Review Canon 100 mm 2.0 (C FF)

In 1991, the Canon 100 mm 2.0 was put on the market. This lens has always been somewhat snowed under by the nearly as big but cheaper Canon 85 mm 1.8. Due to the compact design, a place in the photo bag can always be found for the 100 mm 2.0. A 100 mm focal length is often seen as an ideal portrait lens and is thus good to deploy in the studio. Due to the high speed, f/2.0, it is possible to play with the depth of field. The focal length of the Canon 100 mm 2.0 fits nicely in the line of 28 mm, 50 mm and 100 mm.

Construction and autofocus


The lens is made of a high quality type of plastic and the fitting is made of metal. The focus ring is smooth and without play. The filter size is only 58 mm and the filter does not turn when focusing. The sixe of this lens does not change during focusing. The lens is delivered excluding an expensive lens hood.

The autofocus is of the HSM type. Focusing is reasonably fast and nearly silent with a Canon 5D MK2. Focusing only takes 0.3 seconds from 15 meters to 1.5 meters. Even in low light, the camera does not commute.





Vignetting, expressed in stops, is only disturbing at full aperture. From f/2.8, this is even negligible. In short, a very good performance in this area.



The distortion, expressed as a percentage, is extremely low and will never be visible in practice. canon 100 2 distortion


The resolution, expressed in LW/PH, disappoints us somewhat. The top in the center is not that high and the difference between center and corner sharpness is fairly large. The Canon 100 mm IS Macro and the Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 II, all modern designs, are much sharper. If you compare the Canon 100 mm with the Sigma 85 mm, you will see that the Sigma too, despite the high brightness, is sharper. We are therefore dealing with an older design dating from the ‘analogue’ era. The current image sensors with many pixels ask much of a lens. resolution-canon-100mm-f2
Canon_100_mm_FF_studiov3 Canon_100_mm_FF_praktijk

Chromatic aberration

Chromatic aberration, measured as a percentage, is low. ca-canon-100mm-f2



The detail shots are of the left glass and the right bottle.

The unsharp round squares have an equal cover at f/2.0. The difference between f/2.0 and f/8.0 is not that large. All in all, a nice bokeh.




Use the Lens Comparison or look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare this lens with other lenses.

WYSIWYG score: More and more often when designing a lens, distortion, color separation and vignetting are consciously not optimally corrected. As a result, fewer expensive lens elements or exotic glass types need to be used, which ultimately results in a more attractive selling price. The lens manufacturer relies on automatic correction of these characteristics in the camera or in photo editing software. The “jpg-score” gives you for a lens/test camera combination, “What you see is what you get” when all available lens corrections are applied in the camera. 

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Pure RAW score: With more expensive lenses, a manufacturer often goes to great lengths in the lens design to prevent lens errors. Neither costs nor effort are spared, which can be recognized by the use of exotic types of glass and many lens elements. The “RAW score” approximates the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera, with CameraStuffReview attempting to bypass any automatic lens corrections of RAW files. If you use lens correction profiles in Photoshop or Lightroom to convert RAW files, the RAW scores for distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration will be higher or equal to the corresponding jpg scores.

{loadmodule mod_custom, LensConclusion} {insertgrid ID = 309}


  • Low vignetting
  • Low distortion
  • Low chromatic aberration
  • Nice bokeh
  • Compactly built


  • Low resolution

On the Canon 100 mm 2.0, one can only say something about the resolution. The resolution starts up slowly and does not reach a peak. Also, the difference in resolution between the center and corners is rather big. But the Canon 100 mm 2.0 also has advantages. The vignetting and chromatic aberration are low, and distortion barely happens. Despite the high speed, the 100 mm 2.0 has a compact design. For lovers of ‘primes’ and a nice bokeh, the Canon 100 mm 2.0 is a must with some reservations.

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