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Canon 100mm Macro lens. IS or not IS ???

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I'm considering purchasing a Canon 100mm Macro lens. I see that the lens is available either WITH or WITHOUT Image Stabilization.

 

Is it worth spending the extra money to get the version WITH Image Stabilization.

 

Port availability should not be a problem - I hope to be able to use my existing macro port (Canon 60mm) with a couple of extensions.

 

Thanks for any advice provided.

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do a search and you will find a fair amount of discussion. for underwater and most land macro, IS is not useful. IS can sometimes work for handheld macro (land) general use in low light

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The IS version has known focusing problems when used with teleconverters. If you are thinking of putting the 100 macro on a teleconverter for super macro work you'll need the non-IS version.

Edited by Gudge

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I think that you will find that the IS and non-IS versions of this lens are of different design too and the newer one is apparently slightly better optically. The newer IS version is also designated as an 'L' lens so it is better sealed. However I have the non-IS version and it is an absolutely superb lens (even on the Canon 5D2) and I don't think that the (marginally) increased optical performance of the IS lens would translate into significantly better image files when using it behind a port to be honest. I can't see any point in using IS underwater as flash illumination is likely to be used for most shots taken with a long macro lens. So unless you want the IS for above water use I'd go for the older non-IS version.

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I find the IS to be very useful for my land based macro because 90% of it is handheld. Previously I used a Tamron SP90 Macro and I have a much higher percentage of keeper photos with the new Canon 100 IS.

 

That being said, if I was interested only in UW, I would have gone with the non IS version and saved $$$.

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If you are solely asking about the IS, then I don't think it makes that great of a difference for underwater use. I do get about 1 stop more light out of it (did my own tests) over the older version.

 

The advantage the newer version has is much better autofocus. Maybe my old model was a bit jittery but I find the latest one has just incredibly fast autofocus. DP review claims this is one of the best lenses Canon offers and I really have to agree. If you want to shoot small fish that move quite a lot, the old version just wouldn't cut it. The new one gives me lots of keepers.

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The advantage the newer version has is much better autofocus. Maybe my old model was a bit jittery but I find the latest one has just incredibly fast autofocus. DP review claims this is one of the best lenses Canon offers and I really have to agree. If you want to shoot small fish that move quite a lot, the old version just wouldn't cut it. The new one gives me lots of keepers.

 

That may be true for the 7D. For the 5D ( 1 & 2 ), 40D and 50D I can assure you it makes no difference.

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That may be true for the 7D. For the 5D ( 1 & 2 ), 40D and 50D I can assure you it makes no difference.

 

I appreciate the skepticism. But if you are going to call doubt on my statements then I think you should at least back up some of your claims, it's only fair.

 

I have had lots of experience behind both lenses on my 7D and I can assure you the autofocus on the L version is much faster. Just intuitively, that seems like it would translate to other bodies as well.

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I appreciate the skepticism. But if you are going to call doubt on my statements then I think you should at least back up some of your claims, it's only fair.

 

I have had lots of experience behind both lenses on my 7D and I can assure you the autofocus on the L version is much faster. Just intuitively, that seems like it would translate to other bodies as well.

 

I suspect that your old 100mm lens is, as you say yourself, a clunker. Its a well known issue - here is an exerpt from a review of the older version http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews...ens-Review.aspx

"Utilizing USM (Ultrasonic Motor), the Canon 100 Macro internally focuses very fast, quietly and very accurately. I've been questioned on the fast AF statement several times since writing this review. I've rechecked my lens and, though it takes a little time to go from 1:1 macro to infinity, it focuses very fast at normal focusing distances. The second person to question this exchanged their lens for another - the replacement was much faster than the original lens they received. This would indicate to me that there may be an issue with some samples of the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens".

 

So maybe you should try another version of your non-IS lens for comparrison.

 

As I was very interested in upgrading to the IS at one point , we did real life tests with both lenses in typical underwater low light low contrast situations. We tried them on 40D, 50D, 5D and 5D2 and we could honestly not tell any difference in autofocus performance. But then autofocus is a function of lens, camera body and custom functions so I concede that there could be a difference with the 7D but I doubt it. On my recent trip to Ambon there were two 7D shooters, one shooting the old 100 macro and the the other the new IS one. They were both happy as Larry!

 

Not skepticism, just realism :)

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"They were both happy as Larry!"

 

Yeah but did Larry have a IS version or the Non-IS version?

 

I have the Non-IS and guessed that IS made no difference underwater. Happy with my version and happy with my few extra quid/pesos to spend on post dive beer!

 

Olly

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"They were both happy as Larry!"

 

Yeah but did Larry have a IS version or the Non-IS version?

 

I have the Non-IS and guessed that IS made no difference underwater. Happy with my version and happy with my few extra quid/pesos to spend on post dive beer!

 

Olly

Then you must be Larry too ( or three? ) :) :) :)

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The 7D has a special mode where it samples more quickly in macro mode using AI servo.

 

It may be that the new IS lens can take better advantage of this, which might explain why it works better on that body than others?

 

From Canon:

 

'A new Intelligent Macro Tracking function helps reduce blur during macro shooting by recognizing when a macro lens is attached and automatically adjusting the AI Servo sampling frequency. This AI Servo adjustment accounts for camera movement forward and back, a typical occurrence when moving in close for a macro shot as photographers rock back and forth, or a flower blows in the wind.'

 

Otara

Edited by Otara

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i do think the L focuses a bit faster on both by 20D (UW) and my 5D2, but it's a pretty small difference. the 7D is a a quicker and better focusing camera with all lenses than anything except the 1 D and DS.

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Another vote for the 100L.

 

I notice a slight gain with the IS underwater, but it is above water where the IS really shines for hand held shots.

 

I find the 100L to be my favorite lens at the moment. Its great underwater, but also really, really fun above. Great for macro, and portraits as well.

 

Not sure the overall image quality alone is worth the price over the older non-IS, but it is slightly better, and personally I feel just an all around better handling lens, a bit better AF (I am shooting on the 7D), weather sealing, and overall build quality. Also, a pretty good investment as far as lenses go, and a pretty good "deal" as far as Canon L lenses are concerned.

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I am at exactly the same decision point reading reviews trying to decide whether to get the 100mm L series or not, and if the extra cost is worth it or make a noticeable difference. One thing that concerned me was the focus mentioned in this review article.

 

http://reviews.davidleetong.com/reviews/re...l-is-usm-macro/

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Another vote for the 100L.

 

I notice a slight gain with the IS underwater, but it is above water where the IS really shines for hand held shots.

 

I find the 100L to be my favorite lens at the moment. Its great underwater, but also really, really fun above. Great for macro, and portraits as well.

 

Not sure the overall image quality alone is worth the price over the older non-IS, but it is slightly better, and personally I feel just an all around better handling lens, a bit better AF (I am shooting on the 7D), weather sealing, and overall build quality. Also, a pretty good investment as far as lenses go, and a pretty good "deal" as far as Canon L lenses are concerned.

 

I'll second this. I was, like the OP, on the fence about getting the IS or non-IS version of this lens. Not sure it would make much difference underwater, but has also become one of my favorite topside lenses, especially for portraits in addition to handheld macro.

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The 7D has a special mode where it samples more quickly in macro mode using AI servo.

 

It may be that the new IS lens can take better advantage of this, which might explain why it works better on that body than others?

 

From Canon:

 

'A new Intelligent Macro Tracking function helps reduce blur during macro shooting by recognizing when a macro lens is attached and automatically adjusting the AI Servo sampling frequency. This AI Servo adjustment accounts for camera movement forward and back, a typical occurrence when moving in close for a macro shot as photographers rock back and forth, or a flower blows in the wind.'

 

Otara

 

Just one more thing I hope Canon add into the next 5D body whenever it comes out.

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Aside from the other comments, If you may want to shoot any macro video I'd highly suggest the version with IS. I don't shoot video

much (snapshot-like work), but like to have the option and the IS makes this MUCH more useable at 100MM without a tripod.

I had some bracing for this shot, but the IS certainly helped a lot too:

 

http://vimeo.com/24093663

 

 

I'm considering purchasing a Canon 100mm Macro lens. I see that the lens is available either WITH or WITHOUT Image Stabilization.

 

Is it worth spending the extra money to get the version WITH Image Stabilization.

 

Port availability should not be a problem - I hope to be able to use my existing macro port (Canon 60mm) with a couple of extensions.

 

Thanks for any advice provided.

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I absolutely love my 100mm IS L lens - it focuses really fast, is pin sharp, and the casing is fit for the chaotic environment on a busy liveaboard. Very recommended.

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I absolutely love my 100mm IS L lens - it focuses really fast, is pin sharp, and the casing is fit for the chaotic environment on a busy liveaboard. Very recommended.

 

Mate love your photos they are cool. Amazing dof and pink bokeh on that fish pic.

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Thanks for feedback...decision made I got the 100mm IS USM L series today, mainly for use above water as well. Sorry for hijacking your post DiveGirl.

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Mate love your photos they are cool. Amazing dof and pink bokeh on that fish pic.

 

Thanks Weiry. That picture has been a source of lots of compliments - it's a little blenny on a barrel sponge taken with a 60mm macro and a 12mm extension tube. Every time I scared it away with my exhalations (it was above me), it would come back to exactly the same spot, to within less than a millimetre.

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After agonizing between the 100mm non-L and L versions (as well as a used 180mm L for nearly half-off), I finally bought the 100mm L version. I have yet to take it underwater, but use topside (with at least an hour at the camera shop testing both) had me falling in love with the L. If for no other reason, the ergonomics of it are superb--it truly feels natural in the hand with more of the weight on the mount-side rather than non-L which gets fatter at the focus ring and, consequently, feels heavier towards the tip.

 

Some called in an in-between lens (between the 100 non-L and the 180 L) given the price, and I had to agree. And though I will use it at home in the little lean-to studio I've made, most of the stuff I do involves hand-held out-on-the-street-type shooting.

 

And the image/color quality...it's enough to make one believe in religion! :B):

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Moving into an SLR rig, I've been torn with this IS vs Non-IS for weeks for money reasons ( I may have to rob and bank and stay in Asia permanently :-)

 

I'm an artist who primarily shoots macro organic abstractions for large printing, so I'm setting up my rig for extreme super-macro. Since I also shoot educational travel videos, I'll also want some seascape video. Jack Connick at Ocean Optical (great guy) has suggested I get a Kenko 1.4 TC to use with a Tokina 10-17 for WAM and that the TC can be used as well for extreme macro on the 100mm.

 

I've been leaning towards getting the IS version so I can play with handheld macro on the surface. Another reason I considered getting the IS version is because it has better focusing capabilities, especially with a 7D, from what i've read, but I'm using a T3i in a Nauticam 600D housing, so I was wondering if the added focus capability would help with the lesser focusing capabilities of the T3i, especially with the 100mm IS focus limiter settings. On that point, I've read somewhere that a diver had problems with using the limiter UW? Do any of you 100mm IS users use the focus limiter function UW and what do you set it at? Any problems with it or recommendations on it's settings, especially with the less capable T3i focusing system?

 

However, the statement in this post that the 100mm IS has issues with focus when used with a TC has me concerned, maybe I should get the cheaper non-IS instead now? Can you link me to any info concerning this issue? Has anyone here used the Kenko 1.4 TC with the new IS macro? I'm also planning on carrying some diopters, but being experienced with this set-up, is the TC over-kill for that matter, especially with the diopters. My intention is to capture organic abstractions and not photos of fish. I figured as long as I have the TC and #20 extension (for the Tokina/Kenko) I might as well play with it on the macro.

 

Finally, if my haul at the bank is big enough, do you recommend I bust the bak and get a 45 degree viewfinder for the rig.

 

Any advise and opinion would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks for making it through this long post :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The IS version has known focusing problems when used with teleconverters. If you are thinking of putting the 100 macro on a teleconverter for super macro work you'll need the non-IS version.

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