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Why Every Photographer Should Own a Macro ‘Swiss Army’ Lens


The biggest misconception with macro lenses is in the name, photographer Peter McKinnon says. In this 3-minute video, he explains why a macro lens should be in every photographer’s kit bag.

The thing is, macro lenses aren’t just for macro photography. They definitely excel at that use case, and McKinnon recommends that everyone shoots at least one snowflake with a macro lens, but they are useful for so much more.

McKinnon uses the Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro USM and the non-IS non-L version, which is significantly cheaper ($899 vs $599, respectively). While macro lenses can be a little slow to focus, they’re actually great “Swiss Army Knife” lenses that usually have extremely sharp detail, useful for product shots, portraits, and video along with those snowflake macros.

One place where macro lenses really shine is in tight spaces. Because of the extremely close focusing distance, you’re unlikely to have an issue where you’re too close to your subject.

If you’ve ignored macro lenses in the past because you’re not into taking photos of bugs, perhaps you’ve been overlooking a potentially handy addition to your kit bag.