Professional editorial and fashion photographer Jake Hicks explores the merits of using a 50mm lens for classic portrait photography. Learn from his extensive experience about how you can harness the...
The EF 100/2.8 Macro, though lacking the red ring denoting an "L" lens, may be
the sharpest lens in the Canon lineup. This should be no surprise, as macro
lenses in this range tend to be of very high quality, even those from third-party
vendors. Indeed, I owned a Kiron 105/2.8 Macro for my old Minolta MD system and
it was sharper than any Minolta-built lens I owned.
One of the first things I noticed about this lens was that the front element
is deeply recessed in the barrel. I don't know why this is true (and would love
comments from anyone who does), it may be related to the barrel's need to extend
greatly when focusing to 1:1. It does make the lens hard to clean.
This is my favorite
length for macro work. 50 or 60 mm lenses don't give enough working distance for
many nature subjects, while I feel 180 or 200 mm is too long for general macro
work. This lens is so sharp that it seems a pity that the Canon 1.4x telextender
won't mount, until you realize that you can cheat by first mounting a 12mm
extension tube, followed by the 1.4x extender. Voila! 140/4 Macro! While I've not
tried it with the 2x extender, it should do well, especially when one considers
the fact that macro work is usually done with the lens stopped down
Darn, It's Not USM!
Yes, it is true - this lens has a DC Micromotor for autofocus. Personally, I
don't find this much of a drawback because I really don't find auto-focus all
that useful for the type of macro photography I do. I often pre-set focus then
move the lens/body combination until the subject is in focus, particularly when
using flash. Even when working on a tripod and with ambient light, I find myself
needing to fiddle camera position and focus until I get the composition I want -
at close range, tiny movements make a large difference.
Since I also own a
80-200/2.8L, I rarely use this macro lens for general photography. Those who are
looking to frequently use this lens as a general-purpose short-telephoto are
bound to miss the benefits of full-time manual focus and the fast, quiet
autofocus provided by USM lenses.
Superb, what more can I say? While you can't judge performance by viewing
highly-compressed images, hopefully these will give you some indication of the
capabilities of this lens.
10 elements, 9 groups
Angle of view:
0.31 meters (1 ft)
Length and diameter:
105.3 x 75 mm (4-1/8 x 2-15/16 in)
650 g (22.9 oz)
Where to buy the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens
This is the new USM version of the lens; the non-USM version is no longer
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