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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 22 Aug 2011 (Monday) 10:47
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100 macro vs. 100 L macro

 
chinorider
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Aug 22, 2011 10:47 |  #1

I have decided I would like to try some macro work and was wondering what the collective thoughts were on the 2 Canon 100 macro lens. Is the L worth the xtra $$$ ? Looking on POTN shows both take great images.

Thanks for any input.


Moved to micro 4/3 system

  
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rick_reno
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Aug 22, 2011 11:19 |  #2

I've got both of them. No detectable IQ difference between them. L "feels" better and has IS. If IS or the build quality is important to you, get it. If not, get the non-L.




  
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a_roadbiker
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Aug 22, 2011 12:15 |  #3

You don't need IS for macro photography because you should be using a tripod anyway...

I have the non-L and it provides great results. There are plenty of threads on this exact subject in here, so if you poke around a bit you will find all kinds of opinions (which generally agree with what chinorider and I have posted).

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Aug 22, 2011 12:21 |  #4

If you search, you will find this question beaten to death already.

Rick is right, IMHO.

I actually destroyed a 100L (it fell into a lake!) and replaced it, which is an indication of my preferences. The IS is in my opinion worth it. First, you can use the lens for non-macro purposes, and 100mm on a crop sensor is plenty long enough that IS helps. Second, I disagree with a_roadbiker--there is lots of macro work for which a tripod is impractical. If you are going to do handheld macro work, the hybrid IS in this lens will help somewhat (although not a great deal). However, it probably won't matter if your are doing handheld work with flash, and if you are doing work on a tripod, the IS will be worthless.

I do a lot of macro work with a monopod. The camera moves a fair amount (at least with my unsteady hands), but I have never done an A/B comparison to see whether the IS helps under those circumstances. I'm guessing not, as the motion is nearly perpendicular to the sensor.


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davidnholtjr
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Aug 22, 2011 12:22 |  #5

Get the Non-L and use the extra cash for something else. The lens is super sharp.


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Aug 22, 2011 12:24 |  #6

rick_reno wrote in post #12978287 (external link)
I've got both of them. No detectable IQ difference between them. L "feels" better and has IS. If IS or the build quality is important to you, get it. If not, get the non-L.

Although I don't have the non-L any longer, I would agree with this.


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wombatHorror
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Aug 22, 2011 12:29 |  #7

chinorider wrote in post #12978105 (external link)
I have decided I would like to try some macro work and was wondering what the collective thoughts were on the 2 Canon 100 macro lens. Is the L worth the xtra $$$ ? Looking on POTN shows both take great images.

Thanks for any input.

L has slightly better mico-contrast. It's not a huge deal though.
The L is a bit faster, so instead of f/2.8 it seems more like f/2.5 (not that this matter when using it for macros at all though).
The IS can be nice to have at times. If bugs are moving it doesn't help or if the plant they are on is blowing around even a little it doesn't help but for stationary bugs and flower it can help. I actually got some 1/40th shots at 1:1 by firing 8fps bursts and picking out the good frame.

this was natural light, 1:1 or nearly so and somewhere around 1/40-1/60th (used AI Servo AF and 8fps drive and picked best frame, even with IS, at 1:1, certainly get many blurred frames especially since I am REALLY bad athand-holding):

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO


but you still need a flash since lots of times bugs move all over or the plant blows around or there is not direct sun

the IS helps even more for flowers where you may not be at 1:1 and they are always still unless there is a breeze. granted you could tripod any flower shot, although sometimes it is a lot more fun to not have to bother

using a tripod can be very tricky for many bugs, since by the time you finally set it up and move it into perfect focus the bug is gone, sometimes they only sit still for 1 second and sometimes never, of course in the latter case IS won't help

IS can help steady the frame for easier composition though so even if you are not using it to stabilize the shot itself it can make framing easier without your hands shaking the view all over

I like the L better, of course there is a big premium.



  
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wombatHorror
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Aug 22, 2011 12:36 as a reply to  @ wombatHorror's post |  #8

100% crops

difference is easier to see if you save the images and flip back and forth in image viewer

non-L at f/2.8 and MFD:

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO


L exposed 1/3 stop less long but still looks about as bright, also at f/2.8 and MFD:
IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO


the transition from black to white is just a little crisper with the L, just a little bit better microcontrast

they have a different color rendition as they were taken using fixed WB and identical lighting but the color looks different



  
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chinorider
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Aug 22, 2011 13:50 |  #9

Thanks for all the comments. Seems like I (a beginning DSLR amateur with tons of film experience) would be happy with the non L.


Moved to micro 4/3 system

  
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amfoto1
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Aug 22, 2011 14:04 |  #10

I see you are using 7D... An interesting feature with either of these lenses, at macro magnifications set the camera to AI Servo and the AF acts sort of like a form of image stabilization. It's unique to 7D, as far as I know. What it does is use a more frequent sampling mode when certain macro lenses (limited to Canon's own) are attached and focused to macro distances. This helps keep shots in focus, such as when the camera moves slightly closer to or farther from the subject. Unlike IS, it can help with slight subject movement, too, such as when a flower moves a little in a breeze. You can do similar using AI Servo with other Canon models when shooting macro, but the 7D has an enhanced focusing system that can make it more capable for macro shooting.

Also, the 7D's Spot Focus can be very handy for macro work, though it is a little slower than some of the other focus modes.

I just wish the 7D had an articulated LCD screen, for low angle work (I manage with an angle finder, though).

I'm still using the non-L, non-IS 100mm and have no plans to upgrade. Whichever you get, I highly recommend the optional tripod mounting ring. The Canon ring is pretty pricey. You can get nearly identical third party t'pod rings off eBay or elsewhere for much less $.

I need to go look at the 100L again, or maybe rent it for a week. I might be wrong but personally didn't think it's build quality was any better than the earlier model (which seems pretty identical build to the 180/3.5L). The newer lens gets one more aperture blade (9 vs 8 in the USM lens), though I'm not sure it they are curved blades in either lens or if either lens offers better bokeh than the other.

There are some excellent third party alternatives: Tamron 90/2.8, Tokina 100/2.8, SIgma 105/2.8. AFAIK, though, only the Canon are internal focusing (IF), which means they don't change length when focusing (but are larger to start with). Also, AFAIK, none of the other manufacturers' lenses can be fitted with a tripod mounting ring (some of their longer 150mm or 180mm macros come with t'pod rings, though).

Just starting out with macro, eventually you will probably want to try using flash with it. Even with good techniques, tripods, monopods, IS, higher ISO-capable cameras and all, it's always a struggle to balance adequate shutter speed with a small enough aperture, due to the very shallow depth of field common at macro magnifications. There are macro specific flashes (I might recommend a twin light for most macro 2:1 or less magnification, a ring light for 1:1 and greater magnification) but you really don't need to go to this expense initially. Just about any single, standard, eTTL-capable flash can be used... Just get an off camera shoe cord so you can position it near the subject, and perhaps put a layer or two of white gauze bandage over the flash head to reduce it's output a bit. This acts like a "huge softbox in the sky" with tiny subjects. If needed, you can use reflectors for some shadow fill. Try making a small reflector from aluminum foil on a piece of cardboard, or just white cardboard, or perhaps metallic posterboard in gold or silver.


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chinorider
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Aug 22, 2011 15:23 |  #11

Many thanks Alan...very good info for me to consider.


Moved to micro 4/3 system

  
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wombatHorror
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Aug 22, 2011 16:10 |  #12

amfoto1 wrote in post #12979245 (external link)
I see you are using 7D... An interesting feature with either of these lenses, at macro magnifications set the camera to AI Servo and the AF acts sort of like a form of image stabilization. It's unique to 7D, as far as I know. What it does is use a more frequent sampling mode when certain macro lenses (limited to Canon's own) are attached and focused to macro distances. This helps keep shots in focus, such as when the camera moves slightly closer to or farther from the subject. Unlike IS, it can help with slight subject movement, too, such as when a flower moves a little in a breeze. You can do similar using AI Servo with other Canon models when shooting macro, but the 7D has an enhanced focusing system that can make it more capable for macro shooting.

yeah it goes into hyper 2x speed AF when in that mode on the 7D

Whichever you get, I highly recommend the optional tripod mounting ring. The Canon ring is pretty pricey. You can get nearly identical third party t'pod rings off eBay or elsewhere for much less $.

Does it really need the ring?
The lens is sooooo light and relatively short. It seems more than fine just camera mounted.




  
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Kirill
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Aug 22, 2011 16:12 |  #13

amfoto1 wrote in post #12979245 (external link)
I just wish the 7D had an articulated LCD screen, for low angle work

There is a very nice solution to that http://dslrcontroller.​com/about.php (external link)
You can use Motorola Xoom with USB cable or some Android phones can be the remote liveview screen




  
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weeatmice
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Aug 22, 2011 16:32 |  #14

wombatHorror wrote in post #12979968 (external link)
Does it really need the ring?
The lens is sooooo light and relatively short. It seems more than fine just camera mounted.

The ring can be useful for mounting flash brackets depending on the setup.


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paulmoceyhanton
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Aug 22, 2011 20:14 |  #15

The 100 2.8 non IS is amazing and you would save %50. I rarely need IS for macro work.




  
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100 macro vs. 100 L macro
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