The Canon 100mm Macro L Lens is the top performing macro lens in Canon’s Line Up. Having owned a handful of different macro lenses we can certainly attest to its quality. With its 1:1 ratio it can get incredibly close to the subject while delivering the L series look that we love so dearly. With the addition of Canon’s Image Stabilization it makes handholding tricky close-up macro photography much more manageable.
Our studio also has owned the 100mm non L version of this lens in the past. Side by side comparison show generally only marginal image quality improvements. Canon had created a remarkable lens in their mid range macro. This made improving upon it very difficult. The major feature upgrade from the non L version being the Image Stabilization and of course the shiny red ring.
Not to say that no improvements in quality have been made, just that most of our client’s would have a difficult time discerning an image from each lens. However, on the backend processing side we have noticed a more consistent look with our other L lenses and it actually takes to color correcting with ease. For us the time saving benefit that our workflow gained was well worth the investment.
1:1 Macro capabilities
Great for Portraits
Expensive Macro Lens
Max Aperture of only 2.8
If you have ever shot a really up close macro photo you can quickly see how image stabilization might benefit. Image Stabilization’s greatest strength lies in its ability to reduced motion blur caused by hand holding. When you magnify at macro levels motion blur from shaky hands becomes amplified, and while Image Stabilization doesn’t completely remove the shake it does significantly reduce it. This makes attaining a sharp images much easier. As a wedding photographer, often we’ll only need to get this close for the ring shot. However, we have been able to ensure more very sharp tight detail shots thanks to this enhancement and appreciate it very much.
Of course like other 100mm lenses we carry, we like to shoot this one as a portrait lens as well. While it does not have the same look as the 85mm 1.2 L or the 135mm L, it does offer something that neither of those other lenses can. Perspective. With the ability to get close to your subject, it is possible to create something truly unique. It also offers great background/foreground separation and creamy bokeh!
To sum it all up this macro lens is a great performing lens. The addition of image stabilization is a very welcome enhancement over last iteration. However, if you are on a tight budget or are just getting interested in macro this is really a luxury. Trust us when we say that the Canon non L 100mm lens is no slacker. In fact you might have a difficult time differentiating images from the two side by side as they are both f2.8 and the differences are minor. We would love to see Canon really push the envelope here and try a larger aperture macro. Dare we ask for a 1.4? All in all we are happy with this upgrade and are proud to carry this great macro in our bag!
Are you interested in learning more about this lens? There are lots of great useful resources all of the web to help us photographers achieve our photographic dreams! We have included some of the articles and resources that were helpful for us when researching our own gear purchase.
Canon – Canon Tech Specs