Looking for the best camera for macro photography? In this article, we reveal our 11 favorite macro cameras, including models that feature fixed lenses, as well as body-only cameras that – when combined with the right lens – offer outstanding macro shooting capabilities.
Of course, there are multiple types of macro photographers, each with different needs and budgets, so I’ve added something for everyone. Below, you’ll find point-and-shoot cameras, mirrorless cameras, DSLRs, and even smartphones.
What each camera has in common is the ability to focus up close to capture stunningly detailed shots of tiny objects. Each camera also offers plenty of other features that are useful for macro photography. Let’s dive right in.
The Nikon D850 is a full-frame DSLR; thanks to the larger sensor, you can achieve a shallower depth of field effect, and the camera will also perform well at high ISO values, as is often necessary for macro photography.
The sensor packs a whopping 45.7 MP, so you can create large, detailed prints for fine-art or commercial use. Expect images to depict every detail at the highest quality.
The D850 sports a Nikon F-lens mount, so you’ll have a wide array of macro lenses to choose from, including Nikon’s excellent line of Nikkor lenses, as well as third-party lenses from Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, and more.
You also get plenty of other useful features, including focus shift, which automatically changes the focus over a series of shots. It makes for easy focus stacking (because you can easily merge together several shifted images for a shot that’s sharp throughout).
You can also create in-camera time-lapse videos, and to top it off, you can use the silent shooting modes when photographing skittish insects.
If you’re looking for the best mirrorless camera for macro photography, then you should definitely check out the Nikon Z6, which combines stellar low-light performance with outstanding ergonomics and lens selection.
The Nikon Z6 packs a 24 MP full-frame sensor that offers class-leading high-ISO image quality, perfect for shooting in the dimly lit environments macro photographers often encounter (and perfect for making beautiful prints, too, even if you can’t go quite as big on the Z6 as on the D850).
In macro photography, focus and depth of field are crucial to getting the desired result, and the Nikon Z6 won’t let you down. The top-notch autofocus system, combined with excellent Nikkor Z lenses, offers both speed and accuracy when focusing, though note that, at high magnifications, it often pays to focus manually instead.
The top display panel makes it easy for you to adjust your settings if the camera is positioned low to the ground, plus you get focus shift and silent shooting for easy close-up photos of insects.
(Note: If you like the features on the Z6 but would prefer more resolution, check out the Nikon Z7 or Z7 II.)
Canon EOS R5
The Canon EOS R5 is a powerful full-frame mirrorless camera packing a 45 MP sensor; expect beautifully rendered details on-screen, not to mention the option to create large-format prints for commercial and fine-art purposes.
In macro photography, even the smallest shake can ruin your images, which is why the EOS R5’s in-body stabilizer, which offers up to eight stops of shake correction, is so useful. The camera also has a built-in focus bracketing feature that allows you to set a desired number of images, select the focusing increments, then capture a series of perfectly focus-shifted images. You’ll get a set of images ready for focus stacking (and you won’t have to spend time fiddling with focusing in the field).
While the Canon RF-mount lineup is still in its infancy, you already have several outstanding lenses to choose from, including the RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro. And if you’d prefer to save money while maintaining top-notch image quality, check out Canon’s EF macro lenses, which can be used with the EOS R5 via the EF-EOS R adapter.
One final note: If the Canon EOS R5 exceeds your budget and resolution needs, you can always check out the EOS R6. It shares most of the features but costs significantly less and packs a full-frame 20 MP sensor.
Canon EOS 90D
If you’re a beginner macro photographer looking to get serious, check out the Canon 90D, which boasts impressive resolution, good image quality, and a handful of useful features without breaking the bank.
The Canon 90D is one of Canon’s latest (that is, last ever) DSLRs, and while it only offers an APS-C sensor, its 32.5 megapixels are enough to capture even the finest details when paired with the right lens.
And there are plenty of EF and EF-S macro lenses to give you all the flexibility you need. The EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM even has a macro ring light built-in to prevent shadows on your subject.
For those who hope to focus stack for extensive depth of field, you’ll be happy to know that the 90D does include a focus-bracketing feature. And the large, vari-angle touchscreen allows you to comfortably compose and shoot from different perspectives.
Last but not least, the battery lasts up to 1300 shots, so you can go on a macro day trip without worry.
Sony a7 IV
Need an all-around camera that can handle both photos and videos at macro magnifications? The Sony a7 IV is a great choice. The 33 MP full-frame sensor offers up to 15 stops of dynamic range, perfect for capturing subjects in difficult lighting conditions (e.g., a flower against the sky), and image quality (low light and otherwise) is outstanding.
Macro photography subjects such as insects and flower centers aren’t always easy to reach. The Sony a7 IV features a fully articulating, three-inch touchscreen that gives you excellent flexibility when shooting from down low or up high. And the AF system, with its 759 phase-detection points, helps you nail focus every time (even when using the shallow depth of field effects characteristic of macro photography).
Then there’s the 5-axis SteadyShot image stabilization, which offers up to 5.5 stops of shake compensation when handholding, plus the focus-breathing compensation, which comes in handy when focus stacking.
While Sony doesn’t offer the same number of macro lenses as Canon and Nikon, there are still a few excellent native lenses to choose from, some of which include weather sealing for shooting in the rain or snow.
The Fujifilm X-Pro3 might not be an obvious choice for a macro camera because Fujifilm’s selection of macro lenses is somewhat limited. But the lenses Fujifilm does offer are strong, plus the X-Pro3 comes with several additional features that are perfect for Fujifilm enthusiasts hoping to dive into macro photography.
First, the X-Pro3 is light and compact yet also highly durable thanks to the titanium build. You can take your X-Pro3 with you when hiking, trekking, or camping (for plenty of macro fun!).
Then there’s the powerful 26.1 MP sensor, which allows you to capture even the finest macro details, along with an AF system that can focus in low light down to -6 EV.
The X-Pro3 also boasts a hybrid viewfinder that switches between an EVF (electronic viewfinder) and an OVF (optical viewfinder). While electronic viewfinders are a great way to evaluate exposure, details aren’t as crisp compared to optical viewfinders, nor are EVFs great for strobe work – so the hybrid viewfinder on the X-Pro3 offers the best of both worlds.
To top it all off, the X-Pro3 includes a focus-bracketing feature so you can efficiently create a series of images suitable for focus stacking.
If you want a point-and-shoot camera to keep in your pocket that’s also great for macro photography, then you need the Olympus TG-5.
The lens has a focal-length range of 4.5-18mm, which is the equivalent of 25-100mm on a full-frame camera. And when working in the camera’s dedicated macro mode, you can focus as close as 1 cm from your subject.
The TG-5 does include a manual focus option, always useful for macro photography – and it includes focus peaking, so you can nail focus even at high magnifications.
The sensor produces RAW images of up to 12 MP, so you probably won’t want to create large-format prints. But for online sharing and even decent-sized standard prints, 12 MP is enough.
The TG-5 is a tough camera (literally; that’s what the “T” stands for), and it’s built to be by your side in the most challenging of situations. The case is shockproof, waterproof (up to 15 m), and frostproof. Also, there’s a protective lens element with anti-fog technology, and the 3-inch LCD screen boasts 7 brightness levels to offer the best visibility in every situation.
So if you’re hoping to do underwater macro photography or even macro photography while adventuring, you’ll love the TG-5.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a light and compact mirrorless camera that features a 20 MP Micro Four Thirds sensor. While it’s designed as an entry-level, all-around camera, it’s a great way to start exploring macro photography on a budget.
The 20 MP resolution is enough to capture fine details, and while high-ISO performance isn’t outstanding, the E-M10 Mark IV gives less noise at high ISOs than previous E-M10 generations. Paired with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens, you’ll be able to capture details invisible to the naked eye.
The built-in image stabilization compensates for up to 4.5 stops of camera shake, so you’re free to handhold in low light without a tripod. For further flexibility when shooting on the road, you can charge the E-M10 Mark IV via a USB cable.
The 121-point contrast-detection AF system will help you keep things sharp, and when you’re having problems nailing the perfect focal point, you can use the focus bracketing mode (which is also great for focus stacking!).
Ricoh GR III
The Ricoh GR III is a compact camera, but don’t let that fool you; it offers a bevy of features for macro photographers, including an impressive 24 MP sensor, as well as a high-quality lens with a 28mm focal length and an ultra-fast f/2.8 maximum aperture for handheld shooting in low light.
The one-button macro mode allows you to focus between 6 and 12 cm for beautiful close-up shots; you also get powerful autofocus that excels when capturing detailed images of insects.
The GR III is impressively small and light, so you can easily carry it with you on every field trip or vacation. Yet despite the compact design, you get great ease of use thanks to the large (3-inch) screen.
If you happen to also shoot street photography, you’ll love the GR III, which lets you unobtrusively capture images of people. You might even try combining macro and street photography for close-ups of city details.
iPhone 13 Pro
The iPhone 13 Pro may not sound like much – it’s a smartphone, after all! – but it offers macro shooting, thanks to its new ultra-wide camera with a minimum focus distance of 2 cm. You also have another option: the 77mm telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom, which helps you stay farther away from subjects like insects while photographing.
Finishing out the system is a wide-angle camera that’s perfect for low-light photography; it has a huge sensor, not to mention an ultra-wide aperture of f/1.5.
Happily, you can use the iPhone 13 Pro’s macro features while shooting videos in Slo-mo and Time-Lapse modes, plus the native camera app is packed with powerful features, photographic styles, and more.
If you like the idea of macro shooting but you’re not totally sold on a dedicated camera, the iPhone 13 could be a great choice. It’s not the most orthodox method of photography, but you can carry it everywhere and it’ll certainly get the job done!
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Last but not least is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, our final camera for macro photography, which boasts a 12 MP ultra-wide camera with a dedicated macro mode. In fact, Samsung has ensured the S21 Ultra is constantly prepared to capture close-ups; move to 10 cm from a subject, and the AI system recognizes that you’re doing macro photography and adjusts the focus.
The S21 Ultra is a smartphone, of course, which means you shouldn’t expect outstanding image quality fit for large prints. But the phone’s macro images are sharp and look good, making them perfect for website display, sharing with friends, and posting to social media.
The rest of the camera system is just as impressive. The S21 Ultra packs a 108 MP (!) wide camera, a 10 MP periscope telephoto camera, a 10 MP telephoto camera, and a 40 MP front camera. So if you’re shooting flowers but suddenly notice a portrait, street, or landscape opportunity, don’t worry; just switch to one of your other cameras and snap away!
Determining the best macro photography camera depends on your needs and budget. If you’re after a dedicated camera but don’t want to carry all the extra weight, consider a point-and-shoot or compact camera. This list features some amazing models that’ll easily fit in your pocket or backpack.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to carry multiple devices and lenses and you like the idea of a camera you always have on hand, check out the smartphone cameras I mentioned.
Finally, if you want to get serious about macro shooting, I’d recommend one of the larger-sensor cameras with interchangeable lenses (though be sure to pay careful attention to your lens choice, too!).
originally posted on digital-photography-school.com by Ana Mireles
About Author: Ana Mireles is a photographer and artistic researcher. She has been awarded and exhibited in Mexico, Italy, and the Netherlands. Through theory and practice, she explores the cultural aspect of photography, how it helps us relate to each other, the world, and ourselves. She has also a passion for teaching, communication, and social media. You can find more about her and her work at her website.