The magic of macro photography is becoming more and more apparent to photographers all over the world; it doesn’t matter if they are novices or experts. The exquisitely vivid detail of macro photography allows photographers to explore whole new mini-worlds in the realm of nature and even outside it.
However, there are obviously some requirements you'll have to fulfill before you can carry out successful macro photography. It starts with 1:1 magnification and a minimum focal range of 60mm, for which the right lens and right camera are required.
Not sure what the best camera for macro photography is for you? Not to worry, because that's exactly what we're covering today, along with a comprehensive buying guide to make your purchase easier!
Table of Contents
TL;DR – Top 3 Cameras for Macro Photography
After considerable research, analysis, and discussion, we have put together the following ten cameras for the budding, novice, and expert macro photographers.
1. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
No matter your experience with photography, the brand name of Canon is ubiquitous-- and for a good reason. Credited with producing some of the most well-made and high-performing DSLR cameras in the world, this is a brand that fulfills all of your photography wishes, including macro photography!
Equipped with a full-frame sensor with 30.4 megapixels, this is the ideal companion for your macro photography endeavors. What's most impressive about this camera is probably its 4K video shooting capabilities, so you won't be limited to just taking photos!
Now, as you may already know, macro photography requires a good amount of lighting to be successful. As such, cameras having a wide ISO range are hugely beneficial to the cause. With the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, you're getting an ISO range of 100-32000. If that doesn't excite you, we don't know what will!
You will also greatly enjoy the dual pixel CMOS AF for those high-stakes macro shooting ops. What's more, the DIGIC 6+ image processor greatly enhances this Canon camera's performance speed and image quality.
Now, it's true that this is one of the most expensive cameras for macro photography that you'll come across. However, given its myriad of features and varied photo-shooting capabilities, and of course the Canon brand name, we think it's definitely an investment worth making.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
2. Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera
Paying a high amount for a camera intended for macro photography might seem like the most natural thing to do, but this offering from Olympus proves otherwise. This point-and-shoot model comes packed with a number of very impressive features that make it one of the best choices for macro photography on a budget.
So let's start with some specs. Equipped with a high-resolution F2.0 lens, this camera offers up to 8x zoom and a backlit CMOS image sensor that produces startlingly high-quality images, close to those produced by the TG 5.
Now, how does it fare in terms of shooting close-up images? Beautifully! Boasting four different macro shooting modes, this camera will allow you to enjoy magnified shooting for up to 1 centimeter away from the lens.
No fancy extra lens is required here, just your enthusiasm and any subject of your choice. It's no TG 5, but it comes close!
Our favorite thing about this camera is its resilience. Designed to be the ultimate companion for adventure photographers, this little guy is not only waterproof (for up to 15 meters), but it's also resistant to shock and dust.
Oh! It's freeze-proof in temperatures of as low as -10 degrees C! The battery life is a little disappointing, but there's only so much you can expect from such a high-performing camera.
Olympus Tough TG-6
3. Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR Body
Out of brands that command the full attention of photographers of all expertise levels, Nikon is one of the most prominent.
Nikon's cameras hold a special appeal, particularly for seasoned photographers, thanks mainly to a higher level of customizability. Well, the D500 is a perfect representation of what makes Nikon so great.
Equipped with a 20.9-megapixel lens and a DX-format CMOS sensor, this camera produces images of startlingly vivid and sharp quality. The eye-level pentaprism viewfinder, in particular, is well suited to the close-up photo-taking, making it one of the most adroit cameras for macro photography.
What's more, this camera offers faster 10fps continuous shooting, which combines with the 153-point autofocus system to allow you to shoot away to your heart's desire, no matter the subject or lighting conditions. This is further facilitated by the wide ISO range of 100-51,200, which can expand to 50-1,640,000.
Oh! Did we mention that you can shoot 4K videos with this beauty? Although the duration of the video caps at 30 minutes, we do really love the vibration reduction function that makes it possible to produce wonderful videos with reduced shaking.
Yes, this camera is quite expensive. However, given that other cameras with the same functionality can actually go up to double the price, we don’t think it’s an unnecessarily high price tag at all!
4. Ricoh GR III Digital Compact Camera
This compact yet feature-packed little digital camera is next on our list. Available from Ricoh, this camera might not be one you've heard of in the past unless you're super linked in with the world of photography. But boy, it is a camera worth buying! It comes with a 24MP F2.8 lens with a length of 18.3mm.
The GW-4 wide adapter lens is the perfect choice if you're thinking of doing some serious macro photography, even if the small frame of the camera might not make that evident right away. In fact, the best macro cameras might not be immediately recognizable as such.
Something users of this camera rave about frequently is its highly efficient hybrid autofocus system, which allows for high AF responsiveness no matter the shooting conditions. It's not the fastest AF system out there, but it fares well in terms of taking macro photos and close-ups, and the LCD screen is definitely a plus.
You will also certainly enjoy the anti-aliasing filter in this thing, which paves the way for HD detail capture. With ISO up to 102400, you get the right conditions for a good-quality macro image. With that being said, taking images with this camera in low light conditions might be a little unsatisfactory.
All in all, however, this is one of the handiest, feature-rich, and impressively equipped cameras on the market today, especially at this price range. If you’ve only recently started getting into macro photography, this is definitely the right choice for you!
Ricoh GR III
5. Nikon D5600 DX-Format Digital SLR
Here comes another one from Nikon. The D5600 will appeal to anyone who is a beginner or novice in macro photography but is looking to experiment with other genres and styles as well. This versatile and feature-rich camera is one of our favorites in this price range. Here's why.
Thanks to a 55mm lens with an aperture of f/3.5 and the ability to record 1080p videos at 60fps, this camera is one that allows you to take beautiful photos and videos right out of the box.
So even if you've never worked with a digital camera before, the lack of a learning curve will ensure that you can produce beautiful images without worrying about your skills with cameras for macro photography.
Compared to Nikon's older models, the D5600 also comes with an impressive autofocus capability with 39 AF points. As you can imagine, this is ideal for the purposes of macro photography as you will be able to shoot a moving subject with ease.
On that note, we love the low-light shooting capacity of this thing as well. Equipped with Nikon's renowned Expeed image processor, this camera can boast of an ISO of 100-25,600 and 6,400 in Night Landscape mode. A sensor like that deserves a special mention for sure.
6. Canon EOS Rebel T6
Our second pick from Canon is undoubtedly one of their most popular: the Rebel T6 is, hands down, one of the absolute best DSLR cameras you can get on a budget. But how does it fare in terms of macro photography? Let's find out.
Outfitted with a 180-megapixel CMOS image sensor, the Canon Rebel T6 can boast of a DIGIC 4+ image processor for highly efficient performance and fast shooting. With ISO capabilities of 100-6400, this camera is going to shape up as the perfect aid for your adventures in macro photography, no matter the lighting conditions.
On that note, you will no doubt appreciate the 9-point autofocus system that this camera is furnished with. This, together with the AI Servo autofocus, produces an autofocus performance that will surprise you from such an affordable camera.
Now, if you're an aspiring professional photographer or if you're interested in high-quality macro photography, this might not be the right camera for you. For beginners and budding macro photography enthusiasts, though, we can't imagine a better place to start than this offering from Canon, given the camera's large sensor size.
Canon EOS Rebel T6
7. Panasonic LUMIX LX10 4K Digital Camera
No matter who you are, chances are you've seen a Panasonic camera in your family. Durably built and capable of producing beautiful high-quality images, they're some of the most reliable handheld cameras in history.
The Lumix is the perfect first point-and-shoot for the budding professional photographer who is looking for a good camera for macro photography.
Outfitted with a 1" CMOS sensor with a megapixel count of 20, this camera has a 24-72mm lens equivalent with F1.4-2.8 zoom. In our opinion, the sensor really takes the cake, coupled as it is with a number of accessible and convenient controls such as 3x zoom.
Furthermore, with the Lumix's ISO 100-12800 (extendable up to 12800) and powerful Venus Engine processor, shooting your subjects in all sorts of conditions will be a walk in the park. We know what you're thinking; those sound like the perfect specs for macro photography!
What's more, you can even shoot 4K video with this thing, with 7fps continuous shooting. This includes autofocus as well. So when you're done shooting those tiny ladybugs in your backyard, you can turn around and start filming your little nephew's birthday party!
Panasonic LUMIX LX10
8. Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV
Did you really think we would produce a list of the best macro photography cameras and not include one from Sony? We’re sure you didn’t, because that would be stupid. Cyber-shot has a long legacy, with each new version having bigger and bigger shoes to fill. So does the RX10 DSLR camera live up to its predecessors? Let’s find out.
The Cybershot can boast of what Sony calls the world's fastest autofocus acquisition speed: 0.03 seconds. We know it's crazy! Combined with a whopping 315 AF points, that makes for some hefty autofocus power that will produce beautiful macro shots you'll have a hard time finding in other models.
So let's talk about the sensor. The CMOS type sensor of this camera pairs with a 20.1 megapixel 24-600mm lens and an f2.4-f4 super zoom capability to produce images of stunning quality and composition. Plus, you'll enjoy Sony's intuitive light metering modes for high-quality macro photography. Certainly one of the best!
Wanna make a few cool videos? No problem. The Cybershot comes with a 4K6 24fps video shooting capability with, of course, continuous shooting enabled.
Together with the autofocus tracking, the videos you create with this camera will blow any viewer's mind. In the realm of macro photography cameras, a highly efficient video mode like this is a blessing.
One very special feature of this camera is the anti-distortion shutter, which works at high speeds of up to 1/320000 second to reduce that annoying rolling shutter effect that you've likely encountered while shooting a moving subject.
So, if you're particularly interested in shooting macro images of insects-- prone to flight-- then you're certainly going to appreciate this feature.
Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV
9. Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera
For our penultimate pick, we have another of Nikon's best-sellers, and this one will definitely excite you if you are a fan of adventure photography. With its waterproof body, this camera is one of the best for action underwater photography.
The Coolpix W300 boasts a number of highly impressive features that will appeal to any serious adventure photographer. With its 16MP lens and 4K video shooting capabilities, this camera will allow you to capture all of your most important moments in high quality.
But what kind of macro photography results can you expect? With its 16MP sensor and super-fast f/2.8 NIKKOR zoom lens, the COOLPIX W300 allows you to take stunning macro shots even in low lighting. Although there is only one macro mode, the lens build makes for some high-quality shooting.
Oh! Did we mention that this thing also comes with an in-built altimeter, GPS, and compass? So, should you get lost on your search for some beautiful macro photo ops, it’s this simple point and shoot camera that will guide you back. How impressive is that?
We certainly can't recommend the Nikon Coolpix W300 enough, both as a camera for macro photography and an adventure camera.
10. Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body
Our final pick today is a beautiful, highly-rated Nikon DSLR camera that we've chosen specifically for professional macro photographers. Its full-frame sensor, combined with a stunning resolution of 45.7 megapixels, make this the top choice of numerous macro photographers the world over.
The great things about this full-frame sensor are its backside illumination and the elimination of an optical low pass filter. The result is startling image quality from super close distances.
Plus, thanks to an impressive dynamic range, you won't have to worry about problems like moire. For that reason, this is certainly one of the best cameras for macro photos.
If you're interested in making videos as well as taking photos, you will definitely appreciate the D850's 8k6 and 4k shooting capacity. And thanks to the Nikon D850's focus shift shooting mode, you won't have to worry about accurately photographing moving subjects.
The autofocus capabilities of this camera are also quite impressive, with a stunning 153 focus points and 99 cross-type sensors. It even comes with a dedicated AF processor to allow you to shoot effortlessly, even in low light.
We wouldn’t blame you for thinking that all your macro photography dreams are coming true with the Nikon D850!
Features to Look for Before Buying
Given the somewhat specialized nature of macro photography, there are certain factors to keep in mind before choosing a camera. Find them below.
The sensor of a camera is the part of it through which light enters. Because macro photography involves high magnification, the amount of light available to you during shooting is limited. As such, you'll want to invest in a camera with a larger sensor.
That being said, smaller sensors do provide some benefits in macro photography, particularly if you're using a longer macro lens. In such cases, it's a good idea to opt for those with micro four-thirds or APS-C sensors.
The right macro lens is just as important as the camera itself for successful macro photography. In this regard, the most important feature is 1:1 magnification, which allows you to capture the true proportions of your subject.
If you've chosen a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you should have no problem swapping out lenses. However, with point-and-shoot models, you have to ensure that you're getting the right macro lens type.
Once again, a smaller sensor is preferred, along with a low minimum focusing distance. Remember, a macro lens is the lifeblood of macro photography.
ISO is an important consideration, no matter what your intended purpose for your new macro camera. This is because a camera's ISO quality has a direct effect on the sensor's light sensitivity. So, a camera with a high ISO performance will produce vivid, sharp shots more easily.
Once again, this comes back to the size of the sensor. Usually, the larger the sensor, the higher will be the ISO performance. This is another reason why full-frame sensors are preferred by the majority of macro photographers looking for the best cameras for macro photography.
When it comes to the best macro photography, the detail is everything. And higher detail is usually a result of a higher megapixel count. As such, you should settle for a camera with no less than 20 megapixels.
With that being said, don't make the mistake of thinking that a higher megapixel count is always better as this can translate to a reduced ISO performance, which in turn will affect the quality of the detail. As such, the best cameras for macro photography shouldn't be over 30 megapixels.
Boosting your shutter speed and raising your ISO is something you'll frequently find yourself doing while shooting macro images. But if you prefer to work with a lower shutter speed, it might be a good idea to look into models with in-body image stabilization (IBIS).
One oft-overlooked aspect of macro photography is what a hands-on experience it is. If you want to produce truly worthy macro images, you'll have to be able to shoot from numerous potentially uncomfortable angles. As such, it's important to choose a camera that has a partially- or fully-articulating LCD.
This will ensure that you don't have to strain yourself too much in uncomfortable positions to get the right angles.
There are many benefits of choosing a camera with an electronic viewfinder with a high resolution (at least 3.69m dots). Features such as manual focus assist and focus peaking, for instance, will make your macro images sharper. You'll usually have to pay a higher price for these features, however.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the right aperture for macro photography?
A shallow depth of field is preferred when it comes to shooting macro photos as this allows for sharper detail. Accordingly, you'll find that the most suitable macro photography aperture is between f/5.6 and f/11. However, this can change according to your subject, so don't be afraid to experiment!
How are macro lenses different from other lenses?
Macro lenses are specialized to focus and capture subjects at extremely close distances. This is achieved via a 1:1 magnification ratio, a focusing distance of less than 12 inches, and a high dynamic range.
What is the purpose of a macro camera?
If you want to produce a detailed, close-up image of a small subject (e.g., insects and flowers), you can achieve this with the help of a macro camera / macro lens.
What are the different focal length specs of macro lenses?
Focal length in macro lenses ranges from 15mm to 200mm lenses, offering a world of possibility!
Should I buy a mirrorless camera for macro photography?
Some of the best cameras for macro photography are mirrorless, and they're particularly suitable for manual-focus macro photography. Mirrorless cameras work best, though, when they have an electronic viewfinder.
When choosing your macro photography camera, remember to look for the availability of shooting modes, autofocus capabilities, a high ISO, and, of course, a full-frame sensor. However, it’s also important to keep in mind your skills and capabilities.
Ultimately, only you can decide what the best camera for macro photography is for your needs, but we hope that our reviews have helped you to come to a conclusion regarding your purchase. Good luck!