harsh conditions. The front element of the lens benefits from a fluorine coating that helps repel water and oil, and the build of the lens is backed up by a five-year warranty. The SP 90mm, which comes in fitments for most DSLRs includes Tamron’s VC (Vibration Compensation) technology, which will help keep shots steady.
What we like:
Impressive build quality
Credible warranty
Decent price-tag

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro
Price: £399
Photographers using Micro Four-Thirds cameras such as the Olympus E-M1 Mark III or the Panasonic GH5 have an integrated advantage when it comes to shooting macro imagery. That’s because the sensor in their cameras features a 2x crop, doubling the effective focal length of a lens, meaning the optics can be smaller, lighter and more affordable. This is the case with the ED 60mm f2.8 Macro, which of course gives an effective focal length of 120mm and tips the scales at just 185g. With a fast maximum aperture of the f/2.8, the lens can also be used to capture portraits with a shallow depth of field and the optic can focus as close as 19cm away from a subject.
What we like:
Lightweight and portable
Fast maximum aperture
Weather sealing

Samyang 100mm f2.8 ED UMC Macro Lens
Price: £399
A lot of photographers prefer to use manual focus when capturing close up imagery, so it makes sense to save some budget and select a manual focus lens instead. One such example is the Samyang 100mm f2.8 ED UMC Macro, which is available in a large number of fitments including EF, Pentax K, Canon M and Fujifilm X. While autofocus is missing from the lens, there’s plenty of other features, including the presence of a ‘15 lenses in 12 groups’ optics design that includes a high refractive lens (HR) and extra low dispersion lens (ED) to to minimise colour aberration and improve overall image quality. Also important is the 9-bladed aperture design as its shape will create attractive bokeh when used at the large f/2.8 maximum aperture.
What we like:
Large focus ring
Simple design
Decent price tag

Sigma 70mm f2.8 DG Macro Art Lens
Price: £449
The 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro was the first ever macro lens to join Sigma’s acclaimed Art series line up and is a stonewall classic thanks to its excellent build, superb image quality and reasonable price tag. Available for Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony E-mount amongst others, the 70mm can be paired with Sigma’s 1.4x or 2x Teleconverters should you need even more focal length and is also future proof as it can be connected up with Sigma’s USB dock should you need to update the firmware. As you’d expect from Sigma’s Art series, the 70mm f2.8 DG Macro offers excellent image quality, thanks in part to the two FLD glass elements and two SLD glass elements used in the construction design, which’s keep images sharp, even when the lens is used at is maximum aperture of f/2.8.
What we like:
Affordable price
Premium build quality
Future-proof features

Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro
Price: £429
Available for Canon EF, Nikon F and Pentax K mounts, the Irix 150mm is growing a reputation as a genuine alternative to brand-made optics. This is in part to the fact that the lens boasts both a 1:1 magnification ratio and a 150mm focal length – this allows photographers the ability to shoot true to life, frame-filling images from a distance, which is particularly useful when shooting subjects like butterflies, who will flutter off if you get too close. There’s no autofocus, but many photographers prefer to rely on manual focus when capturing close up imagery anyway and the Irix benefits from a weather-sealed build and also features a tripod collar, should you want to work with a tripod or monopod support. This lens even picked up a Red Dot design award in 2019 so is well worth adding to your shortlist.
What we like:
Extended focal length
Tripod collar
Weather sealing

Tokina atx-i 100mm F2.8 FF MACRO
Price: £399
While Tonkina is perhaps not as well known as Tamron or Sigma, the atx-i 100mm F2.8 FF MACRO offers photographers a whole lot of lens for your money. Coming in at under £400, the optic is available for Canon and Nikon full-frame DSLRs, but can also be used with crop sensor DSLRs from these brands where the effective focal lengths switches up to 150mm (160mm for Canon). Boasting a focus limiter, which will help speed up focusing when compositing subjects closer to the lens, the Tokina also sports an innovative focus clutch where the photographer pushes and pulls a barrel ring to switch from autofocus to manual focus and this allows for a rapid transition between the two modes. The combination of a 1:1 magnification ratio and a very close minimum focusing distance of 30cm will enable you to capture frame-filling images of small subjects.
What we like:
Innovative Focus Clutch
Great value-for-money
Close minimum focusing distance

Further reading
Expert tips for award-winning macro shots