Macro Photography is a fantastic way to see the world from a different angle.
By zooming in to a macro level, a photographer is able to capture things the naked eye can’t see, and as a result, create intriguing photography that is great to look at.
Macro photography is a specialization within the medium that can be difficult to get into, mostly because of the technical aspects required to get it right.
So then, let’s say you’re looking to get into macro photography, but you’re not sure where to start. How can you be sure you have the right gear to get the shots you want? What is the best camera for the job?
If you’re wondering about this, then don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’re going to be taking you through the 5 best cameras for macro photography.
We’ve made sure to give you a good range of different options so that you can pick the camera that’s right for you.
We’ve also included an extensive buyers guide to help explain our choices, as well as a short FAQ section to clear up any questions you may have leftover at the end.
Let’s get right into it!
What Is Macro Photography?
Macro photography is a type of photography where the subject matter is photographed at close range (usually 1-10 inches). This technique is often used to capture small subjects such as insects, flowers, and mushrooms.
It can also be used for more abstract photography, as zooming can put the world in a very different perspective.
This form of photography has been around for a long time, but it’s grown in popularity in recent years as a specialized form of the medium which allows photographers to experiment with different equipment and hone their compositional skills.
A macro lens is considered to be a specialized version of a telephoto lens. A macro lens is distinguished from a telephoto lens by its shorter focal length.
Telephoto lenses are useful for taking pictures of distant subjects, while macros are useful for taking pictures at close distances.
There are two types of macro lenses: fixed focal length and variable focal length.
Fixed focal length lenses allow photographers to choose a specific focal length, whereas variable focal length lenses allow photographers flexibility in choosing their desired focal length.
The 5 Best Cameras For Macrophotography
Nikon is an industry standard for a reason. If you’re looking for a simplistic camera that will let you do macro photography alongside a load of other styles, then this might be the right pick for you.
This is a great camera that has a large sensor – this large sensor means that you’ll easily be able to create a much shallower depth of field than other cameras, which means you’ll be able to easily take intricate macro photographs.
Its design involves a BIS (back side illuminated) full-frame image sensor that doesn’t have an optical low pass filter. The resolution of this camera is 45.7 megapixels which are essential for clear macro photography.
In terms of functionality, it features a tilting touchscreen, impressive battery performance, and a focus shift shooting mode.
Another handy set of features includes Bluetooth capability, and USB, NFC, and HDMI ports, which allow you to easily manage your files whether you’re out and about or at home.
- BIS image sensor: For a lot of clarity in your macro photography.
- Resolution: High resolution of 45.7MP which will also add to clarity.
- Tilting Touchscreen: This allows you to keep an eye on the touchscreen no matter the angle you’re shooting at.
- Sharing Features: Includes Bluetooth connectivity, USB, HDMI, and NFC ports.
- No cons
If you’re looking for a mirrorless camera, then the Sony Alpha A7R is probably the best you’ll find. You’ll find that its high resolution at 42.4MP is perfect for getting realistic photos and precise clarity.
It features a pinpoint back-lit, sensitive image sensor as well as a BIONZ processor which allows you to get a level of detail that you won’t be able to with other cameras.
It also has a high ISO range from 100-32000, which is very important when shooting macro photography.
One thing that can be difficult about macro photography is getting the right amount of exposure precision, but the precise AE system of this camera allows you to have the right brightness no matter how close you’re shooting to your subject.
This is going to be your best choice if you’re looking for a mirrorless camera that can give you precise, realistic-looking macro shots.
- Processing Engine: Powerful, BIONZ X image processing engine that helps to make images clear.
- High ISO Range: From 100-32000 ISO for a wide variety of choices.
- Battery Life: Impressive battery that can go up to 530 still images.
- Flash: There’s no erected-in flash system in this camera, which means you might have to use an external flash.
A lot of the cameras on this list are on the upper echelons in terms of price, but if you’re looking for something cheaper then the Canon EOS Rebel T61 is a good option.
This camera features interchangeable lens technology, which allows you to use a big range of different lenses, and this can be vital when shooting macro photography – as if you’ve ever shot it before, you’ll know that the lens you choose for a certain shot is everything.
It also has impressive controls for exposure, with an RGB+IR sensor, which will allow you to control the lighting of your shot including focus, brightness, and exposure with a lot of precision.
Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind about this camera is how well it is designed to handle both exchanging images and device connectivity.
With its built-in WIFI and NFC functionality, you’ll be able to easily share high-resolution photos with different devices. In terms of ease and affordability, this is a treasure amongst other cameras.
- Interchangeable Lens Technology: Let you swap lenses easier.
- Optical Viewfinder: This allows you to take a closer look and get offers a lot better clarity for when you’re composing a shot.
- Image Stabilization: With 5-axis in-body design can help if your hand isn’t all that steady.
- Video: Video caps out at 30 FPS, which can be frustrating.
What about a good point and shoot for macro photography? Whilst the two styles might not sound like they mix, there are some subjects at a macro level that require a faster shooting style.
If you’re the kind of photographer that likes to wander, perhaps in nature, then you’ll want something that has a fast AF without missing out on any of the additional precision and features you might expect from something more robust.
The Sony Cyber-Shot RX 100 is a great choice if you’re looking for something along these lines, with a unique image sensor called the Exmor RS 1.0-type, as well as the BIONZ X image processor that we covered earlier on in this article.
It also includes a burst shooting mode, that acts as a perfect accompaniment to its point-and-shoot nature, allowing you to quickly shoot in the range of 30 to 90fps, as well as a wide zoom lens built into its small and compact body.
The lens is a ZEISS Vario-Sonnar, which gives you some impressively wide FOVs with ease. If you want a way to perfectly capture macro shots, then this is going to be one of the best options you have out there.
- AF: A Very fast Auto Focus which allows you to perfectly focus within a few milliseconds.
- Image Sensor: Impressive image sensor coupled with BIONZ X image processing engine that allows you to take clear images quickly.
- Burst Shooting Mode: To capture dynamic moments, even at a macro level.
- Battery: Less powerful battery than others due to its compact body.
This camera has a preset macro mode, which is unique considering it’s also used often for street photography. This macro mode allows you to take photos at a much closer level – in the range of 6cm to 12cm.
This is a perfect camera if you’re looking for something that is versatile, or if you’re a street photographer looking to shoot macro when you’re out and about.
It comes with a 24 CMO sensor with an accelerator unit, and this is the main thing that makes it suitable for macro photography.
It has a fixed 18mm f/2.8 lens which, when coupled with the sensor, is unmatched when compared to other similar cameras.
We also really liked the touch LCD screen which allows you to access the user interface without much difficulty.
- Macro Mode: A feature that is very unique to this camera, allowing you to easily switch on the fly.
- Sensor: A powerful 24MP APS-C sensor that allows you to easily shoot macro.
- User Interface: Both an LCD screen and manual control dials for customizability.
- Street Style: This is a pro and a con depending on the kind of photographer you are, but it’s a camera that is more suited for street photography rather than something like macro nature photography.
We know that choosing the right camera can be difficult. There are so many things to think about, and it’s such a big investment to get wrong.
That’s why we’ve created this extensive buyers guide to help you understand some of the most important features for a camera before you commit to purchasing one. We’re going to mostly be focusing on positive
Depth Of Field (DOF)
The depth of field refers to the area of focus in front of and behind the subject. When shooting macro subjects, you want to have a shallow DOF.
Shallow means that the distance between the closest point of focus and the farthest point of focus should be small.
If you have a wide aperture setting on your lens, then you will get a larger DOF. You will need to use smaller apertures if you want a narrow DOF.
Resolution refers to how many pixels are captured per inch. Most cameras today capture images at 12 megapixels, which is about 1/3 of a high-quality print. However, some cameras shoot at 24 megapixels, which gives you twice the resolution of a standard print.
Resolution is a vital thing to consider for macro photography, especially if you’re looking for realistic, clear photos. Take photography of insects for example – in order to capture all their little details you’re going to need a good resolution.
Autofocus is a feature that automatically focuses on your subject. In order to achieve sharp images, you need to make sure that your camera’s autofocus system is working properly.
A good AF can be very important in macro photography as you’re going to want something that will focus quickly to capture fleeting moments.
A good lens will allow you to take crisp pictures even when using a low shutter speed. A bad lens will not allow you to do this.
Whilst you’ll most likely want to swap out your lens for something more complex – especially if you’re looking to take very clear and close macro photographs, the built-in lens of a camera can be very important.
Image stabilization helps to reduce blur caused by shaking hands while taking photographs.
This is more important for macro photography than any other style, as even the smallest of shakes can completely ruin the clear image you’re trying to create.
ISO sensitivity refers to the amount of light allowed to enter the sensor. Higher ISO settings mean that less light is allowed in, resulting in darker images. Lower ISO settings let in more light, resulting in brighter images.
Generally, the larger ISO range the better, and this is true not only for macro photography. You’re going to want to have a high range of ISO options so that you will be able to shoot in a variety of different settings.
Color accuracy refers to how well colors appear in the image.
Colors look accurate when they match what you see in real life. If you’re looking to take realistic macro photographs, then you’re going to need to make sure that you get a camera with precise color accuracy.
This is especially important for something like nature photography – as your tiny animal subjects will look more true to life with good accuracy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Macro Photography Hard?
Macro photography can be seen as a hard form of photography as it requires a different set of skills.
It requires you to look at the world in a slightly different way from what you might be used to, which can be a great way to test your skills and extend your composition.
Another thing that makes it great is how it allows you to experiment with new types of gear that you wouldn’t usually use in other forms of photography.
What Is The Best Light For Macro Photography?
A lot of macro photography is done outside – this is because one of the most favored types of macro photography is done within nature.
If you’re looking to take photos of plants and animals at a very close distance, then natural light is going to be a very good option for you. The sun and/or natural shadows will give you a lot of detail that you’ll need to capture your subject in all of its close-up glory.
Can You Use Flash For Macro Photography?
You certainly can, and this all depends on the kind of photo you’re trying to produce. Flash can be a great way to shed additional light on a subject but can make some of the more minuscule details vague.
Ultimately this will be up for you to decide, and you’ll want to consider it carefully depending on the context of the shoot in question.
So there you have it! That was a list of the 5 best cameras for macro photography, as well as an extensive buyers guide to help you narrow down your choices.
Macro photography is a fascinating aspect of the medium that can help to extend your technical knowledge and create some really unique photography.
We hope that this guide has helped you to choose the perfect camera to get you started. If you still have some questions, be sure to keep reading for our short FAQ section below, where we’ll clear up some of the more technical terms used in this article.