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.
Firstly, the lens offers an impressively high magnification ratio of 1.4x at its minimum focus distance of 26cm, 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.
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 and offers settings down to f/32.
Optically, the lens employs 17 elements in 13 groups. Its weather-sealed barrel measures 148mm in length and 81.5mm in diameter, while weighing in at 730g. The front element has a water-repellent fluorine coating and the lens accepts 67mm filters. These new 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.