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Author Topic: Disappointed in new Canon 100mm macro  (Read 17914 times)
JohnKoerner
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« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2009, 10:52:37 AM »
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Quote from: Slough
The original poster's concern related to the MTF plots, not the IS and weather sealing. If you check the MTF plots that he linked to (which you did didn't you), then you will see that the new lens is supposedly better. But, they are calculated ones, not measured, and we do not know how closely they can realise the plots. Secondly, as mentioned, sample variation exists.

Yes, I did check the plots, and long before this post existed actually. Yet, even then, my main interest was not really in the MTF plots but in the improved real-world functionality versus the elder model. I likewise realize there could have been sample variations, but really this kind of "unseen equation" can possibly exist in any face-off, so that just is part of the deal.

Still, I do not believe this has anything to do with the point. The point is, the image quality and sharpness were never issues with the elder lens ... thus to offer comparisons here really isn't the central way to appreciate what are going to be the biggest potential advantages of the newer model.

Assuming the MTF performance was identical (whether it's supposed to be or not), what you still would have in the newer model is a super-sharp lens that delivers excellent image quality ... with some added advantages that the elder model does not.




Quote from: Slough
Photozone has tested one sample of the new lens and the results at the centre of the frame are consistent with high resolving power. Not so stellar off axis though still very good. By all accounts the old lens was optically excellent. Frankly I would not worry unless I was using a >12MP sensor. Oh, that is what the OP is using.  

Thanks for letting me know of the new Photozone tests. What's interesting is Photozone has rated the new 'L' lens higher on the 50D (which is what I have) than on the 5DMkII, both of which have > than 12mp sensors. The test also showed that the MTF resolutions were in fact superior across the board to the elder model, through a broader usable f/stop range, although in their conclusion they say the new lens is "probably not" technically superior to the elder. (Jeeze, guys, how about showing a little more decisiveness, eh?)

I find other aspects of their conclusions to be confusing also. On the one hand, of the upgraded build quality of the new 'L' model, Photozone said "Combined with the seals against dust and moisture (the build quality) is as good as it gets to withstand harsh environmental conditions," and yet in their conclusions section Photozone once again contradict themselves by saying the 'L' lens build quality is only "slightly" better than the old (which elder model they rate as only "decent"), and when the old model had absolutely so sealing at all. This makes no sense.

What also made no sense was that the review stated the new lens has Canon's "proven" IS system, when in fact the upgraded lens has a brand new IS system, which is not yet proven, and which I therefore feel was THE most interesting potential aspect of the brand new 'L' model. Yet the subject of the IS was hardly even touched and what was said was more theoretical than actual field-tested. Overall, I felt that Photozone's 'test' was likewise rather ambiguous (and even self-contradictory) on the most critical elements of the new upgrade.

That being said, the new lens' AF capability was described as "very fast" and the accuracy was "excellent." And, of critical importance to any macrophotography, is the bokeh ... which the reviewer stated was "one of the best lenses in this respect that we've seen so far."




Quote from: Slough
It is of course possible that the OP has picked a cherry from the old lenses, and/or a not so good one from the new.

What I think is the most probable of all is that judging this lens at this point, based on the woefully-inadequate reviews thus far, is a bit premature. Nobody has really analyzed what's new. I would like to see a really competent long-term review be done on this lens, being used in actual field conditions, where the added enhancements can really be put to the test and then compared to the limitations of the elder model.

Jack

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« Last Edit: October 16, 2009, 10:55:20 AM by JohnKoerner » Logged
Slough
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« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2009, 11:07:51 AM »
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Jack. I was simply making the point that the OP was interested in improved image quality. I don't disagree with much of the content of your posts.

Regarding the Photozone tests, you should note that the old and new lenses were tested on different bodies, and hence you cannot cross compare the results, though you can draw some conclusions, albeit not very precise ones. Regarding the statements on build, I think what they say makes sense. They are saying that the newer lens is slightly better built, but has much better sealing. That makes sense to me, but yes it might sound ambiguous. Just my opinion. Don't take it too seriously. I think you can only really get a feel for a lens by reading several reviews. Scratch that. I think you can only really get a feel for a lens by using it. Imatest MTF curves leave out too much to be anything other than a rough guide. It tells you nothing about performance at infinity, and in the micro range. It tells you nothing about the bokeh. Etc etc. Reviews rave about the Tamron 90mm macro lens. I did not like it. (For example it has an awful MF/AF switch that drove me nuts, as I only use MF, but which reviews do not mention, probably because they do not really use the lens.)

The old Canon lens always had a good reputation. The fact that the OP did not find the Zeiss macro lens sharper is odd. It should also have a different character to the IQ. Each manufacturer tends to choose coatings and glass to achieve an in house 'look'.
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spotmeter
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« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2009, 09:52:03 PM »
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Quote from: Slough
Jack. I was simply making the point that the OP was interested in improved image quality. I don't disagree with much of the content of your posts.

Regarding the Photozone tests, you should note that the old and new lenses were tested on different bodies, and hence you cannot cross compare the results, though you can draw some conclusions, albeit not very precise ones. Regarding the statements on build, I think what they say makes sense. They are saying that the newer lens is slightly better built, but has much better sealing. That makes sense to me, but yes it might sound ambiguous. Just my opinion. Don't take it too seriously. I think you can only really get a feel for a lens by reading several reviews. Scratch that. I think you can only really get a feel for a lens by using it. Imatest MTF curves leave out too much to be anything other than a rough guide. It tells you nothing about performance at infinity, and in the micro range. It tells you nothing about the bokeh. Etc etc. Reviews rave about the Tamron 90mm macro lens. I did not like it. (For example it has an awful MF/AF switch that drove me nuts, as I only use MF, but which reviews do not mention, probably because they do not really use the lens.)

The old Canon lens always had a good reputation. The fact that the OP did not find the Zeiss macro lens sharper is odd. It should also have a different character to the IQ. Each manufacturer tends to choose coatings and glass to achieve an in house 'look'.

Thanks, Slough, for getting the drift of my original post correct.

I bought the lens only because the MTF curves published by Canon indicated better resolution than the old one (which I have).  I didn't buy the lens to shoot frogs in Peru, or hand-held portraits or macros in the rain. I bought it only because Canon's MTF curves promised better resolution than the old one I currently use for landscapes-- always on a tripod, mirror lock-up and cable release. I carefully shot resolution targets in the center and all four corners, as well as landscapes and macros. Neither myself or my assistant could tell the two lenses apart from the resulting images.  We are always looking for sharper lenses because when you print 40 x 60 you need all the resolution you can get.

It doesn't mean the new Canon 100mm macro is a bad lens; not at all. But if you are thinking of buying it in the hopes it will be better than an old one you have in your bag, my tests show that it is not worth the upgrade.

On the other hand, if you don't have a 100mm lens, it has a lot going for it.
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stever
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« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2009, 06:28:45 PM »
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It seems to me that Canon generally concentrates on the bottom line - lenses that will appeal to as wide an audience as possible with a combination of build quality, IQ, and usability that are good value at various price points.  

Although higher IQ would be nice, i wonder how much better than the 100M Canon can make lenses in their production volume.  The faster focussing, IS, weather sealing will make the L lens useful for a wider variety of uses (which for me will justify the replacement of my 100M)  with almost state-of-the-art IQ.

I'll bet Canon made a similar tradeoff decision for internal focusing with the 100M - they could have had better IQ with fewer elements, but internal focusing sure is productive.

What the new L macro hasn't really answered is whether or not Canon can and will make lenses that can keep up with increased sensor resolution.
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stever
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« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2009, 06:44:11 PM »
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just noticed that Lloyd Chambers -diglloyd.com first L 100 M was bad out of the box, can't read hid up-date until my subscription renewal clears
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2009, 03:46:49 AM »
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I actually think that Canon did an excellent job with the new lens. Meaning that they have managed to maintain the high optical quality of the 100 macro, while adding a completely new IS system. I would not buy the new lens expecting it to be better than the old one in terms of image quality; I would buy the new lens expecting to benefit from the added flexibility provided by the IS.

I seem to remember that when Nikon introduced their 105 macro lens with VR, there were a few comments suggesting that the image quality was not as good as the older version.
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2009, 02:12:38 PM »
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Quote from: stever
just noticed that Lloyd Chambers -diglloyd.com first L 100 M was bad out of the box, can't read hid up-date until my subscription renewal clears

He is waiting to get a new copy before he can complete his review. Initially he was going to compare it againist a Zeiss Macro and Leica APO which would have been rather interesting to see how the Canon faired.
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nsnowlin
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« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2009, 07:58:20 AM »
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My old rotating barrel 100/f2.8 macro finally wore out.  CPS returned it.  No parts and past the time they service this particular lens.  I just got my new 100 L replacement.  On small product shots (jewelry) at f8-f16 it seems to be about the same as the old one with less CA.  For portraits at f2.8-F4 it is superior and blazingly fast compared to the old one.  For me it has become my new "standard" lens on my 1Ds3.  It maintains the quality one would expect in ANY 100 macro from a major manufacturer.  The other advantages listed by others above only add to the sense that I have a lens that will be with me until I, or it, croak.

Stu
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2009, 08:21:33 AM »
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Quote from: nsnowlin
... the sense that I have a lens that will be with me until I, or it, croak.

Based on your experience with the older lens I suspect it, or at least Canon's support for it, will croak before you do.
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nsnowlin
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« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2009, 08:41:17 AM »
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Quote from: telyt
Based on your experience with the older lens I suspect it, or at least Canon's support for it, will croak before you do.

Har.  Har.  I can hope.  However, there seems to be a geometric progression with my wearing out as I age unlike my old, trusty 100 macro.  Canon's support for this lens was longer than support for parts for some cars I have owned.  Every manufacturer has to just cut off support for old products at some point.  (Maybe Schneider doesn't but those old, simple & elegant babies just keep on working.)

Stu
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budjames
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« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2009, 11:20:25 AM »
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I played with the new 100 macro lens at the recent PhotoPlus Expo in NYC 2 weeks ago. It's a little bigger than the original 100 macro that I own.

Based on what I hearing, I'm glad that I did not see any compelling reason to upgrade.

However, I would like to see Canon upgrade the 100-400 L IS lens. Mine is 6 years old and it just doesn't seem to cut it with my 1Ds MkIII and 5d MkII bodies.

Cheers.
Bud
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Bud James
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2009, 10:33:39 PM »
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Quote from: nsnowlin
Every manufacturer has to just cut off support for old products at some point.

If that's what you're expecting you won't be disappointed.  Leica still services 40-year-old lenses and the lenses are still worth using.
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ashley
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« Reply #32 on: November 01, 2009, 06:14:50 AM »
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I have the old original 100mm macro which doesn't have USM, so the focus speed is terrible compared to most other lenses, but it is certainly the sharpest Canon lens I own. It's also extremely well built and seems more solid than the lens that replaced it.

In a conversation I had with Canon CPS in the UK they felt the 100mm macro was their jewel in the crown because there was no significant fall off in performance at any point in the aperture range, which coincides with my own findings. When tested on my 1DsII I felt it still had plenty left to offer unlike lenses such as my 28mm that were falling apart at the seams, so it could well be that the real limitation here in both cases is the sensor rather than the lens.

A while back I prepared a short article looking at various lenses and photographed them against a white background resting on a sheet of glass. I knew that the images would only be very small and not terribly important, so I was not as careful as usual about protecting the lens from stray light hitting the front of the lens from the background. The result was very telling, because the initial images done on the 24-105L were completely flare free, but when I needed to photograph the zoom, I put on the 100mm macro and much to my surprise there was suddenly flare. It could well be that the new L series macro has significantly improved performance in dealing with flare in difficult situations if this test is anything to go on.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2009, 06:23:44 AM by ashley » Logged

Nigel Johnson
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« Reply #33 on: November 01, 2009, 07:35:22 AM »
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Quote from: spotmeter
The MTF graphs published by Canon indicate the new lens would be far superior to the old one.

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controll...mp;modelid=7400
http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controll...p;modelid=19091

Unfortunately, the difference did not show up in my tests.
Ashley

Unfortunately Canon USA have posted the wrong MTF graph on their website for the EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM. The data they show is for the earlier non-USM lens (confusingly called the EF100mm f/2.8 Macro) that had an entirely different optical construction.

I have checked this with the original Lens Work book from 1992 and with the my April 2003 second edition of Lens Work III. This mistake has been mentioned on various forums, including I think another post on LL. The USM lens MTF data is much closer to that of the new L lens.

PDFs of Lens Work III including the MTF graphs can be downloaded from Canon Europe - Lens Work III.

Regards
Nigel
« Last Edit: November 01, 2009, 07:36:34 AM by CFNJ » Logged
Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2009, 07:30:33 AM »
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Quote from: spotmeter
I received the new Canon 100mm f2.8L II Macro IS last week and spent the weekend testing it against my old Canon 100mm macro with resolution and real world tests.

The MTF graphs published by Canon indicate the new lens would be far superior to the old one.

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controll...mp;modelid=7400
http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controll...p;modelid=19091

Unfortunately, the difference did not show up in my tests.

On resolution charts in the center and four corners, the lenses were identical.  Excellent from f4 to f11, but identical. All shots were taken on tripod, mirror lock-up, and cable release on the Canon 5D2.

On real world shots of the same landscape scene, also on tripod, mirror lock-up, and cable release on the Canon 5D2, I could not tell any difference between the two at 100%. The new lens was no better in resolution, contrast or color.

The new lens was slightly sharper at f2.8 than the old one, has very fast auto focus and image stabilization, so it would be a good lens for portraits.

But since I never shoot wide open or hand held, I returned the lens.

If anyone has tested a 100mm lens that is sharper than the old Canon 100mm macro, please let me know.

I haven't tried the old 100mm macro alongside the new version, but I have owned both, as well as the 180mm macro and 50mm macro from Canon.

After using the original 100mm macro for about a year I sold it as it just didn't deliver the results I was looking for. I had the same experience with the Canon 50mm macro, which was an even bigger disappointment optically. Maybe I was unlucky with these samples. In the end I settled for using Leica R 60mm 2.8 macro and Leica 100mm Apo 2.8 macro lenses with the Canon 180mm macro. This trio of macro lenses delivered comparable (and exceptionally high) quality from f4 up, and from infinity to half life size. But no IS on any of them, and the hassle of stop-down metering with the Leica lenses.

I've only been using the new Canon 100mm macro IS for a few weeks but so far I'm very impressed. In practical use it's fully the equal of the Leica APO Macro 100mm throughout the aperture range, but without the inconvenience of an adaptor. The old Canon 100m macro was demonstrably not up to the standards of the Leica, but as I said maybe I had a poor sample. The IS system on the new Canon 100mm is outstanding, at 1/100s I can't see any material difference between handheld and tripod mounted, and at speeds of 1/200s or faster I can't see any difference at all. In my opinion this new lens is real evidence of optical progress by Canon, and I'm looking forward to the 30+mpx 1Ds MkIV to really put it through its paces!
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Paul Roark
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« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2009, 10:49:29 AM »
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Quote from: Gary Ferguson
...
I've only been using the new Canon 100mm macro IS for a few weeks but so far I'm very impressed. ... The IS system on the new Canon 100mm is outstanding, ... and I'm looking forward to the 30+mpx 1Ds MkIV to really put it through its paces!

I totally agree.

My older macro lenses were incredibly sharp, but after a day at the Monterey Aquarium with the new IS 100 macro, I have absolutely no interest in going back.  The 5d2 and this optic allow shots that just could not be taken before.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com
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stever
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« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2009, 10:57:09 AM »
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Lloyd Chambers test of second copy now online at diglloyd.com.  Better than the first, but still an issue and he's awaiting a 3rd copy.

I have really been looking forward to this lens for better AF which i particularly need underwater.  

Looks like another case of Canon of a) early production problems,  Canon lens-lens quality variation.  Hopefully not a fragile design or one beyond their manufacturing capability.

Strongly suggest any owners of this lens do a thorough test before the end of warranty.

Now, how many copies am i going to have to test? -- or should i just wait?
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2009, 01:24:19 PM »
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That Zeiss ZF 100mm macro that Diglloyd is using for comparison looks very impressive!
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #38 on: November 11, 2009, 10:52:02 AM »
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Westlake reviewed the Canon 100 macro today...

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0911/09111103...macroreview.asp
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stever
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« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2009, 10:52:18 AM »
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dpreview has just posted their review with no real issues, but interesting reading but unfortunately no direct comparison to the "old" 100m in IQ or focus speed.  disappointed that the macro focus limiter range is so narrow - was hoping it would allow focus to 1 or 1 1/2 m so as to be useful to me underwater

i wonder if they got their test copy from Canon or over-the-counter like Lloyd Chambers

i will be testing my own soon
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