Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Canon EF 100mm f2.8L IS Macro Lens Samples

Before getting the Canon 5D Mark II, full frame was in my mind all the time, despite my love for the NEX series of cameras. I had 3 full frame DSLRs before the 5D Mark II, the original Canon 1Ds, the Kodak SLR/c, and the 5D classic. All except the Kodak, which I only had for a few months, produced some of my favourite pictures and I love the image quality from them, especially when used with the Canon AF lenses. The mirrorless cameras made me realized that great image quality can be had in small packages. But full frame was like a dark current that kept pulling me over to the deep end until I could no longer bear it, and bought the 5D Mark II.

Very happy with the image quality.  In fact, I probably won't need anything better than this for a while. The only drawback is the size and weight, which is more inconvenient to take with me to work everyday in my backpack. But, once in a while, I do take it out and shoot. This time it was with the Canon 100mm f2.8L IS macro lens. This lens is probably one of the sharpest macro lenses on the market, by any maker. The image stabilization is amazingly effective, even in macro mode. I used it as a general purpose lens and didn't shoot much in macro mode. The focal length is quite versatile, from macro to portraiture and even landscape. If I don't need the longer working distance for macro shot, I would take this lens any time over the heavier EF 180mm f3.5L macro lens, which hadn't seen the light all year so far. The 100mm f2.8L is definitely one of the lenses that you should own, if you shoot Canon.

I am sure many people will wonder what the difference is between this lens, and the Tamron SP 90mm f2.8. I have both lenses and I have been trying to do some comparison shots but never seem to make it happen. Perhaps in the coming week, if time permits.

Red Doors - Canon 5D Mark II & EF 100mm f2.8L IS Macro. Click for larger.

Megan - Canon 5D Mark II & EF 100mm f2.8L IS Macro.

Bokeh - Canon 5D Mark II & EF 100mm f2.8L IS Macro.


  1. I understand this dark current of which you speak. I keep looking at 5D mk1 cameras and wondering.

    My OM 21 looks good on them and so too my EF24 f2.8 and EF50 f1.8

    But I can't justify so many cameras.

    I'll see how I go this winter with my OM-1 in the cold :-)

    1. The 5D classic is around $500 used in Toronto. I think it's one of the best bargains for a full frame camera. It's light years better than the 1Ds which cost more than $10K when introduced.

      You know those full frame lenses are screaming for a full frame digital body, and you know it's hard to silence them :)

  2. Yu-Lin, I really admire your photographic work and your experimentation with different lenses, even those not originally intended for use in making images.

    I have a NEX-5N and am experimenting with all kinds of vintage lenses. I'm planning on buying a couple of the helicoids you mentioned and then hunting down some of the odd lenses you've used and apply them myself. It is amazing what some of the old glass can do.

    I'm hopeful that Sony will release a full-frame NEX sometime in the next year. I eschewed the NEX-7 in favor of the NEX-5N's better low-light performance. My 5N is getting lots of work.

    I expect to start shooting film seriously again this year. I'm particularly fond of black and white films because of their structure. Who knows, I might find myself with a medium format rig sometime over the next year or two. :)

    Thanks for your words and images...

    1. Thanks Ruminator! I have slowed down on trying new and weird stuff, but who knows, I might just need a catalyst to ignite that fire again :)

      I like B&W too, but film is expensive and takes much time, which I don't have. I probably will take up film again when I retire, if film still exists!

  3. The bokeh on the EF 100mm f/2.8 IS L looks a little bit swirly in the last shot. If you had a choice between the 135mm f/2 and the 100mm f/2.8 IS L, which would you pick? (on a FF body not a crop)

    1. Chester,

      It's a tough call. Both lenses have truly world class optical performance but if I MUST choose (fortunately I don't have to, haha), I would go for the 135/2. That lens is in a class of its own and is close to perfection at the very affordable price. But, the 100/2.8 IS is a much more versatile lens and a bit lighter and has IS, and it shoots macro, and it has superb optics too. As I said, it's very hard to choose and that's why I have both.

  4. I was eyeing the EF 100mm f/2.8 IS L for the longest time and it tempted me even more as it had the hybrid image stabilisation. In the end, I went with the 135/2 as I felt it had more application in my shooting especially if I bagged it with two bodies, a FF and a crop. Then I wouldn't need to fuss with having to stuff a 70-200 zoom or a 200mm prime in the bag for reach. I just stick it on the 70D and I get 200mm.