Canon’s EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro lens

The EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro lens is Canon’s first mid-telephoto macro lens to offer Image Stabilization that works in 1:1 mode and compensates for angular and shift camera shake during close-up shooting. Canon claims the optical image stabilizer produces a four-stop advantage over the previous model and like all recent IS lens it has an on-off switch clearly labeled “on” and “off.” While not seemingly a big deal it beats trying to decipher the icons Canon used previously. In addition to an AF on-off switch, the lens has an AF limiter switch settings of 1 – 1.6-ft, 1.6-ft – ∞ and Full so the lens will focus faster under certain working conditions, especially close-up work. Using the switch is especially useful under low light, when it could be sluggish to focus with an EOS 1D Mark IV

The lens is a resistant to dust and water droplets and for all you bokeh fans it has a circular aperture diaphragm with nine blades producing smooth out-of-focus highlights. While almost dimensionally identical to the previous version, the filter is 67mm, not the older lens’ 58mm. If you’re shooting with a Canon MR-14EX ring light you’ll need to order a 67C Macrolite Adapter ($32.95) to work with this new lens. Because its front element is so close to the front of the lens—the recess is barely the depth of the filter threads— I strongly recommend you get a UV or Skylight filter to protect the front element. Even a 67mm B+W will only set you back fifty bucks and is cheap insurance. The lens is bundled with goodies not typically included with other lenses such as a case (LP-1219) and hood (ET-73.)

The unretouched photograph (at right) was made on my model train layout illuminated only by the tiny lights from the structures and a small locomotive produced some fine noise when shot at ISO 12,800. It was shot with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens with an exposure of one-half second at f/32.

While this lens is designed for close-up photography I often used my EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro lens for portraiture. See my post on that subject HERE. The EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro is clearly a step up—in price too—from the previous, less expensive non-IS model that this new lens replaces.

Author: Joe Farace

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