Macro photography is one of the most enjoyable types of photography to undertake as it offers great creative freedom. You can create abstract macro shots, close-up textures of materials, and beautiful detailed shots of wildlife, for example. The best Canon macro lenses under $500 will help you produce quality macro work.
Canon has a decent range of affordable macro lenses for all of their lens mounts. This means regardless of what Canon DSLR you have, you can find a budget macro lens to suit.
When choosing a macro lens, always look at the magnification and minimum focusing distance. These are two important factors that determine how you can use the lens. A higher magnification level, for example, means you don’t have to get as close to your subject. This could be better for wildlife and insect macro photography.
In this buying guide, we have selected five of the best Canon macro lenses under $500 for your benefit – enjoy!
1. Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM (Overall Winner)
Our top choice for best Canon macro lenses under $500 is the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM. This is a good lightweight and compact macro lens for the EF-S lens mount cameras. The focal distance of 35mm means it can be used as a wide-angle lens too.
It has a good minimum focusing distance but also benefits from the Canon Macro Lite feature. This provides life-size magnification and allows you to get excellent detail on small objects. The Macro Lite’s lighting function can easily be turned on and off using a switch on the outside of the lens.
In addition, this EF-S lens benefits from a hybrid image stabilization system. It offers excellent stability, but we still recommend using a tripod. Finally, it has the Canon STM motor which enables fast and silent autofocusing.
2. Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro
The Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro is a relatively old macro lens. Regardless it is still affordable and one of the best Canon macro lenses under $500. This is an EF lens and therefore works with most Canon DSLR cameras.
This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 0.8ft which allows you to get close to the subject. Also, it has a focusing system that focuses from infinity to one-half life-size, providing great control and flexibility over your macro shots.
The Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 is relatively lightweight and compact, weighing just 9.9 ounces. The main downside to this lens is that it does not have any image stabilization or silent motor technology. It does have a quality lens element, that is great for macro shots, but also as a standard 50mm all-purpose lens too.
3. Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
The Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM is another solid choice for APS-C sensor Canon cameras. It provides a greater focal distance than the 35mm and still has a decent maximum aperture, so you don’t have to get as close to your subject.
The 60mm focal distance is equivalent to approximately 85mm on a full-frame sensor camera, and it has a minimum focusing distance of 0.65ft. With an optical system that allows for life-size focusing at a 1:1 magnification, you can create quality macro shots.
The lens itself is well-built and durable, though compact and lightweight compared to some bulkier EF macro lenses. The main drawback is that it doesn’t have image stabilization. It does have the USM motor technology, however, for autofocusing.
4. Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM
The Canon EF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM is a top lens for the EOS R series of cameras. This means it is compatible with the Canon EOS R, and the upcoming Canon EOS R5 and R6.
It has a great design and looks stylish as well as a textured grip that makes it easy to hold. This is complemented by the light weight of the lens, and its small size. It is great for carrying and taking to different locations.
The minimum focusing distance is just 0.17m (0.56ft), and it has a 0.5x magnification ratio. This means you can shoot fine details of your macro subjects. It also has image stabilization that corrects for up to five stops of camera shake.
5. Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM (Budget Winner)
One of the best budget Canon macro lenses under $500 is the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM. This is a great affordable macro lens for the Canon EOS M series of mirrorless cameras.
It has a myriad of useful macro features such as the Macro Lite functionality which provides light to your photos and helps you give better depth and dimensions to your images. It also offers great magnification for your macro subjects.
Aside from this, the lens has image stabilization up to four stops and the Canon STM autofocusing motor. It also has a 1.2x magnification and an infinite focusing capability. These features make it one of the best Canon macro lenses under $500.
Start Macro Photography with Canon Macro Lenses Under $500
Macro photography is incredibly fun. It does, however, require skill and patience. If you want to create professional macro shots, we advise purchasing a good macro tripod.
In addition, when taking macro shots, always consider the aperture and shutter speed. Using a large aperture like f/2 means you can focus only on the subject and create beautiful bokeh backgrounds. Conversely, you may need to use fast shutter speeds if you are attempting macro shots of moving objects.