How does one define self-indulgence in a photographer? Perhaps = “succumbs to the allure of a new lens”? That was me today. I bought a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, lightly used. It was an excellent price, and I could not resist. The rest of my excuse? It’s my birthday in a few days, so that is a pretty good start. Unfortunately, my spouse was mid-air between Iceland and Seattle so I could not consult with her. I did not think this opportunity would last long, so had to move quickly.
But, I can hear you thinking “now, you have that nice 40-year-old SMC Takumar 100mm f4 Macro with an Optix v5+ chip in the adapter to give focus confirm, and bokeh to die for. Why do you need another 100mm macro?”
Well, strictly speaking I don’t. But, what I do gain is:
- a considerably faster lens (one f-stop – this is going to be great, in my current shallow dof frame of mind – isn’t ‘frame of mind’ a perfect expression for a photo blog?),
- auto focus that really works (my graduated eye-glass lenses really are not suited to precise eyepiece focusing and the Optix chip suspended operations in the field this year),
- 1:1 image ratio at maximum (versus 0.5:1 for the Takumar – this is the biggest bonus in my books),
- no lens external telescoping during focusing,
- a filter thread size that matches my 50/1.4 (so, I can try some mild telephoto shots with the ND filters, for instance) and
- I think marginally better optics.
- The package of improvements is going to mean more consistently sharp macro shots, and its going to be excellent for portrait type uses.
This is not to say that the Takumar has no role in (or rather, out of) my camera bag. For one thing, with its manual focus and manual aperture, it is invaluable for video work. For another, that bokeh is going to be a constant draw for some situations.
So, today’s post features a few shots from the Chinese Cemetery‘s rocky eastern zone. This is the same place that I have been posting some winter shots from during the past few days. I only had about an hour to try the lens before the light failed, so this is a bit of an odd mix. None of these shots are cropped, unless it says so in the comment visible in the gallery. None has been sharpened. Most are shot at f2.8. The long distance shots are mostly hand-held, the very low to the ground shots (if you can tell, like the one at the top of the post) are also hand-held, the rest are tripod supported.
To view the images below in larger sizes click on any thumbnail below to launch the gallery view, navigate with the arrows and escape to return to this page.
Canon EOS 5D MkII, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, ISO100, except 10a, 12 and 13 which are all at ISO640.