Macro lenses are used to capture small subjects or fine details at often very close distances. They help us view and photograph what cannot be seen with the naked eye. Macro lenses are generally characterised by a 1:1 or higher magnification ratio, a telephoto focal range and a very close minimum focusing distance.

While their prime use is for wildlife photography or any discipline that requires such magnification, macro lenses can be used elsewhere such as portrait photography, for example, due to the creative control of depth of field.

Knowing which macro lens can be difficult. After all, there are various focal lengths, macro zoom lenses, macro prime lenses, and most with differing magnification ratios. If you’re finding it confusing, take a look at our guide to the best macro lenses. This guide features lenses from all the major camera brands including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic and OM System.