Opinions of EF 100mm f2.8 USM 2002 model compared to 2009 and later

Sep 20, 2022
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Hi, Appreciate being able to join this forum. I was wondering if anyone has owned and compared several EF 100 or other macro lens or even the RF version and noticed much difference in the versions on this macro lens. After reading DXOMark it seems really only the IBIS is improved. I am using the EF 2002 version on an APSC M50 and even with long exposures at f32 the depth of field at full magnification reminds me of a microscope DOF. I see all these nice insect images online and beginning to believe they are stacked in photoshop taken at several focal points. That, or I need another lens. I am attempting to get as close as possible to subject, so perhaps I should back up and crop? Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

stevelee

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Jul 6, 2017
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At 1:1 there is not much depth of field. If you stop down too much, diffraction starts to make things fuzzier. Whatever lens you get, the laws of optics are going to be the same. I have the non-L version of the EF 100mm macro. It is great, within those limits. Chasing around insects would often be better if it had IS, but I have done that a good bit. Instead of autofocus, I move back and forth to get what I want in focus. I can use fast shutter speeds out in bright sunlight, and usually for those subjects I don’t go all the way to 1:1. I originally got the lens when I was shooting a Rebel T3i. Now I have the 6D2. It worked well with both crop and FF.

For depth of field issues I have a couple of strategies. I have a ring light, which helps me stop down more. With static subjects I do focus stacking. You don’t want to refocus the lens for that. That will change size as well as what is in focus. I have a rail that can move the camera back and forth. Mine is a rather cheap one (as is my ring light), but it serves my purposes well. So I set the magnification using the focus ring and then don’t touch it again. I set the tripod and rail so that the distances cover what changes I want to make in focus. So I move the rail to get the nearest thing I.want in focus. And then for successive shots I move the camera (without touching it) to focus on different points along the way until I end up on the farthest thing I want in focus. Photoshop takes care of putting the shots all together. Once you set it up, it takes less time to shoot than to tell about.

The other strategy is to use a tilt-shift lens. Canon makes some macro TS lenses, but most don’t get down to 1:1. I have rented the 24mm TS-E lens and put on extension tubes. Then you can tilt the lens and shift the plane of focus. It works really well at the macro level as well as for imitating Ansel Adams in the bigger world. I didn’t do any great photographs with that in the short time I had the lens, but the test showed that the technique worked really well. Maybe combining tilts with focus stacking could produce awesome results.
 
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Sep 20, 2022
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At 1:1 there is not much depth of field. If you stop down too much, diffraction starts to make things fuzzier. Whatever lens you get, the laws of optics are going to be the same. I have the non-L version of the EF 100mm macro. It is great, within those limits. Chasing around insects would often be better if it had IS, but I have done that a good bit. Instead of autofocus, I move back and forth to get what I want in focus. I can use fast shutter speeds out in bright sunlight, and usually for those subjects I don’t go all the way to 1:1. I originally got the lens when I was shooting a Rebel T3i. Now I have the 6D2. It worked well with both crop and FF.

For depth of field issues I have a couple of strategies. I have a ring light, which helps me stop down more. With static subjects I do focus stacking. You don’t want to refocus the lens for that. That will change size as well as what is in focus. I have a rail that can move the camera back and forth. Mine is a rather cheap one (as is my ring light), but it serves my purposes well. So I set the magnification using the focus ring and then don’t touch it again. I set the tripod and rail so that the distances cover what changes I want to make in focus. So I move the rail to get the nearest thing I.want in focus. And then for successive shots I move the camera (without touching it) to focus on different points along the way until I end up on the farthest thing I want in focus. Photoshop takes care of putting the shots all together. Once you set it up, it takes less time to shoot than to tell about.

The other strategy is to use a tilt-shift lens. Canon makes some macro TS lenses, but most don’t get down to 1:1. I have rented the 24mm TS-E lens and put on extension tubes. Then you can tilt the lens and shift the plane of focus. It works really well at the macro level as well as for imitating Ansel Adams in the bigger world. I didn’t do any great photographs with that in the short time I had the lens, but the test showed that the technique worked really well. Maybe combining tilts with focus stacking could produce awesome results.
Thank you for the very nice and thorough reply! So it appears my technique needs to be modified, not the lens. I was using LED light and adjusted ISO, but didn't consider diffraction nor realized it was an issue when stopped all the way down. Moving the lens changes focal point but I thought that would be worse also due to increase or reduce the object size and magnification the same as refocusing, or not. It is roughly an 1/8- 3/16"" distance.

So, Photoshop then must automatically resize all the stacked shots so the combined images remain the same dimensions? I assume so, but I use simplified version - Elements so not sure of what the function is named in software, (what is named? "focus stack"?) by merging down layers would normally result in different sized objects.

I was intrigued with tilt shift for wide angle building architecture shots on a YT channel, until recently didn't know these lens even existed. Rental is a good idea to test out an idea.

Was your "Rail" a commercial product or did you build it? I would assume its a tripod mount and the distance of motion needed is less than a couple of inches and is linear movement with some sort of threaded lead screw or fine threaded bolt adjustment. Again, thank you for your help!
 

stevelee

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Jul 6, 2017
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Davidson, NC
My rail was bought from Amazon, I think. It is plastic. You can get heavier duty metal ones. It has tick marks so you can do repeatable things. The rail mounts on the tripod, and the camera mounts on the rail with its tripod screw-in. Mine is about 4” long or maybe a bit more. It is secure enough for my purposes. Yes, you turn a knob to move the camera and gears control the movement. The plastic (?) gears seem to do OK for me.

At larger magnifications the focus ring determines the magnification. So moving the ring will make things different sizes. And, yes, moving the camera will also change the size of things, but those things are now out of focus. Think about it. Whatever is in focus is still magnified the same amount as whatever used to be in focus. So when Photoshop chooses the in-focus bits, it is choosing the things with the same amount of magnification. In Photoshop, choose auto-blend layers. For Elements, you can buy an Elements+ add-on that supposedly gives similar results. You can do something similar in basic Elements, but it is a multi-multi-step pain, it sounds like. Another option would be to do a free trial of Photoshop. I think there is a $10/month subscription for both PS and Lightroom Classic. I pay for the full suite since I use multiple programs, and I was already paying around $600 a year for upgrades. So the subscription costs about what I was paying, and is a lot handier.
 
Sep 20, 2022
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Ok, I see and will attempt this procedure instead and look into the online adobe stuff which I have avoided, I much appreciate your explanation, I didn't think about defocusing maintained the same magnification. I used to have quite a few optical positioning devices (Newport) and ball shafts, lead screws etc for work, so only wish I still had them. Thank you!

I noticed this Castel-l device on Amazon:

NOVOFLEX MiniConnect Focusing Rail Rack with Quick Release Base and Plate (Castel-L) $275.​


Also a less expensive design for about 1/2 that.

NiSi Macro Focusing Rail NM-180 with 360 Degree Rotating Clamp​


and $99

SUNWAYFOTO MFR-150S Wormdrive Macro Rail w Arca / RRS Compatible Clamp for Precision Focus​

each need to verify mount plates. I don't have Arca Swiss now.

Thank you for the idea!, I haven't seen any of these on the market before you mentioned it and it's use.
 
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koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
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Feb 25, 2015
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[..]Moving the lens changes focal point but I thought that would be worse also due to increase or reduce the object size and magnification the same as refocusing, or not. It is roughly an 1/8- 3/16"" distance. [..]
The EF100 non-L and the EF100L decrease in focal length the closer you come to their minimum focus distance, they both end up around 67mm. So if you want to do a focus stack by turning the focussing ring, you also get to deal with scaling the images to match.
 
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koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
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Feb 25, 2015
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Hi, Appreciate being able to join this forum. I was wondering if anyone has owned and compared several EF 100 or other macro lens or even the RF version and noticed much difference in the versions on this macro lens. [..]
I used the EF100mm non-L for about 13 years, the EF100L for about 2 years and have been using the RF100L for about a year now.

I was very happy with my copy of the 100 non-L, the EF100L seemed to be slightly sharper in the centre. After getting the R5 I wasn't happy how the IS and IBIS interacted, so when the RF100L became available, I bought it. The AF and IS are very noticeably improved, the image quality is the same. I don't think the RF100L is objectively worth the price difference, but I enjoy using it very much.

As for using it on M series, I picked f/11 when using flash as a tradeoff between diffraction and DoF. DPP4 does a very good job at un-softening details when using DLO, LR with subject masking and the texture slider also gives great results. I wouldn't go beyond f/8 when stacking, especially for static subjects.

I prefer using the EF-S60mm on M cameras, my copy is very sharp, much sharper than my EF100 non-L was. And it balances better when using it for natural light macro. But all the EF macro lenses have great image quality :)
 
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stevelee

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Jul 6, 2017
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Ok, I see and will attempt this procedure instead and look into the online adobe stuff which I have avoided, I much appreciate your explanation, I didn't think about defocusing maintained the same magnification. I used to have quite a few optical positioning devices (Newport) and ball shafts, lead screws etc for work, so only wish I still had them. Thank you!

I noticed this Castel-l device on Amazon:

NOVOFLEX MiniConnect Focusing Rail Rack with Quick Release Base and Plate (Castel-L) $275.​


Also a less expensive design for about 1/2 that.

NiSi Macro Focusing Rail NM-180 with 360 Degree Rotating Clamp​


and $99

SUNWAYFOTO MFR-150S Wormdrive Macro Rail w Arca / RRS Compatible Clamp for Precision Focus​

each need to verify mount plates. I don't have Arca Swiss now.

Thank you for the idea!, I haven't seen any of these on the market before you mentioned it and it's use.
I just looked at my rail. It turns out to be 6" long and made almost completely of metal, including gears. There is no brand name on it. I may have got it from B&H instead of Amazon. It is very similar to

EXMAX® 16cm 2 Way Macro Shot Focusing Focus Rail Slider/Close-up Shooting 1/4 Quick Screw Release Mount Camera Flash Support Plate​

on Amazon. If it is more or less the same as mine, it is $20 well spent. Sometimes I buy cheap stuff to try out. Often they work fine for my purposes. Sometimes they let me know what I need different when I get better stuff. That was true of my first Rebel. It took decent enough pictures, but higher ISOs were vey noisy. It let me know to buy a T3i, which I used successfully for years until I got the 6D2. I got dirt cheap extension tubes that had no electrical connection, and I took some macro shots with it, including one that is framed and in my living room. Of course I could shoot only wide open, so good for some artsy things but not much else. That convinced me to buy the 100mm macro, which I have enjoyed. Eventually I found some relatively cheap extension tubes that have electrical connections, so I use them, too, sometimes, as when I had the 24mm TS-E lens.
 
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Sep 20, 2022
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Thanks again both of you for the input. Mine is the 100mm Non L I bought used with the 20D with compact flash and 8mb sensor, and a bunch of misc extensions and EF 75-300 and EFS 17-85. I bought it all for $650 a few years ago but it sat unused. So decided to buy the rest, to make videos with those lens so got a manfrotto tripod, M50 and its EOS to M adapter but these 3 lens are heavy, unlike my M 22mm f/2 and kit lens. I looked at Tilt shift lens but too expensive, (not sure if those tilt shift adapters are any good) I am a hobbyist so no way buying $3000 85mm f/1.2 lens, lol. I liked Canon pocket cameras since after I had an Elan film SLR in 90's for product photos in my business, then bought the first digital Elph on release in summer 2000 for $600 w/ 64 Mb compact flash card also $400 (expensive) at the time, and as the saying goes the "best camera is the the one you have with you". I really like Macro shots which my smart phones don't work for that. So I need to increase the aperture it seems and proceed with a rail system.

I have read this forum for a few months and felt at a dead end with my M series lens and the expense of R lens, hence why I bought a 6400 instead of R10 to potentially be able to use inexpensive Viltrox, Rokinon, etc 3rd party lens. Then first day using it I noticed the Canon M50 color is awesome, accurate and constant versus the Sony unless you adjust the light control on menus to "shade". I had this really nice purple flower I started to do close up's, it is like a rose but that changed hue on the 6400 to blue depending on camera position in side natural lighting. That was a shock. But Canon was always accurate as purple no matter the angle. Canon's menus are less complicated, but the Sony has way more configuration which is fine for tweaking but more than I need or want to plow through. I don't want to second guess and color correct.
 

stevelee

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Jul 6, 2017
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My 100mm macro is also the non-L (or Noël, I say sometimes).

I briefly looked at the M50 three years ago, and was favorably impressed. I wound up buying the G5X II instead for my travel camera. I had liked the G7X II, and I still wanted something that would fit in jacket or pants pocket. I haven't used my Rebel in a long time, and so I couldn't figure out when I would use an M camera if not for travel.

All of my interchangeable lens cameras from 1970 to the present have been Canons. I've seen no reason to change. Were I to splurge on something expensive, I'd get the Fujifilm GFX 100s to go medium format. For now I can resist easily enough, but when the fall leaves turn, the temptation to take spectacular landscapes my get to be too hard to resist. Right now, I can't decide what lenses to get. I'd still use my Canon gear for everything else, so the Fuji would be an expensive luxury. It would be duplicating what I can already do with the 16–35 mm f/4. And with all that resolution I'd want to buy a huge printer and a much bigger house with wall space for those large pictures.