Before buying the best camera for macro photography, it is best to consider its sensor size, number of megapixels, and autofocus system. Below, I’ve handpicked my favorites based on these features. Continue reading to learn more about why they are essential.
When I use my smartphone to take photos of small subjects, I always end up being disappointed with the results. That is because my phone does not allow me to get as close to the object.
Fortunately, I found out that there are more suitable cameras to use if you are into macro photography. Below, I’ve listed the best cameras for macro photography. Each item includes a detailed review, pros and cons, and features, so you can easily compare it to other photography gear on this list.
There is also a buying guide below, where I will further discuss which factors to consider when purchasing a camera for macro photography.
So let us get on with the article!
What is Macro Photography?
Before I discuss my top picks, I would first like to discuss the definition of macro photography.
So if you are already familiar with this type of photography, you can go ahead and skip to my detailed review below. Otherwise, continue reading this section.
Macro photography refers to taking photos of subjects at a 1:1 ratio or higher magnification. That simply means that the object is the exact same size as your image sensor. So if you want to capture insects, nature, or food, you can photograph objects one inch or smaller. True macro photography can be done using a dedicated macro lens.
However, there is also a branch of photography known as close-up photography. It is similar to macro photography in that it makes small subjects appear larger. The only difference is that it allows you to use a standard, non-macro lens. As a result, it only provides lower magnification values, such as a 1:2 ratio. Nevertheless, it can still create a dramatic visual effect.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2021
|Editor’s Pick||Sony a7 III||Sensor Size: Full-Frame (35.6 x 23.8 mm)|
Video Resolution: UHD 4K
Dimensions: 5 x 3.8 x 2.9 inches
Weight: 1.43 lb / 650 g
|Best DSLR||Canon EOS 6D Mark II||Sensor Size: Full-Frame (35.9 x 24 mm)|
Video Resolution: Full HD
Dimensions: 5.7 x 4.4 x 2.9 inches
Weight: 1.51 lb / 685 g
|Best Mirrorless Camera||Fujifilm X-T3||Sensor Size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)|
Video Resolution: DCI 4K
Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.7 x 2.3 inches
Weight: 1.19 lb / 539 g
|Best for Beginners||Canon EOS Rebel T7||Sensor Size: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)|
Video Resolution: Full HD
Dimensions: 5.1 x 4 x 3.1 inches
Weight: 1.05 lb / 475 g
|Best Budget||Olympus Tough TG-6||Sensor Size: 1/2.3 inches|
Video Resolution: UHD 4K
Dimensions: 4.45 x 2.6 x 1.28 inches
Weight: 0.56 lb / 253 g
5 Best Macro Photography Cameras
Here are the best cameras for macro photography. Each product allows you to get closer to the subject and is compatible with macro lenses. Thus, it can help you capture close-up photos with ease.
1. Sony a7 III – Editor’s Pick
- Sensor Size: Full-Frame (35.6 x 23.8 mm)
- Megapixel: 24.2
- Video Resolution: UHD 4K
- Dimensions: 5 x 3.8 x 2.9 inches
- Weight: 1.43 lb / 650 g
Starting off this list is the Sony a7 III.
It boasts a full-frame 24.2-megapixel image sensor. Together with the BIONZ X image processor, this Sony mirrorless camera delivers an impressive ten frames per second (fps) continuous shooting rate. Such a feature is useful for capturing fast and small subjects, such as insects.
Additionally, the a7 III offers a 15-stop dynamic range. It retains the details in your photos to ensure high-quality results, even when you are shooting in low-light situations.
Moreover, this full-frame camera includes a fast and hybrid autofocus (AF) system. It uses a combination of 693 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection areas to help track the subject across the frame. This technology even works in a range of lighting conditions to guarantee sharp and in-focus macro photos.
Plus, there is a five-axis SteadyShot INSIDE sensor-shift image stabilization. This system effectively corrects camera shake and vibrations up to 5 stops. So whether you are shooting handheld or at slower shutter speeds, expect to achieve smooth and steady images.
Besides impressive macro photos, the a7 III is able to record up to UHD 4K resolution videos in 30 fps. There is also an option to shoot in full HD 1080p at 120 fps. This frame rate is ideal if you want to achieve a slow-motion effect in your videos.
And to make it easier to take photos or videos, this camera for macro photography has a three-inch high-resolution LCD screen. Simply touch the screen to focus on the subject. You can also tilt it upward up to 107° and downward to 41° if you wish to shoot from various angles.
On top of all these benefits, the a7 III is weather-sealed against dust and moisture. It can withstand harsh and outdoor conditions.
Finally, this mirrorless camera offers both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Thus, it enables you to transfer or share files instantly with your family and friends on social media.
Despite all these advantages, there are still a few downsides to this camera for macro photography. First, a few users were disappointed with the confusing menus and ergonomics. Second, it cannot shoot over 30 minutes’ worth of footage. So keep this con in mind if you intend to use the camera for recording events.
The pros far outweigh the cons, though.
For this reason, I deemed the Sony a7 III as the best camera for macro photography.
- Full-frame sensor with an advanced image processor
- Fast hybrid AF system instantly locks in the subject
- Up to 10 fps silent shooting
- 4K/30 fps and 1080p/120 fps movie shooting mode
- Tiltable touchscreen LCD and an OLED viewfinder to help you compose images
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled camera
- Movie mode is limited to 30 minutes recording
- Some users said the menus and controls could be improved
2. Canon EOS 6D Mark II – Best DSLR Camera for Macro Photography
- Sensor Size: Full-Frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
- Megapixel: 26.2
- Video Resolution: Full HD
- Dimensions: 5.7 x 4.4 x 2.9 inches
- Weight: 1.51 lb / 685 g
If you prefer a DSLR over a mirrorless camera, consider checking out the Canon EOS 6D Mark II.
This camera packs a powerful 26.2-megapixel full-frame sensor. When paired with the advanced DIGIC 7 Image Processor and a high ISO sensitivity range, it can deliver sharper details in almost any lighting condition.
Autofocusing is also not an issue with the 6D Mark II. This full-frame DSLR comes with a 45-point all-cross type AF system. It can track the movement of the subjects across the frame, ideal for capturing insects and other small objects.
Plus, a Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology enables fast autofocusing during movie recording. There is even a digital five-axis image stabilization system to correct camera shake and vibration. So you do not need to worry about shaky footage once you use this professional camera for macro photography.
Furthermore, this DSLR features a vari-angle three-inch LCD monitor. It gives you a bright and clear display in different lighting conditions. Thus, it can help you compose the shot easily, suitable for macro photography.
And if this large touchscreen is not enough for you, there is an included optical viewfinder. It provides approximately 98% coverage of the frame and a magnification ratio of 0.71x. It can ultimately help you guarantee if the focus is accurate and sharp.
Finally, this full-frame DSLR features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity as well as a weather-sealed construction. The former allows instant sharing of files with your family and friends. Meanwhile, the latter ensures the durability of the camera in outdoor conditions.
Most reviews for this product were also positive. However, there are still some cons to this camera. First, it lacks 4K video recording and a headphone jack to monitor audio, which is a bummer considering its price. Second, some users said it has poor autofocus and ISO calibration. Fortunately, that is easy to fix via a firmware update.
And considering its other advanced features, I think the Canon EOS 6D Mark II is among the best cameras for macro photography.
- Full-frame CMOS sensor with DIGIC 7 Image Processor offers a wide dynamic range
- Accurate and fast autofocus, owing to the Dual Pixel CMOS AF
- Five-axis image stabilization to correct camera shake
- Vari-angle touch screen and optical viewfinder
- Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS-enabled camera
- Movie recording is limited to Full HD 1080p resolution
- No headphone jack to monitor audio levels
- Poor autofocus and ISO calibration
3. Fujifilm X-T3 – Best Mirrorless Camera for Macro Photography
- Sensor Size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
- Megapixel: 26.1
- Video Resolution: DCI 4K
- Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.7 x 2.3 inches
- Weight: 1.19 lb / 539 g
The Fujifilm X-T3 is another excellent mirrorless camera for macro photography, similar to the Sony a7 III.
But instead of a full-frame sensor, the X-T3 features an APS-C CMOS image sensor. It has a back-illuminated design to deliver better dynamic range and image quality.
Additionally, this mirrorless camera includes an advanced X-Processor 4 with four CPUs. This image processing system enables you to shoot up to 11 fps using the mechanical shutter and up to 30 fps in an electronic shutter. However, it is essential to know that the latter can only capture photos with a 1.25x crop.
Furthermore, the X-T3 comes with an expansive 2.16m-point phase-detection autofocus system. It ensures accurate and fast AF performance and subject tracking. Meanwhile, a dedicated focus lever allows you to choose specific focus points when shooting.
And true to its history as a film-based photography company, Fujifilm offers various film simulation modes. These include Eterna, Acros, Classic Chrome, and several others that replicate the cinematic look in previous film images. Thus, this camera can help you achieve an organic textured appearance, especially if you decide to print your macro photos.
Besides these features, the X-T3 can also record impressive videos in 4K resolution at 60 fps. Plus, there is an option to shoot in Full HD mode up to 120 fps. So if you ever need high-quality clips other than macro images, this mirrorless camera is worth considering.
As for the build and construction, this mirrorless camera has a 3.69m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder. It provides a wide-angle view, a large 0.75x magnification, and a fast 100 fps refresh rate. All these features make it easier to compose the shot, handy for capturing close-up subjects.
There is even a three-inch LCD touchscreen that displays bright and clear images. Plus, its versatile three-way tilting design enables you to shoot from high and low angles.
Another factor that I like about this camera for macro photography is its dual SD card slots. These give you more flexibility when taking close-up images.
Finally, it is compatible with Bluetooth 4.2. So you can instantly share photos with your mobile device or control the camera wirelessly.
However, before buying this mirrorless camera for macro photography, it is essential to know its downsides. First, several users were disappointed with the front side button placement as it is easy to press them accidentally. Second, some customers said that the menu settings are pretty difficult to navigate.
Nevertheless, the Fujifilm X-T3 is still among the best cameras for macro photography. I highly suggest it to users who prefer a more compact mirrorless system.
- 26.1-megapixel sensor and Trans CMOS 4 sensor with four engines for higher quality images
- Phase-detection autofocus provides reliable performance across the entire frame
- 16 film simulation modes for a unique macro photography look
- Internal 4K movie recording up to 60 fps and Full HD movie mode
- Bright vari-angle LCD and OLED color viewfinder make it easier to compose the frame
- Dual SD card slots offer versatility
- Several users accidentally pressed the wrong buttons due to the awkward ergonomics
- Menu settings are not that easy to navigate
4. Canon EOS Rebel T7 – Best Beginner Camera for Macro Photography
- Sensor Size: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
- Megapixel: 24.1
- Video Resolution: Full HD
- Dimensions: 5.1 x 4 x 3.1 inches
- Weight: 1.05 lb / 475 g
If you are just starting out in macro photography, consider getting an entry-level camera that is easy to use. Fortunately, I have the right product in mind.
The Canon EOS Rebel T7 features a 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor and DIGIC 4+ Image Processor. These provide a wide dynamic range, accurate colors, sharp details, and low-noise imaging, even when shooting in low-light situations.
And although this DSLR can only shoot up to three frames per second (fps), it still helps you capture moving subjects with ease.
Additionally, a nine-point AF system provides fast and accurate autofocus, ideal for photographing close-up objects. Meanwhile, a contrast-detection system enables autofocusing in live view movie mode.
Speaking of movies, the Rebel T7 can record Full HD 1080p video at 30 fps. It delivers high-quality footage in low-light settings, owing to the high sensitivity range of ISO 100-12800.
Moreover, there is a rear three-inch LCD touch display. This screen gives you a bright and clear image for accurate playback and review.
On top of all these benefits, this entry-level DSLR has built-in Wi-Fi with NFC. These enable you to share images and control the camera wirelessly via your phone.
There are a few cons to keep in mind, though, before buying the Rebel T7. It lacks 4K video recording and built-in image stabilization. Also, the autofocus system is not the fastest on the market by any means.
But considering that it is an entry-level camera, I still think the Canon EOS Rebel T7 is still worth considering. I highly recommend this camera for beginners in macro photography.
- Entry-level camera is suitable for beginners
- CMOS image sensor and DIGIC 4+ Image Processor
- High ISO sensitivity range
- Touchscreen display
- Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for instant file transfer or wireless control
- No 4K video recording and image stabilization
- Few autofocus points compared to other cameras for macro photography
5. Olympus Tough TG-6 – Best Budget Camera for Macro Photography
- Sensor Size: 1/2.3 inches
- Megapixel: 12
- Video Resolution: UHD 4K
- Dimensions: 4.45 x 2.6 x 1.28 inches
- Weight: 0.56 lb / 253 g
Do you need a camera for traveling? Or perhaps, you want to dabble in underwater macro photography. If so, consider getting the Olympus Tough TG-6.
This camera for macro photography has a durable construction. It is waterproof up to 50 feet (15 meters), shockproof up to seven feet (two feet), and freezeproof up to 14° Fahrenheit. Thus, it is ideal for harsh and outdoor conditions.
There are also five underwater shooting modes to complement its waterproof build. Together with the three white balance modes, this compact camera produces clear and bright images underwater.
Additionally, it features a 12-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor with an image stabilization system. So while it might have the smallest sensor size on this list, it still delivers high-quality and sharp images.
This camera even has a built-in 4x optical zoom lens, which is equivalent to 25 to 100mm. It even gives you a bright f/2 maximum aperture that effectively separates the subject from the background.
Furthermore, this point-and-shoot camera can record Ultra HD 4K video at 30 fps. There is also an option to shoot in Full HD at 120 fps.
Most importantly, it boasts four macro shooting modes that can magnify the subject up to one centimeter from the end of the lens. So whether you want to take photos of food, nature, or insects, this Olympus camera can capture small subjects with ease.
All these benefits come in a compact and lightweight package. Thus, it is easy to carry and pack while traveling, ideal for most photographers.
However, there are still a few downsides to this product. Since it has a fixed lens, it can significantly limit you. A few users also said that the battery life is poor.
Nevertheless, the Olympus Tough TG-6 is still among the best cameras for macro photography, especially considering its price. It is my top budget and compact choice.
- Back-illuminated sensor with built-in image stabilization
- 4K and Full HD recording up to 120 fps
- Macro and underwater shooting modes
- Waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, and freezeproof construction
- High-resolution f/2.0 lens with maximum 8x zoom
- Fixed built-in lens may limit you
- Poor battery life
How to Choose the Best Camera for Macro Photography
If you are still unsure which macro photography camera to buy, fret not! Below, I will discuss in detail the factors you should consider to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth. Hopefully, by the end of this section, you will have a pretty good idea of which camera to purchase.
The sensor size is among the first factors to consider when shopping for the best camera for macro photography.
The larger the sensor, the better image quality the camera offers. The reason behind this is because it allows more light into the sensor. Hence, it can capture brighter and clearer photos.
So if I have to choose between a full-frame and APS-C camera, I will prefer the former for its overall better image quality. With that said, you still have to consider if you have the budget for such cameras.
Another factor to look for when choosing the best camera for macro photography is the megapixel count.
In general, a higher megapixel such as 20MP and above can capture more details. It also enables you to print larger images without losing detail, ideal for macro photography.
However, it also comes with significant drawbacks. These include large file sizes, reduced high-ISO performance, and magnified lens imperfections. So make sure to remember these cons before going for a camera with the largest megapixel count.
When shooting close-up subjects such as insects, it is pretty difficult to nail focus due to their small size. So if you want to ensure they are sharp and in focus, consider getting a camera with an impressive autofocus system.
Look for the number of AF points across the sensor. The larger the number, the better or faster the autofocus performance.
You might also want to check out the AF-area mode. Does it use a single-point, group area, auto-area, or dynamic AF-area? Each one has its pros and cons, so it is up to you to decide which one best suits your needs.
You may also want to think about getting a macro camera with built-in image stabilization. This technology can minimize camera shake and vibration. Thus, it is especially handy when shooting handheld or at slower shutter speeds.
Macro photography often requires you to shoot from various angles, especially if you want to take unique close-up images.
Thus, it would help a lot if you invest in a camera with a fully articulating or tilting LCD. It will make it easier to preview the frame and compose your shot from different shooting angles.
Besides the LCD screen, consider getting a camera with a clear viewfinder. Look for one with a high resolution. It can help you when composing and framing your shot, suitable for macro photography.
You may also want to check out if it has focus assist features. These can make it easier to keep track of the subject across the frame.
Ease of Use
Whether you are a professional or an amateur in macro photography, it is best to choose a camera with an easy menu or interface. Doing so makes it more efficient to capture macro and close-up photos, especially considering that it is a challenging genre.
Having a robust macro photography camera is essential, but you might also want to consider the lens to go along with it.
Thus, I highly recommend investing in a camera that is compatible with many lenses, whether native or third-party. These give you more creative freedom and flexibility.
Finally, think about getting a macro photography camera with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or NFC connectivity. These enable you to upload and share files instantly with your friends and family. Plus, they can allow you to control the camera remotely using your phone.
That summarizes my top picks for the best cameras for macro photography! I highly recommend each product as it lets you get closer to the subject.
But if I only have to suggest one, it would be the Sony a7 III. It has a full-frame sensor with a wide dynamic range to deliver high-quality macro photos. Plus, it is compatible with multiple macro lenses to help you capture close-up images. Other notable features include the fast hybrid AF system, image stabilization, and weather-sealed construction.