Your DSLR will probably come with a standard 18-55 mm lens, or something very close to that. When selecting a good macro lens, try go get something with a decent focal length and a low f-stop.
In Reef Aquarium Photography – Part 1 we discussed a little about the camera, as well as some of the equipment used to help you get quality shots.
Bad lens selection can lead to shots that don’t look very good and require a lot of touching-up with picture editing software. I prefer the Canon EOS EF 100mm, which has an f-stop of 2.8L and a focusing distance of just under a foot. These lenses typically have a slow focus, so it’s probably best to take pictures of slow moving or still objects like corals.
I’m not as well versed in the field of wide angle lenses, but I know they can take great shots.
There are a lot of lenses out there, but most of them are telephoto lenses of varying degrees.
We're always in search of more writers to help diversify our site and bring in a fresh perspective on the aquarium hobby. Some software tweaking can virtually replace a macro lens or even a wide-angle lens, but you will certainly lose some quality with these methods. Since aquarium photography is very specific niche, we won’t need to cover too many lenses and can focus more on a select few.


This lens has pretty low f-stop, somewhere in the mid to low 2’s, allowing you to blur out all of the surrounding livestock and focus only on the subject.
It’s a slightly pricey lens, costing more than my entire camera did, but it takes great shots. This sort of lens would be very useful in getting a full tank shot (FTS) of a very large aquarium…and especially public aquariums. This part will focus on some specialty lenses used to get up-close and wide-angle shots, as well as a couple of others. Their f-stop is usually higher than you would like and they can’t get the up-close shots that macro lenses can get. Another benefit to the macro lens is that they have a focal lengths ranging from 50mm to 180mm or more.
Other good macro lenses can have a smaller focal length and still get great shots, but the higher the focal length the closer you are to the action. It’s very difficult to take a picture through the glass at an angle, so get the lens parallel to the glass. Image being able to stand close to the subject of the picture, but still being able to get a lot of the environment immediately in front of the camera and its periphery. This allows you to get close to the subject and still take pictures that aren’t blurred.
To gain an insight to the distortion, imaging looking into a concave mirror (bent mirror), the type they have at gas stations and various drivethroughs.


Some cropping may be required on an FTS to get rid of unwanted equipment, but you can get much better detail than with a standard 18-55mm lens. For the amateur photographer, the following list of lenses should get you great aquarium pictures.
Another important distinction is that macro lenses operate at their sharpest when focusing over small distances (i.e. This lens is not necessarily designed for aquarium photography, but you can get some awesome pictures from it.
Wide-angle lenses can be quite expensive, with the cheapest being around $250 and a fairly large focal length. You don’t have to go out and buy them all, instead focusing on the lens to get you the specific view you want.
The dream lens for this class would be one with a focal length of 14-15mm, allowing for extremely wide angle shots.
You can take pictures of objects farther away, but the resulting image might not be as sharp.



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