A Canon RF 100mm f/2L IS USM Macro gets a mention [CR1]

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,608
511
Davidson, NC
When I first got my 6D2, my first full-frame DSLR, I used my 100mm non-L macro lens for portraits as a temporary measure (since I already owned the lens). I didn't care much for the results, which somehow to me look a bit too "clinical" (as I grope for a word to express my subjective reaction). At f/2.8 the background was plenty blurry and had a decently natural look. I just didn't care what it did for the subject. I really like the lens as a macro, and it doubles OK for a short telephoto. When Canon had a nice discount on refurbs, I got the 85mm f/1.8, so I have no need to use the macro for portraits any more, and I prefer the results with the 85mm.

I don't plan to get an R series camera anyway. But given my EF experiences, I would be unlikely to spring for an expensive and heavy 100mm macro that doubles for portraits. So f/2 seems more like something for bragging rights than anything. No offense to anybody lusting after one, certainly.
 

ronaldzimmerman.nl

I'm New Here
May 25, 2020
9
5
www.ronaldzimmerman.nl
If you're going to 2:1, you can't get additional sharpness between F8 and F16, as you are diffraction-limited. Even at 0.5x magnification, diffraction is going to start becoming an issue (depending on sensor).
The F8 to F16 (F11 is my favourite) is for the normal macro and close-up photography using 1:1/1:1,5/1:2 to achieve a nice DOF on full frame. On APS-C that would be more towards F8.
Beyond 1:1 is hard. The struggle/balance between DOF and diffraction. The extra magnification between 1:1 and 2:1 is nice to have without diopter/rings. I usually don’t go beyond 1,5:1.
 
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stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,608
511
Davidson, NC
The F8 to F16 (F11 is my favourite) is for the normal macro and close-up photography using 1:1/1:1,5/1:2 to achieve a nice DOF on full frame. On APS-C that would be more towards F8.
Beyond 1:1 is hard. The struggle/balance between DOF and diffraction. The extra magnification between 1:1 and 2:1 is nice to have without diopter/rings. I usually don’t go beyond 1,5:1.
I find the slight softness from diffraction often worth the tradeoff. When in doubt (and with a stationary subject), I will run tests at different apertures and see what I like best. Then I'll sometimes use a rail and do focus stacking. At macro range, moving the focus changes the magnification, so stacking has limited range if you do that.

But, hey, I just thought of a possible way to get a better look for portraits with a macro lens: shoot at f/22 or f/32 and get a flattering softness from diffraction. Of course you'll want everything in the background to be 100 feet away or more.
 

brad-man

Semi-Reactive Member
Jun 6, 2012
1,599
459
S Florida
I'd rather they made a lighter, cheaper 100 f/2L IS and a 100 f/4L IS macro.
These two together would probably be cheaper and lighter than one 100 f/2L IS macro.
Yup. It seems my RF collection is not going to grow quite as quickly as I supposed. I'm a bit skeptical that this lens will be released, as it will be prohibitively expensive for many. I'm glad there's not a damn thing wrong with my 100L.
 

pj1974

80D, M5, 7D, & lots of glass and accessories!
Oct 18, 2011
666
168
Adelaide, Australia
If this CR1 rumour ends up being true, one has to applaud Canon for their innovation. A Canon RF 100mm f/2 IS USM would fill a huge range of purposes for certain photographers (myself included). As several posters have already pointed out, it could make a great portrait lens.

I owned the Canon EF 100mm USM (non L / non-IS) for some years … I was particularly glad with the macro images I got from this lens. However sometime after its release, I upgraded to the newer Canon EF 100mm macro. The main reasons were:
  • Improved AF – for non macro work in particular (the non L AF is often not accurate at longer working distances, so it made it much less useful as a portrait / candid event lens)
  • IS helps for certain handheld photos (at around 2:1 in particular.. the closer one gets to 1:1 – the more stability of subject and absolutely no camera movement is important)
  • Better build quality


A RF 100mm f/2 macro would indeed be larger and likely cost notably more than the EF 100mm IS L. (I bought my EF 100mm IS L second hand but in as new condition, and I tested it prior to purchase).

The EF 100mm L IS macro’s AF is far superior to the non L’s AF – particularly in the non-macro working range. AF is superior in terms of accuracy, consistency and speed. I expect any RF 100mm to continue or even be better still (due to being optimised for DPAF, etc).

While nature photography is my primary photographic passion, I regularly get asked to take photos at events (celebrations and/or parties, church events, camps, occasions).

When I do ‘event’ photography, I use a combination of the EF 100mm IS L on one body, and another lens on another body (whether that be a zoom lens, the 24mm f/2.8 or a 50mm) to cover multiple perspectives / composition possibilities.

A RF 100mm f/2 would be ideal for this purpose (provided its AF and rendering are good). The EF 100mm f/2.8 L lens’s rendering is really great. I also find I am able to hand-hold it all day.

Having said that, I was thinking / expecting that the one lens I might NOT upgrade to is the EF 100mm IS L, but to use that with the RF-EF mount adapter. I have even used my 100mm f/2.8 IS L on my M5 with the EF-M/EF adapter quite well (though it is not comfortable hand-holding for me over extended periods).

So, would I buy the RF 100mm f/2?

It depends what other RF lenses Canon will be announcing and releasing. If the rumoured 70-135mm f/2 becomes reality, that would be a dream portrait zoom.. especially if bokeh, rendering and AF are great (which I expect they would be).

I own the EF 70-300mm L – but could see myself upgrading to the RF 100-500mm in time. I don’t need large apertures at focal lengths longer than around 100mm for my photography.

The difference in bokeh / background blur from f/2.8 to f/2 (at 100mm, as well as some other focal lengths close to it) is significant. Having said that, if the RF 100mm f/2 is unjustifiably expensive, I imagine that I will stick with the EF 100mm L macro and an adapter, as it is a great lens.

These are great and exciting times to be a photographer (from a technical / gear perspective). Somewhat limited by the current COVID-19 pandemic and associated isolation factors. But that too will pass.

I look forward to seeing what the future will be… a R5 is currently in my sights.

Regards

PJ
 

Flamingtree

EOS M50
Dec 13, 2015
26
17
Thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate all the different perspectives.

I agree 100 f2 would be an awesome portrait lens and perhaps that’s the primary intended duty rather than macro?

And/or the thinking for f2 design is to differentiate from the excellent existing 100mm f2.8 L IS, to get us all to buy a new lens instead of adapting the existing, as alluded to above.
 

SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
2,256
1,106
This is a super smart move on Canon's part. Would love to have this lens to carry around on my next trip. It's also a great wedding photography lens as it can do portraits and detail shots with equal aplomb. Looking forward to this one for sure!
Keen to understand how this lens would render out of focus areas, transitions, contrast, etc.
 

Antono Refa

EOS R
Mar 26, 2014
1,029
233
I'm a bit skeptical that this lens will be released, as it will be prohibitively expensive for many. I'm glad there's not a damn thing wrong with my 100L.
Canon makes both an RF 28-70mm f/2L and an RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS. I wouldn't rule out Canon doing something similar here. As I noted in another thread, taking a lens like the EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM macro and porting it to RF (add 24mm to the barrel, upgrade mount electronics, and voila) would be easy & profitable.
 

koenkooi

EOS R
Feb 25, 2015
1,171
963
Canon makes both an RF 28-70mm f/2L and an RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS. I wouldn't rule out Canon doing something similar here. As I noted in another thread, taking a lens like the EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM macro and porting it to RF (add 24mm to the barrel, upgrade mount electronics, and voila) would be easy & profitable.
So far every RF lens (apart from the f/1.2s) have had something extra compared to they EF counterparts. The 15-35 has a mm extra on the wide end and IS, the 24-70 has IS, the 70-200 collapses, the 35mm has 'macro' and f/1.8 instead of f/2. And finally the 100-500 gets 100mm extra on the long end. The 24-105L is the lens closest to its EF sibling.

So the straight forward update you're talking about isn't what I would expect from an RF 100mm L macro. Personally, I would have preferred 2:1 like the Laowa over f/2.0.
 

Antono Refa

EOS R
Mar 26, 2014
1,029
233
So far every RF lens (apart from the f/1.2s) have had something extra compared to they EF counterparts.
At this stage Canon has two goals: convince photographers to switch over to RF, and drain their EF stock. Making RF lenses offer something extra at a premium helps both goals. When the switch is over, Canon could bring in the equivalent lenses.
 
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koenkooi

EOS R
Feb 25, 2015
1,171
963
At this stage Canon has two goals: convince photographers to switch over to RF, and drain their EF stock. Making RF lenses offer something extra at a premium helps both goals. When the switch is over, Canon could bring in the equivalent lenses.
To your general point: I think Canon will only introduce equivalent lenses that don't overlap with existing RF lenses. So no RF16-35 non-IS, no non-collapsing RF70-200 f/2.8. Doing an RF85 f/1.8, but not an RF85 f/1.4L, etc.

For my macro lenses (100L, MP-E65) there would need to be a big improvement for me to replace them with RF variants. But an updated 85mm f/1.8 or 28mm f/1.8 I would buy pretty much a microsecond after pre-orders open.

The RF100-500mm would need to be cheaper than the EF100-400mm + 1.4xIII, preferably the same price as just the 100-400.

I could see a RF100mm non-L f/2.8 USM at $600-$700 make sense next to the RF100mm L f/2.0 IS USM, but not 100mm L IS USM at $900-$1000. That would require the existing stock of the EF 100mm L being nearly depleted to force new buyers to get the RF variant.
 

Antono Refa

EOS R
Mar 26, 2014
1,029
233
To your general point: I think Canon will only introduce equivalent lenses that don't overlap with existing RF lenses. So no RF16-35 non-IS, no non-collapsing RF70-200 f/2.8. Doing an RF85 f/1.8, but not an RF85 f/1.4L, etc.
Canon makes four EF 16-35mm lenses, two EF 24-70mm lenses, four EF 70-200mm lenses, and five EF 70/5-300mm lenses. In the last group, there are two lenses overlapping in everything except one is an L and the other is not. Apparently this strategy is working well for Canon, so I see no reason Canon will not carry it over to the RF mount.

Regarding the RF 70-200mm f/2.8, it does not accept tele extenders. This is important for some photographers, e.g. I don't shoot >200mm enough to spend two grand on a zoom that ends at 400mm. I did buy an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM & a 2x extender. Not having this option in RF is one of the reasons I'm not quick to switch mounts.

I could see a RF100mm non-L f/2.8 USM at $600-$700 make sense next to the RF100mm L f/2.0 IS USM, but not 100mm L IS USM at $900-$1000. That would require the existing stock of the EF 100mm L being nearly depleted to force new buyers to get the RF variant.
Exactly!
 

Steve Balcombe

Too much gear
Aug 1, 2014
247
164
When I first got my 6D2, my first full-frame DSLR, I used my 100mm non-L macro lens for portraits as a temporary measure (since I already owned the lens). I didn't care much for the results, which somehow to me look a bit too "clinical" (as I grope for a word to express my subjective reaction). At f/2.8 the background was plenty blurry and had a decently natural look. I just didn't care what it did for the subject. I really like the lens as a macro, and it doubles OK for a short telephoto. When Canon had a nice discount on refurbs, I got the 85mm f/1.8, so I have no need to use the macro for portraits any more, and I prefer the results with the 85mm.
Macro lenses tend to be very strongly corrected for spherical aberration. It's not sharper exactly, it's harsher - your word "clinical" is good. So your subjective impression is supported by the science.
 

hmatthes

EOS-R, RF and EF Lenses of all types.
Macro lenses tend to be very strongly corrected for spherical aberration. It's not sharper exactly, it's harsher - your word "clinical" is good. So your subjective impression is supported by the science.
Very good description. I love my 100/2.8 macro sometimes for portraits but the 85/1.8 typically is better for my tastes. But my favorite is my 1963 Leica Summicron 90/2.0 for its amazing portrait qualities (lack of clinical harshness, insanely good micro-contrast and bokeh, and slight softness wide open 2.0). With my adapters I use all three on both the R and the Leica SL. I'm loving mirrorless!