If you want to the know absolute best camera for macro photography, then you’ve come to the right place.
I’m going to share with you the top macro photography cameras on the market in 2020–so that you have the camera you need to capture stunning, high-quality macro photos.
And if you’re on a budget, don’t worry. This list includes cameras at all price points.
I’ve also covered all the major camera brands, so there really is something for everyone, whether you shoot Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, or Olympus!
If you’re ready to discover your next camera…
The Best Cameras for Macro Photography, Ranked
For those of who you don’t want to read my explanations, here’s a quick rundown of the best macro photography cameras out there:
All the cameras on this list are capable of excellence, assuming you know how to use them well.
That said, some of the macro cameras are better than others, thanks to features such as:
- Enhanced resolution
- Impressive low-light performance
- Travel-ready compactness
- Great pricing
- Much more!
So let’s get into the nitty-gritty, starting with the best camera for macro photography out there:
1. Nikon Z6
If you’re looking for the perfect macro photography camera, then the Nikon Z6 is the way to go.
Macro photographers have two major struggles:
- At high magnifications, you lose light
- At high magnifications, camera shake is magnified
And the Nikon Z6 offers answer to both these problems.
First, the Z6 is one of the best high-ISO cameras available, allowing for noise-free shooting up to ISO 1600 and beyond (and I’d feel comfortable pushing it to ISO 6400 in a pinch). In practical terms, this allows for you to boost your shutter speed, even when dealing with light loss at high magnifications–and will generally allow for fast enough shooting to overcome camera shake.
That way, if you’re shooting a flower or detail shot at 1:1 magnification on a cloudy day, you don’t have to worry about blur due to camera shake or blur due to subject movement.
Second, the Z6 offers around five stops of in-body image stabilization (IBIS), which is another great way to minimize both the problems indicated above. Assuming your subject isn’t moving, you can consistently drop your shutter speed down to around 1/60s, even at high magnifications, which is perfect for situations where you don’t want to push the ISO but you need to maintain a crisp image.
What else makes the Z6 great?
A whole host of features, including:
A 14-stop dynamic range for squeezing the utmost detail out of a scene.
A 24 MP full-frame sensor which, while not as pixel-heavy as competitors, still allows for high-quality, large prints and significant cropping.
A tilting LCD, so you can get down and shoot in all those awkward, difficult positions that macro photographer’s love.
A 3.69M-dot electronic viewfinder, which offers crisp, clear, high-resolution previews of your shot in advance. If you’re a long-time DSLR user and are worried about losing the resolution of an optical viewfinder, don’t be; the Nikon Z6’s EVF is plenty lifelike.
Another major benefit of the Z6 is its access to true macro lenses. While Nikon doesn’t currently offer any macro lenses as part of its Z-series optics range, you can pick up the FTZ adapter for cheap. With this in hand, you’ll be able to use your Z6 with all of Nikon’s premier macro glass, including the venerable Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR, which is, simply put, one of the best macro lenses on the planet.
And while the Z6 is on the pricier side, for the serious macro photographer, it’s absolutely worth it.
Best For: Serious macro photographers looking for the best-possible image quality
If you’re just starting out as a macro photographer, then I recommend ignoring all the fancy features offered by the high-end cameras on this list, and focus on what matters:
- A sensor with a decent megapixel count, in case you decide to print or crop
- Access to a host of true macro lenses for close-focusing
In both of these areas, the Canon EOS Rebel T7 excels. No, it doesn’t have the largest pixel count on the planet, but a 24 MP sensor is absolutely sufficient for any beginner (and even most professionals).
And by purchasing the T7, you gain access to all of Canon’s incredible macro lenses, including the 100mm f/2.8L and the 60mm f/2.8G, as well as excellent third-party optics such as the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro.
The T7 also offers decent high-ISO performance, which should you help you capture crisp images at high magnifications.
Oh, and I’ve saved the best for last:
The T7 is literally dirt cheap, which means you can grab it for next-to-nothing, and save your money for what really matters:
So if you’re a beginner looking to capture your first stunning macro photos, the Canon Rebel T7 really is a great place to start.
Best For: Beginners looking for their first serious macro camera
3. Nikon D5600
The Nikon D5600 is a lot like the Canon T7 (above), except that you pay more to grab a few extra features.
Are these extra features necessary?
Not really–the T7 is capable of gorgeous images–but they will make macro photography a little easier, which is always something slightly more serious macro photographers will welcome.
So what does the Nikon D5600 offer?
While the megapixel count is the same as the T7 (24 MP), you do get a superior high-ISO performance, which allows you to safely boost your shutter speed by about a stop at high magnifications.
You also get a fully-articulating rear LCD, which is key for capturing images that are low to the ground or at other odd angles (assuming you want to avoid straining your neck and back, that is!).
In purchasing the Nikon D5600, you also get access to Nikon’s macro lens collection.
Is this better than Canon’s set of macro lenses?
Honestly, I’d probably put them neck and neck, while giving Canon an edge on the long end, assuming you can pay for it (the Canon 180mm f/3.5L is an impressive piece of glass, but it costs a fortune).
But for a hobbyist macro photographer, either lens lineup will offer everything you need for stunning results.
Best For: Hobbyist photographers aiming to start macro photography on a budget
4. Sony a7R IV
If you’re looking to maximize detail above all else, no matter the cost, then the Sony a7R IV is an excellent option.
What makes this camera so special for macro photographers?
Primarily the megapixel count; the a7R IV packs 61 MP, which means that you can do some serious detail shooting (and make some seriously big prints). You also get:
- Exceptional dynamic range, which is useful whenever you’re confronted with high-contrast macro scenes
- Great high-ISO performance, though it can’t quite match the capabilities of lower-megapixel cameras such as the Nikon Z6 and the Sony a7 III
- A gorgeous electronic viewfinder, with 5.76M-dots for a life-like shooting experience
- A tilting screen, so you can shoot low to the ground with ease
- IBIS, for crisper images at high magnifications
Now, as tempting as a 61 MP camera might be, the high resolution is a double-edged sword. If you want to really maximize detail, you’ll need a macro lens that can match the detail capabilities of the camera, and while Sony does offer a couple–the 90mm Macro as the best of them–the price is sky-high, which will bring the total cost of your a7R IV kit to well over $4000.
And speaking of lenses, this is another big problem with choosing a Sony camera for macro photography. Sony’s current lens lineup only features a few true macro lenses (including the $1000+ 90mm macro mentioned above), and while there are third-party options out there, growing macro photographers just won’t have many choices.
So if you’re looking to maximize detail at whatever means necessary, go for the Sony a7R IV. But otherwise, look elsewhere.
Best For: Photographers requiring the highest level of macro detail available
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When it comes to macro cameras, I consider the Canon 6D Mark II to be the ultimate option for hobbyist-to-semiprofessionals.
The Canon 6D Mark II offers all the essential features, plus some extras that will really help you enjoy macro photography without going overboard. At the same time, it’s cheap enough that you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank, plus you get access to an amazing range of lenses that’ll give you room to grow and expand as you continue to appreciate the exciting world of macro.
First, the image quality on the 6D Mark II is quite excellent; you get a 26 MP full-frame sensor, packing a bit more detail than the 24 MP options on this list, while also retaining great high-ISO performance so you can keep your shots sharp at high magnifications.
I’m also a fan of the fully-articulating screen, which allows you to tilt and swivel the rear LCD to your heart’s content. This offers macro photographers a leg-up over even the tilting screens on this list–and, if you don’t think you’ll appreciate a fully-articulating screen now, once you’ve had a chance to work with one, you’ll never want to go back. After all, one of the best ways to create original macro photos is to change the perspective, and a fully-articulating screen will allow you to do just that.
As I mentioned above, the 6D Mark II also affords you access to the Canon macro lens lineup. If you can afford the Canon 100mm f/2.8L, go for it; a 6D Mark II plus Canon 100mm f/2.8L combination is the ultimate kit for serious macro photographers.
And the price of the 6D Mark II is quite reasonable. At just around $1200, the 6D isn’t exactly cheap, but it also stays far south of many of the other options on this list, giving you room to splurge on a high quality lens.
Best For: Serious macro photographers that require full-frame image quality at a reasonable price
Honestly, I like all of Fujifilm’s cameras, and for macro photography, they offer similar benefits. But the Fujifilm X-T3 does feature a few bonuses beyond the X-T30 or the X-T200, while still keeping the price pretty reasonable, which is why it made this list instead of its (very capable) siblings. Just be aware that the X-T30 or the X-T200 are also excellent options and shouldn’t be ignored.
So, what’s there to love about the X-T3?
First of all, the Fujifilm ergonomics; you get old-school handling in a professional-quality body, with a dedicated ISO dial, a dedicated shutter speed dial, and an aperture ring on the lens.
I’m aware that this type of retro shooting experience isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ever wanted to do more tactile, deliberate shooting–to which macro photography lends itself–then the Fujifilm X-T3 is a wonderful choice.
Next, you have Fujifilm’s impressive image quality. The X-T3 isn’t a full-frame camera, but high-ISO shooting is very strong, and 26 MP is enough for all but the most detail-focused of macro photographers.
You also get a very solid tilt-and-swivel screen, one that’s perfect for shooting at odd angles with ease.
As for the benefits over the X-T30 and X-T200, the biggest is the electronic viewfinder. The X-T3 packs a beautiful 3.69 million-dot EVF, which gives you gorgeous, lifelike view of the scene. It’s also great for nailing focus when using your lens’s manual focus ring, so that’s a nice bonus.
As with Sony and the a7R IV, the biggest drawback to macro photography with Fujifilm is the lens selection; while Fujifilm does offer a couple of excellent macro lenses, and while there are a few third-party lenses that can help you round out your macro lens collection, it’s just not ideal for the serious macro shooter. If you want to shoot insects, for instance, or flowers with highly-compressed backgrounds, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a lens that works for you.
Don’t get me wrong:
The Fujifilm X-T3 is a great macro camera, and if you’re a big fan of the Fujifilm ergonomics, then the X-T3 is a wonderful option. It’s just that the smaller lens selection doesn’t provide the same flexibility as some of the bigger brands out there.
Best For: Photographers seeking stunning image quality in a carefully-designed, retro-style body
In the world of mirrorless photography, the Sony a7 III is the ultimate camera:
It offers one of the best high-ISO performances available, as well as impressive dynamic range, IBIS, a full-frame, 24 MP sensor, blazing-fast autofocus, and impressive ergonomics.
But in the world of macro photography, while still powerful, the a7 III loses a lot of its advantages. The autofocus, for instance, just isn’t all that useful for macro photographers, especially macro photographers that stick with unmoving subjects such as plants.
And, as with the a7R IV, the lack of reasonably-priced macro lenses becomes a real problem, forcing you to choose from a limited set of options, assuming you don’t want to spend $1000 on a macro lens from the get-go.
You also have a 2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder, which is a bit lower-resolution than I generally like to see for macro purposes. When you’re trying to ensure perfect detail in the field, it helps to have the crispest, clearest view possible of your photo–but the a7 III’s EVF, while good, just doesn’t provide the mirrorless shooting experience offered by slightly higher-resolution viewfinders.
That said, there’s a lot to like about the a7 III, even for macro photographers. As I said above, the a7 III packs incredible high-ISO performance, as well as IBIS, which is a great combination for working at high magnifications.
And the a7 III’s autofocus is top-of-the-line, which any macro photographers looking to shoot moving subjects such as insects will appreciate.
Best For: Macro photographers seeking all-around amazing images, especially in low light
Professional photographers often ignore Olympus’s Micro Four Thirds cameras in favor of full-frame options, but the truth is that Olympus really does have a lot to offer.
First, there’s the impressive level of compactness; if you’re a macro photographer who often travels long distances, or who just walks a lot in the field, the OM-D E-M5 III is very small, very light, and–unlike other mirrorless cameras–offers similarly compact lenses, so your entire system remains easy to pack and carry.
You also get high-level optics for cheap. While Olympus doesn’t offer the same native and third-party macro lens selection as Canon or Nikon, you have at least a few excellent (and inexpensive!) options to choose from, including the powerful M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 macro.
Another benefit of Olympus cameras is the in-body image stabilization. Olympus is the premier manufacturer of IBIS, which means that the OM-D E-M5 Mark III can net you up to 6.5 stops of stabilization. This is a huge help in low light or at high magnifications, and–combined with a nice fully-articulating rear-LCD–makes for a great handholding experience.
Where Olympus struggles is in terms of high-ISO capabilities, but these are somewhat offset by the impressive IBIS performance. And while the 20 MP Micro Four Thirds sensor doesn’t pack a huge amount of resolution, it’s enough all but the most demanding of macro photographers.
Plus, the OM-D E-M5 Mark III is very reasonably priced, so you can pick it up without worrying too much about your budget.
Best For: Hobbyists and professionals looking for a lightweight, compact, handholdable macro camera
9. Canon EOS R
If you’re looking for a high-level mirrorless camera for macro shooting, but you don’t want to spend too much for extra features like high resolution and IBIS, then the Canon EOS R is a fantastic option.
What does it offer?
First, the EOS R features a full-frame, 30 MP sensor that offers strong high-ISO performance for sharp shots at high magnifications.
You also get a fully-articulating rear LCD, which is perfect for contortionist-style macro shots (you also get touch functionality, though this isn’t especially useful for manual-focus macro photography).
But my favorite thing about the EOS R is its electronic viewfinder. It offers 3.69 million dots of resolution, which guarantees very crisp images, and is helpful for focusing manually at high resolutions. I’m also a big fan of the focus peaking option, which makes nailing focus even easier, plus you get a Manual Focus Assist feature; for this, you can select a point of focus and the EVF indicates how far you are away from perfect focus.
The EOS R isn’t cheap, but it’s not pricey, either. And you have access to all of Canon’s excellent macro lenses via the EF to R adapter (which is absolutely worth purchasing).
Best For: Hobbyists and professionals that prize top-notch ergonomics and image quality
10. Panasonic G9
Generally speaking, Panasonic is not the way to go for macro photography, thanks to mediocre high-ISO performance and lower resolution. But if you’re dead set on getting a Panasonic camera for macro photography–for instance, you’re also a video shooter, or you’ve already purchased a number of Panasonic lenses–then the Panasonic G9 is a good option.
Personally, I’d be happy with the G9’s 20 MP resolution. Sure, it’s nice to have a few extra megapixels for printing and cropping purposes, but it’s not a huge deal, and 20 MP is enough for most photographers.
Unfortunately, the Micro Four Thirds sensor translates into slightly subpar high-ISO shooting, and without the addition of IBIS, you’re going to struggle to keep your shutter speed high enough for sharp macro shots, especially in low light.
On the other hand, you do get a nice fully-articulating screen, which is always a plus for macro photography.
And the electronic viewfinder is really quite beautiful, offering 3.69 million dots of resolution for a great shooting experience.
As for lens selection, Panasonic isn’t the most macro-focused manufacturer on the block, but you also have access to Olympus’s pair of strong macro lenses (a 60mm f/2.8 and a 30mm f/3.5), plus a few nice third-party options that will satisfy plenty of shooters.
So while the Panasonic G9 wouldn’t be my first choice for macro photography, it’s far from a bad option.
Best For: Panasonic photographers looking to get into high-quality macro shooting
How to Choose the Best Camera for Macro Photography
Macro photography is somewhat specialized–which means that picking a camera for macro shooting isn’t like picking a camera for most other genres.
Autofocus capabilities matter very little, because you’re often going to be working with your lens’s manual focus.
And continuous shooting speeds are pretty unimportant, because macro photography involves a very deliberate, thoughtful setup.
On the other hand, certain characteristics matter a great deal, including:
Sensor Size and High-ISO Capabilities
Macro photography is done at high magnifications, where light is limited and camera shake is magnified.
So macro photographers are left with two options:
Use a tripod.
Or handhold and shoot with a fast shutter speed.
Because tripods are often inconvenient, macro photographers will often attempt to handhold, but create consistently blurry shots.
The culprit is a too-low shutter speed.
The solution, of course, is to raise your shutter speed, but this isn’t always possible when the light is limited. That’s where high-ISO capabilities come in handy. The better your camera’s high-ISO performance, the more you can boost ISO, and the faster you can make your shutter speed without underexposing the entire image.
In other words:
Good high-ISO performance (i.e., low noise at high ISOs) will allow for sharper, cleaner shots.
But what actually increases high-ISO performance?
Well, the larger the sensor, the better the ISO performance, all things being equal. So a full-frame camera offers better high-ISO performance than APS-C cameras, which offer better high-ISO performance than Four Thirds sensors, etc.
That’s why I recommend you go with a full-frame sensor for macro photography if you can afford it.
This one is pretty simple:
Macro photographers love detail.
And so it pays to be able to capture the most detail possible. This allows for you to print large, and it also lets you do significant cropping while still retaining a tack-sharp, gorgeous image.
For macro photography, I recommend a megapixel count of 20 MP and higher. More is generally better, with Sony’s a7R IV offering the most megapixels on the market today (61). But more megapixels come with some serious drawbacks, such as reduced high-ISO performance (this is why the Sony a7R IV cannot compete with the a7 III or the Nikon Z6 on ISO), huge file sizes, and magnified lens imperfections.
That’s why I’d generally stick with a camera in the 24 MP to 30 MP range, unless you have a very specific reason to push beyond this.
As I’ve stressed repeatedly in this article, macro photography isn’t a passive genre of photography.
You have to get down low, shoot from the side, get into all sorts of weird angles–if you want to capture unique macro shots, that is!
Now, you can do this with a fixed LCD.
But that’s really, really hard, not to mention painful.
That’s why I recommend going for a camera with a fully-articulating LCD whenever possible, or at least a tilting LCD. It will save you from having to lie flat on the ground, strain your neck, or do whatever else is required for macro shooting!
In-Body Image Stabilization
As I mentioned above, it’s tough to get the shutter speeds you need for macro photography.
One option is to raise your ISO and boost your shutter speed.
But there’s an alternative:
You can keep your shutter speed low, but rely on in-body image stabilization (IBIS) instead.
Many mirrorless cameras offer IBIS, and it’s great for shooting at impossibly low shutter speeds. The one catch is that it won’t help you if your subject is moving–it’s only good for situations where camera shake is getting the best of you.
I’m a big fan of mirrorless cameras for macro photography, and for one key reason:
While you do have to be careful with viewfinder resolution–you don’t want to end up with a poor viewfinder–you can generally get a very lifelike image at around 3.69M-dots, at which point you can take advantage of the EVFs focusing aids.
For instance, some cameras offer a manual focus assist feature (where you can choose your point of focus in advance and be told when the image is becoming clear at the focus point). And many others offer focus peaking, so you can have the in-focus areas of your scene highlighted.
Access to Excellent Macro Lenses
Having a powerful macro photography camera is useful…
…but only if you have a powerful macro lens to go along with it.
Really, if you can only afford one of the two, go with a nice lens over a nice camera. A lens is invaluable, whereas a camera is nice but not essential.
These days, there are a lot of nice third party lenses, which means that you’re not quite as “married” to a manufacturer as you might have been in the past.
But brands such as Nikon and Canon do offer better macro lens selection compared to options such as Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Pentax, and Olympus, so if you plan to get serious about your macro photography, you may want to take this into account.
The Best Camera for Macro Photography: The Next Steps
Now that you’ve finished this article, you should be able to confidently pick the perfect macro camera for your needs.
And you should be able to use it for stunning, jaw-dropping macro images.
But don’t stop there!
If you’re looking to keep taking your macro photos to new heights, I recommend you sign up for my email list, where I send all sorts of macro photography tips, tricks, and secrets that I don’t share on my blog.
I’ll also send you my eBook, free of charge:
Mastering Macro Photography: 10 Quick Tips for Stunning Macro Photos
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