First Camera Recommendations

Something that may be worth considering instead of a dedicated macro lens is to buy a 50mm prime lens and a set of extension tubes. This is a much cheaper solution and helps you to think more about what’s happening in the process. I think all of the main companies do these 50mm prime lenses and certainly the Canon and the Nikon one are very reasonably priced (at least, in comparison to their other lenses).

I used this method successfully for years before getting a dedicated macro lens. Even now I have that, I still add some tubes on so I can get in even closer to my subject. Though there is quite some drop off in the amount of light so I do add a ring flash.

Good luck with your purchase. I hope you enjoy whatever you decide to get.

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Thank you everyone for your help! I have decided to go with the following:

Sony Mirrorless Full Frame: Alpha 7R iii (E mount)
Laowa 100mm f/2.8 (FE lense)
Sony HVL-F60RM2 Flash

  • Other basic stuff including a diffuser

I was told that the FE lens would fit the E mount, but I am still confused on the difference. FE lenses are designed for full-frame cameras, so the Laowa will be able to mount my camera, right? However, you wouldn’t want to put an FE lens on an APS-C camera to my understanding. I also believe that the flash can mount the camera?

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Took me a sec to figure this out, but I’m familiar with the concept from Canon (terminology is slightly different and kind of confusing for Sony).

Basically, for camera bodies you have A mount or E mount. A mount bodies use “A” lenses whereas E mount bodies use “E” lenses.

E and FE are both “E” lenses as they relate to the mount. FE lenses are specifically designed for full frame camera models, whereas E lenses are made for crop sensor camera but both are usable by either body type. If you try to use an E lens on your full frame body the camera will switch to crop mode to adjust for the lend attached. FE lenses I don’t think it’d be a huge issue to attach to an APS-C (crop) camera, basically when doing this it only shows the portion of the image captured by the crop sensor, which is 1.5x smaller than a full frame sensor.


Thanks for the explanation. So if I am reading this right, I don’t have to worry about anything or it only showing a portion of the image because I am going to use an FE lens on a Full Frame camera?

Yup, that’s right. Either way, it’d be nothing to worry about. The same would occur if you bought a E lens; your camera would shift to crop mode where you only see 2/3 of what you would with the full sensor, but you wouldn’t notice because what you see through the viewfinder is what get captured in the final result.

This optical cropping from a full (F) lens to an APSC-C is true of the Sony line and I suspect (as far as I know) for most other big brands. Some specialty lenses (like super wides) will be an exception.

Sounds like a killer starting list for macro! (I envy your Laowa already)

Please report back here to post some of your results. I think everyone here would love to see them.

Oh, and be careful with those lens changes, especially if you’re planning to do so in the field. Doesn’t take much gunk to mess up those ‘naked’ tiny sensors!

(Please don’t ask me how I know this.)

Two important things to remember when changing lenses: turn the camera off so electricity isn’t coursing through the sensor, and face the sensor down when it’s exposed.

(to be clear, @broacher, I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong, I’m just sharing what’s helped me, having used mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras for about six years now)


I used a used D3400 and just a kit lens with an extension tube to take these pictures of aphids. I got it and 2 lenses for like $320 on eBay. Though now that I have that and know more what I want in a camera looking to pickup one of the Nikon Z for focus stacking built into the camera, and a electronic shutter and no mirror to make it silent when taking photos. Other choices are good too just saying what my setup is and my soon to be setup will be.

Solid choices. I can’t comment on mount options but otherwise you have the macro setup I would buy if I had the money. I think you are well o9n your way to getting excellent macro photos.

Just not down into a bed of freshly pollen-ladened wild flowers.

I think Laowa 90mm would suit the camera better as it’s specifically designed for mirrorless and is shorter than the 100mm since there is an add-on to it so it can mount the camera. As of now, I plan to solely use this lens, so I won’t have to worry about changing, but thanks for the advice in the future! I will get a UV filter, though to protect the lens.

banger setup, don’t forget extra batteries for the flash!

In the Sony world ‘E’ or ‘FE’ tells us if the lens is designed for APS-C (E) or full frame (FE). So you can indeed put an FE lens on an APC-C body, but you’ll get better results when you use the camera with the appropriate lens e.g. E lenses on APS-C bodies, and FE lenses on full frame bodies. In addition, you can adapt Canon EF lenses to Sony E-mount with the Sigma MC-11 adapter for best results.

The lens will probably cast a shadow on your subject when you are using the flash mounted to your camera. Think about getting a ring flash to go with to the front of the macro lens or use off-camera flash.

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