Canon macro lens question

Discussion in 'Macro Photography' started by Feezor, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. Feezor

    Feezor TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys after much practice and patience I have started getting some decent macro pictures. I have been borrowing a friends Canon 100mm 2.8 (non L lens) for almost a month and am ready to start looking for my own.

    I could not find if this had been asked before but as much as I would love to have a 180mm macro alot of people have basically talked me out of it due to the fact you HAVE to be further away for the subject, where as the 100 mm you can get physically closer and if you want to be physically further away you can just get extension tubes.

    Anyway so I was curious as to the difference between the Canon 100mm macro 2.8 and the 100mm "L". To me it looks like just the build quality as in weather sealing and more robust exterior. I am pretty cautious with all my gear although it is a peice of mind knowing you have a more robust lens.

    But picture quality wise is there really a difference for a non professional?

    Non "L"
    Canon - 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Autofocus Lens - 4657A006 - B&H

    "L"
    Canon - EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens - 3554B002 - B&H Photo

    Any input appreciated


    And just for reference here are the two 180mm I WAS looking at if anyone wants to try and talk me back into one of these

    Tamron
    Tamron - 180mm f/3.5 Macro Autofocus Lens for Can - AFB01C700 -
    Sigma
    Sigma - Telephoto 180mm f/3.5 EX DG APO Macro IF HSM - 105101 -
     
  2. dak1b

    dak1b TPF Noob!

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    i own the 100mm non L lens...and I can say its my favorite lens!!! it takes razor sharp/clear images at 1:1 real life. The f/2.8 isn't bad either..comes in handy. I haven;t used the L series....but for double the price and the fact its an L lens of course it better quality for a reason..price. If your just starting out in the wonderful world of macro the 100mm non L lens will be plenty to start with!!!!!!!!!!

    cheers!
     
  3. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have the non-L version. From everything I've heard and seen, image quality is pretty much identical.

    From what I've seen, the only real difference is that the L version has IS. The L version also takes a larger filter. And even though the L version does actually have more glass in it (12 groups/15 elements vs. 8 groups/12 elements) even the weight is almost the same.

    Even the external dimensions of the lenses are almost identical.

    The L version looks like it has a 3 position focus limiter switch (vs. the 2 positions on the non-L) ... I don't think that would make a huge difference though.

    I think you'd be perfectly happy with the non-L version.
     
  4. Feezor

    Feezor TPF Noob!

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    Alright thanks for the input, I think I am kind of leaning toward the non L lens because almost everyone I talk to says there really isn't noticeable image difference and the price is so different between the two
     
  5. Art Photographers

    Art Photographers TPF Noob!

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    I have the 100mm L Macro from Canon and it is an amazing lens. I never used the non L lens and cannot compare for you. But, when I worked for Canon, all the L lens was made from a higher grade glass and had superior quality in materials used. They are much more water resistant from this which in turn is a more durable lens.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Firstly you're confusing extension tubes with teleconverters here. Extension tubes remove a lenses infinity focus and also reduce the minimum focusing distance, allowing you to move closer to the subject and, as a result, be able to get a more magnified image. This is true for regular and macro lenses.
    Teleconverters on the other hand will not change the infinity focus nor the minimum focusing distance, they will however magnify the image that you get. This allowing you to achieve a greater overall magnification at the minimum focusing distance and also work from further away with lesser magnifications.

    As for lens optical qualities there are no bad choices within the true macro prime market. From the EFS 60mm macro through to the 180mm macro options both canon and 3rd party they are all optically sound choices. Minor variations in quality might be noticeable at the extremes of aperture selection, but these will not have much effect on regular use and sample variation within lens manufacture will be a major factor here rather than inherent differences within the lenses.

    Thus the differences you have are with features (eg focusing setups, IS, internal focusing etc..) and focal length.

    On the focal length front the basic rules are:
    If you intend to work with insects its recommended that you get a lens of at least 90mm or longer so that you can work from further back and have less chance of spooking the insect. Working with shorter focal lengths is possible and sometimes preferable in certain situations, but overall longer is the more popular.
    The longer focal lengths will give you the exact same image frame at 1:1 (minimum focusing distance) as the short ones. A 70mm and a 180mm at their closest focusing point will give you exactly the same image frame. The difference however is that the 180mm will have a much more diffused background than the 70mm - often said to be a more "creamy bokeh" and such.

    On the 180mm front the sigma 180mm is about the most popular choice, with the canon following and the tamron in at the last (the tamron 180mm is infact quite unpopular even though I've never found a bad review - I suspect it simply lacks both advertising and features that the sigma and canon offer.)
    You will also find the following reviews of interest:
    Juza Nature Photography
    Juza Nature Photography

    Goes a long way to showing that the canon L is not all its priced up to be in the macro world ;)

    Also as you were considering the 180mm and 100mm options I'd also recomend you to look at the Sigma 150mm as an option.
     
  7. Feezor

    Feezor TPF Noob!

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    Thank you Overread for your insight I think I may have been understanding extension tubes and teleconverters wrong. I will look into the 3rd party lens. I want to stay under $1000 but if I go 3rd party and save a little more maybe I could afford both 100mm and 180mm or like you said go with the 150mm and be set. Thanks again
     

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