Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM review

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM ushered in a new era of handheld macro shooting

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
(Image: © Canon)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The new RF version of this lens has been grabbing all the macro headlines of late recently but the EF edition was the first to feature Canon’s ‘hybrid’ image stabilizer, putting handheld shooting on the menu even for extreme close-ups. The construction and image quality are top-drawer, making it a formidable macro lens with full 1.0x magnification.


  • +

    Hybrid optical image stabilizer

  • +

    Excellent build quality

  • +

    Superb all-round performance


  • -

    Pricey to buy

  • -

    Outgunned by its new RF sibling

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The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM was  Canon’s first to feature a ‘hybrid’ image stabilizer, which has been inherited by a number of other EF-S and RF macro lenses. With enhanced performance for close-up shooting, the stabilizer counteracts x-y shift as well as the more usual angular vibrations. Even so, its claimed effectiveness of 4 stops in general shooting shrinks to 3 stops at 0.5x magnification and 2 stops at full 1.0x macro shooting. For extreme handheld close-ups, you’re equally likely to run into problems with front-back movements, for which the stabilizer can’t compensate.

Read more:
The best macro lenses
The best camera for macro photography

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.