Canon EF 100mm f2.8 macro Lens
21/09/09This lens was introduced by Canon in 1990. It can give true 1:1 reproduction and I've found it to be a superbly sharp lens.
It is solidly built and has served me well for more than twelve years. 100mm is a great focal length for a general purpose macro lens and is also a fine length for portraiture. The f2.8 aperture provides a bright image in the viewfinder. On the left of the lens is the usual manual focus/auto focus switch and on the right side is a focus limiter switch. This enables you to prevent the lens from focussing through its full range. Once selected it allows you to focus either from roughly 0.3 metres to 0.6 metres (a magnification of 1:1 to about 1:4) or from about 0.6 metres to infinity. This helps to reduce the time it takes for the lens to lock focus on the subject.
Although the image quality is brilliantly crisp the lens does have a few drawbacks. It does not have a USM motor so focussing is noticably slower than with most Canon lenses. Also, as the subject gets closer the lens barrel extends and at its closest focusing point almost doubles the length of the lens. In addition the lens does not have full time manual focus so if you are in autofocus mode and want to tweak the focussing you need to flick the AF/MF switch. In 2000 Canon replaced this lens with a USM version that focusses much quicker, has full time manual focus and which does not have an extending barrel. In 2009 Canon also introduced an image stabilised version of the lens (at twice the cost).
This is still an excellent macro lens. If you can live with the slowish focussing and don't want to spend the extra money on the two more modern lenses then I can thoroughly recommend it to you.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Ease of use: 4/5
Value for money: 4/5
Build quality: 5/5