Canon 100mm F2 8l Macro Review

By | 31/10/2022

Digital Photographic camera World Verdict

The Canon RF 100mm f/ii.8L Macro IS USM takes everything that was great about the EF version and makes it even better. Magnification? Boosted to one.4x. Stabilization? Upped to 8 stops (on the EOS R5 and R6). Bokeh? Even more beautiful, thanks to a control ring that shifts the lens elements. Focus and breathing? Faster and more controlled than always. It’south a superb standalone portrait lens as well, with pivot-abrupt rendering and a flattering focal length. If you want to shoot shut-ups of small things and large things akin, you’ve only institute your side by side purchase.

Pros

  • +

    1:one.4 reproduction ratio

  • +

    Ridiculously precipitous

  • +

    SA (bokeh!) control

  • +

    Virtually-zip focus breathing

  • +

    eight stops of stabilization

Cons

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    This is the ane nosotros’ve been waiting for! The Canon RF 100mm f/two.8L Macro IS USM has been a hotly anticipated lens always since the EOS R system was commencement appear dorsum in 2018.

    The Canon RF 100mm f/ii.8L Macro IS USM is the successor to the beloved Catechism EF 100mm f/two.8L IS USM Macro, one of the best macro lenses
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    ever fabricated and a staple in the numberless of professionals and amateurs alike.

    Yet, that lens was
    so
    expert that the new version has a tough row to hoe to convince existing owners to upgrade – or even to sway newcomers to the organisation to buy the pricey new RF version, rather than the slightly cheaper EF option that can exist seamlessly used on EOS R cameras with Canon’s mount adapter.

    Fortunately, what we have in the Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM is not only a fantastic macro lens, simply ane of the all-time Canon RF lenses
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    around. Whether you shoot macro, portraits or video, this is definitely ane you should be eyeing up…

    Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro

    (Epitome credit:
    James Artaius
    )

    Canon RF 100mm f/ii.8L Macro IS USM: Specs

    Mount: Canon RF
    Totalframe: Yeah
    Imagestabilization: 5 stops (two stops at i.0x) / viii stops on Canon EOS R5 & R6
    Autofocus: Yes
    Lens structure: 17 elements in 13 groups
    Bending of view (horizontal, vertical, diagonal): 20°, 14°, 24°
    Diaphragm blades: ix
    Minimum discontinuity: f/32
    Closest focusing altitude: 0.26m
    Maximum magnification ratio: 1.4x
    Filter size: 67mm
    Dimensions: 81.5x148mm
    Weight: 730g

    Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro samples

    Catechism RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM + Canon EOS R5 (1/40 sec, f/2.viii, ISO100)


    (Image credit:
    James Artaius
    )

    SA (Spherical Aberration) Command: 0 (inactive)

    Canon RF 100mm f/ii.8L Macro IS USM: Cardinal features

    Canon is keen to signal out that this lens is the “world’s offset” autofocusing macro lens with a ane.iv:1 reproduction ratio. Indeed, this is one of the two master differentiators between this and the existing

    Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

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    – and for serious macro shooters, this solitary volition exist reason enough to upgrade.

    The other big difference is the SA Control – a purely creative control dial that imposes varying degrees of spherical aberration, in order to create a soft focus event and change the nature of the fore and background bokeh. You can see the results this creates in the slideshow above, depicting orangish Kalanchoe flowers.

    The first epitome shows the lens’ rendering with SA disabled at f/2.8 (the issue is well-nigh pronounced when shooting broad open, and becomes less credible as the lens is stopped down). You can run into how the bokeh becomes more ‘smeary’ when the lens is fix to -2, while the bokeh becomes busier and more ‘soap bubble’ at +2.

    You lot can likewise see how the SA Control introduces focus animate at both extremes, pushing in at -2 and pushing out at +2. So this is something to be enlightened of when composing your shots, as the frame volition go tighter or looser depending on how yous dispense the dial.

    The RF 100mm packs a maximum of five stops of lens-based prototype stabilization as standard, though this is limited to 2 stops when shooting at 1.0x magnification. When mounted on the Canon EOS R5
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    or Canon EOS R6
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    , the maximum compensation is increased to 8 stops cheers to the cameras’ in-body image stabilization.

    The optic boasts Dual Nano USM for quick, smoothen and almost-silent autofocus. And, when not employing SA Control, focus animate is well controlled – which is non only useful for filming video, but is besides invaluable for focus bracketing
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    and focus stacking
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    images.

    Canon RF 100mm f/ii.8L Macro IS USM + Catechism EOS R5 (i/160 sec, f/5.vi, ISO100)

    (Paradigm credit: James Artaius)


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    Catechism RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM: Build & handling

    While information technology’s slightly longer, wider and heavier than the existing DSLR version, the Canon RF 100mm Macro still feels sleek and is very ‘handle-able’ – and is deceptively light, given its footprint.

    As a macro lens demands, information technology possesses a large and well damped focus ring with pleasingly long throw – perfect for pinpoint precision when finding focus, whether you’re working by eye or using a focus assist like peaking.

    The nose of the optic features a standard outcome Control Band, which can be customized for exposure values such as aperture, ISO and white residuum. The band is clicked, but can be de-clicked at a service center for silent operation (such as during video work).

    The SA Command dial has a reassuring amount of resistance, to help prevent micro-nudges during performance, and features difficult stops at either extreme and a soft click at the neutral setting. Information technology does sit right side by side to the focus ring, however, so information technology’s piece of cake to turn the wrong one by mistake.

    Thankfully there’s a defended Lock for the SA dial, along with the expected focus limiter, AF / MF and Stabilizer ON / OFF toggle switches. And of course, as an L-series lens, it’s weather sealed and the construction is robust enough to withstand the rigors of professional utilize.

    Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM + Canon EOS R5 (1/ten sec, f/11, ISO400)

    (Image credit: James Artaius)


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    Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM: Performance

    The results delivered past the Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM are incredibly hard to fault. Sharpness is through the roof, across the frame, which is plain critical for macro photography in.

    Sharpness peaks between f/2.viii and f/4, meaning that even wide open you get pivot-sharp results – something that is more than meaning when shooting portraits than macro, though of course the effects of SA Command are nearly noticeable when shooting at larger apertures.

    Much as we love the soft focus effect – and peculiarly the heightened bokeh characteristics – created by the SA Control, we think most people will prefer to use information technology for shooting macro subjects rather than portraiture. A subtle awarding of SA can gently soften the skin and reduce the harshness of blemishes, but less considered employ will result in very ‘telephone filter’-looking portraits.

    For macro piece of work, though, SAControl tin create beautiful painterly looks to your images cheers to its effect on the bokeh. And for shooting video, it can add together a brilliantly dreamlike and ethereal consequence to your footage in-camera.

    Video is an surface area where the RF 100mm Macro definitely shines, thanks to the one-two punch of quick, tranquillity autofocus (which performs brilliantly, even all the way from macro to infinity) and virtually zero focus breathing. Plainly the latter makes a large deviation for videographers, only it’south likewise a huge deal for macro photography when it comes to stacking images to increase depth of field.

    Every bit a pure portrait lens, too, this is a phenomenal performer. Obviously the discontinuity isn’t as fast as that on the manufacturer’s premium portrait lenses, the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM
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    and Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS
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    , merely the 100mm focal length still enables you to achieve wonderful subject area separation and very pleasing bokeh (over again, something you can further manipulate with SA Control if y’all like).

    Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro samples

    Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM + Canon EOS R5 (1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO100)


    (Image credit:
    James Artaius
    )

    Discontinuity range: f/2.8

    Catechism RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM: Lab information

    We run a range of lab tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Master testing suite. Photos of examination charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), so analyzed for sharpness, baloney and chromatic aberrations.

    We utilize Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and assay software to plot lens resolution at the centre of the image frame, corners and mid-point distances, beyond the range of aperture settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths. The tests also measure distortion and color fringing (chromatic abnormality).

    Sharpness:

    (Image credit: Hereafter)


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    Sharpness is splendid, even wide open at f/two.8. But what’due south virtually impressive is the consistency of sharpness across the entire image frame – vital for a macro lens. It’s not uncommon for fifty-fifty the best prime lenses to be relatively soft towards the corners of frame, merely Canon has clearly avoided this with the RF 100mm f/2.8 Macro.

    Fringing:

    (Image credit: Future)


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    Chromatic aberration is adequately well controlled, though this isn’t the best performance nosotros’ve seen in this category of lenses. A score just above 1 ways fringing volition be visible nether close scrutiny.

    Distortion: 0.48

    There’s balmy pincushion distortion evident when in-camera correction is disabled, but it’s negligible and very unlikely to be visible in typical shooting.

    Canon RF 100mm f/ii.8L Macro IS USM: Verdict

    The Catechism RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM is quite possibly the finest macro lens nosotros’ve ever used, and assuredly the best double-duty macro if yous shoot close-ups of people as well as minor subjects. Indeed, if you’re a video shooter also, this is an essential
    triple-duty lens equally information technology’s a fantastic performer for videography.

    Not only does it offer an impressive 1:1.4 reproduction ratio, it does so with autofocus – and more’s the betoken, the autofocus is speedy, silent and incredibly reliable (which is far from a given with AF macro lenses).

    The 5 stops of stabilization you go as standard on the Canon EOS R
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    and Canon EOS RP
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    is impressive enough, but with an astonishing viii stops on the R5 and R6 this becomes a truly formidable lens – especially when shooting portraiture. And while the SA Control band is very much a love-it-or-hate-it proposition, information technology can exist entirely disabled and ignored it it’s not your cup of tea.

    If you already ain the EF version of the lens, information technology’s a tough call as to whether you need to upgrade. If yous need greater magnification, better stabilization and / or a bokeh control punch, you’re only going to get it on this RF lens. If yous’ve been waiting for this lens before deciding which one to purchase – or if y’all’re an R-system user wondering whether to opt for the DSLR optic – it’s a no-brainer: get the RF 100mm Macro.

    Catechism RF 100mm f/ii.8L Macro IS USM: Samples

    Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM + Canon EOS R5 (i/8 sec, f/16, ISO400)

    (Image credit: James Artaius)


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    Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM + Canon EOS R5 (one/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO1000)

    (Paradigm credit: James Artaius)


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    Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro samples

    Catechism RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM + Canon EOS R5 (1/ten sec, f/eight, ISO200)

    (Image credit: James Artaius)


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    Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM + Catechism EOS R5 (one/8 sec, f/eight, ISO100)

    (Image credit: James Artaius)


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    Catechism RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM + Canon EOS R5 (i/x sec, f/11, ISO400)

    (Image credit: James Artaius)


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    Canon RF 100mm f/ii.8L Macro IS USM + Canon EOS R5 (i/10 sec, f/xvi, ISO400)

    (Image credit: James Artaius)


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    Read more:

    Best Canon cameras

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    Best Canon lenses

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    Canon EOS R review

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    Canon EOS RP review

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    Catechism EOS R5 review

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    Canon EOS R6 review
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    The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years feel as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey every bit Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients equally diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L’Oréal, in add-on to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, also equally industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Mag
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    , PhotoPlus: The Catechism Magazine
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    , Due north-Photo: The Nikon Mag
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    , Digital Lensman
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    and Professional Imagemaker, also as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Testify
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    . An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of cognition on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.

    Source: https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/reviews/canon-rf-100mm-f28l-macro-is-usm-review