Canon 100mm f2.8L


TPF Noob!
Dec 30, 2011
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Hi everyone. I was thinking of purchasing this lens for macro photography. I currently have a 18-135mm Is and was thinking of selling it. I saw online that the 100mm becomes 135mm on a canon 60d... I'd this true? Or should I keep my 18-135? I will be later on buying a telephoto but I am going to Yellowstone and I would like a decent zoom since I can't afford a really good one right now. So my question is: should I keep my 18-135 until I get my telephoto lens or will the 100mm give me the same results? I know the 100mm is not compatible with a converter so that would not be an option...
A few pointers/thoughts.

1) Focal lengths are always the same, they never ever change. A 50mm EFS lens will give you (on a crop sensor body) the exact same photo that an EF50mm lens will as a zoom will set to 50mm. The 100mm will give you the same shot as your 18-135mm set to 100mm on its zoom scale. The idea that it gives a longer focal length is theory only relevant to people who have used 35mm film/fullframe digital camera bodies and amounts to giving them a basis for understanding the angle of view that the same focal length will give on crop sensor as opposed to the 35mm. For those who have no experience of using film or fullframe cameras its a moot point and not worth worrying about.

2) Is your 18-135mm your only current lens? If so if you sell it and get the 100mm you'll be limited to just 100mm. You might find this less than ideal in many situations so I'd advocate keeping hold of the 18-135mm (100mm is really very long if you're shooting, say, indoors or want to do a wide angle vista shot of a landscape (though you can of course use photo stitching with a longer lens for this)).

3) If you want a longer zoom lens for subjects like wildlife in yellowstone you'll be wanting 300mm at the very very least - with longer being ideal. Sadly this does cost and getting quality and long reach is what makes wildlife (and sports) some of the more expensive areas of photography. Of course good field craft can let you overcome a limited reach as can compositions that don't rely upon the subject filling the whole of the frame.

4) You might want to consider a Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro original (second hand) or 150mm f2.8 OS macro (newer, with OS which is like canons IS and also a bit more expensive than the older one). These two lenses are very popular with nature photographers in general, offering a bit more reach, a bit more working distance over the canon 100mm offerings. In addition they will also fit to sigma brand teleconverters - a 1.4TC gives you a 210mm lens which hardly has any loss of sharpness - a 2*TC gives a bigger hit to optical quality and loses auto focus, but gives you a good quality 300mm lens (not anywhere near as fast with AF as a regular 300mm of course).
There is also the older sigma 180mm f3.5 macro (second hand) which is pretty much equal to the 150mm, save for being slightly longer in focal length and a little heavier (optically speaking there is really nothing to tell the two apart).

In the end what is best to go for is going to depend a lot on what you want to shoot, how you want to shoot and how much budget you can get together for the trip. If its a big one time trip you might also consider renting gear - LensRentals are a top choice for the USA and there are one or two other rental companies - this would let you rent better glass for the trip (though I would advise trying to give yourself a little leeway at the start of the trip - rent for an extra few days/week just so as you can get to grips with the lenses and get advice before heading off - esp if you happen to rent and big telephotos.
I am in the same boat as ygil707. I have a 60D with the kit 18-135 lens. Which I really like. I have been looking for a macro lens recently because my wife loves taking pictures of flowers and she really wants a good macro lens. I have been looking at the 100mm f2.8L but have actually started looking more toward the Sigma 150mm because the 100mm would overlap with the 18-135. One question that I have is how well does the 150mm sigma do for things like portraits and scenic shooting? We are planning a trip to Greece this summer so I was thinking this might be a good second lens lens for the trip. Any more suggestions would be greatly appreciated. And thanks Overread for the informative post.
150mm can perform well at regular shooting as well as macro, however if you're trying to take a portrait shot indoors you'll likely find it very long - ok in a big room, but very hard in a smaller room. General scenic wise it shouldn't have any problems at all and telephoto lenses can often be popular for landscape work as they let one pick out a select part rather than just the whole vista (70-200mm lenses are very popular for this).

The downsides to the 150mm, or any macro for that matter, in regular shooting is that focusing can be a bit hairtriggor. That is to say that macro lenses have a very fine control over their close up focusing, but trade this off with a very rough focusing at longer distances. By rough I don't mean that it skips out parts, but that a very small turn on the focusing wheel results in a bigger shift of the focus than on normal lenses. This means manual focusing or manual adjustment can be more tricky - though if you're using AF and get it right you shouldn't have much trouble.

I'm not sure I'd count a 100mm or 150mm as generalist lenses for all things, but generally speaking a lot of what is and isn't suitable in photography depends on the photographer and how they want to shoot and what conditions they are shooting in. What might suit one might not another and vis-versa/
If budget is a limitation and you need a tele then you may want to have a look at 55-250

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