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This is Part Two of the rolling review of the 100mm macro lenses for Canon EF mount.

 

Studio Test. Ok folks, we are starting off with a fairly standard Imatest evaluation of our primary candidates. Just as a reminder, we will limit this test to only one focusing distance - 10m. Why 10m? For all 100mm lenses, 10m focusing distance roughly falls into medium range and closer to the infinity than to the MFD. I cannot test lenses at longer than 14m focusing distance due to the space constraints. And testing at very close focusing distances with Imatest does not really make sense due to the software's and imaging target's limitations - we will be testing the resolution of the target (printer that is) rather than the lens at anything closer than 2m (20x focal length of the lens). At 10m we get a 100x focal length ratio, which should be good enough to get us accurate results out of Imatest (as accurate as the software is capable of giving us, of course). Plus, we will do macro (MFD) and infinity tests separately, so, yea, 10m sounds like a good start.

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This is Part One of the rolling review of the 100mm macro lenses for Canon EF mount.

Introduction

I am not much of a macro shooter, yet I have managed to 'accumulate' 4 dedicated macro lenses for Canon mount. This happened over time - I purchased a Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro long long time ago and kept it since it was a really good performer. Then I stumbled on Voigtlander APO Lanthar 125mm f/2.5 Macro in Canon mount. Back then Cosina already discontinued its SL lenses, but they were widely available, including Macro Lanthars. Price? A whopping $800 - back then I thought I was doing a mistake buying this lens for such a price, after all, Canon EF 100/2.8 cost only $450. Three years later, Macro Lanthar sells for $2,500, while Canon still costs ~$450. In hindsight, I should have bought the whole pallet of Macro Lanthars back then - this would have had a better return than my 401K over the same period. After Lanthar I purchased Leica APO Macro Elmarit 100mm f/2.8 along with the Leica R7, just to remember the old good days of the R system. R7 was gone in a week, but I kept Macro Elmarit. Finally, when Carl Zeiss released the Makro Planar 100mm f/2, I absolutely had to have it. And so lo and behold, I now have 4 macro lenses. I never really planned to keep all four, but always wanted to do a shootout. The first 100mm macro comparison went online about two years ago, but I always felt it was incomplete and so kept all lenses for that day when I get enough time to compare them more extensively side by side. This day is now...

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