Budget Entry-level Macro Equipment

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.

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.)

Please note the disclaimer at the bottom of the right sidebar.

 

 

This entry was posted in Camera, Equipment, Flash, Lenses, macro, photography and tagged , .

2 Comments

  1. Kathy 26 December, 2016 at 4:31 AM #

    Thank you for this information. I am a Nikon user but canon looks very attractive at least for macro.
    I love your images! Beautiful compositions and soft lighting.
    Last summer I started using a reversed 50mm with a diffused flash.
    I am interested in the Canon MP -E 65mm 1x-5x. Do you use a focusing rail with it, it looks like a pretty heavy lens?

    • Adrian 26 December, 2016 at 2:25 PM #

      Yes, it is a solidly made lens and a bit heavier than the standard 100mm macro lens. When in the field, I use it mostly hand-held, with diffused flash.