There are lots of ways to do this.
A "true" macro lens is probably the most ideal way. Can makes an EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM that works with any Canon body that has an APS-C size sensor (except the 10D but you probably don't own an EOS 10D) and they also make a 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens (two of them) as well as a 180mm macro lens.
The 60mm macro is the most budget-friendly (probably around $400-450) and delivers extremely crisp clean results.
But there are lower cost solutions that don't involve buying a new lens.
You can put "close-up diopters" (some people call these "close up filters" even though they're technically not "filters" but they do thread on to the front of your existing lens) and it's basically like reading glasses for your lens in that it allows the lens to focus at closer distances than would otherwise be possible. This solution isn't as ideal. Usually there's a small amount of image quality degradation around the edges and corners of the frame -- though the center usually looks very good. Canon's own close-up diopters are significantly higher quality then the 3rd party diopters. Every 3rd party diopter on the market that I'm aware of uses a single lens element which causes some chromatic aberration near the edges of the frame. Canon diopters use a two element design in a achromatic doublet configuration that significantly reduces the chromatic aberration problem.
The other option is to use something called an "extension tube". It's a hollow tube that fits between lens and camera body. It has no glass in it whatsoever. It's only purpose is to hold the lens farther from the camera body and this has the natural side-effect of allowing for closer focusing distances as well as enlarging the image size projected into the camera body. These are very low cost but if you choose to use this method then you need the tubes that include the electronic contacts so that the tube can allow communication between the camera lens and camera body (otherwise you lose the ability to control the aperture as well as a few other problems.)
There are even more ways to do this (bellows, lens reversing rings, etc.) but those are the most popular methods.
CANON MPE-65 is a unique lens that you should try. It magnify 5 times larger than live size. So it is not 1:1 but 1:5. But be warned this lens is a little difficult to handle. Totally manual.
Otherwise you may try the new CANON 100mm IS macro that has IS.
If you plan to shoot insects you should use CANON 180mm which allows you to take magnified pictures of insects from a farther distance that you will not frightened the little creature. But this one has no IS capability.
just my thoughts. There are other options.
There is another Chinese made LAOWA Wide angle Macro. I have seen Youtube video, seems interesting, not expenseive, great price performance. I don;t have one, but I shall buy one later this year.
Lawrence is right that the MPE-65 is an incredible and unique lens. I fear I disagree when he says you must try it. It is not an easy lens to master and you would need some skill at shooting macro. To use it at full mag, you want a focus rail and a tripod and head to really give it a go. You may also need to learn focus stacking software as the depth of field in focus is miniscule.
I agree with the above that the EF-s 60mm Macro would be a great pick. Extension tubes would work.
I see from your posts you are new and very enthusiastic. What resources (in addition to the sages on this website) are you using to learn the basic fundamentals?
I suggest 2 quite easy things:
1.) Google for free tutorial videos. There are oodles of them, many by amateurs, and they are usually only a few minutes long. Start by watching 2 or 3 on "the exposure triangle". That really chrystalizes the central idea of photography and you can build on to that from there.
2.) The book "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Petersen. Easy to read. Half is pictures. He really conveys the idea of how to use that exposure triangle to make the images you want.
Good luck and have fun!
Scotty, can you suggest a book that is good enough for more advanced macro photographers? I am kind of finding the current few books I can get hold of are not meant for advanced macro photographers. Not necessarily published in US but anywhere in the world......in English of course.....
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