Since I used this thread for my 5D/Macro Lens research, I thought I would duplicate the following post I made on the thread I started: http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=10831What is the best Macro, you ask?
Is sure does depend on the application, doesn't it.
Once again, preliminary tests surprised me. I thought for sure I would LOVE the EF 180mm 3.5 (it's a great lens) but for the bulk of my Macro shooting needs, I have to say the 100mm 2.8 seems to fit nicely right where I need it. I sure wish it came with "L" glass, even though the area of focus seems sharp enough to please me.
First, the 180mm is not user-friendly for me. I use the Linhof Ballhead with a Quick Release Plate and the plate has to be removed from the bottom of the 5D and mounted to the tripod mount on the lens. (A spare could easily fix this issue.) Second, the lens is really heavy and removing the tripod mount is extra work to achieve awkward hand holding. Third, it takes me too far away from my subjects. And fourth, the 2.8 on the 100mm achieves the "editorial" feel that is my style.
For portraits, the 180mm took me 12 feet away from the subject and all I could get was a basic headshot. I have a great daylight studio but by NYC standards, it's a small space. 12 feet is nearing my maximum distance and I need more than just someone's head.
At 12 feet, the 100mm gave me a generous 3/4 body. If I want a tight headshot, all I have to do is move in closer to the model.
The 180mm was an awful distance for editorial food. The camera has to be too far away to capture the outer edges of a single table setting and then there's no room to crop. The 100mm seemed perfect. I could sit at my favorite cafe in the South of France with little need to slide my chair back. With ease, I can get the whole table setting and/or come in tight on that lovely dessert. The 100mm feels VERY natural in my hands and I could see myself using it off the tripod a lot.
Other than butterflies, I have no desire to shoot insects or see insect hairs. I need a Macro that's as versatile as possible and gives me great "lifestyle" imagery. So far, the 100mm 2.8 looks like a keeper.