Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM 1-to-1 Macro Lens for Digital SLR Cameras – Review

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM 1-to-1 Macro Lens (now on sale at Amazon at up to 50% off the listed retail price), is a new lens for macro photography that was built with Canon’s latest technology. In order to make a crisp and clear close up picture, Canon equipped this lens with Image Stabilization to help eliminate any unnecessary shake that might ruin otherwise perfect picture.

This lens has a 100mm focal length and maximum aperture of 1:2.8, 1:1 maximum magnification, and ultrasonic motor for auto-focus. It is very light, which is mainly because the casing is made of plastic. A high quality of this lens is reached with 15 elements in 12 groups and ability to change focusing distance down to 0.3 meters. Focusing distance can be alternated between full, 0.5m, and 0.3m and can be adjusted directly on the lens. In either scenario, is gives you a good options for macro photography without getting too close to your subject and interfering with it. In order to have control over those settings, you need to switch to manual focusing whose switch is also located on the lens. The last on-lens feature to decide on is image stabilizer, which can be either on or off. Similar to other Canon lenses, this feature will improve image quality (sharpness) in low-light circumstances, close-up shooting, when using flash is not an option, or the object is moving. According to Canon, image stabilization (IS) is responsible for 2 stops improvement at 1:1 macro level and is achieved through its new Hybrid IS. Some independent tests could not back up that claim and were only able to achieve 1 stop improvement, rendering the Hybrid IS not as powerful and effective as claimed. In summary, image stabilization is still effective but more visible in pictures taken at larger distance.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM 1-to-1 Macro Lens shares the same high qualities as many other top-end Canon lenses, mainly excellent optical quality, body that’s waterproof and sealed from dust and other particles getting in and affecting the image, fast auto-focus and reliable image stabilization. Common complaint about this lens is the price and the materials used to make this lens. Although the glass is of excellent quality and the lens is made to the highest standards of craftsmanship, the plastic casing throws off some users who expect a better material for the price paid for the lens.

Reviews left by the customers on Canon’s website indicate overall great satisfaction with this lens as it earned 4.9 out of 5 stars. There weren’t any truly dissatisfied customers, and their comments reflect the good and the bad mentioned in the previous paragraph. Dpreview.com made quite extensive performance studies of this lens and gave it “Highly Recommended” grade. On the 10-point scale, the smallest grade was 7.5 for value and the highest 9.5 for image quality. It’s up to you to decide what’s more important.

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