SAMU's homepage


About Me
Extension Tubes
Digital Darkroom
Motorsport photos
Audio & Video
Canon EF 100 f/2.8 USM macro

Canon EF 100 f/2.8 USM Macro

Canon EF 100 f/2.8 USM macro 100 f/2.8 is my macro lens and also in addition I use it as a tele lens. My macro subjects are usually small bugs or plants. As a tele lens I usually photograph nature-, landscape- or architecture details. This lens offers very good value for the money as it could be used for many purposes.

100mm macro is very sharp lens and also contrast is top quality. Color is little different compared to L-lenses. What comes to stopped down quality there is no need to stop down this lens for other reasons than depth of field. F2.8 may seem unsharp but most of the cases it's because the shallow depth of field. When focusing to 1:1 the lens lost about two stops of it's speed. This can be seen if using manual flashes adjusted to "normal" focus distances and then take some macro photos with same settings. Bokeh is excellent with this lens wide open and stopped down. UPDATE 2008: I no longer consider bokeh of this lens good, it may be on macros but this lens has tendency to create ugly bokeh and I prefer to use any other of my 85/90/135mm lenses as short tele.

Build quality is excellent and I can't see difference between this lens and my L-lenses. Canon EF 100 f/2.8 USM macro - construction This lens has additional switch for limiting focus distance in addition to traditional MF/AF switch. Both switches are good quality and easy to operate. Hood is not included like in L-lenses. Hood fits to lens very well and is easy to attach to the lens and de-attache from the lens.

100 f/2.8 has 12 lenses in 8 groups. No special lens elements used in this lens. Lens weight 600g. Dimensions without hood, with lens caps 142mm x 85mm. With ET-67 lens hood the dimensions are 206mm x 93mm. Minimum focus distance is 31cm. There are 8 aperture blades and aperture seems to be circular. Filter size is 58mm. Autofocus is ring-USM but due to long focusing range it's may be very slow. Full time manual focusing is possible with this lens

Due to crop factor of the Canon 20D this lens has same field of view than 160mm lens in 35mm system. It still works quite well and I have learned to use the lens on situation, in which I would have used 135mm lens on film/full frame camera, just take couple steps backward. At some point I will exchange 20D to full frame dSLR, but I'm going to keep this lens as a macro lens and head&shoulders portrait lens.



+ Sharpness, contrast and colors excellent (also wide open)
+ Excellent bokeh (Update 2008: Actually after years using this lens - bokeh sucks, it can be buttery smooth on macros, but on normal photography this lens has pretty ugly bokeh)
+ Can also used as a 100(/160mm at 1.6 crop factor) prime in addition to macro
+ Excellent build quality


- If focus starts to hunt, it may take a long time to lock the focus
- Focus limiter could have longer distance than 0.48m, for example 1 meter
- Lens hood is not included

See photos in my picturebank taken with this lens.

Photos of the lens

Focus limiter and focus scale

Focus limiter chooses either to focus on whole range or from 0.48m to infinity. I would hope that focus limiter had longer distance, for example 1m, or there would be third position in focus limiter.

Canon EF 100 f/2.8 USM macro - focus switch
On the left side: Focus limiter-switch and AF/MF-switch
On the right side: Focus scale includes also magnification (yellow numbers)

Lens hood ET-67

Canon EF 100 f/2.8 USM macro - ET-67
The lens hood almost doubles the size of the lens but has been enough effective even with 1.6 crop.

0, 2008