The latest addition to Canon’s full-frame mirrorless RF lens range is superficially a rather familiar-sounding lens. The firm has made a series of much-loved EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lenses, and the RF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM takes over the mantle for the full-frame mirrorless era. But it’s not just a carbon-copy of the firm’s DSLR lens, instead gaining a couple of stand-out new features that promise to make it an excellent choice for both close-ups and portraits.
Canon’s RF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM includes some enticing new features
Firstly, the lens offers an impressively high magnification ratio of 1.4x, rather than the usual life-size, which equates to a minimum image area of approximately 26 x 17mm. Canon says that this is possible due to the short back-focus distance of the RF mount coupled with a floating-focus design. Secondly, the lens gains a new spherical aberration control ring, which can be used to adjust the smoothness of the bokeh either in front of, or behind the main subject. It can also introduce a soft-focus effect to the sharp area of the image. The SA control ring rotates smoothly either side of a click-stop in its neutral central position, where it can also be locked using a switch on the barrel.
There’s an SA control ring on the lens barrel for manipulating the appearance of bokeh
Canon has also included its Hybrid IS system, as seen in the current EF-mount equivalent. By measuring translational as well as angular shake, this aims to provide improved stabilisation for close-up shooting. The lens is rated to deliver five stops of stabilisation in CIPA-standard tests, increasing to 8 stops when used on the EOS R5 and R6 with their in-body stabilisation systems. However, you’re likely to get rather less benefit at close focus distances. Other features include a Dual Nano USM system to provide silent autofocus and suppress focus breathing, which Canon says makes the lens ideal for focus stacking techniques. A 9-blade diaphragm is on board for attractive bokeh.
These features don’t come cheap, though. The Canon RF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM has a recommended price of £1,479.99, which is almost half as much again as its EF stablemate.