A student in my most recent photography class was very interested in getting a macro lens, as was a friend and fellow photo blogger Greg from Albuquerque. It’s possible that by now they have both settled on a Canon lens, since they are both Canon shooters, but for future consideration, I offer my choice, the Tokina AT-X M100 AF Pro D 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.
A dedicated macro lens has a lot more to offer than a zoom that includes some degree of macro focusing; better sharpness, closer macro focusing, and a larger maximum aperture. An added bonus is that dedicated macro lenses in the 100mm to 200mm range are also outstanding portrait lenses.
There are a lot of great macro lenses out there. Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Tamron and Tokina all make excellent macro lenses. I know that Wil Fry loves his 50mm Sigma macro, and Michael Zeiler loves his 105mm Sigma macro. I’ve had the Tokina for about three and a half years now, and it has never failed me, either mechanically or aesthetically. Its bokeh, the look of the out-of-focus areas of the image, is excellent as well. It’s also a bargain, costing about half that of Nikon’s offering.
If you’re looking for an excellent, well-built, sharp macro lens that doubles as a choice for portraits, you won’t regret getting the Tokina 100mm.