Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
November 2, 2009
by Andrew Alexander
Put to market in 2000, the Canon EF 100mm ƒ/2.8 USM is one of three standard Canon full-frame macro lenses: the 50mm ƒ/2.5, 100mm ƒ/2.8, and 180mm ƒ/3.5. Two other macro options exist, the exotic MP-E 65mm ƒ/2.8, and the APS-C compatible EF-S 60mm ƒ/2.8.
The 100mm ƒ/2.8 macro was one of the first lenses we reviewed here at SLRgear, and in reviewing the updated version of this lens, we noted some inconsistencies in our data for this lens. Accordingly, we sent the old lens back to the test bench, which conveniently gives us an excellent basis for comparison for the new lens.
The EF 100mm ƒ/2.8 Macro USM was designed to cover a 35mm film frame, making it compatible with both APS-C subframe and full-frame digital camera bodies. When mounted to the former, the effective field of view is 160mm.
While an upgraded version of the 100mm ƒ/2.8 macro has been launched, this version continues to fill store shelves, with an approximate price of $600. The lens takes 58mm filters. The compatible lens hood, the ET-67, is a circular-shaped hood that does not ship with the lens, available separately for $55.
Mounted on the Canon 20D, the lens is very sharp, even wide open at ƒ/2.8. At this aperture setting there is a generous sweet spot of sharpness, showing at less than 1.5 blur units, with corners approaching but not reaching 2 blur units. Stopping down only improves these results, reaching absolute tack-sharpness at ƒ/5.6. The lens continues to be sharp all the way to ƒ/16, where diffraction limiting has set in, though even here we note sharpness results of 1.5 blur units across the frame. At ƒ/22 it's a bit more obvious - 2.5 blur units across the frame - and fully stopped down at ƒ/32, things are quite soft, 4 blur units across the frame.
On the full-frame 5D, performance is equally good, though we see a bit more of the corners of the lens that aren't exposed on the sub-frame sensor of the 20D. Wide open at ƒ/2.8, we still see the sharp sweet spot, but the area of sharpness isn't as generous, covering only about the central third of the frame at 1.5 blur units. Corner sharpness at ƒ/2.8 is around 2 blur units, still quite good. Stopping down to ƒ/4 improves these results, and again by ƒ/5.6, it's as good as the lens can deliver, but not quite tack-sharp across the frame. The central area of the frame is sharp, easily 1 blur unit, but the corners don't fall below 1.5 blur units. This is me being extremely picky - 1.5 blur units is still extremely sharp.
Diffraction limiting sets in at ƒ/11, where we not approximately 1.5 blur units across the frame, and performance degrades only very slightly from there. It's about the same at ƒ/16, not showing any real loss of sharpness until ƒ/22, where results are just over 2 blur units. Again, fully-stopped down we note significant softness - just shy of 4 blur units across the frame.
In summary, excellent results for sharpness, provided you stick to between ƒ/5.6 and ƒ/11 for maximum performance. Even ƒ/16 and ƒ/22 are very good, but I'd avoid ƒ/32.
Chromatic aberration is well-controlled with this lens, at every aperture setting, on either the 20D or the 5D. If you're peeping very closely, you'll see a slight increase in CA at the smaller end of the aperture spectrum (ƒ/32) but it's only very slight.
Corner shading is minimal on the 20D, the only noteworthy result found with the lens set to ƒ/2.8. In this case, the corners are a quarter-stop darker than the center; or, not very much.
On the 5D, it's a little different. At ƒ/2.8, the corners are over three-quarters of a stop darker than the center. Light falloff improves as the lens is stopped down; a third of a stop at ƒ/4, and less than a quarter-stop at ƒ/5.6 and smaller.
Distortion is negligible when the lens is mounted on the sub-frame 20D. On the full-frame 5D, it's only slightly more significant, showing +0.2% barrel distortion in the corners. This distortion is easily correctable in post-processing software, if your straight lines must be absolutely straight.
With Canon's USM specification, the lens autofocuses quickly and quietly, taking about 1.25 seconds to focus from infinity to closest-focus. It's not as fast as some of Canon's L-class lenses, but then, that's one of the things that makes them more expensive. Autofocus results can be overridden by simply turning the focus ring, and the front element doesn't rotate while focusing.
Offering a full 1:1 (100%) macro reproduction is the chief function of this lens. With a minimum close-focusing distance of 31cm (just over one foot), there's much less risk of shadowing the subject with the camera or your body, and if bugs are your game, you're a bit less likely to scare them off.
Build Quality and Handling
While the lens is not part of Canon's L-series, it's still built very well, weighing in at 600 grams (just over 1.3 pounds). The lens shows a textured matte black finish, with plenty of room allocated to the focus ring and a distance scale. While the lens uses a fair bit of plastic construction the mount is metal, and it's heavy enough to suggest that the structure of the lens is metal as well. The aperture is made up of eight aperture blades.
The distance scale is windowed and recessed, offering distance information in feet and meters, as well as the magnification rating offered at a given range. Beside the distance scale is a switch to enable or disable autofocus. No depth-of-field scale is offered, and neither is there an infrared index. Finally, there is a focus range limiter which improves focusing speed by physically limiting the range the lens can focus through: in this case, there are two settings: the complete range, from 0.31m to infinity, and a less-macro range, from 0.48m to infinity.
The focusing ring on the lens is considerable, a rubber ring with a texture of segmented raised ribs. The ring offers excellent manual focus control, with just the right amount of tension, but a smooth turning operation. The lens will focus slightly past infinity. The internal focusing operation means the lens doesn't extend while focusing, and the front element doesn't turn either.
The lens hood is an optional accessory for this lens, as is a tripod mounting ring. For even greater magnification, 12mm and 25mm extension tubes are available, however when these are used the lens will no longer focus at infinity. Canon also notes that teleconverters are not compatible with this lens.
Canon EF-S 60mm ƒ/2.8 Macro USM ~$450
For the APS-C camera uses in the Canon lineup, the EF-S 60mm offers an equivalent field of view of 96mm, or essentially similar to the EF 100mm. In our tests it's on par or even better than the 100mm, but by ƒ/5.6, both lenses are exquisitely sharp. CA and corner shading are only marginally less optimal with the 60mm, and distortion is essentially zero. If you never plan on going full-frame, the 60mm ƒ/2.8 macro is an excellent alternative.
Canon EF 100mm ƒ/2.8L Macro IS USM ~$1,000
The newest version of the 100mm ƒ/2.8 macro has been refined, offering L-class quality and improvements in sharpness and light falloff. CA performance was already excellent in the non-IS version, and both have very little distortion to speak of. The real story is the addition of image stabilization, which means you might be able to leave your tripod at home. The new lens is a bit more expensive, and takes new filters: 67mm, instead of 58mm.
Sigma 105mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG Macro ~$450
The Sigma 105mm macro offers very similar performance for a bit less price: results for sharpness are almost the same, and CA performance is even better than the Canon. There's also near-zero distortion and light falloff. If it matters to you, the Sigma stops down to ƒ/45, though it is very soft at that aperture. It's a bit lighter, and also takes 58mm filters. The lens doesn't offer USM-style focusing, so the focus experience will be a bit noisier.
Tamron 90mm ƒ/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 SP AF ~$430
The Tamron 90mm macro is also an excellent macro lens, offering extremely sharp results - we only note a slightly better sharpness result from the Canon at ƒ/2.8. After that, it's essentially equal between the two lenses, though the Tamron shows less corner shading on full-frame. The Tamron takes smaller 55mm filters and weighs a little less as well, though it doesn't offer USM-style focusing, so the focus experience will be a bit noisier.
I'll stick with Dave's original assessment of the lens to wrap this one up: Without a doubt, the Canon EF 100mm ƒ/2.8 Macro is a superb lens. It's in a good focal length range for use as a portrait lens, but you may actually want to knock its sharpness down a bit after the fact in Photoshop(tm) to be kinder to your subjects. It may not be for everyone, but if you're looking for a maximally sharp, high-quality lens in this focal length range, this is about as good as it gets. If you're into macro photography, this is a superb tool, with the added benefit of a comfortable working range, thanks to its 100mm focal length.
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM User Reviews
8 out of 10 points and recommended by mariuspavel (5 reviews)nice bokeh, sharp, priceAF sometimes blocks
I really don't have anything bad to say other than it's a very heavy lens, so my wrist gets tired quickly. Other than that, this is a perfect lens. Image quality is outstanding - no fringing or warping, and everything is crystal clear.reviewed July 19th, 2014 (purchased for $550)
If I could have justified the extra cost I'd have gotten the IS version because image stabilization would be very nice for handheld shots. I tend to shoot 1 or 2 stops low just to increase the shutter speed, and then fix it later in Camera RAW.
Oh, the autofocus is pretty wonky at closeup. It has a very hard time getting a proper focus, and often the focus goes berzerk (on my old Canon 450d). Not a big deal since macro photography is best done manual focus anyways.
Some pics with this lens here - www.mariuspavel.ro/trash-dress-teodora-zsolt-fotografii-de-nunta-brasov/
10 out of 10 points and recommended by caMARYnon (8 reviews)excellent IQsome focus hunting in low light
A big cons is the lack of IS but not for macro work, for portraits.reviewed October 25th, 2013 (purchased for $630)
Only for macro is just perfect.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Rotremjr (4 reviews)Excellent image qualityNo lens hood provides
Pros:reviewed January 18th, 2012
-Excellent image quality. Even better on a full frame camera.
-IF focus system. The lens does not extend. The front element does not rotate.
- Smooth AF
-Excellent quality / price ratio.
-Not solid as the first version, but strong enough still to resist a 2' fall (as hapened to me on a hard surface) without any lens shift.
-A little cyan color cast visible.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by ken billington (4 reviews)Fast focusing, non-extending or rotating, sharp images, excellent optical performance, practical minimum working distance (MWD) of 150mm.Build quality not as solid as L-Series lenses, No image stabilization.
Advantagesreviewed December 6th, 2010
1. Fast Focusing - Utilizing USM (Ultrasonic Motor), the Canon 100 Macro internally focuses very fast, quietly and very accurately.
2. Non-Extending or Rotating - When focusing at 1x subject distances, the lens does not extend, and the front element does not rotate.
3. Sharp Images - the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens is sharp wide open. The tiniest details in your tiniest subjects will come to life with this lens.
4. Optical Performance - Flare is very well controlled. Color and contrast are excellent and distortion is negligible. Although vignetting is apparent at f/2.8, this rapidly disappears when the lens is stopped down.
5. Practical Minimum Working Distance (MWD) - The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens gives an optimum MWD of 150mm. At the higher MWD of the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L USM lens (240mm), insects are not really close enough. At the lower MWD of the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens (90mm), insects may scare and fly away prematurely.
1. Build quality - this USM Macro lens has a reasonable build quality although it's not quite as solid as the L-Series lenses.
2. Image Stabilization - this lens does not feature the image stabilization present with the significantly more expensive Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro Lens.
The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens is a very good choice for macro photography of butterflies, insects or flowers. It offers excellent optical performance and middle-of-the-road working distance, size and weight.
Check out my insect stock photos and images on http://kenbillington.ch/photobank/Insects/
10 out of 10 points and recommended by suttere (1 reviews)sharpness, bokehmissing image stbilisation
very sharp images. Need of tripod in many circumstances. natural bokeh.reviewed September 21st, 2010 (purchased for $580)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by jt354 (9 reviews)EverythingNo 3-position focus limiter, incompatible with EF extenders, no tripod ring
The 100mm 1:2.8 macro is a nearly-perfect lens. On a crop-sensor 40D, it's tack sharp wide open with no apparent distortion and relatively low CA. It produces vibrant, contrasty images at all ranges from 1:1 to infinity focus. The focus ring is not L quality, but it is fairly smooth and has a great range of travel for precise adjustments. Internal focus is a nice bonus compared to the Sigma 105mm and Tamron 90mm macros. Autofocus is reasonably fast, and a focus limiter aids in focusing at portrait range and longer (.48m-infinity). Unfortunately, there is no way to limit focus to macro ranges (1:1-1:5), and the AF occasionally hunts when set to full range.reviewed May 9th, 2010 (purchased for $540)
Construction quality is very good. The lens feels solid, has a metal mount (and probably metal internals), and balances well on Canon's larger bodies. Near the base is a cutaway for a tripod ring, which is not included and costs a fortune to buy aftermarket. A flange behind the rear element prevents the 100mm macro from mounting to EF teleconverters, and the lens also lacks the extra "extender" electrical contacts. Finally, it's cheaper than the Nikon version!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by uamsstudent (3 reviews)Great Price & Unbelievably SharpNone
I think that this lens is sharper than the "blur index" graph shows. It really is brutal when used for portraits. It is by far the sharpest lens that I have ever used.reviewed December 5th, 2009 (purchased for $450)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by elho_cid (10 reviews)USM AF, great image quality, build qualitybig and heavy compared to some competition
This lens has unbeatable price/performance ratio. it is not only great macro lens, but its also very good on greater worging distances, doubling as a telephoto prime.reviewed November 17th, 2009 (purchased for $500)
On close-up distance the reliable AF is very handy when shooting moving objects, such as kitten or puppies.
Tamron 90/2,8 is reported better, but I didn't like its out of focus rendering so much.
On my Pentax setup the DFA100 is lighter and performs as good optically, but lacks the USM.
Sigma 180 is sharp as well, but the CA is too high for my taste.
So the EF100 is my favorite macro lens.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by RadiantLite (16 reviews)contrast, depth of field, built-quality, AF speed
I bought Canon Macro 100mm for fun, because of the deep cashback from live.com in the thanksgiving week. First I think if I don't like it, I will sell it, but the lens is just too amazing to be sold.reviewed June 12th, 2009 (purchased for $600)
Canon Macro 100mm is quite affordable and do a fantastic job. No wonder a lot of professional use and recommend it. The lens is primarily use for macro, for small things. The lens have ability to focus really close to object so that the camera can capture a life size image.
The depth of field is very shallow, especially wide open at f/2.8 as you can see in some samples that I have uploaded. So, f/8 or higher is recommended if you want to capture a sharp object.
But the shallow depth of field is not bad thing for many people, it helps the photographer to point out where is the most interesting part of the picture.
The focal length of 100mm, make it ideal for portrait lens because it flattens out the facial features and blur the background making the subject more appealing especially girls portraits.
The color contrast is also very good, it turns everyday boring object becomes interesting.
Physically, the lens are slightly longer and heavier than most general purpose lens, the built quality is almost similar to 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and slightly better than 50mm, 85mm primes.
The focusing bar is big make manual adjustment becoming very easy (manual focus is important for Macro work to ensure accurate focusing, although the auto focus is very fast due to USM (UltraSonic Motor). We can adjust the focusing to macro range (close up) or standard to long range.
This lens focal length is bit too long for indoor shot and in crop sensor camera (Rebel series, and X0D series) but ideal for full frame camera (5D, 1D(s) series), but it is perfect for outdoor.
Other alternative for APC-S camera is the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM which is smaller more suitable indoor and have almost equal price and image quality. The drawback is the EF-S lens can't be use in full frame camera if you want to upgrade later.
For sample photos and other reviews, please visit
10 out of 10 points and recommended by bennike (2 reviews)Razor Sharp Images and silent focus. I actually like the build quality as wellNone so far
This lense has produced many excellent razor charp images for me. As a secondary use I have had some very pleasant surprises when using this for Portrait Photography.reviewed March 25th, 2009 (purchased for $700)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by waro52 (5 reviews)IQ, focusing speed,none
I get more keepers with this macro than any other macro I have owned (50mm f2.5 canon and a nice old Zuiko). Fast focus, incredibly sharp at f/5.6 and good working distance make this a fun lens. The build quality is not at L quality but then, neither is the price. I played around with canon's 180L. The 180 is too heavy and I could not see an appreciable increase in image quality over this lens. I love this lens. It make day hiking an adventure both ways. On the way up to a lake I have on a 17-40 for scenics. On the way back this lens allows you to focus on flowers and insects. I used to put the camera away on the way home. No more.reviewed December 31st, 2008 (purchased for $485)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by onlyone (8 reviews)Sharp, Smooth and fast AF, Bokeh is fineMissing len's hood, Plastic body
If you don't hope L lens, metalic body and hood in a box, buy this len, it can give you anything.reviewed June 1st, 2008 (purchased for $470)
It's one of my favorite lens, especially in my Macro workshop, it gives me very sharp image and nice bokeh. Its USM give a very fast and accuracy AF, even in low light (but not too low). I pay around 16,000 ฿ (Thai baht) but it gave me much more.
Recommended lens !!!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by lextalionis (82 reviews)Phenomenal Macro Prime lens! Sharp and fast...my favorite lens!Wish is was built and weather sealed like an L
9 out of 10 points and recommended by fergusonjr (15 reviews)Super-sharp. Super-fast AF.Plasticky body.
This is one of my favorite lenses. It's fantastically sharp -- its sharpness is especially evident because it's a Macro lens and it's able to reveal such fine details. The auto-focus is blazingly fast -- so fast it sometimes seems instantaneous.reviewed October 12th, 2007
The lens feels relatively well built, but the plastic body suggests low quality. It's probably fortunate that it doesn't have a metal body, as it would certainly be substantially heavier. Other than having a focus ring that doesn't feel particularly tight, the lens seems fairly solid.
A superb lens that delivers superb Macro photos!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by tmeldgaard (1 reviews)sharpness, fastest focusing macromissing lens hood, not L built, could have a nicer bokeh
Bought this lens mainly for its macro capabilities but realized that it is an amazing portrit lens as well. I love the fast focus when the limiter is on.reviewed September 13th, 2007
Bought a copy lens hood on ebay for almost free - highly recommended.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by hitendra (11 reviews)Excellent image quality, superb balance, well built.None
Here are some shots taken with it… judge it yourself...reviewed July 7th, 2007
9 out of 10 points and recommended by rainerknappe (24 reviews)sharp, colours, blur & USMI am still missing the lenshood!
One of the best Canon lenses! I own 6 macros - 4 Sigmas, 1 Tamron and this one. I made a lot of tests comparing it with the brother Sigma 105 - they are very close in optics, may be the Canon offers a little bit more saturated colours and a sweeter out-of-focus. Sharpness is brilliant as the Sigma and the USM is much quicker (but I nearly don´t use it, I like the MF traditionally). The Sigma is cheaper, nicer, not so heavy and has no cornershading at 2.8. Canon against Sigma - normally 5:4 - but the missing lenshood???, so 5:5.reviewed May 22nd, 2007 (purchased for $440)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by jdf (8 reviews)Excellent image quality, USMNone
used it the very first time on a 350D, i was amazed how fast it was compared to a sigma 105 EX, it's very fast for a macro lens. it's Build is ok, and it's nice.reviewed January 12th, 2007
Image quality it provides is very good, some of the best lenses canon has.
The AF is very fast and precise as this is an USM lens.
If you are on "macro mode" it swings out to "normal" very fast!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by kzr63g (6 reviews)Sharp from 2.8 Does not prolong when focusing. Relatively fast AF.F 32 is not so sharp.
Used it for a long period of time.reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $850)
Sharp from full opening. But could be better at 32 (I rarely use this f-stop).
Nice that this lense do not prolong when focusing.
A shade should have been included (you have to by extra).
Internal focusing is something I like.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by ne1rom (6 reviews)Sharpnone
It's not "L" so the construction quality could be better.reviewed January 7th, 2007
Image quality is excellent. Macro is almost scary :) No bug cant be safe ;)
I recommend the lens for FF and APS-C DSLR.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by adobo (17 reviews)Good working distance, Canon makes good macro lenses..I don't like the shape.. hehehe
Although relatively new (announced in 2000), for some reason, it feels like an "old design"... (for me)reviewed January 6th, 2007 (purchased for $440)
But aesthetics aside.. Canon makes good macro lenses.. Internal focusing, sharp, front element doesn't rotate during focusing, did I say sharp?
Anyway, the EF-S 60 and EF-S 100 are almost equal in image quality.. I guess the only thing that you need to consider is whether you want a:
Lighter, slightly-cheaper lens (EF-S 60mm) (crop body only btw)
Longer working distance, requires higher shutter speed because of focal length, and full-frame compatibility (EF 100mm)
Btw.. This is a fun lens.. you won't run out of things to photograph once you grab this one :)
And this could also be used for portraits :) (so maybe you can sell your 50mm f/1.8 II)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by SteveR12682 (10 reviews)Extremely sharpLarger and heavier than similar lenses
This lens is a great lens, both for macro as well as general shooting. It is larger and heavier than other macro lenses in the 90 to 105 range, but the internal focusing and USM are definitely worth it.reviewed December 30th, 2006 (purchased for $450)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by vladnotkin (1 reviews)Fast Focus, Wonderful Image qualityNone with the lens. Canon should have included Lens Hood.
I use this lens for all my macro photography, in fact, I use it 50% of the time during the summer month. The images are sharp, as sharp as they can be using Digital SLR, and the quality of picture is incredible.reviewed December 20th, 2006 (purchased for $650)
When working within the 12 inches of the subject, I find that I need to switch focus to manual mode, but my other L series lenses are no faster at focussing when working within the minimum focusing distance.
If you are looking for a macro lens, you can't go wrong with this one.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by SamuelMV (6 reviews)sharpness, image quality, fastbig (especially with the hood attached), range in APS-C
I have used the 100mm USM 2.8 Macro for 1 year and a half. Its image quality is top notch, probably one of the best Canon lenses.reviewed December 13th, 2006 (purchased for $500)
Thanks to the USM AF it's fast and silent, althought it's better to focus manually in macro photography (or focus using camera movements).
It has a switch to choose between two distance ranges for autofocus, which improves the versatility of this lens in non-macro photography.
When I switched from film to digital, I founded that the equivalent focal length (160 mm) was too far for my needs, so I ended selling it.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Muiderburght (13 reviews)sharp, close-up, internal focusing; quiet (USM)slow focusing (macro range), very precise focusing (sometimes off)
Recently bought this lens. It was a bit of an impuls purchase. it's a lot of money for something that is this task specific and wont be on your camera all the time.reviewed December 1st, 2006 (purchased for $600)
I actually use it for taking pictures of my kids. I like the sharpness and the close up pictures you can take with it. With non-macro lenses, you always have the face and some. With this lens, you can do eye-nose, foot or hand pictures.I guess a crop would work too :-)
In the store, I compared it to the Sigma 105 Macro. You can read my review there. This lens is just extremely quiet and has internal focusing compared to that one. Well worth the extra 100 bucks if you ask me. Of course, I already knew from SLRGear.com that the picture quality would be more than ok. Which I can only confirm. Most Canon prime lenses wont disappoint in that field and hence it wasnt a major focus at buying.
7 out of 10 points and recommended by BillDavenport (2 reviews)Very nice image quality, good working distanceslow focus, low contrast
The only other macro lens I've had to compare it to is the 60mm Micro Nikkor which is the sharpest lens I've ever seen. The Canon isn't as sharp, doesn't and have the internal contrast of the Nikkor. It's image quality is nice but soft looking. The focus is slow and iffy especially compared to USM lensesreviewed November 22nd, 2006 (purchased for $400)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by tkgross (3 reviews)Sharpness and working distance with 1.6 mulitplier lensesCan't think of any
Sharpest lens I own. Pretty nice even as a walk around.reviewed November 19th, 2006 (purchased for $470)
Equivalent 160mm keeps you a little furhter from the bees.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Jarrad_Kevin (11 reviews)Very Sharp, Macro Capability, USMA little heavier than I'd like
Extremely sharp. Even wide open.reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $500)
The AF is not slow at all, in my opinion. It's quite quick. Not quite as fast as the 85 1.8 or 24-70L, but close and noticeably faster than the 50 1.4. I use it even in some macro situations with great success. I wouldn't depend upon the AF in all macro situations, but it is useful when needed.
It's a hefty lens and doesn't feel as though it's lacking in build quality. It's a little heavier than I'd like, but it's not heavy enough to make you think twice about using it.
I'd love for it to be weather sealed, I'd love Image Stabilisation, but other than that it's just about all you could ask for in a macro lens.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by gadgetguy (62 reviews)Sharp, beautiful bokeh, working distanceHeavy, slow focus
I use this lens in conjunction with a Sigma 50mm macro. Both are excellent optically, but I pull out the 100mm when I need the extra working distance (for shy subjects like bugs - especially on a 1.6 crop) or I need the narrower field of view.reviewed November 14th, 2006
The lens in exceptionally sharp and distortion-free. it is, however, relatively heavy and slow in autofocusing - especially when working way up close. in such cases, it's better to manually focus.
The focal length is not as practical as the 50mm macro (a little too long for me) but when you need the extra reach and full macro, it's hard to beat.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by tukaway (6 reviews)Extremely sharp, beautiful bokeh, accurate focusOccasional focus hunting when not used for macro work, IS would be helpful
This lens is remarkably sharp across every part of the frame. It may addict you to macro work. Bokeh is liquid smooth.reviewed March 23rd, 2006 (purchased for $450)
Perhaps this is unique to my copy, but I have found that when shooting at normal (non-macro) distances, the lens can tend to hunt a bit more than my other lenses when focusing in reduced light.
It's a specialized tool, and is truly excellent in its niche.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by snapper (6 reviews)Reference level sharpness (L-like), good colors low distortion, reasonable speed and accurate focusa little long, no I.S. - which would make it PERFECT
This is a great value. The sharpest lens in my bag. Dependable accurate focus, clarity - to be used when you want the best image quality you can get. Sometimes hunts in very low light. Takes the tamron SP 1.4x very nicely for 'Bigger Bees' - I cannot see any difference in quality with slightly slower focus. Very accurate focus nice big manual ring. I keep bringing it with me in the bag because I'll always see another bug/flower and this is the WAY to get 'em. Perfect for a your baby's face on a 20D.reviewed November 18th, 2005 (purchased for $450)
Rugged and heavy.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by jyli19 (7 reviews)excellents image quality, professional quality constructionOptional lens hood, pricy
Professional quality macro lens. Sharper than L series zooms. This lens proves to a be a workhorse for me, both macro work and normal shoot. Focus is very sensitive.reviewed November 3rd, 2005 (purchased for $430)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by mdbassman (5 reviews)Wonderful-Sharp-Crispnone
I love this macro lens! The images are sharp and the DOF is wonderful. It is a good all around lens also but I use it for 99.9% macro.reviewed November 2nd, 2005 (purchased for $499)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by photopilot377 (5 reviews)Small, Light weight, quality images!a bit long for APS sized sensors like the 20D & my 10D
I like it! My only gripe is that it becomes a little too long when used with the 10D/20D size sensor. I would love to test it on a FF body.reviewed October 31st, 2005 (purchased for $400)