Archive for category EF and EF-S Lenses

Review: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

100mm Generally speaking, the Canon EF 100mmis a great lens. The bokeh is fine. The lens is pretty fast. f/2.8 to f/22 is useful as a creative range. The optics are sharp and the all-time focusing is a boon. So what’s not to like? Well, here’s the thing. The Canon EOS50D, which I use, has the ability to use the viewfinder in “live preview” mode, and when doing so, will allow you to zoom in on your focus point (or anywhere else, but that’s irrelevant to my point here) such that you can see extremely fine detail. At which point you can manually focus the lens so that it is exactly right. Marvelous, right?

It would be. But the lens has some mechanical backlash problems. Let me explain backlash; if you’re not familiar with it, it takes a bit of describing.
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Review: Canon EF 85mm ƒ/1.2L II USM Lens

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The Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM Lensis a very heavy (1025 grams or 2.25 lbs), very well built lens. It comes packaged with the appropriate hood, the Canon ES-7911. You get both a lens cap and a mount cap, all packed inside tight conformal foam to protect the lens during shipping. There’s also a very brief manual and the usual warranty paperwork.

The 85mm specification is for a full-frame camera; with an APS-C size sensor like the one in my EOS 50D, this is multiplied by 1.6 to an effective 136mm.

The lens offers AF and manual focus. However, the manual focus is electronically driven from the focus ring to the AF motor system, which has several consequences. First, you can’t focus when the camera is off. Second, the rate of focus is limited by the speed of the focus motor. Third, focus adjustments are extremely precise, essentially free of backlash and drift. The first two issues are negatives, but in my view, they are more than outweighed by the third. For instance, I often take images of the night sky; in order to do this, the lens can be AF-focused on something in the sky (I’ve been using Mars recently for this), and then it can be put into manual focus where the focus will remain correct and constant as long as the camera and lens temperatures do not change significantly. This is the only lens I own that has stable enough focus hardware to be able to do this. The focus ring is broad and well-textured, and a pleasure to use. There is a second textured area on the lens barrel, closer to the camera, that you can mistake for the focus ring – this area is meant to assist you in mounting and unmounting the lens. I’ve learned to avoid it. Manual focus is precise and moving the ring results in a fine enough focus change that when you blow a shot, you can be absolutely certain the lens wasn’t to blame.
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Review: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens

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The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lensis a moderate weight (15 oz), very well built lens. It does not come with the appropriate hood, the Canon ET-65 III. You get both a lens cap and a mount cap, all packed inside tight conformal foam to protect the lens during shipping. There’s also a very brief manual and the usual warranty paperwork.

The lens offers AF and manual focus, and allows manual focus even when AF is set to on, a very useful feature for low-light and other challenging focus situations. This is a USM lens, and as a direct consequence focus is fast and precise, just as you’d expect.

The AF/Manual switch is in a reasonable location, close to the camera body. There is a range indication on the barrel of the lens behind a transparent window which serves to keep dust and debris out of the workings of the lens. Manual focus is controlled with a broad, easy to manage textured ring about mid-body on the lens. During focus, nothing external on the lens body moves or rotates, so there are no complications for using polarizing filters, and no concerns about the lens “pumping” air and so causing dust contamination in either the lens or camera with use.
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