Macro Photography On A Budget

Freshly picked green beans from the garden. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro – Canon EOS 50D

About 10 years ago, I had a nice collection of Macro lenses and used them frequently. My lenses at that time were the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG, Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG and the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG macro lenses for the Canon mount.

I’ve never been a big fan of Sigma lenses, however, they did make a few very good lenses over time and I always found these three Macro lenses to be optically exceptional. Just click the links above and see the optical test reports from Imaging Resource.

When I switched from Canon to Nikon a few years ago, I sold off my Canon gear including these lenses. In the time since I’ve been diligently watching the eBay listings for these lenses to come up. Brand new, they all sold for over $400, but on eBay they have been periodically showing up at about half that price. The real issue is finding them. Folks tend to hang on to these secret gems so it isn’t often you find a bargain listed on eBay.

Today I finished my trifecta and picked up the missing piece to my collection, the 70mm f/2.8 EX DG at a steal of a price.

By today’s standards, they are slow focusing and don’t have image stabilization. Neither of those characteristics is all that important to my style of photography, as I always used them on tripods and manually focused them.

Ultimately, I ended up buying all three used and at less than the original 105mm cost me brand new some 14 years ago. I now have the trifecta of macro lenses that I’ve been missing for many years.

Independence Pass, Colorado.  Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro – Canon 1Ds MK II

One of the great things about these lenses is that they are not only capable of doing excellent 1:1 macro shots, but are also exceptionally capable of extremely distortion free and sharp landscape photos.

Two pink roses blooming in my garden. Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro – Canon EOS 1Ds Mk II.

Here’s my advice for you DSLR shooters out there. Mirrorless is taking over the camera market but there are plenty of us who will still be using our DSLR’s for years to come. Rather than investing in brand new glass for your DSLR, I highly recommend you explore the used lens market. The selection of Canon EF lenses and Nikon F lenses available on the used markets is growing. It’s a great way to fill the holes in your kit without spending a fortune. Each of the macros lenses I’m writing about today can be had for under $200 in excellent condition. It just takes a little time and patience to snarf one of these great deals on eBay.