I am intending to take pictures of ticks which should look like the one in this picture or even more detailed if possible. Taking into account that the ticks would be motionless, their size would range from this small to this big, and the fact that pictures would be taken using a tripod in a room with enough light, what type of camera body and lenses should I look for?

  • \$\begingroup\$ It looks like you're looking to get into macro photography? \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthew
    Feb 18, 2018 at 12:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ What end result are you going for? What will the images be used for? \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Feb 18, 2018 at 16:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ you might wanna go through list of these questions, they cover a lot about your field (macro photography) photo.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/… \$\endgroup\$ Feb 18, 2018 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Check out the "Extreme Macro" website. They have articles on equipment, techniques, etc. Personally, I've used a microscope objective with bellows for -really- close imagery. Much easier to do with a digital camera than it was in the film days. BTW, at those magnifications focus stacking is your friend! \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    Feb 19, 2018 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


What you are looking for is macro photography and those ticks are actually so small that you must get something with a really high magnification. I know that some people use microscopes with a camera attached but I have no idea how that works, so I will answer purely from a standard camera and lens perspective.

The highest magnification lens currently available is the Canon MP-E 65mm F/2.8 Macro which has a 5X magnification. You can combine it with any Canon DSLR, even the most basic one such as Rebel SL2, all the way to an 5DS R which will give you much higher resolution, so it will capture more details even though magnification is the same.

Your biggest problem with illumination is avoiding the shadow of the lens to appear on your subject, so you should buy some small lamps that you can place very close. Canon actually makes a macro lens with built-in illumination but its magnification is 1.2X which will not be enough for those small ticks, it is the EF-M 28mm F/3.5 Macro which is compatible only with Canon mirrorless cameras.

There exists a 5X magnification lens with illumination by Yasuhara but I have never seen it as it is not widely available. This one is compatible with Micro Four-Thirds cameras but is much more manual as even the aperture must be set manually. With the Canon MP-E 65mm, you must still focus manually but the camera can take care of exposure.

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    \$\begingroup\$ what about extension tubes/bellows or lens reversal? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 18, 2018 at 17:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Although I would not consider either of these for a beginner given how manual these things are, extension tubes probably can't get that much magnification starting with a regular macro lens but lens reversal could. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Feb 18, 2018 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, these exist now: zyoptics.net/product/mitakon-20mm-f2-4-5x-super-macro-lens \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19, 2018 at 9:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @junkyardsparkle - It still says NEW on the page so no wonder I have never heard of them. The lens comes in many mounts of different sizes but there is no specs, so I wonder if the effective magnification changes between sensor sizes. I will see if I can get a sample lens from them to try it out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Feb 19, 2018 at 14:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, yeah, the area captured at a given (actual) magnification will depend on the sensor size... which might make it a little too strong for those really huge ticks on anything but full frame, I guess... but it looks like a reasonably cheap and uncomplicated option for really small stuff. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19, 2018 at 20:39

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