I’ve had my Canon 50mm EF f/1.8 standard lens since I got my first film SLR in 1990. It’s been useful for macro work when used in conjunction with my Triplus extension tubes (mainly the 12mm) which I’ve had for years. But this combination is rather heavy and slow to focus. Since I’ve been getting more interested in serious macro work for a while, I’ve been thinking about buying a dedicated Macro lens.
A couple of months ago I finally got my hands on a second hand Canon 60mm EF-S f/2.8 USM macro, bought at a very reasonable price from a friend who was upgrading to the 100mm version. I’ve given it a workout at home and in the field, and am very pleased with the results.
It will give 1:1 life-size reproduction and has a 20cm minimum focus distance. But being an EF-S series lens, (one with the white square on the barrel, not the red dot), it is only suitable for crop-sensor cameras such as the Canon 20D, 30D, 40D. That’s fine for me right now, as it fits my 30D. If I upgrade to a full-frame sensor camera at any time in the future, I’ll have to rethink my macro strategy. The USM motor is quick, quiet and pretty accurate, I’ve found, even in fairly low light conditions. It can hunt a bit sometimes – but there’s always the manual option for those circumstances where it just can’t lock focus properly.
It has a 52mm filter diameter, so the cost of front-element protection isn’t going to be huge. Size and weight (335g) is very good for a specialist lens – I won’t have any worries about packing this in my shooting kit if I think there will be opportunities for macro shots when I’m out and about.
Here are a couple of pictures from indoors:
As you can see it offers an excellent shallow Depth of Field wide open at f/2.8, and clear bright colours. No vignetting around the edges, that I can see. I also used it for this lovely study of a Clematis flower in my garden:
I think it is going to be an excellent lens for close up and macro work. Here’s a few more I’ve taken over the last few weeks:
April saw me start several weeks contract work in London, at the BBC working on their Election Special programme. Consequently, I didn’t have a lot of time for photography, other than my usual photo a day taken travelling to, from or at work.
However, just before it all kicked off, I went to Lavenham, a picturesque Suffolk village, for a Sunday photoshoot with the folks from the GNPC.
Here’s my photoset from Flickr: