Variety Camera Lenses
Canon’s L-series 100mm Macro is a start performer in every way. Excellent optical quality is backed up by a brilliant hybrid image stabilization system that makes consistently sharp, hand held macro shots a real possibility. Handling is further enhanced by an excellent USM autofocus system that boasts internal focusing and full-time manual override. Couple these points with superb build quality that features weather-proofing for resistance against dust and water, and-while the Canon cost twice as much as the cheapest lens in the group – it’s still worth every penny.
Camera Lens That Features With Optical Stabilization
The only other lens to feature optical stabilization, along with whisper-quiet autofocus and full-time manual override is the Nikon 105mm VR. But compared with the Canon, stabilization proved much less effective in macro shooting. More disappointingly, the Nikon was one of the lowest achievers in the group for outright sharpness in our resolution tests.
Considering it’s the second most expensive in the group, we would have expected better. Costing almost $300 less than the Nikon, Sony’s 100mm macro is also disappointing at its relatively high price when compared to the Tamron. With no advanced features such as image stabilization, internal focusing or full-time manual focus override, along with average image quality, it’s not particularly good value for money.
The Pentax 100mm produced good results, but was hamstrung by a lurching autofocus system, especially in close focus. The Sigma, Tamron and Tokina lenses fared much better, despite being cheaper.
Canon EF 100mm
Pros: Brilliant hybrid image stabilization and internal USM autofocus, with full-time manual override.
Cons: Most expensive lens on test.
The verdict: Well worth the money, and makes handheld macro shots a real possibility.
Pros: Razor-sharp at f/8 and f/11, and there is little else in Four-Thirds fit.
Cons: Dramatic fall-off in sharpness at large and small apertures.
The verdict: As a true 1:1 macro lens for Four-Thirds, it is the best buy.
Pentax D-FA 100mm
Pros: Impressively sharp, even when shooting at maximum aperture.
Cons: Sporadic autofocus makes manual focusing a must for macro.
The verdict: Compact build suits Pentax D-SLR bodies to a tee.
Tokina At-X 100mm
Pros: Sturdy build and crisp image quality at an affordable price.
Cons: Manual focus ring is a little stiff at the closest focus end.
The verdict: The relatively heavyweight build is a good match for Nikon’s beefier D-SLRs.
Tamron SP AF 90mm
Pros: Sharper, lighter in weight and much cheaper compare to the Sony equivalent.
Cons: Push-pull auto/manual focus ring switching is not compatible with Sony camera bodies.
The verdict: Excellent macro image quality makes the Tamron a real bargain.