Photo packs have come a long way in the past decade, especially those that are targeted toward outdoor and adventure photographers. Alaska-based adventure photographer Dan Bailey takes a closer look...
The Canon EF-S 60/2.8 Macro lens enables photography down to a
magnification of 1:1, which means that you can fill the final RAW or
JPEG file with a subject the same size as the APS-C sensor inside a
Canon Digital Rebel, i.e., 15x22mm. A Popular
Photography lab test resulted in higher scores for the Canon 60
Macro than for any previously tested macro lens, presumably due to the fact that
this lens only illuminates an image circle large enough to cover a small digital
If you have a small-sensor EF-S-mount camera, such as the Canon
Digital Rebel, and don't plan on moving to a full-frame Canon digital
SLR, buy one right now from
amazon.com, (compare prices).
The Canon 60 macro includes a ring-type ultrasonic motor (USM), which
allows full-time manual focus, even when the camera/lens are set to
autofocus. Autofocus is slower and more cumbersome than with a
non-macro lens, due to the large range of distances available. The
lens has an internal/rear focusing system, so the length of the lens
and therefore distance of the front element from the subject does not
change as the focus ring is moved. The lens is a flat-field design,
optimized for edge-to-edge sharpness of flat subjects.
This lens is constructed of 12 elements in 8 groups. A floating
element ensures high optical quality at all distances from 1:1 to
infinity. For connoisseurs of soft bokeh, Canon has equipped the lens
with a circular aperture. Remember that this is an EF-S lens
and therefore has an interlock to prevent mounting on a full-frame sensor camera, such
Canon EOS 5D (review).
The barrel is all-plastic, but durable, with weight and length slightly
larger than the Canon 50/1.4.
To reduce the scattering of non-image-forming light within the lens,
order the Canon ET-67B hood (sadly, not included). For getting beyond
1:1 magnification with some loss of image quality and brightness, the
Canon 60 macro lens can be used with the
Canon EF 12 II Extension Tube and
Canon EF 25 II Extension Tube.
If you don't mind extra weight or are thinking of upgrading to a
full-frame camera in the future, the strongest alternative is the
Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens for Canon, (compare prices). This is a full-frame
coverage lens that Popular Photography tested right after
the Canon EF-S 60 and the image quality results were even better. The
main drawback of the Sigma is increased weight: 525g (18.5 oz) versus
the 335 g (11.8 oz) for the Canon.
The price tag photo at the bottom right is at the maximum
magnification afforded by the lens without an extension, i.e., 1:1 or
It would have been nice to have the Canon ring lights since we had
difficulty leaving enough room between the lens and the subject to
admit light from the softbox.
We were unable to use ETTL exposure for most of these images.
Specular reflections from the watch case would fool the in-body sensor
into shutting down the flash prematurely and resulting in underexposed
images. We ended up setting both the flash and the camera on manual.