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Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
85 219805 May 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $352.02
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.81
9.17
9.1
ef100mmf_2usm_1_

Specifications:
Despite the large maximum aperture, the lens remains compact. Lens group 5 moves for rear focusing, and sharp, crisp pictures are obtained at all apertures. The background blur is ideal for portraits. The USM autofocuses the lens quickly and quietly.


 


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gwhitegeog
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Registered: Jun 16, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4
Review Date: Apr 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good build quality, fast maximum aperture, optically very good, 'cheap'
Cons:
Older USM, otherwise nothing

I'll say it again - you can't beat fast, prime lenses. I picked up my copy of this secondhand for a very reasonable price. Optical quality is excellent, the lens is light, very versatile and gives a bit more reach than a 85mm. It's great for architecture and landscapes, not just portraits.

Canon's EF 50 f1.4, 85 f1.8 and 100 f2.0 mm lenses are the bargain of the century - even if you buy them new - don't worry that they haven't got the 'L' suffix - the shorter focal length and simple construction (fewer elements) makes the L suffix lens important than it is for zooms. The 85mm f1.8 is virtually indistinguishable in terms of results from the f1.2 version - unless you really need such a super-wide aperture - and it is less than a fifth of the price!

Canon don't make another 100mm lens at all and this is an early design from the first launches of EF lenses in the late 80's and early 1990's, but you won't be dissappointed with the results. I have been doing stock photgraphy for over 20 years and all my best shots are taken with primes - they just make you think and work in a better way.


Apr 14, 2006
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dasselbergs
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Registered: Apr 9, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 2
Review Date: Apr 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:

If you're looking for incredible smooth bokeh and a mad DoF, pick this lens. f/2.0 makes all the difference in low light situations indoors. It's weight is perfect, not too heavy, not too light.

Check my samples (in the EF100mm f/2.0 dir) In particular the last two shots. The brick wall and the grass. These will show you the DoF and Bokeh very, very well.

http://www.dennisasselbergs.com/website/photofolio/Gallery.html


Apr 9, 2006
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photomarvin
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Registered: Sep 23, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1789
Review Date: Mar 16, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size/Weight, Sharp as a tack!, Love the FOV, Fast USM, All around terrific lens!!!!
Cons:
Should have bought it sooner...maybe a little long on a cropped body, but not really bad at all.

This is a terrific lens and a great addition to my bag. Even on a cropped body the FOV is really useful, IMHO. Focus is super fast...although in low light it does hunt a bit...and images are tack sharp!

Lots of bang for the buck!


Mar 16, 2006
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dottò
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Registered: Jan 4, 2005
Location: Italy
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: f2, sharpness, bokeh, FTM, compact, lightweight, quality build, price
Cons:
hunts in low light, long minimum focusing distance, bulky hood, usable only in a limited range of situations

This lens is a jewel. I have had it for about a month now and after shooting a few rolls I am amazed at the results. I chose the 100 f2 mainly for use in low light conditions, especially concerts, where one would expect its aperture and reach to be very useful. I wasn't disappointed.

I have been shooting extensively with the lens open wide at f2: image sharpness is excellent, bokeh astonishing, and any little object reflecting light forms a perfect circle, really adding some atmosphere to the picture. In this respect FTM also becomes useful as a sort of creative tool.

Combined with an appropriate film speed (or ISO setting if you shoot digital), the large aperture will grant you good shutter speeds most of the time, but the compactness and lightness of the lens will allow you to go as long as 1/45 or even 1/30 (provided you have a steady hand of course).

The price is a bargain, so if you think this is the kind of lens you want without breaking your bank, this is the one to go for.

Like many others I have found that the lens actually hunts under certain circumstances, but I guess that every lens would. So far, this has not been much of a problem to me, but no doubt this is another situation where FTM becomes useful.

A shorter minimum focusing distance would be nice, even though I haven’t felt the need so far. I guess Canon have reserved this feature for the macro version (100 f2.8).

The hood is quite big and can be cumbersome when moving around in the midst of a crowd. Also, you must be very careful when changing lenses (which is a problem I have since I only own one camera body and don’t like zooms very much): the hood is fragile to the touch so whenever I put my 100mm down into the bag I always fear I could break it.

One final word of caution to those thinking about the 100 f2. Though it is true that you always end up using what you have, at least until you realize you need something else, you should be aware that this lens is usable, at least in my opinion, in a limited range of situations, particularly portrait and performance photography. Trying a few shots outdoor I haven’t found myself at ease with the working distance this lens requires so I often reverted to a normal or wide prime.


Mar 8, 2006
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hemidesign
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Registered: Mar 2, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Mar 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: great lens,nice bokeh,small,sharp pics,USM,fast focus
Cons:
no hood inclued

i really like the lens....nice to do a portrait photos!
good range and f/2
very sharp and bright!

must have!


Mar 2, 2006
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excelguru
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Registered: Feb 20, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 157
Review Date: Feb 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $390.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: 1. At f/2, it becomes a light magnet 2. Very sharp 3. Wonderful bokeh 4. Small, light, inconspicuous 5. Build quality
Cons:
1. When used on 1.6x camera (20D), it's WAY too long for indoor use 2. Autofocus hunts a bit in low-contrast scenes (somewhat expected)

Overall, I'm quite happy with this lens, especially in low-light situations. When shooting wide open, you have to be very meticulous with your focus since the DOF becomes very very thin. I found the bokeh for this lens to be quite nice and it makes a very nice portrait lens, though a bit too long for a 1.6x camera. Would probably be better on a full-frame camera. I find myself wishing that the minimum focusing distance were shorter.

Feb 27, 2006
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marxzed
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Registered: Dec 8, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 74
Review Date: Feb 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, excellent "classic" image quality with neutral colour tint, build quality good for non L lens. Very fast auto focus. Usably sharp at wide open (though watch out for the narrow DoF at f:2).
Cons:
Nothing major really for it's price though a minor issue with the build quality (see below) and it has quite a long minimum focus distance. Some times hunts excessively in low contrast lighting.

I recently purchased this to add a little extra range at the "long end" to my walk about lens (28-70 2.8 L) for travel photography and didn't want to break the bank on a L prime for what I thought would be occasional use.
In the end I find I've been using this far far more often than I though, maybe it's the novelty of the new but maybe not. Certainly I find it's on my camera more often than my even more recent acquisition, a Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS, both for the prime's faster & wider aperture/narrow DoF and its significantly better image quality than that zoom.

Image quality is nothing short of stunning really, OK it's not L glass but even apart from price that does have some very positive advantages.
Colour rendering is less "gold/copper" than I've found my L's to be, more subtle, more neutral, with just a ever so little touch of brassy yellow. Reminds me a lot of the "classic" German lenses we used back in the 70's. I've found I've had to spend less time with colour correction to give a more neutral colour tint.
There is a hint of C/A in OoF area's but is controlled and actually quite pleasant particularly with this lens's nice boke. I've not noticed excesive fringing except in the highest of edge contrast shots when open past 2.8. Use of a 3rd party rubber screw on lens hood controls flare more than adequately.
With a 250D close up lens it makes for a good stand in macro lens for travel use (and comes in at 2/3rds of the weight and size and faster than the 100 2.8 macro)
One and only real gripe is despite the apparent quite high build quality I noticed what looks like dust in between the middle group elements but under the loupe they appear for all the world to be very small shavings of plastic from the manufacturing process that have fallen away from the body and in between the lenses. No noticeable effect on image quality but all too noticeable when the lens is in hand.


Feb 21, 2006
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KM A
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Registered: Feb 12, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 22
Review Date: Feb 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $380.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp, nice bokeh, great for portraits
Cons:
none at the moment

This is my favorite lens. I have a 70-200mm f4 L that I love, but find that I use the 100mm prime far more. I use this for portraiture, as it produces beautiful blurred backgrounds and bokeh.
I bought this lens last April from BH, and was a little nervous, but from the first picture I took, I knew that it was going to be my new best friend. Love it!!


Feb 15, 2006
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nicholashackel
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Registered: Nov 26, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp at f2.0, bokeh, USM autofocus
Cons:
No hood included

I was concerned purchasing this lens as some other people had said it was not sharp wide open and did not seem to perform well on a 20D.

I can honestly say that on a 20D it is razor sharp wide open. The DOF is so small at f2.0 that you have to be extremely careful about the focus point - if the eyes are in foucs then the nose is not!

The focus is quick and response but remember you get the best results on a 20D by using the centre focus point.

The color is neutral and accurate, for me this is not an issue.

I also find the focal length just right. I have used an 85mm and this was (on a 20D) a bit short for my needs.

Build quality is good but not L standard. The size was a surprise as the lens is compact and easy to walk around with.

My only grip with Canon is that there is no supplied hood for which they then charge an outrageous sum of money for - $60 AUD for a lens hood. Also with the proper hood attached the lens cap is difficult to get on and off - buy a center pinch cap. I use the 65EW hood and this works just fine and the cap is much easier to get on and off.

I only give 10 for something truely exceptional - this lens almost has that something special and it has become the lens I use 60% of the time out of a collection of six lenses.



Dec 22, 2005
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MikeMaez
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Registered: Jul 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 438
Review Date: Dec 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cheap, lightweight, USM, decent build, provides a midrange low light telephoto that sits nicely in between the 85 and the 135
Cons:
Color is "flat", sharpness is "usable" but not to pro standards, bokeh is average.

Tried out this lens for an indoor basketball game while looking to fill the focal length between the 85 and the 135 L's. For some reason on a 1D Mark II the 85 was a bit short and the 135 was a bit long for right under the basket, so I gave this lens a shot. While the images were usable, color rendition was only so-so and sharpness was definitely not L. Most would seem to consider this lens the shorter, poor man's version of the 135L, but I will not be keeping this for long. Buy it if you absolutely need a low light short range telephoto, but remember that it can't compare to the 135L.

Dec 16, 2005
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foley71
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Registered: May 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 130
Review Date: Nov 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Focuses fast in low light, easy to hand-hold, sharp.
Cons:
Too long in tight quarters.

This is a lot of bang for the buck. I have had this for about six months and I have used it for outdoor portraits of people and animals, to shoot an Elvis festival inside a cave of a facility and to shoot arena football. Needless to say, the F2 capability has come in exceptionally handy. And the best part is that I have typically walked away saying, "Wow, those shots came out nice." It's focuses quickly, even in low light, and I love the colors this lens produces. It's also quite light.

My only complaint -- and this isn't so much a complaint as it is an observation -- is that 100mm on a 1.6-crop camera can be a funky length indoors. I love this lens as a portrait lens -- F2 allows me to isolate my subject quite nicely -- but it's tough to use for indoor portraits. Often I can't put enough distance between myself and the subject. That's where a 50mm comes in handy.

Anyhow, I would highly recommend this lens for low-light shooting. It has not dissapointed me once.

Jeff
www.foleypics.smugmug.com


Nov 9, 2005
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Buxheimer
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Registered: Mar 17, 2005
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, sharp and sharp
Cons:
could get a bit closer

Hi, this lens is really great. I bought it because my 70-200 2,8 IS is quite a bit heavy for business portraits at customers location. I love this lens and highly recommend it.

Oct 13, 2005
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AndrewRoberts
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Registered: Oct 7, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 7, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Small size and light weight, solid build, excellent from F5.6 on
Cons:
CA and lack of sharpness below F5.6 on EOS 20D

I purchased this lens and a EF 50mm F1.4 based on the reviews here. I was looking for a good quality, fast, medium telephoto lens for my 20D body. The build quality of the 100mm if much better than the 50mm F1.4, but I cannot recommend it with a crop digital body.

Testing this lens against a EF 75-300 F4-5.6 zoom, should have been no contest, but at 100mm the zoom gave the prime a run for its money. At comparable apertures the prime was slightly sharper, but below F5.6 it was not at all sharp and exhibited major cyan Chromatic Aberration. By comparison the 50mm F1.4 was far sharper at wide apertures, and only suffered from purple CA at F1.4.

This may be a bad copy of the lens, but I suspect these mid range primes no longer cut it on digital bodies (especially crop bodies). I'll be returning mine and going for a 135 F2 L.

To be fair I do have different requirements from this lens than most users, I wanted it for astrophotography and chromatic aberation is not pretty in a starfield. The testing I did was in day light however, with a tree against a white (UK!) sky. Most people with portrait or general photography needs wouldn't see the CA, but even so the fact that I couldn't get sharp results below F5.6 meant it didn't offer anything the 75-300 zoom didn't.

And yes I did all my testing on a solid tripod, using mirror lock up and a cable release.

Hope this helps.


Oct 7, 2005
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jamach
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Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 6104
Review Date: Sep 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $387.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, contrast, color, speed of focus, size, skin tone
Cons:
absolutely none

I join the others who praise this lens with the highest recommendations. The results are stunning, color rich, fast focus, superb skin tone, all else. I purchased a nice lens hood and that is a great add on. With a 500D it performs close focus duties at F2.0 with world class results.

Highly recommended.


Sep 24, 2005
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timmyb
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Registered: May 12, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 76
Review Date: Sep 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compact,fast focusing,FTM,fairly cheap,very sharp even at wide apertures.
Cons:
None

This lens is quite simply breathtaking.You won't find better at any price (it's well up to L standards except that it's not
weatherproofed),so buy this lens and prepare to be amazed.


Sep 16, 2005
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sandisk
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Registered: Jul 16, 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 52
Review Date: Aug 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: fast focusing, sharp wide open, nice bokeh, light
Cons:
0.95m min focusing distance



Aug 22, 2005
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Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
85 219805 May 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $352.02
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.81
9.17
9.1
ef100mmf_2usm_1_


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