canon 100mm 2.0 or 100mm 2.8 macro?


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Jan 26, 2007
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im considering buying a new lens, but ive been faced with a hard choice between the canon 100mm 2.0 and the 100mm 2.8 macro lens.
the non macro one is faster, cheaper and smaller. the macro version is slower, more expensive and bigger, but offers 1:1 macro - and it would be nice to have that option.

i dont know how much macro stuff id be doing but i like trying new things with my photography and having the option would be pretty good, seeing as none of my current lenses (17-85mm, 50mm 1.8 and samyang 8mm fisheye) can really focus very close.
i mainly wanted the lens to do portraits and stuff with, and also to get a little more reach on my 17-85mm.

what do you think? which would you go for?
Dont go for Macro for portraits. I got a 105mm( though the first one I bought never showed up ) ( long story ) but after getting one I was not the happiest as it is much slower and not good for anything that moves. I took pictures of people walking briskly and it had a hard time. I am probably going to sell it and go with an 85mm f/1.8 but that is me. 105 seemed a little on the tight side for portraits as well. Great for head shots but I do that with my 180 2.8.....
What he said. Macro telephotos are not designed for fast,accurate,reiable focusing at portrait distances...they are designed for good focusing at very close range, with lots of travel from minimum focus to about 2 meters. If you want a lens for field work and portraits, then don't try and press a macro lens into service to do what it was never optimized to do.
I assume you have cropped sensor.. you dont find 100mm too long for portrait?
If you're looking for "a little more reach" beyond 85, then what you want is a 135 or a telephoto zoom. A 100 just isn't that much longer - you could just crop the 85 just a little more and get the same magnification. However, the 100 f2 would give you a much wider max aperture and probably better IQ, so if these things are most important to you, then go for it. On the macro front, if you frequently have the feeling that the 50 won't get you close enough, especially if you have a crop sensor body which gives you more magnification, then you might need the macro. You could use extension tubes but they can be a real pain. I'm afraid there is no easy answer - you have to decide which features are most important.
I assume you have cropped sensor.. you dont find 100mm too long for portrait?

I don't. The use of a particular focal length, even on a crop sensor is dependent on working distance you have. If you have the working distance then 100mm is a wonderful focal length for portraits.
I own the canon 100mm f2.8 macro, non is version. It makes a suitable portrait lens for classical portraits. I bought it for the macro capabilities. If you are looking for a macro lens it can do double duty, in a limited capacity. It does not focus fast as mentioned by others.

If you are looking for a portrait lens, pass on the 100 macro and look at something else. The 100 f2 is a decent lens. If you have the working distance the 135L is wonderful. If you want to play with macro look at a set of kenko extension tubes instead. If you get bitten by the Macro bug then consider a macro lens. Extension tubes are cheaper and hold their value well if you end up not using them.
Kenko extension tubes can turn many of the normal telephoto lenses (85mm, 100mm f2, 50mm 1.4) etc into decent macro lenses. The bonus is that you can use them if you ever get a dedicated macro lens. It's kinda a win/win.
I have the 100mm 2.0 and I love it. It takes beautiful photos. You can use it for portraits and sports in many situations. It's smaller and lighter than the macro. I believe it focuses faster too. It's also a lot cheaper. At some point, I might get extension tubes.
I would go with the 100 2.0. There isn't a point to buying the macro 2.8.

Unless you want to do macro shots :p

And or be frustrated that it is not a good portrait lens and cannot be used for anything faster than a snail!!!!

Yeah these are some pretty frustrating portraits.

To the OP. If you want to see what can be done with a particular lens then this is an excellent site to browse. photoSIG » Lenses
thanks heaps guys.
i think ill go with the non macro, if not for anything else then because its cheaper.
youve all been heaps of help

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