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I have spent a lot of time looking for a 100mm f2.8 lens and this Canon was an obvious choice.
I do a lot of macro photography so the ability to focus at just 31cm on this lens was one of its main attractions. It's also useful for portraiture lens both on a focal length front and an aperture front.
Like most of these cheaper canon lenses it is a simple black plastic construction with just enough features to do the job and not cost an extortionate amount. It usually seems to sell in the region of £400.
I was really excited to receive the lens which I managed to track down on sale. It does at first sight seem substantial enough that it would withstand normal usage and doesn't feel quite as flimsy as Canon's 50mm F1.8 mk2 (which is obviously much cheaper).
Unfortunately this lens and I did not get along. It is marketed as a quiet, fast to focus lens. Whilst the images it produced were fine the focusing was extremely noisy and gritty sounding and pretty slow making really unpleasant to use. This focal length is a favourite of mine so it had to feel just right. I quickly returned the lens and replaced it with a much more solid feeling and quieter Tokina 100mm f2.8 which was a lovely lens that many people never come across. I'd recommend people trying out this Canon lens in a photography store before buying blindly as I think there are other lenses available in this price bracket that do the same job better.
I love this lens, it's cheap, incredibly well made (it's made of plastic, but it's a hard wearing plastic), and takes good images.
Being a 100mm lens, and having that fast 2.8 apperture means that it is really good for portraiture, although some people say it is too sharp!
Canon don't include a lens hood, so you have to buy one as an accessory, not sure whether i'd recommend it as the 100mm isn't really as everyday lens, and I think hoods are more useful on walkabout zoom lenses. The hood is useless for macro shooting too.
Yes the new L version has come out, but it's two times the price and when you're shooting macro you're usually using flash guns, so IS isn't that useful (at least it wasn't to me, maybe you shoot without flash?)
Either way if you want to get into macro, this lens and a flash gun is a better deal than the new L lens.
There isn't much else to say, if you want a macro lens then get this or the new L, there are sigma and tamron macro lenses but I think it's best to stick to own brand gear.
disclaimer* I didn't own this lens for very long because it completely let me down on a big commercial shoot.*
I'll start with the positives. It's a very sharp lens, it's incredibly well made, it is an f2.8 lens so it's good in low light and an f2.8 100mm lens is pretty good for portraits. It's cheap and it's optically one of the best lenses in canon's line up. Macro is also very fun and this lens is a good introduction to macro photography as it can shoot down to 1:1 (life size images)
Now for the bad.
The main problem with this lens is that the apperture isn't round when stopped down, the new L version is.
I used it to shoot some products for an advertisement and the bokeh highlights were clearly octagonal in shape, and because I was focused so close the bokeh was really strong, the shots were still used but I cringed when I saw them, no one else noticed or cared but it was enough for me to sell the lens, this is the kind of lens you will love when you first start taking pictures but for someone who's been taking pictures all their life they will notice these flaws.
Compared to the new L version.
The new L is slightly sharper, focuses quicker and the IS is really useful. Both lenses are really great for portraits (so sharp) but the IS lets you drag the shutter where as the non L is best left to shoot in good light or with strobes. Both are pretty long for APS-C cameras, giving you tightly cropped headshots only, but on full frame they make nice portrait lenses.
IS isn't so useful for macro, and if you're only shooting bugs this is a good lens to go for, but the sigma 150mm and canon 100mm L are both better lenses if you want to shoot more than just bugs.
All in all I recommend the L version over the non L, but if you're on a budget the non L is still a great lens
This is a great lens - one of the few in the Canon line-up that lack the "L" professional designation but which have a quality which is my experience on a par.
Solidly built and with a heft that gives confidence it can take a bit of real-world use this lens just "feels" quality. Some lenses you feel you have to treat with care, whereas this one gives no impression it's anything but built to last. Not as solid as an "L" lens (some of those you feel you could use to hammer in nails) and not weather sealed, but not shabby either.
Ridiculously sharp. For macro work this is amazing, in fact, for day to day use it's pretty amazing. You'll get 1:1 macro though (many "macro" lenses won't achieve 1:1) which is where this lens really earns it's money. 100mm is a lovely focal length for portraits and f2.8 a lovely wide open aperture for blurring backgrounds but your subjects won't thank you such is the sharpness - every wrinkle will show!
Easy to use and no complaints. Be warned though that focussing can be slow - the huge focus-throw of the lens (part of what allows it to focus at such close distances) means that from infinity to close focus can seem to take a while.
I bought this lens when I was starting to dabble in macro photography - and it was very much recommended on other websites. Some macro lenses are incredibly expensive and I would recommend that you went for something low to middle of the range like this if you're not sure that macro photography is for you.
From my experience, this lens is a great starter lens. It focuses quickly and quietly (if you get the USM version), which is invaluable for subjects (like insects!) which are likely to move. You do have the option of automatic focus or manual focus on the lens, as well as two range settings (0.31m - infinity and 0.48m - infinity). The images have a scale of 1:1 which is good enough for most subject matters undertaken by the macro photographer. I have personally found that it is necessary to have a lens hood to reduce glare - but lens hoods are easy to come by second hand and don't have to be expensive.
Being into photography in a big way, and only 2yrs ago took the expensive plunge to change over fully to the world of digital, the Canon EF100mm F2.8 was a must have for me.
i managed to purchase this before the price went up, paying £379 inclusive of P&P, a bargain
Since adding this to my collection of lenses, I have to say this is rarely off my camera, and a firm favourite of mine.
Its gets me fantastic results on portraite as wells as the macro, which are my two main subjuect hobbies
I have found the a tripod is a must when using this lenses as a macro to get the tack sharpe images, otherwise the result are very poor in deed. it just means a little more time setting up or walking round prepared to the max with the camera tripod to the ready
The lense is quick to focus, quiet, and in my opinion a quality piece of glass, which is a must when attempting to photgraph insects in the garden
to be honest, once you've tried this lense, you'll be hooked, with no insect or garden beasty being safe without having the camera shoved in its direction.
the results you will find, if you take time to get used to the feel of it, will be well worth the money, and you'll find that the macro will fill the frame to a good standard.
100mm and similar macro lens are ideal for dipping into the world on the small side. They allow you to capture macro shots without having to get as close to your subject as you would have to with lesser 50mm lens. They are therefore ideal for taking detailed and sharp photographs of bugs and insects as well as other nature photography. Despite the name however they are not confined to only macro photography. They can also be very useful for portraiture as a larger aperture allows you to isolate your subject in perfect clarity while having the background blurred.
As a semi-professional photographer I'm perfect happy with my current camera and lens, however one of the greatest advantages of knowing a lot of other photographers is that I often get the chance to try out their equipment and lens. This was the case with this Canon lens, as one of my friends treated himself to an upgrade and naturally I 'volunteered' to try it out.
In terms of picture quality the Canon can't be faulted as time after time it produce razor sharp and vibrant images with the perfect level of contrast. It's quick to respond and the autofocus is very fast. It's also worth noting that the auto focus mode got it spot on in every shot I tried, allowing for minimal fuss and having to spend time composing the photo manually (while it does give you a manual option should you desire it.) You would never have to worry about chromatic aberration, or lens distortion with this Canon, and it seems capable of capturing exactly what I wanted in it's first attempt.
The build quality is excellent and while the lens only comes with a one year warranty I imagine that it could easily withstand some harsh conditions. Though the lens is a bit bulky and not the lightest lens I've held I quickly became accustomed to it.
The autofocus motor is almost silent in operation again making the lens ideal for photographing bugs without disturbing them.
I was surprised to find that the lens performed so well in low light conditions, even without using a flash ring, noise on images were minimal (shooting in RAW mode).
The biggest disappointment was the lack of an image stabilizer in the lens. My own Nikon 105mm macro wasn't much more expensive than this lens and comes with vibration reduction (as well as having a nano crystal coating). To be honest I missed having the option to use it should I need to.
However, overall as a macro lens it does exactly what it's designed to do and it does it well.
The current cost of this lens on Amazon.co.uk is £439.95, several retailers come in at slightly different prices and my friend was able to buy this on ebay for only £411.00 (including postage) so it is advisable to shop around to find the best buy.
I personally find this Canon lens to be a bit on the expensive side considering the lack of image stabilization. There are more expensive macro lens on the market, but at the same time there are significantly cheaper lens such as the Tamron SP AF 90mm Di Macro, which comes in at only £325. The Tamron seems to get a lot of glowing reviews on a number of sites, so I would recommend investigation all possibilities before splashing out.
(I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)
When I first bought my digital SLR, it came with a free lens, and I was happy to use this for the snapshots I was taking, I had a decent zoom (100-400 f4.5-5.6 L) which I used most of the time so wasn't too bothered about much else. But as I started to take different styles of photos I realised my kit lens was really limited, couldn't get the close ups I wanted, and the sharpness was lacking. So I took the plunge and bought a really good prime lens (as opposed to a zoom) the canon 100 mm f/2.8 USM macro lens, and I am so glad I did.
First the technical stuff, weighing in at 21.1 ounces you get a nice sturdy feel that is still handholdable (real word?) with ease. 3.1 inches in diameter, and 4.7 inches long (without the hood) with a 58mm filter thread. The lens is made of 12 elements in 8 groups and has a close focusing distance one foot. The Ultra-sonic monitor (USM) provides great, fast auto focus without the lens being noisy. With a minimum aperture of f/2.8 and a max of f/32.
The macro facility lets me get 1:1 (lifesize) ratios with ease, with the ideal distance for this being 15cm, and the low f-stop of 2.4 means you can be very selective of what is in focus and what is not, this also makes it a quick lens in low light. But it is not just a great macro lens. I use this lens most often for portraits where I get pin sharp head and shoulder shots with ease, again the low f-stop means you can have a very shallow depth of field without losing sharpness, but stopped up to f.4 and above you really hit the sweet spot where focusing is tack sharp.
With a 58mm filter thread there are plenty of filter options out there that are not too expensive and the (optional) lens hood can really help to avoid glare. It is possible to buy a tripod mount for this lens but canons own is quite pricey.
The lens is NOT cheap though, retailing at over £400 there are cheaper alternatives but as they say, you get what you pay for, and this lens is as close to an L (canons top class lenses) as you can get, but at a far lower price.