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ePHOTOzine lens guru, Gary Wolstenholme, tests the canon EF 60mm macro lens to see how close he can go.
At £355, is this good value for money or are there better lenses out there that can do the job and cost less? In this test, we aim to find out.
This lens costs around £355, has an Ultrasonic focusing motor, bright f/2.8 maximum aperture and provides an equivalent field-of-view of a 96mm lens on a full frame camera. Canon also offer a cheaper 50mm f/2.5, which costs around £230 and has a slightly brighter maximum aperture, but only provides half life size magnification and doesn't have a silent focusing motor.
There are plenty of macro options to consider from third party manufacturers all providing life size magnification, but without silent focusing motors. Sigma offer a 50mm f/2.8 costing around £240, a 70mm f/2.8 costing around £380 and a 105mm f/2.8 also costing around £380. Tamron's 60mm f/2 has the brightest maximum aperture of the bunch and costs around £445. They also offer a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro lens that costs around £345. Finally Tokina's ATX M100 AF Pro 100mm f/2.8 macro lens costs around £350 and their 35mm f/2.8 also costs around £350.
Due to the amount of choice available at this price point, making a decision which lens will suit your needs best can be troublesome to say the least. Canon's EF-S 60mm Macro has the benefit of their excellent reputation for quality optics behind it. Here we'll take a look at whether the performance lives up to the pedigree.
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM: Handling and features
Although this lens is compact and lightweight, Canon haven't scrimped on anything when it comes to the build quality of this lens. The quality of materials, and general fit and finish of the lens are very good indeed. As it's an internal focusing design, the lens does not extend during focusing, which makes the lens very pleasant to use, especially at close distances.
Life sized reproduction is achieved at the minimum focus of 20cm, which is a good deal closer than an equivalent 90mm or 100mm lens. This doesn't cause too many issues with getting light onto your subject though, as the working distance from the front of the lens isn't too different to equivalent 90mm or 100mm lenses that extend during focusing.
The ultrasonic motor ensures auto focus is quick and precise, and although the lens may hunt around a little at close distances, it performs well enough to not be too much of an issue although a focus limiter switch would help to reduce the amount of time spent hunting for a subject to lock onto.
As this is an EF-S lens, it's exclusively for use with EF-S compatible cameras and the image projected will not cover the image area found on full frame cameras. A plastic baffle sticks out of the rear of the lens mount to prevent someone from mounting the lens on an incompatible camera. Users of older Canon DSLRs, such as the EOS10D, will not be able to mount this lens on their camera either.
I really like the way this lens handles, due to the internal focus and great build quality. The compact size means that it's not too much trouble to find space to carry it along with the rest of my kit, just in case.
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM: Performance
For this review, the lens was tested on a 15.1Mp Canon EOS 500D using Imatest.
This little 60mm is an excellent performer when it comes to resolution. At f/2.8 the centre resolution is already very good, although the sharpness towards the edges of the frame could be better. Stopping down improves the resolution in both the centre and towards the edges with the peak falling between f/5.6 and f/8. At these apertures the lens performs excellently in the centre, and is still very good towards the edges of the frame.
Resolution at 60mm
Imatest only managed to register the slightest trace of colour aberrations during testing. At low levels such as these, I would be very surprised if any fringing could be spotted in real world images, let alone become an issue.
Chromatic Aberrations at 60mm
Although light falloff towards the corners is present, the lens doesn't perform too badly for a wide aperture lens such as this. At f/2.8, the corners of the image are 1.5 stops darker than the image centre. Stopping down to f/5.6 produces images with uniform illumination.
As you might expect for a fixed-focal length lens, distortion levels are very low. Imatest recorded 0.33% barrel distortion, which will be very difficult to spot in normal picture taking scenarios.
The Canon EF-s 60mm Macro lens makes light work of this watch face.
Even with high contrast, there's little chromatic aberration.
This lens is excellent at suppressing issues with ghosting and flare. Strong point sources of light in the frame may cause a little flare and loss of contrast in extreme circumstances, but normal picture taking should not really be adversely affected. Light sources outside of the frame may cause a slight loss of contrast, but again, only in extreme circumstances.
|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-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM.
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM: Verdict
Canon shooters looking for a relatively inexpensive introduction to macro photography should certainly add this lens to their list of lenses to consider. It will suit those especially who will gain from the compact, lightweight design, and fast focusing.
Excellent image quality is achievable due to the high resolution, lack of colour aberrations and great control of ghosting and flare. For the price, it represents excellent value for money.
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM: Pros
Good resolution performance
Fast focus speed, especially for a macro lens
Barely any CA
Good control of ghosting and flare
Compact, lightweight design
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM: Cons
No focus limiter switch
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM: Lens specification
|Construction||12 elements in 8 groups|
|35mm equivalent focal length||96mm|
|In the box||Lens cap|
The Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens costs around £354.99 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM