Chris Frost's review of RF 100mm Macro.

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jul 21, 2010
26,049
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Focus shift is a ‘feature’ of the lens design. Canon acknowledged it and basically said live with it.

From Bryan/TDP (link):

“The response from Canon's optical engineers was to confirm that, due to its 1.4x magnification (1.4:1 reproduction ratio) capability, a magnification far exceeding 1.0x, the RF 100mm F2.8 L Macro IS Lens's optical design exhibits some focus shift.

The focus shift is not sample dependent and is not related to the SA control ring. As focus shift is characteristic of this lens, no production changes to the lens or lens/camera firmware updates are anticipated. Correction, when necessary, is accomplished by focusing slightly in front of the subject.”


It’s a big part of the reason I’m going to stick with my EF 100mm Macro.
 

Del Paso

M3 Singlestroke
Aug 9, 2018
1,315
1,442
Focus shift is a ‘feature’ of the lens design. Canon acknowledged it and basically said live with it.

From Bryan/TDP (link):

“The response from Canon's optical engineers was to confirm that, due to its 1.4x magnification (1.4:1 reproduction ratio) capability, a magnification far exceeding 1.0x, the RF 100mm F2.8 L Macro IS Lens's optical design exhibits some focus shift.

The focus shift is not sample dependent and is not related to the SA control ring. As focus shift is characteristic of this lens, no production changes to the lens or lens/camera firmware updates are anticipated. Correction, when necessary, is accomplished by focusing slightly in front of the subject.”


It’s a big part of the reason I’m going to stick with my EF 100mm Macro.
Me too!:confused:
 

tron

EOS R5
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Nov 8, 2011
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I wonder if there could be a formula depending on focusing distance and f-stop that Canon could implement in firmware to get around the issue.
 
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unfocused

EOS-1D X Mark III
Jul 20, 2010
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Thanks all. This saves me a lot of money. I don't use the 100mm f2.8 L much and this convinces me to hang on to the EF version. I'm inclined to just mount an RF converter to it permanently and leave it at that. Interestingly, the EF lens was selling for under $700 two years ago and now retailers are selling it for $1,300, just $100 under the RF version. The RF version is one of the few RF lenses that is available pretty much everywhere. I guess eventually Canon will quit shipping the EF lens and people will have to buy the RF version.
 

Jethro

EOS R
CR Pro
Jul 14, 2018
585
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It's disappointing, because this was one of the lenses I was most waiting for. Looks like I'll stick with my Laowa RF 100mm 2x f2.8 - which involves compromises (manual focus and very limited electronic coupling) but I'm getting good results with it.
 

Chaitanya

EOS R
Jun 27, 2013
1,487
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Pune
Focus shift is a ‘feature’ of the lens design. Canon acknowledged it and basically said live with it.

From Bryan/TDP (link):

“The response from Canon's optical engineers was to confirm that, due to its 1.4x magnification (1.4:1 reproduction ratio) capability, a magnification far exceeding 1.0x, the RF 100mm F2.8 L Macro IS Lens's optical design exhibits some focus shift.

The focus shift is not sample dependent and is not related to the SA control ring. As focus shift is characteristic of this lens, no production changes to the lens or lens/camera firmware updates are anticipated. Correction, when necessary, is accomplished by focusing slightly in front of the subject.”


It’s a big part of the reason I’m going to stick with my EF 100mm Macro.
So there is no alternative to carrying EF 100mm Macro and MP-E 65mm Macro(Or Venus Laowa 100mm Ultra macro) even on RF mount.
 
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Del Paso

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Aug 9, 2018
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This is the lens I would have bought instantly, without hesitating...
Thanks to TDP's Brian, without his review, I would have wasted Euro 1549 on this lens.
My macro being mostly hand-held, focusing on the "sides" of a flower is just impossible.
So, I keep hoping either for a firmware, or for an RF macro 180mm :love:!
 

Chaitanya

EOS R
Jun 27, 2013
1,487
671
35
Pune
This is the lens I would have bought instantly, without hesitating...
Thanks to TDP's Brian, without his review, I would have wasted Euro 1549 on this lens.
My macro being mostly hand-held, focusing on the "sides" of a flower is just impossible.
So, I keep hoping either for a firmware, or for an RF macro 180mm :love:!
For me its mostly reptiles and amphibians(and on side butterflies and wild flowers) for which I use Macros, if Canon releases RF 180mm Macro(even 1x would be fine) without the same "feature" as RF 100mm Macro then it would certainly be on consideration list for my use(while keeping my EF Macros).
 

YuengLinger

EOS R5
CR Pro
Dec 20, 2012
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I'd gladly pay the same price for a "downgraded" version which doesn't include the bonus focus shift, the 1.4x, and removes the innovative feature which allows enhancing the image with chromatic aberration. Or whatever that blur doo-hickey does.

In other words, just a straight, great, and simple macro lens.

In the meantime, as already mentioned by Neuro, the ef 100mm f/2.8L works very well. Mine has an RF adapter welded on. How long the EF will remain available is another question.
 

Nemorino

EOS R5
Aug 29, 2020
253
482
I will buy one soon or later. I need the higher mag and like the SA control. Chris Frost mentioned the shift would be small at macro distance (5:40) and it won't be "terrible an issue" ( free quoted @7:20).

At the moment I use a Sigma 105 macro and the RF100 will be probably better.
If I would own a EF 100, I maybe won't buy one.
 
Feb 15, 2020
542
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This focus shift issue is just not acceptable for a modern lens on a mirrorless camera. If Canon insists that focus shift has to be a part of the lens design then they should make sure all of their cameras have the option to auto-focus with the aperture stopped down.

Focus shift was strong with my copy of the RF35mm 1.8 so I returned it. I put that down to the lens being ‘cheap’ (it was still around $600 here in Australia!). I really hope this design ‘feature’ doesn’t find its way into other expensive L lenses.
 

Del Paso

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Aug 9, 2018
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I will buy one soon or later. I need the higher mag and like the SA control. Chris Frost mentioned the shift would be small at macro distance (5:40) and it won't be "terrible an issue" ( free quoted @7:20).

At the moment I use a Sigma 105 macro and the RF100 will be probably better.
If I would own a EF 100, I maybe won't buy one.
Before you buy, please check the TDP review: the focus shift is far from being small at macro distances, and unsharp macros are no fun at all.
You could miss THE orchid, butterfly, mushroom, insect of a lifetime...
 

koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
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Before you buy, please check the TDP review: the focus shift is far from being small at macro distances, and unsharp macros are no fun at all.
You could miss THE orchid, butterfly, mushroom, insect of a lifetime...
It hasn't really impacted my natural light shooting, but I (ab)use the combination of 20fps electronic shutter and my general unsteady camera grip to get a wider range of focus. When using flash, I still prefer the MP-E65, but that might change with I build a better diffuser to use the RF100 with a V860IIC.
I don't have less keepers due to mis-focussing compared to the EF100, I do have more keepers due to the better IS and faster AF. I bet I would get even more keepers if the focus issue where fixed, but the RF100 is, for me, still a net improvement. I do feel the improvement isn't worth the price difference, but the EF100 interaction with IBIS on the R5 annoyed me so much that I avoided using that lens, opting for the EF180L or MP-E65 instead. So I don't regret selling the EF100L, but I do wonder if I should've sold the EF100 non-L 2 years ago to get the EF100L.

This focus shift issue is just not acceptable for a modern lens on a mirrorless camera. If Canon insists that focus shift has to be a part of the lens design then they should make sure all of their cameras have the option to auto-focus with the aperture stopped down.[..]
I agree that it's unacceptable and I also wonder why Canon doesn't solve it in software. The R cameras can lessen diffraction in nearly realtime, but not adjust focus when stopping down? You'd think that having a lookup table that maps focus distance + desired aperture to a focus error would be straightforward to do. It's pretty much a per-aperture AFMA setting.

The RF70-200 f/2.8 had similar issue, and that was fixed with a new lens firmware. I guess the bad PR Isn't bad enough for Canon to take action.

And all these issue could be solved if Canon would use contract based focus to fine tune things after stopping down, but before taking the picture.
 

Del Paso

M3 Singlestroke
Aug 9, 2018
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It hasn't really impacted my natural light shooting, but I (ab)use the combination of 20fps electronic shutter and my general unsteady camera grip to get a wider range of focus. When using flash, I still prefer the MP-E65, but that might change with I build a better diffuser to use the RF100 with a V860IIC.
I don't have less keepers due to mis-focussing compared to the EF100, I do have more keepers due to the better IS and faster AF. I bet I would get even more keepers if the focus issue where fixed, but the RF100 is, for me, still a net improvement. I do feel the improvement isn't worth the price difference, but the EF100 interaction with IBIS on the R5 annoyed me so much that I avoided using that lens, opting for the EF180L or MP-E65 instead. So I don't regret selling the EF100L, but I do wonder if I should've sold the EF100 non-L 2 years ago to get the EF100L.


I agree that it's unacceptable and I also wonder why Canon doesn't solve it in software. The R cameras can lessen diffraction in nearly realtime, but not adjust focus when stopping down? You'd think that having a lookup table that maps focus distance + desired aperture to a focus error would be straightforward to do. It's pretty much a per-aperture AFMA setting.

The RF70-200 f/2.8 had similar issue, and that was fixed with a new lens firmware. I guess the bad PR Isn't bad enough for Canon to take action.

And all these issue could be solved if Canon would use contract based focus to fine tune things after stopping down, but before taking the picture.
I understand this can be a way to achieve good results.
But I cannot accept having to shoot 20 fps in order:
- to get sharp macros
- to compensate for a less than perfect optical design
Additionally: having to import into LR, and choosing between a multitude of 20 fps series is time consuming. When photographing orchids or alpine flora, I usually take between 20 and 400 pictures, imagine at 20 fps...;)
 

koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
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Feb 25, 2015
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I understand this can be a way to achieve good results.
But I cannot accept having to shoot 20 fps in order:
- to get sharp macros
- to compensate for a less than perfect optical design
Additionally: having to import into LR, and choosing between a multitude of 20 fps series is time consuming. When photographing orchids or alpine flora, I usually take between 20 and 400 pictures, imagine at 20 fps...;)
Right, doing it to only to work around things I assume are easily fixed in software isn't acceptable to me for this price range either. But I was doing it already to work around my bad camera holding technique. I'd like to think I would've returned the lens if I had better technique, but I'm a sucker for the sunk cost fallacy :/

The 20fps burst I do are usually 3-10 shots, so it's just about manageable to delete the obviously wrong ones in the field and sort out the rest later at home. I do still have a bunch of unprocessed focus stacks, since I don't have to motivation to deal with all the bad tooling. It turns out that DPP4 will vary the exported TIFFs with one pixel, so sometime I get 8216 pixels wide images, other times 8127 pixel wide images.
Zerene refuses to deal with that single-pixel difference and I still can't figure out how to get Helicon do stacking without crashing. The DPP4 builtin stacker requires too much manual cleanup. Now that LR has non-stupid colour profiles for the R5 I could give the zerene integration a try.

I wish I could take a properly exposed, framed and focussed picture in a single try, each time :)
 

tron

EOS R5
CR Pro
Nov 8, 2011
4,984
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Right, doing it to only to work around things I assume are easily fixed in software isn't acceptable to me for this price range either. But I was doing it already to work around my bad camera holding technique. I'd like to think I would've returned the lens if I had better technique, but I'm a sucker for the sunk cost fallacy :/

The 20fps burst I do are usually 3-10 shots, so it's just about manageable to delete the obviously wrong ones in the field and sort out the rest later at home. I do still have a bunch of unprocessed focus stacks, since I don't have to motivation to deal with all the bad tooling. It turns out that DPP4 will vary the exported TIFFs with one pixel, so sometime I get 8216 pixels wide images, other times 8127 pixel wide images.
Zerene refuses to deal with that single-pixel difference and I still can't figure out how to get Helicon do stacking without crashing. The DPP4 builtin stacker requires too much manual cleanup. Now that LR has non-stupid colour profiles for the R5 I could give the zerene integration a try.

I wish I could take a properly exposed, framed and focussed picture in a single try, each time :)
But, If you shoot like that accepting that you have to compensate for errors you don't need this expensive faulty lens.
You can get the Lawova RF 100mm that has 2X maginification. The manual focus is not a drawback compared to a faulty AF.
 

koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
1,919
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But, If you shoot like that accepting that you have to compensate for errors you don't need this expensive faulty lens.
You can get the Lawova RF 100mm that has 2X maginification. The manual focus is not a drawback compared to a faulty AF.
It actually is, manual focus is pain in the field when needing to track things. The Laowa also has 2 things against it:
  1. It has a huge gaping hole in the front, needing an extra piece of glass to keep nature out
  2. The RF version lacks electronic apterture control, the EF version *does* have it
 

tron

EOS R5
CR Pro
Nov 8, 2011
4,984
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Thanks for the info. So if I ever got it I would prefer the EF version (anyway I have both types of cameras).