Lens review

Canon EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM

22 June 2009
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The choice in this appliance class is quite large. If we don’t find a Macro 60 in a producer’s offer, they will often have a 50 or a 70. The table shows the comparison between Canon and its recently introduced Nikon equivalent, and also a highly valued Olympus 2.0/50 (the equivalent of 100 mm on a full frame as well), and a praised by us Sigma 2.8/70 mm Macro. You can see that Canon, in terms of weight, is situated in the lower part of the starters. As for dimensions, only Olympus is noticeably smaller then Canon. It’s worth to emphasize, though, that only Canon and Nikon in this field are closed constructions, which means that they don’t change their dimensions when focusing. In the case of Sigma and Olympus, at the shortest distance from a photographed object, we’re dealing with a largely protruding system of lenses, which makes the lens longer by a factor as large as two.

Canon EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM - Build quality

A closed construction is an obvious advantage. Nothing protrudes, nothing sucks dust inside the instrument, we have no problems with filters, which by definition, don’t rotate.

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As far as the external appearance is concerned, Canon has no surprises in store for us. A little front lens is surrounded by a filter thread of 52 mm diameter. Below we find a place to mount a lens hood (in Canon’s case, obviously, you need to buy it separately), a convenient and working smoothly manual focusing ring and a legible distance scale extending from 20 cm to infinity and place below a glass plate. On its left side, there’s an AF/MF switch for changing the mode of the focusing mechanism. The lens ends with a metal bayonet and a characteristic of EF-S lenses rubber ring which makes it impossible to mount them on full-frame cameras.

Canon EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM - Build quality

As far the minimum focusing distance is concerned, the producer states the value of 20 cm. It’s worth to mention, though, that this quantity tells about the distance from the main plane, and not from the front lens. Therefore, you need to realize that when taking pictures at the lowest end of the scale, we have the object around 9 centimeters from the front lens. For many bugs it’s a too claustrophobic situation to accept it meekly. My son’s coins and toy soldiers were much more patient.

As far as the inner construction is concerned, we’re dealing with 12 elements set in 8 groups here. On one hand, it’s a similar to Nikon’s situation, as it has 12 elements in 9 groups. On the other, Nikon boast about using one lens of low dispersion glass and two aspherical. Canon doesn’t mention any special elements. They brag, however, about using unleaded glass. Inside the lens we find a circular diaphragm of seven blades that can be closed to f/32.

Canon EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM - Build quality