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.
- 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.
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
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