Cheap Macro Lens: Magnify Your Savings
Cheap may be a bit of a misnomer here, but all of these suggestions guarantee results without robbing you blind. It should be noted that some lenses – specifically the Canon lenses mentioned here – are by no means cheap, either in terms of build quality, or price.
These suggestions are also aimed at Canon users, because I recently helped a friend select a lens for his T3. Some suggestions, like Sigma lenses, will hold up across the board.
Cheap Macro Lens Suggestions for Canon Photographers
Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 APO DG (~$210)
Okay, so you want a cheap macro lens? They do exist. You can buy one a Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 DG for around $144, but I wouldn’t suggest it. Why? Well, it’s achromatic, meaning that different colors have different focal lengths. Contrast isn’t that great, and if you want to focus on two colors at once, god help you.
Luckily there is an alternative to this dilemma: upgrade to the better version from Sigma, the 70-300 f/4-5.6 APO DG for around $210. I know…it’s $60 more expensive, but your photos will thank you. I used to own this particular lens for Nikon, and it works wonders in its price range. Still, you can do better.
Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 (~$420)
Another decently priced third-party lens, this sucker is ideal if you’re looking for an inexpensive all-purpose telephoto that can double as a macro machine. Think of it as your standard kit lens, and then some for wildlife, nature, sports, and macro. It won’t perform as well in low light, but most zooms don’t anyway. And all of these uses packing into one cheap macro lens will cost you around $420.
Canon 60mm f/2.8 EF-S USM Macro (~$470)
For those wanting brand-name goods, and all the quality that goes along with it, look no further than the Canon 60 mm f/2.8 EF-S USM Macro. Prices on this lens vary depending on age and seller. Used ones might go from anywhere between $300-400, while brand new usually tops out at $470. The fact that it is a prime will not be lost on users – image quality shows exactly where this camera stands in terms of cost-effectiveness.
Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro (~$570)
Another excellent but not exactly cheap macro lens from Canon, this glass verges on expensive, but won’t leave you penniless. It’s an old film lens that will still work on your digital Canon. You can expect to pay more for it brand new, but the great thing about film lenses is, you can also find them online for dirt cheap…usually.
Keep in mind when shopping for a cheap macro lens that there are a lot of options out there. While these are just my suggestions, I recommend doing your own research. Beware that some manufacturers have old lenses floating around out there that will not work (or might even damage) your DSLR. It’s best to do some research first, or better yet, speak to someone at your local camera store who can help guide you in the right direction. And if you really, really want that cheap cheap CHEAP Sigma 70-300 f4-5.6 DG at $144, I know these guys have it in stock.
Just remember that paying for pro glass is never a truly bad idea, and that better image quality is always a wise investment.