Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

 
Lens Reviews / Canon Lenses i Lab tested

Lab Test Results

  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion
60mm $399
average price
image of Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

(From Canon lens literature) A thoroughly modern design that's optimized for select Canon EOS digital SLRs. Its angle of view is equivalent to a 96mm lens on a 35mm camera, with a floating optical system that can focus down to full life-size (1:1) magnification. This is a wonderful multi-purpose lens that's equally at home shooting macro shots, portraits, or available-light photos.

(Our own comments) Serious photographers generally have more than one prime (non-zoom) lens in their arsenal, and their images show it. Prime lenses tend to make you work for the shot, while zooms can make you lazy. Prime lenses also perform better, with lower tendencies toward optical distortion, like chromatic aberation and pincushion. The 60mm Macro would be an excellent choice for anything from macro to portrait work.

Test Notes

As you'd expect from a prime, the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro delivers superior sharpness over a wide range of aperture settings. Wide open, its just a little on the soft side, but just one stop down at f/4, it's "prickly sharp," and very sharp indeed all the way out to f/11. (Like many lenses, things get quite soft beyond f/16 or so, don't even consider using f/32, unless you're deliberately trying for a soft-focus effect.)

Chromatic aberration is well on the low side of average, but does increase steadily from f/4 on, reaching a "moderate" level somewhere around f/8-11. Given that this is a fixed focal length lens, we were a little surprised to see 1/2 EV of light falloff in the corners of the image at f/2.8. This decreases rapidly with increasing f-number though, and is less than 0.2 EV at F4. As you'd expect from a medium focal length prime lens, pincushion distortion is a vanishingly small 0.03%.

As we said above, most serious photographers have several prime lenses in their bag, and this 60mm f/2.8 would make a great early addition for many Rebel and 20D shooters. It's a great length for portrait shots (just knock down the sharpness a little in Photoshop(tm)), it's great for macro work, and delivers exceptionally sharp and distortion-free images. All in all, a great lens for the d-SLR shooter.

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM User Reviews

9.5/10 average of 24 reviews Build Quality 8.7/10 Image Quality 9.8/10
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Light, Very Sharp, Quick AF in a lot of situations, Perfect Reach
    AF can hunt quite a bit in some situations, somewhat small, short working distance for macro

    This lens is simply awesome used as a short telephoto for portraits etc., whatever you would use a 100mm for on a FF. IMO, a much more interesting focal length than 50mm on a crop.

    This lens is superb, sharp even wide open, and embarassingly so if you stop it down for portraits, my main use for the lens.

    Moreover, I find the AF to be quick in most situations when used at non-macro ranges; it will hunt quite a bit in situations where most other lenses would, but it takes longer to do so because of the increased range it's hunting in. As I see it, the AF is quick enough for most uses in normal situations.

    As a nitpick issue, I'd say the lens is a tad short, making it difficult to hold with your left hand below the lens when shooting handheld, which is I find the most comfortable way to shoot (and I have relatively small hands).

    Also, I found the working distance when doing macro to be somewhat short and not very comfortable. Mileage may vary!

    In any case, I recommend this lens without hesitation for those who want to make use of the lens for its short telephoto focal length.

    reviewed September 16th, 2012 (purchased for $429)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    small,light,sharp,inexpensive
    working distance

    A great macro/portrait length.I love this lens.

    reviewed December 11th, 2010 (purchased for $300)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (10 reviews)
    tack sharp, really good color, compact size, no extending parts
    slow AF, range is small for insects

    A great macro lens, with some limitations due to its focal length, but if you want this range, its the best option out there, period. A joy to use, but sometimes the AF hunts badly if you are close to one end (macro versus infinity) and make a change. I use it paired with a Canon 7D, I have been able to get useable results as high as ISO 3200, nothing for print, but it was amazing what I could get at that range.

    Samples here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cglightworks/sets/72157623949181315/

    reviewed May 17th, 2010 (purchased for $400)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    very sharp, nice details, good bokeh, f2.8, FTM, IF
    none at all

    I use this lens basically for macro work. The results are pretty nice. The pictures are sharp and high quality. The IF design was a very good idea from the Canon, because you don't have to pay attention for the minimum working distance, because it stays constant. The USM works well: It's quick and accurate. The minimum working distance is 9 cm. Do not wait wonders from it. Some bugs/butterflies will run/fly away, but by my experiences I can say: If you cannot catch an animal with lens(because it runs away), you won't catch it with a 100 mm lens too. If the working distance matters you, buy a 150/180mm macro. This lens is a good alternative for portrait works too. I made some portraits with it and they're also nice.

    Very good choice for an APS-C DSLR.

    reviewed July 7th, 2009 (purchased for $410)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    razor sharp, quick and silent AF
    none

    This lens has great optical quality. Though I have zooms covering the 19-35 and 70-200 mm focal length ranges, I take more than 90% of my shots with this lens. I use it for walk around, macro work and portrait and very pleased with the results.

    reviewed April 4th, 2009 (purchased for $450)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    The macro is flawless
    EF-S only, should be in the L family.

    The macro ability is so amazing, you have to witness it for yourself. It is so sharp that you can probably turn your SLR into a digital picture snapping microscope.

    Take any US dollar bill, and focus on some fine lines. This camera will reveal the line is actually text. And its not like you can kinda make it out. It is sharp. Flawless.

    It is also a great prime at 60mm.

    reviewed September 10th, 2008 (purchased for $385)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Image quality, sharpness, bokeh, lightweight/compact, life size macro capability
    AF hunt in low light, only work in 1.6x sensor camera, smaller working size compare to Canon 100mm/f2.8

    The image quality especially the sharpness is speak for themselves. If you do a lot of macro Canon 100mm/f2.8 is the main choice which is heavier and more expensive. However since I travel a lot and need lightweight lens, my Canon 60mm/f2.8 is very comfortable sitting even in my pocket. I'm happy with this lens performance apart from AF hunt in low light.

    These are the samples of my images collection taken by this amazing lens hopefully may help you making decision.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toni_wahid/2753363077/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toni_wahid/2753891488/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toni_wahid/2744988516/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toni_wahid/2741950036/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toni_wahid/2734907863/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toni_wahid/2740173073/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toni_wahid/2728343434/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/toni_wahid/2724888485/

    reviewed August 14th, 2008 (purchased for $350)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    1:1, light, solid, sharp, FTM
    AF hunts in low light, no macro delimiter

    Image quality is just superb, no doubt. Working distance is good for the length, focus is very quiet and smooth. It would be a perfect portrait lens (except maybe too sharp!) if it had a focus delimiter, as it is the AF hunts too much in low light.

    reviewed February 15th, 2008 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (9 reviews)
    super fast AF when not used as a macro, the super sharp optics , excellent build
    none at all.

    this is the lens I love more than any other lenses I 've used , this lens is sharper than all Ls . PERIOD.

    there is no better lens than this , this lens is not comparable to the low level Tamorn Sigma macros priced around this one........... this one does NOT extend when it focuses and this lens is so compact , with super fast AF .

    I use this for many applications but I think this one really shines when shooting street candid stuffs .

    I was shooting cats chasing a rat , fighting , this lens AFed stop on all the time .

    last monday , I went to Cambodia for Thai visa , shooting many people in really shockingly poor country especialy at border , this lens took amazingly honest simle of people there , if I had my 70-200f2.8 or 4 LIS , people never smiled and even before that I am not sure if I got through there safe.

    This is a super lens , no doubt about that.

    This is the best example of how much better an EFS could be than an EF counterpart.

    Compare this to the lousy 100 f2.8 , you will know what I mean.

    Also , compare the superb EF-S10-22 against the old and over priced EF17-40L, you will know FF is not the future, in 10 years , there will be no FF hopefully.

    I hope EOS 1 and Nikon D3 will be gone with these L and 5D snobs with FF -film nostalgia ......

    We need an EF-S100 f1.4IS to work with this stunning lens.

    reviewed December 12th, 2007 (purchased for $340)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    super fast AF,outstanding IQ, this is the sharpest lens ever used and I used so many ........
    none.

    if you do not like this lens , what can you potentially like it?

    this is the shapest lens you can buy regardless of mount and price .

    seriously, I owned many Ls and many Leicas , they are not even comparable to this lens , and considering its modest price and super fast and accurate AF , it is a no-brainer and the best of all current canon lenses.

    I have had 2 copies of this one since I love it so much and do not want to damage it fast.

    don't get me wrong its build quality is just fine ......maybe as good as it gets.

    PS. I sold the 100 macro and 50 f1.4 because this lens beats them hands down and I am selling the 85f1.2L also.

    reviewed October 12th, 2007 (purchased for $350)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (19 reviews)
    sharpest lens ever seen , fast focus speed (when working in infinity)excellent color
    not a as good macro as the 100(I use it as a normal portrait and candid photography lens)

    As a candid photography lens , maybe this is a great lens , though as a macro , it is too short.

    However , I am not interested in bugs or tiny creatures , so for my kind of macro works (product, flower) , it is a fine macro.

    It is so sharp , blow my 17-55IS and 50 F1.4 out of water.

    I rarely use it for portrait work now as it is too sharp for people shots.

    Highly recommended , easy to hand-hold and prickly sharp as review here says.

    reviewed August 16th, 2007 (purchased for $300)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    THE sharpest lens I've ever had, bokeh, colors
    rarely used, colors, "only" f/2.8, a bit long for portraiture

    This lens has some features to impress you. I was astound... no, astound is not enough... say, stunned... when I saw the SHARPNESS you got here. It is like the EF 50mm 1.8 II, even sharper, including the corners. Just what you need for macro work.

    I also hoped this lens will be the perfect portrait lens (since I sold my 50mm f/1.8 due to having build-quality related problems). It turns out you ought to get quite far from your model. In a small room, this means your model will be close to the walls, and since your max aperture is "only" 2.8 => You don't have the perfect background blur (as you'd like to have). IMHO, a f/2.0 aperture would be a killer, even if it did incur some IQ losses... forgot to say, bokeh is simply beautiful, it cannot get any better 8)

    I said twice "colors" in both Pros and Cons. Color reproduction is not verbatim - this lens tends to get them a bit warmer. In fact, this is not bad, I seem to like it, it is better than going to magenta or blue... When shooting colorful flowers, e.g. roses, the lens makes your colors seem a bit odd on the LCD screen - e.g. the roses being not-exactly-red... a slight pink hue there.

    Anyways, this is not a big gripe, it is so easily correctable in PS... ;)

    Build quality is almost perfect. The AF operation is silent, a bit slow though. For a macro lens, one would like more focus ring travel - this has 1/2 turn, which is already good, but - hey - the 35mm f/2 has 1/2 too, and is not a macro! This is why I gave it 9/10, otherwise focusing is quite fun, the ring operation is so smooth :)

    All in all, if you need it - don't hesitate buying it - it is not very expensive, and for the sharpness you get, it can even be considered a bargain.

    Some photos ... http://debian.fmi.uni-sofia.bg/~group6_2008/lens/60mm_macro/

    reviewed May 26th, 2007 (purchased for $390)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (10 reviews)
    Lightweight for an f/2.8 macro, fats & quiet ring USM, true 1:1 macro capability
    It's light & compact because it's for EF-S bodies only, very short 1:1 macro working distance, vignetting apparent at f/2.8

    Pros: Lightweight for an f/2.8 macro, fast & quiet ring USM, true 1:1 macro capability, very sharp even at the corners, useable as a general-purpose fast prime

    Cons: It's light & compact because it's for EF-S bodies only, very short 1:1 macro working distance, vignetting apparent at f/2.8

    Had an opportunity to evaluate this lens, currently the only EF-S prime in the lineup, and came away impressed with its optical performance both as a portrait lens & as a macro lens. It's very good when used wide open & improves up to around f/5.6. Sharpness & lack of distortion is the hallmark for a macro prime, and this one delivers. As this is an EF-S lens, the image circle is reduced thus vignetting should be expected at f/2.8-3.5.

    Overall, I found out to be somewhat less useful for non-macro use even though it's relatively fast for a prime. If your macro subjects require more working distance then this lens is also not suited for that, you'd be better off with the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro.

    reviewed January 15th, 2007
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)

    I brought this just before Xmas, and this is one sharp lens. I want to add a prime lens and I like the macro capability over a faster non-macro lens. I had a tough time deciding between this 60mm or 100mm. I chose the 60mm because the 100mm is a little long for my 20D for portrait. The lens is nicely build and perfectly weight. IQ is great, the pics has beautiful color and contrast. Just can't say enough about its sharpness. AF is quiet, but a little slow. Very narrow DOF, and the background blurs are very smooth. I think this is a lot of lens for the money.

    reviewed January 14th, 2007 (purchased for $385)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Super sharp, fast, 1:1 macro
    none

    Bought on Amazon as the first addition to my Rebel Xti purchase, along with the 50mm 1.8. Though the 1.8 is obviously faster, I find that I like this lens a great deal better for its better build, and excellent sharpness and contract. When my son is asleep, I'm easily able to fill up the frame with his whole foot or ear or eye, with such narrow depth of field, that his big toe is sharply in focus while his little toe is blurry. Look forward to using it for other macro purposes as well, once I get good enough. Would definitely recommend.

    reviewed January 14th, 2007 (purchased for $380)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (17 reviews)
    IQ, Canon Macros are top-notch..
    EF-S only, No focus limiter

    Oh Canon..

    Everything would have been better if this had a focus-limiter switch..

    IQ is good, as with Canon Macros, the only major thing that differentiates them from each other is the working distance (60, 100, 180)..

    All-in-all a good lens because of the small packaging but I would prefer the 100mm Macro because.. Well I would only need 1 macro lens in my whole life, why not make it full-frame compatible? And greater working distance... (and also that focus limiter)

    reviewed January 6th, 2007 (purchased for $389)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Small, light, ultra IQ
    none to date

    This might be the flattest field, and sharpest lens that I own. It is nearly as light and small as a standard 50, and just a little longer. The USM focus is fast and accurate. There can be an issue (there will be an issue) when the lens is hunting for focus lock from an opposite extreme, but the full time manual focus ring gets you in the ballpark right now.

    This is the perfect portrait lens, has good macro working distance, and beats other Canon offerings with a stick. That includes the 100mm macro lens.

    The 60-S lens has top image quality, offers far better handheld results, has a good working distance, is far lighter, and is a much better crop sensor portait lens. Besides that, it is pretty cheap.

    Bokeh is also sweet with this lens, and with it's small size, it is not intimidating to the average subject. It's a class winner with no need for excuses.

    Jim K.

    reviewed January 4th, 2007 (purchased for $378)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (10 reviews)
    Superb Image quality, 1:1 macro, multifunctional (macro and portraits), WEIGHT, build, bokeh.
    Only EF-S, does not take KENKO Extension tubes directly.

    One of the things I like the most about this lens is its portability. If you are a nature photographer, this lens will allow you not to miss macro shots in the field if you are taking with you heavier gear. It fits anywhere! And besides being amazingly sharp as a macro lens even at 2.8, on a 1.6x sensor it has the perfect focal length for portraits. Its pleasant bokeh is a plus as well in this respect.

    Those who are into insect macro might look more at the 100 2.8 Macro given its longer working distance, but in turn the 100 focal length is not ideal for portraiture on a 1.6 x sensor. On the downside (if there is any here!) sometimes the lens hunts in low light as it does not have a focus limiter, but I believe this is not a serious flaw. It is a pity it does not take the Kenko extension tubes directly, but it WILL if you buy the Canon 12 II Extension Tube and THEN add the Kenko tubes. You can also find some Pro-optic tubes which DO work with EF-S lenses, but the physical quality is not the greatest. This might not be a huge issue since Extension Tubes do not affect the IQ of any lens.

    In sum, simply an AMAZING lens.

    reviewed December 31st, 2006 (purchased for $500)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (62 reviews)
    sharp, "true" macro lens
    EF-S only, no AF limiter, can't be used with older canon extension tubes

    A great macro lens for APS-C DSLRs - sharp, gets really close and with the 1.6x factor, makes for a good working distance.

    However, unlike other macro lenses, you can't limit the focus range so it can make the lens hunt over the entire range before locking focus.

    Also, because of the rubber ring in the EF-S mount, it won't work with the older Canon extension tubes - you'll have to get the "II" version for it to fit.

    reviewed December 14th, 2006
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Sharp, contrasty, fairly compact, good construction, takes filters with the Canon 14EX ringlite (I've read), a good focal length for 1.6x crop DSLR macros, internal focusing (physical length stays constant), fun for handheld use
    AF hunts more than any other lens I own, no focus limiter, not a full-frame sensor lens

    This lens always reminds me why I enjoy photo as a hobby. The focal length is reasonable for everyday
    use, so it can stay on the camera for a spell, yet on a whim I can get in real up close and personal with a subject and fire away with ease.

    I'm no expert, but it's easy to appreciate good contrast, sharpness, bokeh, and color rendition when using this lens. I've read that these are attributes of macro lenses in general, rather than this lens in particular.

    The bokeh is far better than my other primes and zooms (all consumer stuff). Probably not as nice as the 100mm macro, but beautiful anyway.

    The one real downside for me is that in dim lighting situations the AF system hunts a lot, and gets in the way for general use. The focus-assist lamp of my 30d doesn't seem to have much impact. I've read that the 100mm also hunts. I haven't had this issue with any other lens so far.

    Highly recommended if your work isn't heavily impacted by a little extra attention to setting focus.

    reviewed December 8th, 2006 (purchased for $391)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (13 reviews)
    Superior image quality even wide open, handholdability, 1:1 macro + great portrait lens
    Wish it had a focus limiter

    I use this lens on a 350D (Rebel XT) occasionally for macro works, but mostly for portaits (and I like close-up portraits), so this is a perfect lens for my use.

    The lens size and weight give a perfect balance with the (small) 350D body

    With this lens I shoot 80% of the time kids and baby portraits at f:2.8 in the 0.3 - 1.5 m range.

    Colors and contrast are great and sharpness is definitely exceptional, even wide open. Maybe a little drop at f:2.8 is visible when shooting charts, but in real life, I have never seen any loss at 2.8 compared to 4 or 5.6. Maybe kids have too thick eyelashes for me to notice... But basically that lens at 2.8 made me realize that my 1 year old baby girl had a moustache... :o)

    For tight portraits (and macro too), the background blur is perfectly smooth and progressive, but at longer distances I'd rather use a longer lens and/or a wider aperture (I'd trade the 1:1 macro + f:2.8 for a 1:2 macro + f:2, but that's not the point here...)

    Focusing is silent, very fast and reliable, but after a miss when shooting portrait, the time to go back (to 1:1 macro) and forth (to the real focus point) can feel a little long. I wouldn't mind a focus limiter...

    All in all, a highly recommended lens

    reviewed December 1st, 2006 (purchased for $500)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    sharp images, decent build, great bokeh
    no focus limit switch - embarrassing lens hood fit

    This lens has a great reputation, and I have found the images to very very sharp. I particular love the focus fall off and bokeh at f2.8 for portraits. Beautiful.

    The frustrating thing that will eventually force me to part with this lens is the lack of a focus limit switch. If you're shooting portraits in AF mode, the lens will cycle through all of the focus steps down in Macro range before arriving at your portrait distance. Not a big deal when shooting macro (most will be in full time MF then anyway) but really puts a damper on this lens as a fast action portrait lens - such a pity as the image quality is there in spades.

    The optional Canon lens hood is a joke in regards to fit - it wobbles ... a poor fit unlike any product I've seen from Japan in the last 30 years or so

    reviewed July 19th, 2006 (purchased for $389)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Light,Sharp, Wonderful Color
    EF-s only

    Bought this as a compliment to my 100mm f2.8 Macro. Very light and ultra sharp images. Only Con-EF-s only

    reviewed November 2nd, 2005
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Image quality, size, IF, USM
    EF-S

    I think the test results pretty much say it all. The sharpness results are in perfect agreement with my own tests. The difference between 2.8 and 4 is there, but it is very close to the limits of detectability and same goes for 16 (on 20D).

    The bokeh seems good (I'm not an expert), but it is often much harder to get a good BG with a shorter focal length. Don't blame the lens for that, though.

    The lens construction is quite nice and light. I would not want to use this as the proverbial "blunt instrument", but it should handle normal use for a long time.

    The focusing is by USM and almost silent. However, this is a macro lens without a delimiter and the focusing time can feel long when it starts hunting. It is much faster than others in that situation, but that is partly a function of focal length.

    You can use extension tubes with this lens, but my initial impression is not to overdo it. It SEEMED that going over 1.5:1 the image quality begins to suffer. I've also tested this with 250D close-up lens and the image quality suffers considerably. Stepping down will improve the situation, but not even near to original level.

    What is this lens good for? In the macro and close-up world it is perfect for flowers and product photography, especially in confined spaces. Bugs work well too, if they are not skittish. For butterflies I'd opt for something longer. And it is a good short tele as well with everything that goes with that.

    reviewed October 25th, 2005