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100mm macro advice

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Thread started 18 Mar 2012 (Sunday) 21:48   
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Thumpa
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wow!!! :cry: sorry for your bad timing, canon had a sale on the 100L macro about a month ago.

I got the L is version for a bit less than $300.00 over non-L

they may do another big lens sale when the 5d mark 3 comes out

Post #31, Mar 20, 2012 14:45:27




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ChuckingFluff
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I've owned the 100mm f2.8 non L and it's a very sharp lens for macros if you are used to MF. I say MF because the AF on mine (and I'm not alone) was brutally slow, missed it's mark 90% of the time and it frustrated the hell out of me. If I was to do it again I'd get the 100L for better AF and the IS is a bonus.

Post #32, Mar 20, 2012 15:27:14




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hendyadi
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amfoto1 wrote in post #14119038external link
I have the Canon 100mm USM (the "non-L".... but there is also an earlier, non-USM version, if you shop used).

IQ is little different between the USM and L/IS. Some like the build of the L/IS a little better, but the USM is "L-like" build, too. So I don't really see the difference.

Because I'm using a monopod or a tripod most of the time for macro shots, I don't worry about not having IS on the 100mm. The Hybrid-IS on the Canon 100L is probably the best of any macro lens, but still limited in effectiveness at higher magnifications. You'll probably still want to use a tripod for anything close to 1:1. (And to facilitate that, might want the tripod mounting ring, that's sold separately for either of the Canon lenses. The Canon ring is pricey, but there are third party clones on eBay and elsewhere that are pretty inexpensive.)

More standard stabilization on other brands of lenses (Sigma OS, Nikon VR, etc.) are even less effective at high magnifications. But on all of them the OS might be useful for various non-macro shooting. So, if using the lens for portraits or other short telephoto purposes, IS may be even more worthwhile.

The IS on the Canon 100L might be the most useful for non-macro shooting. Though I don't feel much need for IS on a macro, I am a certainly an IS fanboy with 200mm, 300mm and 500mm telephotos. To me it's marginal, whether or not IS is all that necessary on 100mm and shorter lenses. I'll always take an IS lens over non-IS, when there's little difference in price... However in this case there's a significant difference.

I use mine primarily as a macro lens, not so much as a portrait lens (have 85mm and 135mm lenses for that purpose). A macro lens can be overly sharp for portraits (your mother-in-law probably won't appreciate a lens that shows every little detail in her face), but that can be softened with filters or in post-production.

There really are a lot of good macro lenses from many manufacturers. What set's the Canon 100mm lenses apart are their full set of features....

- Both Canon 100s are IF or Internal Focusing. This means they don't grow larger as you focus closer. However, an IF lens is typically larger than a non-IF design... the Canon 100mm certainly are.

- AFAIK, among the macro lenses around this focal length, only the Canon 100mm lenses can be optionally fitted with a tripod ring. This can be a very handy feature.

- USM improves AF speed on the 100mm to make the lens more widely useful (a lot of macro shooting can be done focusing manually, so this might apply to non-macro uses as much or more than macro). Both the more current Canon 100mm have USM. Some Sigma have HSM, which is similar to USM. Tamron has started offering some lenses with USD, which is also similar, but I'm not certain any of their macro lenses feature it yet.

But to be realistic, any macro lens has to move it's focusing group a long, long way to go from infinity to 1:1... So macro lenses in general are slower focusing than non-macro lenses. This is partially a deliberate choice by the manufacturer... The lens is designed to focus more slowly. It's called "long throw" focusing, which means that accuracy is emphasized over focus speed. (It's often used with large aperture, non-macro lenses too... such as the 85/1.2L.)

- A focus limiter such as the Canon lenses have, used right, also helps with focus speed and to reduce hunting. This works in tandem with FTM or Full Time Manual focusing, which both the Canon 100mm lenses have. Particularly when shooting non-macro distances and in low light, it can be useful to be able to roughly focus the lens manually, then use AF to put the finishing touches on focus. Canon USM lenses have FTM. You'll have to check other manufacturers, to see if their lenses offer anything similar.

- On some cameras certain Canon macro lenses focused close will activate a particular AI Servo AF mode, where the focus system samples the distance to the subject 4X as often as usual. The 7D does this, I'm certain. It was the first Canon camera to have this special mode.... the same feature might be on other new models such as 1DX and 5DIII too, but I don't know for certain . This should make for greater accuracy in some situations.... But note that this is only when using AI Servo AF. Personally I haven't used it a lot and can't say from experience (since I don't use AF very often with higher magnification macro... and if I do I've been more inclined to use One Shot than AI Servo). AFAIK, this only works with Canon macro lenses that have USM, that the camera "recognizes". The lenses that the 7D recognizes and uses this special AI Servo mode with, I believe, are the two 100mm, the EF-S 60mm, and the 180/3.5L. I don't think it works with the EF 50/2.5 "compact macro" (which is a non-USM lens).

If your primary use for the lens is portraiture and you simply want to occasionally try some close-up/macro... You might consider a more portrait-specific lens and a set of macro extension tubes such as these Kenkoexternal link, to make it or any other lens you have focus closer at times. For example, if 100mm is your ideal focal length for portraits you might want to consider the EF 100/2 non-macro lens. An extra stop of speed can be a big deal with portraits. (Note: 100mm is a wee bit longer than traditional portrait lenses on a crop camera, but would be okay if it's what you want and you have ample working distance... On FF cameras, it's right in the middle of traditional portrait focal lengths.) Alternative lenses that are popular for portraits, but certainly can be used for close-up photography with extension tubes, are 50mm (on crop cameras), 85mm and 135mm (on FF).

Tamron has recently introduced a 60mm that they call a "macro/portrait" lens, for use on crop sensor cameras. It's key difference is an f2.0 aperture, a full stop larger than most other macro lenses.

thanks for the explanation.. and its getting tempting me of getting one of this lens!

Post #33, Mar 20, 2012 21:39:04


"good picture does have rule..incredible picture does no rule"

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hendyadi
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neko wrote in post #14120582external link
didn't try the 100 non-L but the 100L is just awesome. The AF is a bit slow but i managed to get some super sharp shots of people running during the fishermens strongmanrun of this year. :) The price is a bit steep but the IQ and IS will make you forget about it ;)

Here's an example:
QUOTED IMAGE

hi neko, i see you have a crop body..back there it was a nice bokeh..really helfull imagine me about the bokeh on crop for portrait..i wonder what shutter speed did your image captured?and another samples of bokeh please :D

Post #34, Mar 20, 2012 21:40:58


"good picture does have rule..incredible picture does no rule"

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hendyadi
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actually before i started this thread i was sure to bought the L-version..after i saw the sigma 85mm lens sample thread..its makin me doubt and considering to save pennys, may be by buying 100-non L and (adding pennys more) sigma 85mm f1.4..but im afraid of sigma focus issue..and 100mm macro is legendary for its sharpness :(....and the input you guys given me is really makin tempting-e for this lens again :D

needs more fire up from you guyss

Post #35, Mar 20, 2012 21:46:27


"good picture does have rule..incredible picture does no rule"

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hendyadi
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ChuckingFluff wrote in post #14120941external link
I've owned the 100mm f2.8 non L and it's a very sharp lens for macros if you are used to MF. I say MF because the AF on mine (and I'm not alone) was brutally slow, missed it's mark 90% of the time and it frustrated the hell out of me. If I was to do it again I'd get the 100L for better AF and the IS is a bonus.

how slow it can be for portrait?

Post #36, Mar 20, 2012 21:46:57


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Sirrith
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hendyadi wrote in post #14123168external link
how slow it can be for portrait?

Its fine.

I've used it to take pictures of running kids. I'm sure I said this earlier. Or maybe it was in another thread.

Post #37, Mar 21, 2012 03:19:46


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pdrober2
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the build quality of the L is much better IMO

Post #38, Mar 21, 2012 09:55:32


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amfoto1
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ChuckingFluff wrote in post #14120941external link
I've owned the 100mm f2.8 non L and it's a very sharp lens for macros if you are used to MF. I say MF because the AF on mine (and I'm not alone) was brutally slow, missed it's mark 90% of the time and it frustrated the hell out of me. If I was to do it again I'd get the 100L for better AF and the IS is a bonus.

Was this the earlier, non-USM version of the lens? Did you use the Focus Limiter? If it was the USM lens, did you use manual override of focus to get it in the ballpark before starting AF? And, what camera was the lens on?

Even though each generation of the macro lens has improved upon the previous, all three of the Canon 100/2.8 macros focus slower than non-macro lenses such as the 85/1.8, 100/2 or 135/2. The first 100/2.8 macro was not USM... some folks still prefer it because it has a nicely recessed front element that makes a lens hood less necessary. The second 100/2.8 macro saw USM added and that helps. The 100/2.8L IS also has USM and apparently saw some other tweaks to help speed up AF a little more. But all three are still "long throw" focus designs, emphasizing accuracy over speed, so are simply never going to be as fast focusing as some non-macro lenses around the same focal lengths.

Of course, the camera used with the lens also has a big effect on focus speed. I found the 100/2.8 USM's AF acceptible and usable for non-macro shooting on EOS-3, Elan 7 (EOS-33), 30D, 50D, 7D and 5DII. It wouldn't be my lens of choice for sports/action, but is fine for many other more sedate purposes (in comparison, on the same cameras the 180/3.5L is slower focusing even though it has USM, Focus Limiter, etc., and IMO it's not nearly as useful for non-macro purposes). I don't recall using the macro lenses enough on 1-series cameras to form an opinion, but imagine most of their AF systems would be even better than the cameras I used, so would further help out the macro lenses. AF performance was a bit slower on 10D that I used... as I imagine it would be on most of the Rebel/xxxD series cameras too, that have similar AF systems.

The macro lens can render nice bokeh with higher magnification shots...

IMAGE: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6200/6144545244_7d91037999_z.jpg
Snail on agapantha leaf.
EF 100mm f2.8 USM macro lens at f8. EOS 10D camera at ISO 200, 1/400 shutter speed. Handheld, available light.

But, when I'm going for serious bokeh at non-macro distances, instead of the 100/2.8 macro I usually get out the 135/2 or the 85/1.8 (among others)...

IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
http://farm3.staticfli​ckr.com ...36995948_f759a16c0b​_o.jpgexternal link
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Redirected to error image by FLICKR

Lost in thought...
EF 135/2L lens at f2.0. EOS 5D Mark II camera at ISO 6400, 1/200 shutter speed. Handheld, available light.

Of course, sometimes I'd just use whatever lens is on the camera, when a there's a fleeting photo op...

IMAGE: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6233/6271547534_d1b238188a_z.jpg
A different perspective.
EF 100/2.8 USM macro lens at f4. EOS 30D at ISO 800, 1/60 shutter speed. Handheld, available light.

Post #39, Mar 21, 2012 10:32:59


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Jason ­ Paul
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All three of the more popular Canon macros (60, 100, 100L) are "legendary for their sharpness".

As I'm pretty sure was mentioned above, one of the main benefits of a macro lens is the minimum focusing distance. It's not too big of a deal if you're mainly shooting portraits, but if you want to shoot anything close-up, you'll appreciate it.

That upside-down kitty photo Alan posted above could have been taken from less than two feet away, and filled the entire frame. Trying that with a non-macro lens, you'd probably have to take it from 4+ feet away and had lots of extra stuff in the shot you didn't want that will have to be cropped out.

On top of that, he probably could have gotten much closer and just gotten one eye - assuming the kitty would allow it. :)

Obviously I'm just guessing at distances here, but you get the point.

Jason

Post #40, Mar 21, 2012 12:32:01 as a reply to amfoto1's post 1 hour earlier.


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ChuckingFluff
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hendyadi wrote in post #14123168external link
how slow it can be for portrait?

It had a hard time locking in on it's mark. It was slow enough that you'd think it needed servicing and it was sent in to Canon they said it was fine.

amfoto1 wrote in post #14125653external link
Was this the earlier, non-USM version of the lens? Did you use the Focus Limiter? If it was the USM lens, did you use manual override of focus to get it in the ballpark before starting AF? And, what camera was the lens on?

it was a newer USM version only a couple of years old on a 7D. You would have to get it close with MF before you would use AF but it's the only lens I've owned that you needed to do that with. I found it worse than a 50 1.8 in low light. Like I said it's very sharp for macros with MF. Image quality was never an issue, it was always the AF that brought this lens down for me.

Post #41, Mar 21, 2012 16:07:12




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1Tanker
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^^ Mine focuses pretty well. Not good enough for Hockey games, but with the 1.4x tc on...it can be pretty brutal.

Post #42, Mar 21, 2012 20:11:03 as a reply to ChuckingFluff's post 4 hours earlier.


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I use mine for product photography, makeup photography, etc and it's unparalleled. The Sigma 105 is pretty good though and much cheaper but I never use it. I'm always reaching for the 100mm f/2.8L

Post #43, Mar 21, 2012 20:27:19


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nate42nd
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I went through this "L" or "non L" question.

I got the non "L" and have never regretted it. I do bump the ISO up to get faster shutter speeds now and then but with a decent body that will be no issue. I would get the non "L" again if buying today. I am more than satisfied with it.

Post #44, Mar 21, 2012 22:12:03


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JJD.Photography
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My g/f owns the 100mm L and I own the 100mm. Both are great lenses with bokeh that is smooth as butter!

I thought about upgrading to the L, but don't see a reason as the IQ on both are superb! I shoot from far to near with the 100mm (non L), it's an amazing lens!

I will say the L is sooooooo much sexier :lol: and if the L was available when I made the purchase, I would of bought the L just because...

Post #45, Mar 22, 2012 00:59:14 as a reply to nate42nd's post 2 hours earlier.


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