Photography Tips 13: Review of 100mm f/2.8 macro versus 100mm f/2.8L macro IS

I have had my new macro lens for a while now, put it through it's paces and my old lens has gone to a new home. Sounds like it is time to do a round up of my thoughts on the new lens and how it compares to the old.

I adore the L version of the macro lens. The focus is much faster, it feels better balanced to me and the IS makes it much easier to handhold at lower shutter speeds.

I haven't really seen a big difference in image quality. I think the bokeh might be a little smoother but it was so smooth from the non-L that it is a really small change. For me there is no question it was worth the upgrade considering this is possibly my most used lens, and I use it even more now that I have the L version.

As for the auto-focus the L lens still hunts a LITTLE bit in certain situations but it is light years better than the non-L version. On the L you have three options, 0.3-0.5m, 0.5-infinity and full, for limiting your focus range. I love having the option to just keep it in the shorter distances, great for macro shots. There is no similar option on the non-L version only the 0.31-infinity (which is the same as full) and 0.48-infinity which is similar to the 0.5 to infinity. This little improvement has been huge for me.

It is at least as sharp as the non-L, maybe even a little sharper.

The IS is really useful as well. I couldn't really hand-hold at 1/100 with the old version and get tack sharp images 100% of the time, I can with the IS if the subject is still.

Overall I am 100% happy that I upgraded.

And because I hate to post without a photo, one of my newest favorites:


Amy F.W. said...

I've never heard of having a limit for the focal range, I'm guessing this is something available only on a macro? You adjust on the lens I assume?

Michele said...

I haven't seen it on anything other than my macro lenses. It's right there next to the AF/MF and IS on/off switch.


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