I am looking forward to shooting macro photography and portraits, too.

I have a Nikon D5100 with the kit 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

I love doing macros but I feel like I'm limited with my lens and would like to know what would work best for me. I'm not going to spend 1k$ on a lens, so I'm looking for something in the few hundreds if possible (lens or other good alternative).

If it's a lens that could do great macro and good portraits that'd be best!

Also in the future, what would be the best camera for macro/portraits?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ have you considered Macro extension tubes? they should cost no more that $50 and fit in between the camera and your lens. generally they come in 3 different mm sizes and can get you in very close to the subject - IE 1/4"! these coupled with a 50mm f/1.4 and you have both, a nice portrait lens equal to that of an 80mm full frame and a macro lens. Nice and affordable, and great quality! just an option \$\endgroup\$ Aug 28, 2015 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AbdulNQuraishi please see: meta.photo.stackexchange.com/questions/4655/… \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Aug 29, 2015 at 0:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of Should I use a 100mm Macro lens as a portrait lens?. I understand that you are asking about what specific lens to buy, but product recommendations are off topic here. The only real on topic question here is around using macro lenses for portraits, which we already have a question on. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Aug 29, 2015 at 14:06

1 Answer 1


Most "true" macro lenses (i.e., those that can achieve 1:1 magnification; that is the image on the sensor is the same size as in real life) can double as extremely sharp portrait lenses, since most of them are f/2.8 longer primes. However, they'll cost quite a bit more than "a few hundreds" (most seem to be in the $400-$1000 range). There might be some lenses in your budget from the 3rd party makers like Sigma, Tamron, or Tokina--but be careful of 3rd-party lenses marked as "MACRO", as some of them do not achieve 1:1 magnification. Any zoom lens (i.e., one with a variable focal length) that's labelled as MACRO isn't going to be a "true" macro lens.

But you're probably better off looking for a good portrait prime in the 50-135mm range, and then adding extension tubes, close-up filters, or reversal rings to it. These are the time-honored "poor man's macro" methods. They are not as easy to use as a true macro lens, since you can't choose your framing and then focus, but rather you focus by changing the camera-to-subject distance, as these methods tend to restrict the distances at which the lens can focus. But they also don't cost as much as a good macro lens will.


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