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Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 USM Medium Telephoto lens

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Theoretically, a medium telephoto such as a 100mm lens will project an image size double that of a standard 50mm lens. Other than 135mm focal length and emergence in popularity of wide-to-tele zoom lenses that followed in the mid '80; 100mm telephoto was used to be one of the most popular focal length among photographers. Basically, it was a very good step-up lens when one got used to a boring standard angle of view on 46 degree where a 100mm lens provides an image size considerably larger than that of a 50mm lens, as well as an angle of view is about halved. The relation in differences among image sizes from lenses of shorter focal length from 100mm telephoto becomes apparent and makes 1st time photographer finds it to be very appealing. Equally, the slightly exaggerated, but a not-too-overpowering perspective compression effect with depth-of-field which is substantially less than that of the 50mm lens projects a very pleasing visual effect when first view through the camera's finder.

Credit: Image courtesy of JOE, whose portfolio can be accessed via PBASE OR his formal PORTFOLIO. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

A brief development history: Canon had their SERENAR 100mm lenses designed for their rangefinder cameras back in 1953-5 (Some of these all-chrome Canon lenses were actually made with Exakta Mount, early Canon's SERENAR F:4 100mm was in chrome finish, the later Canon lens f:3.5 100mm with a hybrid chrome/matte black finishing). The fastest Canon 100mm f/2.0 telephoto lens was first introduced in 1960 in an solid, all-black chrome outfit. It uses a simple, 6 elements in 4 group design but has an interesting 13 blades diaphragm, other than R-mount, it was also available in LEICA mount. For more info: refer to Canon Museum. The FL-mount lens group has skipped with production of a fast 100/f2; the early FD lens group comprised of an improvement in lens speed from f/3.5 to FD 100mm f/2.8 S.S.C. in 1971 along with a FD100mm f/4.0 S.C. MACRO lense. A decade later, the FDN lens group has two 100mm telephotos in FDN 100mm f/2.8 (1979), FDN 100mm f/2.0 (1980) with a revised designed FDN 100mm f/4.0 MACRO.

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Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 USM Telephoto lense
Marketed 1991; Current model

Due to commercial reasons, with so many high performance zoom lenses such as Canon EF 80-200mm /2.8L, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM and others, from a manufacturer's perspective, creating a fixed focal length 100mm with a f/2.8 maximum aperture is not very viable as it lacks competitive value enough to generate substantial interest for consumers. This was why in 1991, a year after Canon introduced the EF 100mm f/2.8 MACRO which can also serves as an all round multi-purpose telephoto, the EF 100mm f/2.0 USM with a full f-stop faster in lens speed was offered as an alternative consideration for consumers. Please take note the original 100mm MACRO did not carried with an USM lens configuration (it was a decade after, in year Y2K where the current EF 100mm f/2.8 USM was offered as a lens update). So, in theory, the EF lens family has two 100mm focal length with two differing functions. For those who think a universal telephoto with a close-focus capability that enables 1:1 Reproduction; by all means go for the Macro lens. But if your photography often requires working in available light, studio shot with less working room or wishes to have a more natural perspective than the 85mm class of EF 85mm f/1.2L USM or EF 85mm f/1.8 USM while cannot afford the higher price of the Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L, this EF 100mm f/2.0 may just fit this criteria or requirement.

In choosing between all these alternative with differing job functions, varying maximum apertures and price categories do require some wisdom but personally I would also think basic elements such as price versus performance ratio and the type of photography you often engaged yourself with should be the set priorities. Below are a brief listings of prices gathered from the online trading houses (as at 04.2006):-

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM -72mm 8 Elements in 8 Groups Dimension/Weight: 91.5mm x 84mm; 1,025g $2099.00 (original version from USD$1500.00~1900-00)
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM -58mm 9 Elements in 9 Groups Dimension/Weight: 75mm x 71.5mm; 425g; USD$330.00~450-00
Canon Telephoto EF 100mm f/2.0 USM 8 Elements in 6 Groups, Filter size: 58 mm Dimension/Weight: 75mm x 73.5mm; 460g; $388.00~$599.00
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 MACRO USM 12 Elements in 8 Groups, Filter size: 58 mm Dimension/Weight: 79mm x 119mm; 600g; $420.00~$699.00
Canon Telephoto EF 135mm f/2.0
L USM 10 Elements in 8 Groups, Filter size: 72 mm Dimension/Weight: 82.5mm x 112mm; 750g; $895.00~$1099.00;

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: Image courtesy of Timothy Bateman from U.K. whose PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The above brief summary outlines the EF 100mm lens can still be able to find a small room as a permanent member in the EF lens group. However, with today's fine grain high speed film to compensate such shortfall, I think a doubling of the cost investing into the 135mm f/2.0L needs some justification unless the extended focal length as well as true performance in image resolution. Secondly, for those who is always on the move, other variable factors such as compactness, lightweight and ability to share many standard 58mm lens accessories could make the 100mm telephoto more attractive alternative others. All these Canon EF lenses are extremely sharp optic and have a fairly high quality physical construction. As the 100mm lens provides great versatility, favored for casual shooting, serious portraiture, sports or in the studio but on location works and even for landscape as its optical nature is useful for isolating a portion of a scene and the slight compression of perspective gives a striking sense of depth to both scenery and landscape pictures. Its ability to fill the frame and the pleasing perspective are important advantages with the 100mm where subjects are small and have a lot of details. The 100mm focal length is also a fine snapshot lens because it allows the photographer to keep a comfortable distance between him/her and the subject in order to retain the natural facial expression. While depth-of-field is shallow enough for special effects, it is not so shallow that focus is absolutely critical. With virtually endless versatility, it will handle a multitude of subject matters.

However, for half body length or head and shoulder portraiture; the 100mm has a little advantage over lenses of longer focal length as you need not to move backward a lot in the working distance but for full body length portraiture with extra room on creative depth of field control; the lens may show its weaknesses in these areas. But personally, if you are damn keen on only concentrating doing other photography other than just portraiture alone, I would think the longer EF 135 or even the 200mm lenses (such as superb Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM and EF 200mm f/2.8L USM) would present a better overall value + versatility; if anyone of you are seasoned enough, you may agree with me by combining a longer focal length + f/2.0 or f/2.8 does offer additional advantages in a broader scope of manipulating their respective optical characteristic, wider depth of field control; lower light shooting possibilities or even permitting use slower ISO film speeds for maximum image resolution.

Credit: Image courtesy of Misa where this image are found from his MISA's camera & Outdoor@EBAY Store®. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Overall, the Canon EF 100mm medium telephoto lens main factor contributes to its popularity is for its large aperture and compact size in lens dimension. The lens does not has a built-in lens hood and the ET-65 III dedicated hood can also be shared/used with the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM. Optically, Canon is able to design to ensure aberrations are minimized using a new rear-focusing optical system with its internal lens group 5 moves for rear focusing, which enables an overall deliveries of high-contrast, sharp imaging performance is obtained over the entire aperture range. The incorporation of the ultrasonic motor as it AF actuator also helps to ensure its autofocusing fast, swift and reasonably quiet than many other tele-lenses in its class. Full-time manual focusing operation is designed with the optimum amount of torque for a familiar operational feel similar to previous manual focus lenses. Lastly, with a 8-blades diaphragm, the background blur is especially ideal for portraiture usage. The built quality is above average; depth of field scales should have been added with more f-stops for quick visual guide (only a f/22 is provided) on depth of field determination. The decision of a moderate f/2.0 maximum aperture has helped to contain the dimension to use 58mm filter accessories (a comparing MF Nikkor 105mm f/1.8s uses a larger 62mm front filter ring; the MF Carl Zeiss Planar T* 100mm f/2.0 uses 67mm; while the MF Olympus ZUIKO 100mm f/2.0 has the largest filter size of 72mm); While some Leica Diehard argue the MF LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-R 90 mm f/2 ASPH (PDF File 764k) has the best performance ratio (via their MTF analysis, but is all of a very subjective matter..) so, but what I tried to tell you is - Canon lens designer has did a fabulous job here. As a matter of fact, Further, this Canon EF 100mm telephoto lense (If I can recall, along with Konica-Minolta also has an AF100mm f/2.0) is currently the fastest AUTOFOCUS 100mm telephoto lens you can find in the market.

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Technical Specification for Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 USM Telephoto: -

Type: - Autofocus lens type with manual focusing mechanism
Focal Length: Fixed focal length 100mm
Focus Adjustment:- Autofocus; Ring-type USM with rear focus design
Manual Focusing:- possible via AF/M switch and electronic full-time manual focusing possible during autofocus
Zoom Adjustment:- Nil. Fixed Focal Length Lens
Closest Focusing Distance:- 0.90m (3.0ft)
Maximum Magnification:- 0.14X
Drive System:- ring-type USM with full-time manual focusing
Distance Scales: Provided via window on metres/feet.
Angle of View:- 20°
14° 24° (horizontal, vertical and diagonal)
Aperture range:- f/2.0 - f/22
Number of Diaphragm Blades: - 8 blades
Minimum Aperture: - f/22
Filter rotation: No

: Image courtesy of JOE, whose portfolio can be accessed via PBASE OR his formal PORTFOLIO. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Optical construction EF100 f/2.0 USM MTF publsihed gragh by Canon

Depth of Filed Chart for EF 100mm f/2.0 USM telephoto lense

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Lens construction:- 8 Elements in 6 Groups
Filter Attachment Size:- 58mm front mounting
Extenders: possible but not advisable
Others: - Extension Tube EF12 (II) 0.27X~0.13X; EF25 (II) 0.42X~0.28X
Diameter:- 75mm x 73.5mm (3" x 2.9"); Weight:- 460g (1.0 Ib)

Accessories:- Lens hood ET-65III; Lens cap: E58U; Hard case LH-B12; Soft case ES-C13/LP1014 ; G.F.Holder III (hood III*), G.F.Holder IV (hood IV*) (5/4)
Status: Current model (as at 2006)

: Image courtesy of Jim Natale from Pelham, Alabama whose PORTFOLIO can be accessed via PBASE. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Lens hood on lens for Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 by Andres Harambour

Recommended External Links/Resources: - Mr. Colin Joye Optical Analysis on EF 100mm f/2.0 USM; A quick review (linked to review) | The Digital-Picture-com Review Archive

: - Canon FD FD 100mm f/2.8 S.S.C.; FD100mm f/4.0 S.C.; FDN 100mm f/2.0; FDN 100mm f/4.0 MACRO + Main Index Page on Canon FD lens Resources

*A Quick Ebay Price Search for EF 100mm f/2.0

Credit: Image courtesy of Andres Harambour® from Argentina, where I found these lovely images (including the bottom two) from PORTFOLIO. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

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Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM 1/125s f/16.0 at 100.0mm with 250D close-up lens iso 400 with Flash

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Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 USM with Canon 300D Digital SLR
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