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Blurry Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 IS

Last updated 2010-02-19 - Send Feedback
Related: Canon, Canon lenses, Canon 100mm, lens issues

I experienced not one, but three bad samples of the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS. The full saga is detailed in DAP in my review of the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS. I gave up after the third sample.

One reader suggested that the blur is caused by the IS (image stabilization) mechanism being turned off (as is advisable for tripod use). I saw no improvement with it enabled.

I compared the third (bad) sample of the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS, I to the Zeiss ZE 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar, one of the Zeiss ZF.2/ZF/ZE line which I review in depth in Guide to Zeiss ZE / Zeiss ZF Lenses. The 100/2 Makro-Planar is my reference lens.

Crops

These crops are from the left edge of the frame, the full review has left/center right and more apertures.

The Canon has a 3.1% linear advantage, but still looks like scat-like. I have no supposition that this is a design issue, rather it must needs be a badly assembled lens, the third of three bad samples.

 
f/2.8 Canon <===> f/2.8 Zeiss
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS (left), Zeiss ZE 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar (right)

Stopping down to f/5.6 helps of course, but the Zeiss at f/2.8 is vastly superior to the Canon at f/2.8. Actually, the Zeiss wide open at f/2 is superior to the Canon at any aperture!

 
f/5.6 Canon <===> f/2.8 Zeiss
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS (left), Zeiss ZE 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar (right)

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