Macro photography is one of the most underrated genres if you ask me. The idea that there's an entirely different miniature world to explore fascinates me and makes me wonder why so many photographers ignore it and photograph landscapes like everyone else. As the summer fades and fall colors are upon us, it might be the perfect time to enter the wonderful world of macro photography.
It takes a trained eye and a love for detail to be a good macro photographer, but all that can be learned. Gear wise, any DSLR will do as long as you have the right lens. Here are three of our favorite lenses for macro photography.
Minolta AF 100mm f2.8 Macro Lens
If there's one thing Sony users have going for them, other than the performance of the cameras, it's the ability to use older Minolta lenses. Before being bought by Sony (who kept the mount), Minolta was one of the leading camera and lens manufacturers. The 100mm AF f/2.8 macro is one of the best options if you're looking for quality optics at a very good price.
Tamron 72E AF 90mm f2.8 SP Macro 1:1
This is a popular portrait lens with many photographers, but it's actually designed to be a macro performer. The obvious highlight is the 1:1 ratio, but the image quality is also very good. The details are crisp, the color reproduction is very good and the AF is not bad for a lens that sees mostly static subjects.
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Sigma AF 70-200mm f2.8 APO DG EX HSM OS Macro
This lens is usually bought because it's an affordable alternative to more expensive telephoto zoom lenses, but it's actually a very good macro lens as well. The long focal range will let you keep a distance from the subject, which is pretty important when you shoot small birds and insects. The image quality is excellent and the AF speed is satisfactory, certainly for macro needs anyway. It's a good lens if you're looking for more than one use.