Lens Review: Macro photography with the Canon 60mm f2.8 macro lens

Brigitte, one of my friends at work who is also a fellow shutterbug, was kind enough to let me borrow her Canon 60mm f2.8 macro lens ($399) the other day. We both shoot with the same camera – the Canon Rebel T3i – and she is huge into macro photography (this is a girl who’ll never pass up a good mushroom, lol!). She has some amazing shots to show for it.

We had gotten talking equipment one day at work and I mentioned that I didn’t have a macro lens for my Canon. Instead, I’ve been using a set of macro filters, which work just okay and don’t really give me the result I’m looking for. Back when I had a Nikon set-up, I had a telephoto lens that was a macro lens at 300mm and got a lot of good shots with that. I’ve debated buying a similar lens for my Canon, but I already have a good telephoto lens, it just doesn’t have the macro capability at it’s largest focal length. So, I’ve been researching fixed length macro lenses instead. I was thrilled when the opportunity came up to borrow Brigitte’s lens for a few days!

I immediately went home, stayed up and played with it in the studio. I’m super happy with the shots I got:

The lens is super smooth and focuses as close as 0.65 feet with a maximum aperture of 2.8, leaving the background deliciously blurry. I found that at 2.8 so little of the image was actually in focus that I had to close down the aperture quite a bit to achieve the look I was going for.

After shooting quite a bit of still lifes, I decided to see how it did as a portrait lens and used my favorite, always handy daughter Ella to shoot:

I absolutely loved how these turned out. The lens captures the light so well and the soft focus is just beautiful. (Of course, having beautiful subject matter didn’t hurt either! Hannah was at school or I would have captured her too.).

This lens does have one drawback to me – it only works on cropped sensor cameras like I’m shooting with. I have dreams of upgrading my equipment to a Canon 5D Mark IV, which is a full-frame sensor camera. If I were to add this lens to my collection, I’d have to do it with the knowledge that I’d need to sell it if I upgraded my camera. Alternatively, the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens does work on both cropped and full frame sensor cameras. Most of the reviews I read suggest getting the 100mm as the longer lens gives you almost twice the distance to your subject to work with the same image size result. The difference, price wise, is an additional $200 for the 100mm at $599.

Right now, I don’t have any extra money lying around, but I’m going to add this lens to my wish list and perhaps stash a little of my tax return away for it!

Tell me, what is your favorite lens?



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4 Comments

  • Marette Flora

    I have a Nikon but I enjoy all your photography posts. It’s fun to learn more about it so I can improve!

  • Leah

    Well now I want one! I have a Canon EF 50mm but it’s not macro…hmm…

  • Patricia @ Grab a Plate

    Your shots are great! I have a Canon macro lens, too, and I love it! Especially love that shot of your daughter drawing!

    • Jen

      Thank you! Yes, I think I’m going to need to get one for myself! Glad you like yours!

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