Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro

Lens Reviews / Canon Lenses i Not yet tested
65mm $1,049
average price
image of Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro

(From Canon lens literature) A unique manual-focus lens designed exclusively for macro shooting, between life-size (1x) and 5x life-size at its maximum magnification, you can fill a 35mm frame with a grain of rice. Compatible with the Macro Ring Lites and new Macro Twin Lite, it eliminates the need for awkward bellows accessories for many macro shooters. A floating system preserves optical quality at different focusing distances, and features a UD-glass element.

Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro User Reviews

9.6/10 average of 5 reviews Build Quality 9.4/10 Image Quality 9.8/10
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (12 reviews)
    5:1, excellent imagequality, nice bokeh
    from 3:1 very dificult to handle - you need macroflash and millimetric-plate

    One of the very best macro-lenses, starts where other stop, 3:1 up to 5:1 onother world..... but you need some accessories like macroflash and a millimetric plate and a lot of patience.....

    reviewed March 19th, 2012
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    The sharpest of all Canon Macro lenses
    Could be a higher focal length (objects must be ridiculously close to the lens)

    The lens sharpness test is posted on
    This is the best quality macro lens Canon has to offer. The image quality it delivers surpasses Canon's 180 mm macro lens. The only draw-back is the lowest magnification ratio, that is still very high, so that for the objects taller or wider than one inch you must use other lenses. Contrary to a common opinion that you have to have a specialized macro flash, I still got away without it and doing just fine, but I can't imagine not having the software that efficiently enhances the DOF. This is true, however, that the distance between the object and the lens must be low (10cm for 1:1 and 4cm for 5:1), so that a lens with a longer focal length would be much easier to use with an external flash system. It is an excellent choice for a serious macro work.

    reviewed February 28th, 2009 (purchased for $800)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (24 reviews)
    incredible good lens
    may be a bit heavy

    This lens is a real adventure - 1:1 is good, 2:1 is great, 3:1 is incredible, 4:1 is sensacional and 5:1 blows out your mind!!
    A whole new world to discover!
    If you are a "real macro-freak" you have to, yes you really have to buy this fantastic lens!
    Great optics and great construccion - but you need a stabilization-system and a macro-flash.
    Of course its not a cheap lens but worth every penny!
    1000% recomended

    reviewed May 17th, 2007 (purchased for $850)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Zooms from 1:1 to 5:1 magnification, nice bokeh, SHARP
    Fixed focus, shallow DOF

    1:1 means the subject is the size of the sensor.
    5:1 the subject is 1/5th the size of the sensor ... 5x magnification
    ... an 8x10 of lincoln's copper beard.

    This lens can't take shots of things (in focus) more than a few inches in front of it.

    When zoomed out to 5x the lens is about twice as long as it is at 1x.

    No front element rotation.

    You have to move the whole camera or change the zoom (not recommended for most situations) or move the subject ... to focus. Single focal plane (fixed focus). No focus ring, just the zoom ring.

    The focal distances from the front of the lens at given magnifications, As written on lens under the zoom ring:

    5x 41mm 1.6"
    4x 44mm 1.7"
    3x 51mm 2.0"
    2x 63mm 2.5"
    1x W.D. 101mm / 4.0 inch

    It loses about 2-3 stops of light from 1x - 5x.

    Doesn't work well with hot-shoe mounted flash.
    This lens wants a macro flash.
    It also likes a tripod that can put the camera hovering just off the ground (the MP-E 65mm's packaged Tripod Mount Ring B is nice ... and removable)

    When in focus, pictures are very sharp with nice bokeh from 2.8 to16
    (note: aperture range does not extend to 64 as stated above under "Specifications", though it should)

    All around, a highly specialized lens that does the job it's supposed to.

    reviewed July 30th, 2006 (purchased for $800)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    For extreme macro photography this is *the* lens.
    Difficult to use. Limited Depth of Field

    This lens is one of the more unusual produced. It is not just manual focus, it has no focus ring at all! Instead you have to move in and out to find the right focus.
    The ring on the lens is for zooming. In its closed state the lens produces life size images 1:1. Zoomed to its maximum it produces 5:1 images. In essence this is like no other macro lens!
    The image is sharp but the depth of field extremely shallow. This is not a general purpose lens, more a specialist optic.
    Generally it needs to be used with a flash setup, I use the Canon MR-14 ringflash. The amount of light on the subject is very low at the larger magnifications, so flash becomes essential.
    I tend to use Manual Mode on the camera, shooting at 1/160th sec @ f16. On the camera (a 20D) I also set +1 FEC. The Ringflash is set on E-TTL.
    One of the great exponents of this lens online is Frank Phillips
    Here are two examples of a gnat shot with this lens/flash combo:

    reviewed October 24th, 2005 (purchased for $799)