The first thing I noticed when I picked up the lens is its L’ich in weight and feel, in fact it weights about the same as its counterpart. It may not exactly look the part but it feels right. My first question though was whether its L counterpart, the Canon EF 100Mm F 2.8 L Is USM Macro, was not a better choice.
The L equivalent is 625g of L quality glass that comes with a hybrid image stabilization system but also costs about 40% more than the humble Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro. Specifications aside, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro’s lack of image stabilization concerned me, particularly whilst doing handheld macro photography, these fears disappeared very quickly as I learned
about macro photography. In short, if you are not either steady and fast or on a tripod it will be very difficult to take the shot.
Why opt for the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro? Besides the financial aspect there are other concerns. At the time of buying the lens the L version could not house a ring flash without Jerry rigging adapter rings. The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro is 58mm in diameter and most ring flash are fully compatible to this size, a feature that is very useful for macro photography.
One of the most incredible features of this type of lens is the focus distance vs. depth of field but I never expected the sharpness that came along with it. It fast became my go to lens in situations where I was relatively uninspired simply because it opens opportunities, lets you see the world differently. This lens is never a burden to carry and always allows for creativity but it is a purpose lens built not only for macro photography but also does very well as a portrait lens that feels at home on a cropped or full sensor.
If I had to give one regret about this lens it would be that it works better in manual focus but this is a minor inconvenience that comes with macro photography. Finally, this lens lives in my camera bag wherever I go and finds its way onto my camera more often than I care to admit it. If you want to discover the world of macro photography on a budget this is definitively a lens to consider.