Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens Review

Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens Review

The Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens - meet the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens' twin sibling. Put these two lenses side by side and you will need to read the numbers to tell them apart. That is a good thing.

The 100 f/2 shares the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens' solid build quality. This is a noticeable step up from the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens' construction. Everything feels solid. Very nice.

Putting numbers to the size and weight ... The 100 f/2 weighs 1.0 lb (460g), measures 3.0" x 2.9" (75.0g x 73.5g)(DxL) and has a relatively small 58mm filter diameter. This is relatively small and light - This is an easy-to-take-with-you lens.

The Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens also shares the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens' fast and quiet Ring USM (Ultrasonic Motor) focusing. Tracking action sports is a task well-suited for the 100mm f/2 - AI Servo focus accuracy is excellent.

Contrast and saturation are very good - comparable with the sibling. The optional ET-65III Lens Hood is a wise addition to this lens - to retain the contrast and saturation with bright lights in/near the frame. Some CA is apparent at f/2. Wide open vignetting from the 100 f/2 will be apparent but not bad for full-frame DSLR users - similar to or slightly better than the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens' The 100 f/2 is one of the better lenses available in regards to distortion – expect only a negligible amount.

The 100 f/2 also shares the Canon EF 85 f/1.8 Lens' wide 8-blade aperture. Low light action sports is a specific task the 100 f/2 is well suited for. This lens works well for indoor events. The less-demanding daytime outdoor sports should not be a problem for the 100 f/2, but many prefer using a good zoom lens (such as the Canon EF 70-200 f/4 L USM Lens or the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L USM Lens) for these events. The zoom range enables better framing of your shots.

The wide aperture on the Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens is able to create a diffuse background blur when called upon. Read my article on backgrounds for more info.

The 100mm focal length combined with the wide aperture makes this a very good portrait lens. Selecting the length of a portrait lens is a combination of functionality and personal preference. 100mm falls in the middle of my 85mm-135mm preference for a portrait lens. Head and tight head/shoulder shots are what I find most comfortable with this lens when mounted on a 1.3x or 1.6x FOVCF body. That said, I would choose the Canon EF 85 f1.8 Lens if I were to have one similar-priced portrait lens on a 1.6x crop DSLR. The 100 f/2 feels a bit tight indoors on these cameras.

The Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens is a very sharp lens. I found the 100 f/2 to be sharp at f/2 and only improves slightly when stopped down. Well, all lenses become less sharp somewhere around and beyond f/16 because of diffraction. Corner sharpness is good as well.

The 100 f/2's maximum magnification is a meager .14x at 3' (.9m). Extension tubes make a big difference in this figure - .27x and .42x for 12mm and 25mm tubes respectively.

Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens Comparison

Positioned above from left to right in their fully retracted positions are the following lenses:
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens
Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 USM Lens
Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 L USM Lens
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens

The same lenses are shown below in their fully extended states with their lens hoods in place.

Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens Comparison with Hoods

Here are my recommendations ...

If you want a prime (non-zoom) lens to use for portraits and do not require a 100mm focal length, I recommend you get the Canon EF 85 f1.8 Lens. Of course, if your budget allows, get the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens or the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens. The Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 L USM Lens is excellent too, but it might get a bit long for general indoor portraits on a 1.3x or 1.6x Digital SLR.

If you need a 100mm lens and can get by with a minimum aperture of f/2.8, consider the slightly more expensive Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens or Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro Lens. You get a very sharp lens with an additional capability - 1:1 macro photography. I do prefer the handling of the 100 f/2 over the 100 macro lenses.

If you need a fast-focusing low-light action sports type of lens, the Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens is similar to the Canon EF 85 f1.8 Lens - and the Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 L USM Lens is a slightly better choice (in my opinion of course).

The Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens is a very good lens at a very good price.

Bringing you this site is my full time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan

Buy Now  ►  I highly recommend B&H Photo – Shopping here supports this site!    Rent Now  ►   View Sample Pictures

My Recommended Retailers
Where you buy your gear matters. You expect to get what you ordered and you want to pay a low price for it. The retailers I recommend below are the ones I trust for my own purchases. Get your Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens now from:
B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon.com
Beach Camera or BuyDig.com
the Canon Store (new or refurbished)
(Using the links on this site to make any purchase provides support for this site)
Rent the Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens
Do you need/want the Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens for only a short period of time? Or, would you feel more comfortable buying after having a hands-on trial period? Consider renting. Renting is fast and easy. The rental companies I recommend below are excellent to work with. Schedule your rental now:
LensRentals.com
(Using these links for your rental supports this site)
The Tip Jar
This site and my family are dependent on your support. Can you help right now?

Please share this page!

More Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Lens-Related Information

Please support this site and my family by using the links provided throughout the site to make your purchases
Using this link to make your B&H purchase supports this site and my family
Using this link to make your purchase supports this site and my family
Using this link to make your purchase supports this site and my family
Using this link to place your Beach Camera order supports this site.
Using this link to place your Think Tank Photo order supports this site. Should your order total more than $50.00, Think Tank Photo will send you a free gift with your order if this link is used
Using this link to place your MindShift Gear order supports this site.
Canon Refurbished:
B&H Photo
Adorama
Canon Store (DSLRs)
Canon Store (Lenses & Flashes)
 
Fund New Gear: Sell the Used:
Sell Used Gear at B&H Photo
(learn more)
Support this site by ordering a Lensbaby!

Help | Contact Us | Support Us | Terms of Use | © 2003-2014 The Digital Picture, LLC | Bryan CarnathanPowered By Christ!