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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Interchangeable Lens Review

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Interchangeable Lens Review - Canonís competitor in the 100mm Macro lens group is a popular lens, mainly as the overall length stays constant during focussing. We take a look at how it performs.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
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Canon’s competitor in the 100mm Macro lens group is a popular lens, mainly as the overall length stays constant during focusing. We take a look at how it performs.

Canon EF 100mm MacroSpecifications

  • Focal length 100mm
  • Maximum aperture f/2.8
  • Min aperture f/32
  • Construction 10/9 elements/groups
  • Angle of view 24° (full frame)
  • Closest focus 31cm
  • Filter 58mm
  • Dimensions 79x119mm
  • Weight 0.58kg
  • Price (SRP £399.99)

Build and handling
As already mentioned, the physical length of this lens remains constant throughout the focusing range, which goes down to a full 1:1 ratio. This give the lens a massive head start over many of its competitors. Combine that with the USM focusing motor that is both fast and almost silent and you have a very usable lens. Another, more common attribute, is the focus limiter which cuts down the focus range for normal usage to 0.48m to infinity and speeds up the focusing no end. The switch is mounted on a panel adjacent to the normal AF/MF switch on the left of the barrel.

The wide manual focus ring needs a full half turn to take the lens completely through the focus range, but even this is not excessive for the type of lens. It sports a distance window on top of the barrel, marked in both metres and feet and there is no attempt at a futile DOF scale.

Overall, the build quality is good, but not quite up to some of Canon’s top end lenses and it doesn’t have that feel that screams quality. Non-the less, it is well built. As with all Canon’s non-L lenses, the hood is an added extra.

Optical quality
There is very little that we can criticise with the optical quality of this lens and for once, the advertising does not exaggerate. Chromatic aberrations are superbly well controlled even at the extremes of the lens and no incidences of more than a ¼ of a pixel could be found anywhere. Contrast, as with most of the Canon stable, is good and decent resolution figures kick in at the wide-open setting and stay there right into the area of reciprocity. Edge figures are also good, although they have a little climb before they reach the lens’ peak at f/11.

No evidence of ghosting has been recorded during the test and flare, although possible to induce with any lens, is kept well under control despite the lack of a supplied lens hood. The image circle projected by this lens is capable of covering a full frame sensor and the evidence points to the edges maintaining the image quality.

Three examples of the close up capabilities of the Canon 100mm macro.

Click on each comparision photo below to view full size versions


100mm set at f/8


100mm set at f/2.8

Below is our lens test data. To find out how to use these graphs look at this article: How we test lenses



DxOMark provides objective, independent, RAW-based image quality performance data for lenses and digital cameras to help you select the best equipment to meet your photographic needs.

Visit the DxOMark website for tests performed on the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM.

Verdict
There are virtually no criticisms of this lens that we can come up with! The build is a little short of L quality, but is still well built. The optical performance is first class with no nasty or disappointing surprises and as for the handling, it’s a pleasure to use. That only leaves the price and although it is a little high, you do, in this case, get what you pay for.

In summary, the positive points of the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro are:
Good build quality
Very good optical performance
Nice handling with no extending front element.

The negative points are:
A little pricey, but you get what you pay fr.
Still no hood included in the price.

Check the latest Price for the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro here

Full Imatest® test data available here

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Comments


scragend 10 3 Scotland
11 Apr 2007 6:08PM
I've just got this lens myself in the last week so I feel bound to comment. Early days yet but I find myself agreeing with everything in the review. I suspect that it is more capable than I am!

BTW, bought the lens from Ian Kerr - second time I've bought from him and excellent price and service each time. (Since I found out about him through on an ephotozine forum it seems only fair to mention him again on here.)

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11 Apr 2007 10:48PM
I own this Lens and use it on a canon Eos 20 D .. its should be classed as an L glass quality .. its fantastic and also makes for a very good portrait lens...
All my macro work is by using the above lens.. and wouldnt change for anything.. !!!!
Can recommend.

NikkiSmile
chrissd 8 304 United Kingdom
12 Apr 2007 3:04AM
this is a superb piece of equipment, totally agree with Nikki
chrissd
bzbee
10 102 3 United Kingdom
14 Apr 2007 9:34AM
This is a superb lens - absolutely top drawer. My only slight criticism is that it doesn't float since mine is now at the bottom of the lake at Slimbridge!!! LOL
NatalieKinnear 7 280 8
15 Apr 2007 7:15PM
I've got this lens, and I love it.

Natalie
rosie42 10 7 Australia
15 Apr 2007 11:26PM
Me too. :o)
SueTurner 9 81 3 England
17 Apr 2007 11:35AM
have had this lens for nearly 2 years now - cant fault it at all - perfect for macro and perfect for portraits.

Can be scary looking through the lens at BUGS !! so be warned. LOL

Sue
chesh 10 45 United Kingdom
19 Apr 2007 10:01AM
I too have owned this lens for a couple of years and it has performed brilliantly. Sharpness is as good as my old Tamron SP90mm which was famed for it's sharp results. Another thing that it does is produce very nice Bokeh which is a good thing when shooting simple flower studys with shallow depth of field.
A fine and versatile lens that I wouldn't want to be without.
Dave
19 Apr 2007 9:22PM
Well, I am about to purchase this lens, and I cant wait (and I am also obtaining it from Ian Kerr! and again its not my 1st purchase from him!). Although more by accident than design, as I was after a 17-85 which he had and noticed this one for sale too, so I bought both! Should be here next week hopefully Smile
BertieP 7 25 Scotland
20 Apr 2007 7:03AM
Have had this lens for quite a while; upgraded from its predecessor because of the improved handling. Not much to choose optically. Well worth adding the extension tubes for serious magnification and works beautifully with the MR14X flash.
28 Apr 2007 8:43PM
I use the older non USM version of this lens and am a bit fed up with the time taken to focus. Performance wise it's superb and I believe the USM one is thought to be better.

Time for an upgrade then...!

I'm also a member of the Ian Kerr fan club having bought 3 lenses from him and a few folk in my club have had a good experience too with their purchases.

Tony...
JulieR 8 28 England
29 Apr 2007 5:28PM
How do I get in touch with Ian Kerr please?
Brufus 7
12 May 2007 12:03PM
I have this lens. Its sharp and the autofocus is quick, but as with all AF can hunt when light levels dip, limiter is useful. Its a great working distance for insects when on a smaller digital sensor. Its very good, but to me not as sharp as my old manual Nikon 105mm 2.5 macro AIS that was stolen.
12 Sep 2008 11:58AM
I use this lens on my Canon 450D with excellent results. The crop factor really makes this an excellent lens. I do agree that it hunts a lot in dimmer situations. I have also noticed some issues when shooting through glass. It seems to get confused easily. link removed - please see site T&Cs
twilks 5
15 Sep 2008 11:12AM
I have recently purchased this lens and am finding it excellent, also wanted to put in a word for Ian Kerr very reasonable prices and excellent service, to be recomended.
30 Aug 2009 5:48AM
I use this lens on a 5D and absolutely love it. As said, it's a wonderful portrait lens too.
Nick
22 Mar 2013 5:05PM
I've had this lens for a year and it is super, never far from my hand.

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