Canon 100/2.8L Macro is a lens with primary use in macro photography. This article is looking at how is it doing at longer distances to help decide suitability for landscape work.

Sharpness

Test Conditions

Test images were taken with Canon EOS 5D2, from tripod, using remote control and Live View (no mirror vibrations) on a rainy day. Contrast should not be directly compared due to possible variability of rain intensity. All shots were focused manually and individually with Live View at 10x magnification. Each f-stop was shot several times and sharpest sample selected for the final mosaics. All shots were taken from the same place, therefore shots from 85mm lens appear smallest and those from 135mm largest, sorry.

Postprocessing

The images are processed with ACR with default settings, i.e. no CA reduction, sharpening 25.

acr-settings acr-settings-2 acr-settings-3

Center Sharpness

Click on the picture to see actual pixels.

85-100-135-center

The difference in contrast between the 100L and the other two lenses is most likely caused by heavier rain. The 135L is probably sharpest and the 100L least sharp, however the difference across the lenses does not seem to be significant, especially between the 100L and 85L. Note that the 100L has 4-stop image stabilizer, which will most likely reverse the order for handheld shots under 1/200s.

Corner Sharpness

Click on the picture to see actual pixels.

85-100-135-corner

The 135L seems to be sharpest again, especially at 2.8 and the difference is bigger than in the center. The 100L suffers from chromatic aberration. The sharpness and CA can be easily fixed in ACR or Photoshop though. The following picture shows corner shot from the 100L @f2.8 with and without CA correction and some additional sharpening.

100lf28b-2

100lf28b-2-unproc

Samples

The following three samples were taken with 1/60s and image stabilizer. Click on the picture to see larger size.

100mm_test-20091018-86

100mm_test-20091018-87

The following image is a center crop with actual pixels.

100mm_test-20091018-89

Some images showing background and foreground blur.

100L - background blur

100L - Background blur (click to enlarge)

100L - Background blur (click to enlarge)

Some unsorted findings

  • 100L is the lightest of the three lenses
  • 100L is the only one that is weather sealed
  • 100L uses 67mm filters (same as 70-200/4, 70-200/4 IS, Zeiss ZE 100/2 MP, Zeiss ZE 50/2 MP)
  • 135L and 85L use 72mm filters (same as 35/1.4. 180/3.5)
  • 135L is the only of the three that takes Canon teleconverters
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