6 Best Canon Macro Lenses in 2024 [Beginner’s Guide]

Best Canon macro lens
Best Canon macro lens

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So, you’re ready to add a macro lens to your camera kit? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to review the 6 best Canon macro lens on the market.

We’ll help you make your choice based on a few different areas like focal length, image stabilization, aperture, focus distance and price.

What is a Macro Lens?

A macro lens has a very short focal length and is used to give more of an extreme close-up compared to that of a standard lens. They provide a very narrow depth of field that focuses people’s attention and reveals amazing detail unseen by the naked eye.

A normal camera lens can focus at infinity but a macro lens focuses on objects that are close to the camera’s film plane and generally 1:1 in size (life-size). Some common uses of a macro lens or closeup lens include nature, food, art, textures and jewellery.

Furthermore, they serve as creative tools to capture impactful imagery, such as the famous eye dilation shot, from Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for Dream (2000).

What to Look For in a Canon Macro Lens?

Well, there are many things to look for however to make it easy here are a few quick questions to ask yourself.

  • How close-up do I need to capture my subject?
  • What is my minimum focus distance?
  • Do I need a low f-stop?
  • Do I need image stabilization?
  • What kind of focus do I need?
  • Will it fit in my travel bag?

This should help narrow it down to find what you’re actually using it for and what features you need. Still not sure if you actually need a macro lens? checkout this video on why you should get one anyway 😉

Our 6 Best Canon Macro Lenses

Generally, macro lenses can be a creative leap for beginners. The variety of choices can be difficult to get your head around at first, but don’t sweat it! To keep things simple, we’ve put together a list of our 6 favourite Canon macro lenses including some quick specs and a few pros/cons.

1. Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

  • Lens Mount: Canon EF
  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • Aperture: f/2.5
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.23 meters
  • Weight: 280g
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Size: 67.6 x 63mm
  • Focus Type: Auto/Manual
  • Lens Type: Macro
  • Filter Thread: 52mm

First off, this Canon macro lens is great for a wide variety of reasons. One of the top qualities to look for in any lens, budget or not, is sharpness. This key highlight makes it our top-pick cheap Canon macro lens for beginners.

Next, is because of its compactness. Weighing just 280g and measuring 67.6mm, there’s not much space needed in your camera bag for this one. Actually, we wish there were more lenses this size from canon.

In addition, you’ll realize that focusing is very narrow with macros lenses. When just starting, you’ll need a little patience and practice. Thankfully, this lens comes with autofocus enabled. 

In short, it’s a very small investment for the quality provided. All things considered, this is the best macro to get you started. 👍

Large aperture (more light)No Image stabilization
Great shallow depth of fieldPoor focus ring quality
Compact and lightweightlittle soft in the corners

2. Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

  • Lens Mount: Canon EF-S
  • Focal Length: 60mm
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.2 meters
  • Weight: 335g
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Size: 73 x 69.8mm
  • Focus Type: Manual
  • Lens Type: Fixed Macro
  • Filter Thread: 52mm

Our motto is that you should get what’s best for your shooting style without too much compromise. With that being said, the EF-S 60mm is near the top of our list of cheap macro lens for Canon.

First off, it has 1:1 magnification. What does 1:1 mean? Without diving into too much detail, it’s a“true” macro lens, projecting the subject onto the camera’s sensor lifesized at a 1:1 reproduction ratio.

The second reason to consider is its wide aperture. This means that the lens performs well in low light, along with a beautiful bokeh surrounding your subject.

Lastly, this thing is built to last. Quality metal mounts feel nice and sturdy in your hand. Take care of it, and it’ll last you a long time.

One downside is that this lens is APS-C only, which means this is only for the small factor “crop” cameras, i.e. Rebel, 80D, or 7D. So sorry to all of you full frame users!

Large aperture (more light)APS-C
Great shallow depth of fieldTrouble Focusing
 Longer setup
 Difficult to use

3. Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM

  • Lens Mount: Canon EF
  • Focal Length: 24-70mm
  • Aperture: f/4.0
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.38 meters
  • Weight: 600g
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Size: 83.4 x 93mm
  • Focus Type: Auto Focus
  • Lens Type: Zoom
  • Filter Thread: 77mm

Without a doubt, this macro lens for Canon wins for versatility. Being a wide, mid, and macro lens all-in-one makes it a winner with a range of features to consider.

One thing setting it apart from the rest is that it has a ‘Press and Hold’ macro switch past 70mm to engage the macro range. This feature helps you capture close-up subjects handheld and in high quality.

Next, is build quality. The ribbed rubber zoom and focus rings are large and grippy. This offers a comfortable feeling of detailed control. Also, it’s dust and water-resistant, allowing you to shoot in even the harshest and most rigorous conditions.

Across the board, we favour this all-purpose canon macro lens with its top-optical performance. After all, it offers excellent image stabilization with sharpness all the way to the edge! The only drawback is that it’s a little on the heavy side.

Vibrant colorHeavy
Great shallow depth of field 
Great image stability 
Ultrasonic (silent) 

4. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

  • Lens Mount: Canon EF
  • Focal Length: 100mm
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.31 meters
  • Weight: 600g
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Size: 79 x 119mm
  • Focus Type: Manual Focus
  • Lens Type: Fixed
  • Filter Thread: 58mm

There’s nothing like having the right tool for the job. The 100mm is a dedicated Canon macro lens with a bag of impressive tricks. Here are a few reasons to consider.

First off, there’s nothing like a nice throw for manual focusing. Breathing your subject into focus is always a nice effect for transitions, reveals, etc.

Second, it’s hard to beat a prime Canon macro lens for sharpness. Get your settings right, and this lens is tack sharp. We were blown away when the smallest details pop out! 🙌

In short, we say the non-L is good enough for most beginners who want to compete with the pros. If your subjects require a close-up perspective then this is a fantastic option.

Large aperture (more light)Full-time manual focus
Great shallow depth of field 
Smooth Focus ring 
Ultrasonic (silent) 

5. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM

  • Lens Mount: Canon EF
  • Focal Length: 100mm
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.3 meters
  • Weight: 625g
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Size: 77.7 x 123mm
  • Focus Type: Auto Focus
  • Lens Type: Fixed
  • Filter Thread: 67mm

Welcome to the beloved and most used L-series 100mm Canon macro f/3.5 lens. It’s the one everybody talks about. Not the cheapest, but designed with all the goodies.

First off, this Canon macro lens has hybrid image stabilization, a technology that compensates for both angular and shift camera shake during close-ups. We’re always amazed by what you’re able to capture handheld.

In addition, the minimum focus distance gives you about 15cm to work with around your subject. This is a plus because it allows you more room to light your subject, a tricky thing to do with macro shots. Also, it gives your subject more personal space while shooting.

Finally, this Canon macro lens provides more freedom in variable lighting for on-the-go creative choices. It’s definitely the favoured option among professionals but you’ll have to test it out for yourself to see why.

Large aperture (more light)Large
Great image stability 
Ultrasonic (silent) 

6. Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

  • Lens Mount: Canon EF
  • Focal Length: 180mm
  • Aperture: f/3.5
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.48 meters
  • Weight: 1090g
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Size: 82.5 x 186.6mm
  • Focus Type: Auto Focus
  • Lens Type: Zoom
  • Filter Thread: 72mm

Have you ever wanted to capture the eye of a dragonfly?  Well, now you can with the stunning 180mm Canon macro lens.

To begin with, it beautifully separates subjects from the background with a smooth and creamy blur. You’ll be able to direct the viewer’s eye to a very specific area of interest. On a side note, it’s important to remember that the subject needs to be on a parallel plane to be tack sharp.

In addition, this macro lens for Canon gives great colour and contrast by combining UD glass elements and an internal floating system. This upgrade gives you lovely floral imagery and minimizes aberrations.

Lastly, it’s less intrusive. This prevents you from disturbing that dragonfly close-up by distancing yourself up to 45cm, as compared to the 30cm for the 100mm. 

Large aperture (more light)Heavy
Shallow depth of fieldLarge
USM Ultrasonic motor (silent)No Image Stabilization

Wrapping Up

To sum up, there are plenty of options on the market, but now you know what to look for when choosing a Canon macros lens. The creative possibilities are endless.

Not sure if you want to invest in a macro lens? One cheap alternative is using an extension tube on your Canon EF lenses. It’s a simple accessory that increases the magnification and allows you to shoot closer subjects than normal. 👌

So whatever your system and budget there should be a macro lens here for you. Get out there and uncover the world in tiny detail. Even if it’s in your own backyard!

Marcus VanWormer
Marcus VanWormer
Marcus is a freelance director, cinematographer, and video editor based in Brooklyn. He has a diverse background in film production working with companies like ABC, CBS, Jeep, Harley Davidson, and Levi's. His passion is storytelling. Follow him on Linkedin.
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