7D and 100L macro - images and report

Started Oct 26, 2009 | Discussions thread
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7D and 100L macro - images and report
Oct 26, 2009

Dear all, see comments below for my analysis of the new 100L macro lens & the 7D, along with their marriage. However, lets start with some real life shots of flowers with this combo. Cross posted to the lens forum.

Aloe flowers:

Poppys with early morning light, small f stop to show bokeh:

Taken with Ray Flash & 580II:

Poppy using MT24ex with different ratios (note the mites):

Pink poppy:

Poppy seed head, MT24ex used as master, 430 side light:

Spent poppy:

Another recently spent poppy:

Small f-stop to show bokeh:

More poppy seed heads with side lighting:

Comments

As a background to my photography, I mainly take macros of insects; in fact around 99% of my published shots are of insects. In terms of macro gear I have the following lenses: EFS60, MPE65, 100 2.8, 100L IS 2.8 and 180L, and all have been used extensively. FWIW, I have never published a flower shot and do not consider myself very good at this form of photography and so I set a challenge to capture subjects that are largely unfamiliar; hence the floral theme of this post

Firstly it would seem obvious to compare the two 100 lenses. I will be honest by stating that I have not been a great fan of the 100 non IS; images from this lens appear flat in comparison with the contrasty EFS60 & 180L. The 100 non-IS is certainly not as sharp as the EFS-60, but then again few lenses are. The big evolution with the 100L is in the contrast; images now have real pop, much like what can be achieved with the 180L. This improvement alone is enough to convince me that the new 100 macro is a real winner.

But the 100L has even more improvements; it is a very sharp lens, more so than the old 100. The IS does work very well, even at 1:1. Several of the above shots were taken single handed; one hand was sometimes used to hold a MT24ex flash head to the side. Try taking a shot using the left hand only, it ain’t easy! Yet the lens held the image remarkably stable. The bokeh is also sublime; in fact I would rate this bokeh the smoothest of all my lenses (which includes six ‘L’ lenses).

This 100L is just so good, that I have not used my beloved EFS60 since acquiring it (or the 180L). What’s more is that the 100L can be used on full frame and is cheaper than the 180L. Thus if you are considering a macro lens and intend to go FF in the future, you will not be disappointed by the 100L.

There are reports of edge softness with the 100L. To be honest I did not check this and really do not care if this is occurring. For my macro work, the central area will be where the focus on the subject is and thus edge softness is irrelevant.

As to the 7D/100L combination; this is a marriage made in heaven. The autofocus speed is extraordinary; macros are not suppose to track this well! Most of the above shots were taken on fairly breezy days and the lens could track the flower moving about in the breeze – none of my previous cameras could do this.

Any downsides? I find it disappointing that the 67 macrolite is not incorporated into the 100L as with the EFS60 and that no tripod collar is included. I started out by using the 72 macrolite with a step up filter but found that this would undo too often when the MT24ex flash holder was turned and so purchased the 67 macrolite; problem gone.

Regarding the 7D, there is some low ISO noise, but not too dramatic and no where near as bad as the 50D (which was awful after the silky smooth 40D). There is also some vertical banding when pixel peeping, which is most noticeable in bokeh areas where there is a strong dark to light gradation. All of the above where taken with firmware 1.07 and I have not had a chance to see if 1.09 has corrected the banding.

Kind regards
Stephen

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