Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro US vs. Canon EF 50mm f/2.5

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mr. B, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. Mr. B macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2005
    So I currently own a rebel xt digital camera. I have a zoom lens that is more or less fine, but it's a bit large and bulky, and it doesn't have that *sharpness* that I really crave.

    So I've been looking into getting a new lens, one that's affordable, useful every day, and not too huge.

    I've narrowed it down to two choices.

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


    the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5.

    Both of these have steller reviews and are in the same ballpark.

    Do any of you have any opinions on the two of them?

    Or, even more helpful, a lens that you would say outclasses them without being way more expensive?


    (hmm... also this lens seems to be a very good choice as well, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM...)
  2. atari1356 macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2004
    If you have the budget, my suggestion would be to get the 50mm f/1.8 lens which is great but inexpensive. It's a very sharp lens, even at large apertures.

    Then if you want macro, invest in the 100mm f/2.8 macro lens - which is also very highly rated.

    The 100mm macro lens has two advantages over the 60mm... first, you can be farther away from what you're shooting. So, if you're taking a picture of a bug for example, you'll be less likely to scare it away. Second, the 60mm lens will only ever work on Canon's crop cameras since it's an EF-S lens... the 100mm lens will work on full frame cameras (should you ever choose to buy one).
  3. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    you should know that the 50mm isnt macro unless you get the life size converter.

    Best low budget solution is to get the 50mm 1.8 then get extension tube. If you want to do serious macro work, get the 100mm.

    You can also skip the 50f1.8 and go directly to the 1.4 which is a very good investment.
  4. colorspace macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2005
    No contest, not even close.

    Get the 60mm EF-S, it:

    does 1:1
    does not extend when focusing
    has USM (faster, quiet focus)
    does not cast a shadow with built in flash at closest focus
    has manual focus over-ride
    from my experience is MUCH sharper wide open
    might actually cost less once the 50mm 1:1 adapter is included

    The only advantage for the 50mm f2.5 is that it can be used on full size bodies.

    If you want to see some moderately good examples from the 60mm you can see many on my Pbase galleries:


    Including one recently posted full res IMAGE

    Hand down I think that the 60mm is the best lens optically that I have ever bought at any price --

    Here's an example of how sharp this lens is wide open (f2.8) in the macro range (note the incredibly narrow but SHARP "strip" that is the depth of field)


    BTW - the Canon 100mm Macro is a great lens, but the difference is working distance is not quite, but nearly trivial. An in my opinion the 60mm is a MUCH easier lens to shoot with, it balances much better, hand-hold steadier, and (unlike the 100mm) does not cast a shadow on your subject when shooting 1:1 with the built in flash (purist hate it when I mention this, but I've gotten great results with the built in flash, see galleries above)

    One last thing... the 60mm, just like the (several) 50mm options mentioned abov,also makes a terrific Portrait lens -- very close to the traditional 35mm, 85mm standard on consummer DSLRs. The 100mm is just too long for almost all common venues -- you need a lot of room to get a proper head and shoulders shot with it.
  5. JBat macrumors regular


    Apr 6, 2007
    I'm pretty sure Canon does not make an EF 50mm f2.5 lens. It's either f1.4 or f1.8 at the lower end of the price range, the higher-priced L offering notwithstanding. I have the f1.4 and it's very sharp with great color and contrast, but it's an awkward focal length on a 1.6 crop body. The "Thrifty Fifty" is a great value and a good lens to have in your bag for times when sharpness is paramount.

    The EF-S 60mm is often called the sharpest lens in the Canon family, though an argument could be made for other lenses. The EF-S designator could be considered a weakness by some, if one has designs on "upgrading" to a full frame body later, but it's a terrific lens and a great option for macro or portrait shooting. The 50mm options are not suitable for macro.
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Those are not macro lenses. The OP is referring to this lens:
  7. colorspace macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2005
    yes I can confirm that there is a Canon 50mm f2.5 -- as a matter a fact I owned one before getting the 60mm. If is optically a very good lens, but is not a 1:1 macro and has a pretty old (obsolete?) design with a slow micro-motor focusing system (a bit "buzzy" as well) in addition the significantly extending at 1:1.

    As a matter a fact it is very similar to the Nikon 60mm Macro and Sigma 50mm Macros.

    Good luck in your search.
  8. JBat macrumors regular


    Apr 6, 2007
    I sit corrected. I thought I knew most of Canon's lenses, but I'd never heard of that one.

    Edit: I see from the link miloblithe provided that lens debuted back in 1987, which explains why I don't know it. It's old. ;)

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