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Canon 60mm Macro
EF-s (2005-)

© 2013 KenRockwell.com.

How to Shoot Macro   Best Macro Lenses Compared

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

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Canon 60mm Macro

Canon 60mm f/2.8 Macro (works on 1.6x sensor cameras only, 52mm filters, 11.7 oz./331g, 1:1 close-focus, about $420). enlarge. I'd get mine at Amazon or at Adorama.

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June 2013   Canon Reviews   Canon Lenses   All Reviews

How to Shoot Macro.

Best Macro Lenses Compared.

Why fixed lenses take better pictures.

 

Introduction         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio
I use these stores. I can't vouch for ads below.

This Canon 60mm macro is optically spectacular. It works well and has no downsides, other than being only 60mm and only working on the 1.6x sensor cameras.

If you really want to use this for macro, for only about $80 more the Canon 100mm macro is a much better choice. The 100mm gives you both more working room and a more natural perspective. Unless you're only using this on a copystand, you'll thank me for getting the 100mm macro for macro use.

This 60mm macro is ideal if you plan to use it for general photography and only on the smaller sensor cameras. If you plan to do a lot of macro, the 100mm makes it much more convenient. If you think you may eventually get a 1D or 5D, only the 100mm (and old 50mm macro) work on film and 1.3x and full-frame digital cameras.

 

Good News:

1.) Outstanding optics. Other lenses dream about being this good.

2.) Easy to use.

3.) Compact.

 

Bad News:

1.) Only works on the 30D, 20D and Rebel cameras. Won't work on older cameras, film cameras or the 1.3x and full-frame cameras.

2.) There is only 3-1/2" between the subject and the front of the lens, less if you use filters, at the close focus distance. It is difficult not to block your own lighting. The 100mm Macro give you almost twice this room with which to work at the same image size.

 

Specifications         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

Name

Canon calls this the Canon Macro Lens EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM.

   EF: Electronic Focus. All modern Canon lenses do this.

   -S: Only works on newer, small (1.6x factor) DSLRs, which are the 40D, 30D, 20D, 20Da (astronomical), Digital Rebel XTi, Digital Rebel XT and the original Canon Digital Rebel.

   USM: Ultra-Sonic Motor: The focus motor operates silently.

 

Focal Length

60mm.

On a 1.6x camera it gives an angle of view similar to what a 97mm lens would give on a 35mm film camera. See Crop Factor.

 

Maximum Aperture

f/2.8.

 

Optics

12 elements in 8 groups.

 

Diaphragm

7 blades.

Stops down to f/32.

The in-camera indication stays the same while focusing. It doesn't read the effective f/stop, which gets smaller as you focus more closely. Beware using external light meters unless you know the correction factors. Used with the camera's own metering there is no problem, since it reads through the lens and compensates accordingly.

 

Filter Size

52mm.

 

Close Focus

8" (20cm) from the image plane (the back of the camera).

 

Working Distance

At the close focus distance there is only 3-1/2" between the subject and the front of the lens — less if you use filters. It is difficult not to block your own lighting and not to annoy living subjects. This is why I prefer the Canon 100mm macro, which at the same image size, gives you almost double the room with which to work.

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio

1:1 (life size).

 

Size

2.867" diameter x 2.747" extension from flange (72.83 x 69.78mm), measured by me.

 

Weight

11.685 oz. (331.2g), measured.

 

Hood

ET-67B

 

Introduced

March 2005.

 

Performance         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

 

Focus    Bokeh    Color    Color Fringes    Construction    Distortion

Falloff   Filters   Flare   Flash   Macro   Serial #   Sharpness   Sunstars

 

OVERALL

This 60mm Macro appears to be a scaled down version of the extraordinary Canon 100mm Macro. Both of them are spectacular.

Either of these macros (100mm or 60mm) offer optical performance of which other lenses merely dream.

 

FOCUSING   back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Nothing external moves when focusing, except the focus ring with manual focusing. Nothing rotates and nothing extends.

I only used manual focusing. I didn't use any autofocus. I will presume the AF to be near-instantaneous and almost silent, unlike the buzzsaw sounds that come from the 50mm f/2.5 macro.

 

Ease of Manual Focusing

I can focus it with one firm fingertip. It's much easier with two fingers, but if not, I can hold and focus my XTi with one hand while holding the subject in the other.

My XTi blinks each AF sensor as it pops in focus. This is better than manual focus in my Nikons, which only lights a green light below the image. My XTi also lights its green light below the image in the finder, and more importantly, blinks the on-screen AF sensors in red as you hit focus.

I use the same technique whether I'm turning the ring to focus, or moving the camera or subject to bring it into focus at a preset distance.

 

Manual Focus Accuracy

It seems as good or better than any other Canon.

 

Focus Breathing

This 60mm macro changes magnification as it focuses. This is only important if you're using it on a video camera for professional production. If you've never heard of a focus puller, then ignore this.

 

BOKEH   back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Bokeh is good and very neutral. Here's a complete image of a subject 5 feet (1.5m) away:

Canon 60mm Bokeh

Full image, 5 feet (1.5m) at f/2.8.

Here are 100% crops from my 10 MP XTi (the camera isn't in perfect focus, I focused on the front of the camera, not its crank):

 

bokeh F/2.8

55m bokeh

Crop at 100%, XTi, 60mm at f/2.8
Crop at 100%, XTi, 60mm at f/4

 

The only gotcha is that the diaphragm is slightly stopped down even at f/2.8 at close distances. You can see the 7-bladed diaphragm, and lack of perfect shape, if you're crazy enough to look for it.

canon 60mm bokeh

Full image, light pip at 7 feet, lens focused at 1 foot (1:3), f/2.8.

 

COLOR FRINGES
(Lateral Chromatic Aberration or LCA)

back to Performance or back to Introduction.

It has almost no lateral chromatic aberration, or added color fringes on objects at the sides. This lens is approved by the PPLFPA, Professional Patio and Lawn Furniture Photographers' Association, with a grade of "B." The 100mm macro is better, scoring an "A" by the PPLFPA.

Canon 60mm LCA

Full image, Rebel XTi, Saturation +3, f/7.1 at 1/400, ISO 100.

LCA, Cropped

Crop at 100% from above, unsharpened.

 

COLOR RENDITION

I see no differences from my other Canon lenses, which is as I expect for almost any multicoated lens made since the 1970s.

 

CONSTRUCTION QUALITY

back to Performance or back to Introduction.

 

Exterior

Plastic.

 

Filter Threads

Plastic.

 

Focus Ring

Ribbed hard plastic.

You get traction through pressure against the ribbing of the hard plastic. There's no rubber against which to get friction.

 

Markings

Paint.

 

Switches

Plastic.

 

Mount

Metal.

Rubber bumper protrudes through rear.

 

Internals

I can't see them.

 

Noises when shaken

A lot of clunking (this is normal).

 

Quality

Made in Taiwan (hidden in black-on-black text molded into the inside rear of the lens mount).

 

DISTORTION   back to Performance or back to Introduction.

I can't see any at any distance I tried.

 

FALLOFF (Darkened Corners)

back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Here are shots of an Expodisc with the lens focused at various distances. This is a tough test which shows even the slightest falloff. You'll never see this in normal photography, except at f/2.8 at infinity.

The exposure variations between frames were seen in actual images. Images made at f/2.8 at infinity (normal photos) were dark with darker corners. They lightened considerably at f/4.

 

 
f/2.8
f/4
f/5.6

f/8

Infinity
1:10
1:3
1:1

 

 

The falloff performance improves at the closer distances for which the 60mm marco is optimized.

It's silly to buy a macro lens to shoot wide open at infinity. An ordinary 50mm f/1.8 lens would be better at f/2.8 for this.

 

FILTERS   back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Go ahead, load it up with a stack of old, thick filters. There's no need for any fancy thin ones.

It only peeps through the middle of the filter anyway. Notice how the actual glass is only in the center of the lens; it doesn't extend to the sides of the filter mount. The front element is flush with the filter mount; it doesn't recede into the lens barrel as the Nikon macros do.

Canon 60mm Macro

Front of Canon 60mm Macro

 

FLARE AND GHOSTS  back to Performance or back to Introduction.

I can get ghosts if I deliberately point it into the midday sun, which is, of course, stupid.

Ghosts

Blind Man's Last Vision, XTi, f/11 at 1/125, ISO 100 (LV14)

I had to work to make an example this bad with manual exposure to give enough exposure to show the ghosts. Left to its own exposure there's no problem, even in this stupid example staring directly at the full disk of the midday sun:

Ghost

f/16 (LV16-1/3)

I doubt I'd ever get any ghosts for sunset shots. These shots are with a naked lens (no filter).

 

USE with FLASH   back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Built-in flashes are often so close to the camera that some lenses can see far enough down to see their shadow, as cast by the built-in flash.

My XTi's built-in flash works fine, even at 1:1. The top is a little brighter because it's closer, but there's no black moon of death rising from the bottom of the image.

To my amazement, the exposure is as good as always (which is not that great for Canons), even at 1:1 in program mode at f/3.5 and ISO 100. It doesn't wash out as many cameras do this close.

 

MACRO   back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Macro performance is excellent, as I'd expect.

The 60mm macro focuses to life size (1:1), which means an object the size of your sensor (22 x 15mm or 0.87 x 0.60") fills your image.

Watch

Part of my watch at 1:1, full image.

wacth cropped

Crop at 100% from center of above, no extra sharpening.

The colored scintillation is the way this watch face is supposed to look, and the color fringes on the full image come from my watch's magnifying crystal.

This blowup is of the lower sub-dial, not the main dial which couldn't fit even full-image. Enlarging the entire image this size will print 39" (1m) wide!

Enough of watches. This doesn't show just how close this gets. Here is a teeny flower, smaller than my fingertip:

Teeny flower

Tiny Flower.

And here it is at the closest focus:

tiny flower

At 1:1, full image. That's the tip of my thumb on the left.

 

SERIAL NUMBER  back to Performance or back to Introduction.

The serial number is laser engraved (black on black) on the outside bottom of the barrel, by the lens mount.

 

SHARPNESS  back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Sharpness is so good I'm not even going to bother with my chart; which would be filled with "Es" (excellent) at every setting. For example, here's a snap at f/2.8:

Gazebo

Gazebo, full image. f/2.8 at 1/1,600, ISO 100.

And here's a crop from a 100% crop from the top right far corner:

Crop

100% crop, Rebel XTi, normal Large JPG (the smaller file), unsharpened.

Your technique will be the only barrier to sharp photos. I have a page on How to Get Sharp Photos.

It gets sharper stopped down, and as you know, few if any lenses are this sharp in their corners wide open.

 

SUNSTARS   back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Its seven bladed diaphragm makes an asymmetrical 14-pointed star:

Star

Midday California Sun, f/22 at 1/250, ISO 100 (LV16)

The rainbow was extra. I've not seen that in my other blindness-inducing experiments.

This is the pattern you can expect to form on very bright point light sources in night photography and on specular (chrome) highlights in daylight.

They won't be this big unless you stop down this far and point your camera at the sun, which is stupid.

 

Recommendations         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

 

This Canon 60mm macro is optically spectacular. It works well and has no downsides, other than being only 60mm and only working on the 1.6x sensor cameras.

This 60mm macro is ideal if you plan to use it for general photography and only on the smaller sensor cameras. If you plan to do a lot of macro, the 100mm makes it much more convenient. If you think you may eventually get a 1D or 5D, only the 100mm (and the old 50mm macro) work on film and 1.3x and full-frame digital cameras.

For serious macro work, the Canon 100mm macro gives more working room to make lighting easier and your subjects more comfortable. The 100mm also gives a more realistic perspective for macro use. The 100mm also works on film, 1.3x and full-frame cameras and only costs about $80 more. If you want a macro lens for macro work, get the 100mm. Unless you're only using this on a copystand, you'll thank me for getting the 100mm macro instead.

This 60mm lens will not work on any film, 1.3x or full-frame digital cameras. For those you need either the 100mm Macro or the old 50mm Macro.

These caveats aside, this 60mm macro has spectacular optical performance and super-close focusing.

 

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December 2006