Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro (full format) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published March 2010

Special thanks to Johannes Matzke for providing this lens!


Recently we had a look at the fancy new Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM L IS macro but Canon has actually two medium tele macro lenses in their lineup. The "older" Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro was introduced back in march 2000 so it's not really an outdated lens by prime lens life-cycle standards. The primary application of the lens is, obviously, macro photography but it's certainly also fine to be used for portraits and other aspects.

Compared to its predecessor the lens has been redesigned into a true IF (internal focus) construction - the physical length of the lens remains constant regardless of the focus setting. It may not have the tank like construction of its L grade cousin but the build quality is very decent based on a metal mount and an outer barrel made of good quality plastics. The front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is not problem. The broad, rubberized focus ring and has smooth, pleasant operation although manual focusing is a little tricky due to the short focus path.

It is possible to attach an optional tripod mount to the rear of the lens. While not really required the tripod mount provides a better balance - otherwise the camera- lens combination tends to be somewhat front-loaded specifically when used on light-weight DSLRs.

Typical for ring-type USM lenses full-time manual override is always possible in one-shot AF mode. The AF speed is blazingly fast but Canon still provided a focus limiter in order to avoid any AF hunting into the extreme macro range when operating the lens at normal focus distances.

Here's a spec comparison between this 100mm lens and its "L" grade cousin:

EF 100mm f/2.8
USM macro
EF 100mm f/2.8
USM L IS macro
Design (elements/groups): 12/8, floating system 15/12 inc. 1x UD
Aperture blades: 8 9 (circular)
min. focus: 0.31m (1:1 magnification) 0.3m (1:1 magnification)
focal length at min. focus: 78mm 75mm
Weather Sealing: no yes
Weight: 600g 625g
Size: 79x119mm 77.7x123mm
Filter Diameter: 58mm 67mm
IS: no yes
Price: ~500EUR ~900EUR

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