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These 1:1 macro lenses make small items a big deal

1:1 Macro lenses give photographers the chance to enter into a magical world; the best part is that you don’t have to break the bank to experience it.

Macro photography is a fascinating genre, especially if you’re a curious person. You see, there are hundreds and thousands of objects, bugs, and insects around us that we never truly see. However, 1:1 macro lenses allow us to peer into this unseen world. With a bit of practice, you’ll be capturing incredible details on the smallest items around you. Be warned, though, that macro photography is incredibly addicting. Once you start, you might not want to stop.

Fortunately, there are some stunning 1:1 macro lenses on the market that offer incredible optics that are affordable and easy to use. That’s right; if you want to truly see the magnificence of nature and other small items, you don’t have to break the bank. Below, we have rounded up four of our favorite 1:1 macro lenses that will amaze you every time you use them. As a bonus, these superb lenses also double up as brilliant portrait lenses. So let’s take a closer look at them.

Olympus 60mm f2.8 Macro lens — A Micro Four Thirds marvel

The Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro is one of the best 1:1 macro lenses I have ever used. When used in conjunction with Micro Four Thirds cameras that offer greater depth of field and a 2x crop, this lens will help you quickly produce magic. You see, even at f/2.8, you will get the light gathering of an f/2.8 lens and the depth of field of an f/5.6 lens, making macro work much easier.

This lens is ridiculously sharp, offers full 1:1 reproduction, and is solidly built. The AF motor works well, but the manual focus ring, which you should use for macro work, is as smooth as butter. If you want to get into the world of macro photography with your M4/3 camera, this is the 1:1 macro lens to buy. You can even use this lens with the focus stack feature in specific Olympus cameras. It’s a bargain at under $550.

IRIX 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 — The best option for DSLRs (and mirrorless adapters)

1:1 macro lenses

IRIX makes fantastic lenses that raise the bar. The IRIX 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 is no exception to this rule. This sizable 1:1 macro lens will require excellent technique, but the images you can produce with it will blow your mind.

The optics in this macro lens are superb. You’ll get crisp details, gorgeous colors and silky smooth bokeh. The lens comes with an Arca swiss plate so you can quickly attach it to a tripod. The lens is fully weather-sealed, and the focus ring is silky smooth. This is one of the best 1:1 macro lenses for Canon, Nikon and Pentax DSLRs. You can also quickly adapt it to work with Canon and Nikon mirrorless cameras. This magnificent lens can be yours for under $600!

Sony 90mm f/2.8 G OSS — One of the sharpest 1:1 macro lenses you’ll ever use

1:1 macro lenses

The Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS is one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used. Period. Images from this lens are breathtaking, thanks to the detail it can capture. Like all other 1:1 Macro lenses, the Sony 90mm f/2.8 is just as comfortable shooting portraits as it is with small subjects. No matter what you shoot, the results will make your jaw drop.

The Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS (read our hands-on article here) is not only sharp, but it also renders beautiful colors and sublime bokeh. This offering from Sony offers 1:1 reproduction. There’s a fast AF motor, image stabilization, and a Nano AR coating which helps reduce flares and ghosting. At under $1,000, this lens is a no-brainer for Sony shooters who want to dive into the macro world.

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro Art — Small price, big results

1:1 macro lenses

Sigma is no stranger to making top-quality macro lenses. The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG DN is another fine example of this. I thoroughly enjoyed using this lens when I had it in for review. I paired the lens with the Panasonic Lumix S5 (read my review of the Lumix S5 here) and was amazed at how well this sub $800 lens performed.

The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro is one of the first 1:1 macro lenses I have used where I felt comfortable enough to use autofocus instead of manual focus. The lens is super accurate and speedy for a lens of this type. The optics, as you would expect, are top-drawer. The build quality is exceptional (it’s weather-sealed), with it being an Art series lens. The aperture dial is a nice touch too. Whether you use Sony E mount cameras or L mount cameras from Sigma, Pansonic, or Leica, this lens won’t let you down.

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Rafael Jones

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