Macro cameras have really come into their own recently. They allow inexperienced photographers to pick up a system and start photographing immediately. You will realise that macro photography depends entirely on the lens, and not the camera.
In this article, you will see point-and-shoot systems, mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. Each one of them has benefits and drawbacks, and each camera type has specific uses.
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Why Use Macro Cameras
Macro cameras are specifically created for macro photography. They are designed to capture small items at a size equal to or bigger than a 1:1 ratio.
More specifically, it’s about the lens being able to focus on the subject at really short distances. This isn’t to say the macro camera functions and settings aren’t useful.
The alternative is to use a DSLR or mirrorless system and a macro lens, extension tubes or a technique where turning the lens around provides very close focusing.
10. Ricoh WG-50
The Ricoh WG-50 is a digital point-and-shoot system. Inside, the 16 megapixels 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor captures jpegs at a resolution of 4608 x 3456 pixels. It’s worth noting, there is no RAW support.
Waterproof and shockproof means this camera will last the distance and survive any clumsy tendencies. What I like about this camera are its six built-in lights, assisting you in low light conditions.
The built-in lens extends from 5mm – 25mm. That is the equivalent of 28mm – 140mm. The aperture ranges from f/3.3 – f/6.6. The best feature of this system is the focusing distance of the lens. Normal focusing is 50cm to infinity. Macro mode shoots from 10cm to 60cm and the super macro mode goes from 1cm to 30cm. All your bases are covered.
9. Olympus TG-5
The Olympus TG-5 is a versatile point-and-shoot camera, designed for capturing images in all sorts of conditions. Waterproof, dustproof, shock, crush and even freezeproof means you can’t destroy this camera. Maybe with lava.
Inside, the 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor produces 12-bit RAW and jpeg images at a resolution of 4000 x 3000 pixels.
The lens, which is the most important part has a focal length range of 4.5mm – 18mm. This is the equivalent of 25mm– 100mm. It is a great tool for macro photography, as the macro mode lets you focus from 1cm to infinity. Perfect for life-size images of all those dangerous things you can photograph.
The Sony RX10 Mark III is a point-and-shoot system but looks like a DSLR. The 20-megapixel, 1-inch sensor is capable of capturing some outstanding images. The focusing systems are interesting too, as there is a digital manual focus.
This allows you to fine-tune your focus after the shot has been taken. A focus lock works by stopping the camera from re-focusing once you found the sweet spot.
The lens coupled with this camera is intense. It is a 24mm-600mm equivalent lens, with electronic zoom, not manual. The lens will focus from around 2/3 cm, meaning it isn’t a true macro camera. It is built-in, so you can’t change it. But why would you want to?
This camera also has WiFi capabilities, sending your images to your phone immediately. One handy tip, take extra batteries!
The Canon EOS Rebel T6i is an entry-level camera, but as we have seen with other Canons beginner systems, they are rich in quality. what stands out is the super-fast DIGIC 6 processor, making the camera fast and responsive to use.
Inside, you’ll find a 24.2-megapixel sensor, capturing high-quality images with stunning colour reproduction.
What I like about this camera for macro photography is the 3-inch adjustable touchscreen. It can be moved to give you the best angle for taking close-ups of all the small things.
This is one of the best cameras with an APS-C sensor, as long as it is paired with the right lens. The lenses are interchangeable, not fixed, so if you already have a set of Canon lenses, they will work here well.
If your lenses are full-frame, then the magnification will come 1.6x fold, getting you even closer. You can even use teleconverters, getting you so close, you can see the bug’s heartbeat.
6. Nikon D7500
The Nikon D7500 is an APS-C DSLR, weighing in at 640 grams. This camera comes with a 20.9-megapixel sensor and a 51-point Multi-CAM 3500FX II auto-focusing system. These will give you fast focus in most lighting situations.
We like the tilting touchscreen too, as it’ll make it easier to focus in cramped areas.
The camera comes with weather sealing, important for grabbing shots in dewy forest floors. The lenses are all purchasable separately, and each will have their own benefits and drags. the image range goes all the way to 6400, and the resolution is class leading.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 is a camera powered by a 20.3 megapixel 1/2.3″ MOS sensor. It boasts a 5-axis HYBID optical image stabilization mechanism which helps when shooting in low light conditions.
This extra play room translates to keeping your ISO low, giving you the highest quality images.
This is a point-and-shoot camera that lets you use focus stacking, allowing a cleaner and crisper image with attention on depth of field. The lens is a Leica DC Vario-Elmar 30x zoom with a focal length range of an equivalent 27-720mm.
It can focus from 50cm to infinity in its normal mode, and macro focuses from 3cm to all the way to infinity.
The Olympus PEN E-PL8 is a four-thirds mirrorless system. I like the name, and the way it looks, but that means nothing in the photographic world. It’s all about the sensor and the lenses.
The E-PL8 offers a 16-megapixel resolution, advanced manual modes and RAW shooting, giving you very high quality. It boasts a 3″ touchscreen, tiltable by 180 degrees. The camera also uses a contrast detection autofocus system with a nice array of 81 different points. This is better for tracking objects, such as moving insects, although its continuous autofocus mode.
It has many other features which aren’t useful for macro photography per se, but it means the camera is a versatile piece of equipment.
Why buy a dedicated camera, when you can get the best of both worlds? The ability to change lenses means you can buy dedicated macro lenses to pick up the slack.
The Nikon COOLPIX w300 is a toughie when it comes to the outdoors, safe from all weather conditions. It operates from a 16 megapixel 1/2.3 BSI CMOS sensor.
BSI sensors are great technologically advanced small sensors. It tends to produce cleaner image files and produce better results in low light conditions.
The lens is a wide zoom, ranging from 24mm – 120m. No viewfinder, so all composition comes through the LCD screen. The lens comes with vibration reduction, perfect for unintended blur from camera shake.
The best thing about this little system are the built-in lights. Just in case you are blocking the natural light due to being so close to your subject. The focus starts at 1cm, so being close to your subject is a must.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 is a bridge camera – a point-and-shoot with a high zoom lens hiding in a DSLR body. It is powered by an 18.1 megapixel 1/2.3″ MOS sensor. It comes with an electronic viewfinder and an LCD touchscreen monitor.
This will aid you in the focusing aspect while giving you a large window in which to composure your images.
The lens on the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 has a focal length equivalent to 20mm – 1200mm. It comes equipped with Power O.I.S, which is handy for hand-held captures, especially when in macro mode. The special thing about this camera is the Post-Focus and Focus Stacking.
Post-focus lets you change the focus area after the image has been taken. The macro focus starts at 1cm, fulfilling your every need.
The Canon EOS 77D is a DSLR rather than a point-and-shoot system, meaning you have an array of lenses at your disposal. The 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 7 image processor gives you the best possible image resolution. The AF system works on a 45-point all cross-type, powered by dual pixel CMOS AF. Perfect for live view focusing.
The camera similar to this model is the Canon 7D Mark II, which is weather sealed. That, however, loses points as it doesn’t have a tilting screen, which I believe to be very important in macro photography.
The 77D doesn’t have weather sealing, but it does have dual control dials like professional models. It also has a top plate, handy when shooting from below eye level.
We also have great articles on choosing more macro accessories, or shooting still life photography with a macro lens.