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Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Review

A few weeks ago I bought the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM. The incentive was to get more involved with macro photography again. I usually shoot with the wide-angle lens. Macro photography already offers such a wealth of motifs at 10 x 10 cm. Since then, I’ve done a lot of photography with the new lens. Find out how it fared in the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM review.

Why the 60mm?

The market offers many macro lenses that are all on a very high level in terms of performance. My shortlist included the Canon 100mm Macro, the Tamron 90mm and the Canon 60mm Macro. In the past, I have already photographed with the Sigma 105mm, which I can definitely recommend as well. The Canon 100mm is quite expensive, which is why it fell out in the end. In the end, however, I also wanted a Canon lens, because unfortunately there are always problems with the series dispersion with other manufacturers. On an APS-C camera like my 700D, a lens from the EF-S range is not the worst choice anyway.

Haptics & build quality – Everything fits

Newsletter Lead 3 – New PostsThe Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM makes a very solid impression even when printed. The lens is relatively short for a macro, which is of course related to the focal length. I directly ordered the lens hood, which is unfortunately not included with Canon. Nothing wobbles and the lens also has a tare weight of 335 grams, which is good in the hand on the body.

Close focus distance of 20 cm

With a closest focusing distance of 20 cm, the 60mm macro allows for a magnification of 1:1. In practice, this means that you can capture your subjects on the sensor at the same size. And what does that really mean? That you can get very close to your subjects. Except for the Canon 65mm MP-E, to my knowledge, no other Canon lens offers a larger magnification.

Digression: How EF-S lenses work

That you might be just starting out with photography wants to clarify what EF-S actually means. The Canon EF-S lenses have a particularly short construction. This is made possible by the fact that the lens extends further into the camera body. At the same time, it also means that you can only use EF-S lenses on Canon crop cameras like the 700D, the 80D, and the 7D.

If you use a lens on a full-frame camera like the 6D or the 5D Mark III instead, the mirror is also larger there due to the larger sensor. This can cause the mirror to hit the back of the camera when the shutter is released and possibly cause damage. EF-S lenses should therefore only be used on cameras with a crop sensor.

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Review
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Review

Impressive sharpness

Back to the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM. I was particularly impressed by the sharpness of the lens. Even at f/2.8 it is decently sharp in the center. From 4.0 up, the edges are also very sharp. If you are interested in a more scientific evaluation here, you can take a look at the review from Photozone.

In practice, it is usually the case that of course only a small part of the image is actually sharp in the macro range. This is due to the depth of field, which decreases the closer you are to the subject. So whether the edges are sharp or not is rather irrelevant in practice.

In short: I am very satisfied with the sharpness of the 60mm.

Bokeh – The out-of-focus area of the image

In simple terms, bokeh means how the out-of-focus areas of the image look. Here I found the 60mm to be ok. A 100mm lens has an even slightly nicer bokeh simply because of the focal length. It’s definitely not a negative point though.

Autofocus – Fast due to USM

The autofocus of the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM is decently fast due to USM. Of course, this plays a role primarily when you’re not shooting in the macro range. For macro photography, most photographers tend to use manual focus anyway, in order to determine their focus point specifically by hand.

In short: fast thanks to USM, but not really a purchase criterion for a macro lens.

Vivid colors & contrast

I really like the colors of the lens. They are pleasantly strong. This comes into its own especially with flowers and butterflies.

Sample images

I’ve been able to review the 60mm so far both in nature and in the Magdeburg greenhouses.

Further resources

There are also a couple of exciting videos about this lens on YouTube. One of them shows some nice shots with the lens:

You can find even more lens reviews from me here.

Conclusion of the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM review

For me, the Canon EF-S 60mm is a nice re-entry into macro photography. It’s affordable, relatively small, and pleasantly light for a macro lens. Sharpness, colors and contrast also fit very well for me. In the end, a clear recommendation from me!

Looking for recommendations and reviews on other Canon lenses? On my page about Canon lenses I have listed all the articles I have written about them.