What DSLR equipment would I recommend for beginning, budget-conscious macro photographers? While I can’t speak to mirrorless cameras and compact systems, the DSLR equipment that I would recommend would look something like this:
- Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens ($400–sale price). This is the lowest cost entry level crop-sensor DSLR that Canon still sells. I choose Canon rather than Nikon or any other system because it has the best options for expandability, mainly due to the MP-E65mm 1-5x macro lens. It has eTTL flash and depth-of-field preview included, features that are great for macro work.
- Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD Lens for Canon EF (on sale). This lens stands up well against Canon’s 100mm L lens, and it will hold its ground if you decide to upgrade the camera body to a higher level, including full-frame DSLRs like the Canon 6D or 5D MkIV.
- Canon Speedlite 270EX II ($140) a small light-weight flash that is strong enough for 1:1 macro, and easy to handle off the camera when attached to a flash cord. Can be hand-held, or build your own bracket and diffuser for the best results.
- Vello Off-Camera TTL Flash Cord for Canon Cameras (3′) ($16)
- Optional: Raynox DCR 250 2.5X snap-on macro lens ($60) a great add-on lens to increase magnification
These recommendations are based on:
- a long-term view, for future expansibility
- my opinion that the lens is more important than the camera body
- what is on the market at the time of posting
What next? Get a second battery for your camera. You may want to add a small flash bracket to free your hands and hold the flash closer to the subject. For natural light opportunities, a light but strong tripod with ground-level capabilities will be your friend.
(Prices are US dollars. Links are to B&H, and I am a member of their affiliate program. Canadians and other nationalities should check prices at local suppliers first.)
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