My wife has a Canon EOS 450D and, after following a few threads and questions and answers, a Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens seems to be popular for insect photography. I am considering buying one for her birthday, would it be a good buy or a good bye. To add to my question do Canon provide better lenses for insect photography?


3 Answers 3


The 450D can take EF and EF-S lenses, so the 100mm f/2.8 macro will work on it. I would, by the way, recommend the IS version of it, though it is substantially more expensive. Macro shooting has very little tolerance for shake, so without IS, it can be harder to do.

As for the lens, it's top notch, I've seen some stunning shots from it. However, if you want a little more working distance, especially for insect shots, the 180mm f/3.5 may be a good one to look at as well. Nevertheless, the 100mm is excellent. Here's a review from Photozone, it's highly recommended.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that the IS is likely only relevant when doing hand-held macro shooting (which is hard, so yes, this would help!); for tripod-based still shooting (which means non-living subjects, most likely), the IS won't really matter. \$\endgroup\$
    – lindes
    Dec 9, 2010 at 5:29

The Canon 100mm f/2.8 is a great lens for macro photography. It is indeed possible to use it on the 450D, as I do so myself. However it should be noted that due to that camera's 1.6x cropped sensor, you get an "effective focal length" of 160mm. This is due to the fact that the 450D has a narrower field of view than a full-frame camera like the 5D or 1D series.

As far as general macro photography goes, the 100mm is a great lens that offers beautiful bokeh (background blur), very wide maximum aperture, very smooth focusing, and a decent focusing distance. Specifically for insect macro photography, the 100mm will allow you to get some ok shots, but if your wife wishes to get in really close, the Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x Macro lens might be a better chose. A true "macro" lens can magnify a subject 1:1 on the image sensor (in the case of the 450D, its effectively 1.6 times "larger" than 1:1 because of the cropped sensor). The Canon MPE 65 is capable of magnifying subjects even larger, up to 5:1, on the image sensor (or an effective range of 1.6:1 through 8:1 for the 450D.) The MP-E is a more manual lens, as it does not offer automatic focus, while the 100mm does. At very close distances, however, AF looses its value, and manual focus begins to reign supreme.

In comparisons of Insect macros taken with the 100mm vs. the MPE 65mm, the detail and magnification offered by the 65mm is simply stunning. If extreme close-up is the goal, I recommend the MPE 65mm over the 100mm.


EF 100mm f/2.8
Macro close with the 100mm

MP-E 65mm f/2.8 Beyond macro with the MPE 65mm

  • \$\begingroup\$ Read a review of that once and got jealous, but I've invested so much in Pentax that I'll make do with teleconverters for now... \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Aug 22, 2010 at 20:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Teleconverters or extension tubes? I think your looking for extension tubes, which allow you to focus closer to your subject, vs. a teleconverter, which effectively increases the focal length of your lens. The MP-E is basically a macro lens with built-in adjustable extension. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Aug 22, 2010 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ AFAIK, a TC will also effect magnification for macro lenses, a have a couple of them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Aug 23, 2010 at 0:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Too many extension tubes and the subject will be inside your lens. TC's are great for increasing magnification without decreasing working distance, but generally affect image quality negatively. \$\endgroup\$
    – eruditass
    Nov 21, 2010 at 19:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ p.s. Canon also makes a 180mm macro, which (like the 100mm) also focuses to infinity. Having the longer focal length also gives you a greater distance between the front of the lens and the subject -- which could be useful for insects (especially if you're shooting live ones). \$\endgroup\$
    – lindes
    Dec 9, 2010 at 5:27

That would be ideal, and work with no problems on the 450D, or any other camera from the Canon EOS range.


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