By: Todd Winner
Without a doubt the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS is my favorite macro lens for underwater work. It offers quick fast focusing and produces crystal-clear images with beautiful bokeh. It works well with both APS-C and full frame bodies and incorporates Canon’s new hybrid image stabilization, offering up to 4-stops of shake compensation.
I find it perfect for shooting subjects about three to four inches or smaller underwater. The 100mm focal length also makes it a wonderful lens for topside portraiture work. At a minimum focusing distance of 12” you will get 1:1 life-size magnification. This gives you enough room to light your subjects and a comfortable working distance not to scare off skittish fish.
If you need to get even closer and gain more magnification the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS works excellent with wet diopters such as the ReefNet SubSee +5 and +10 and the Nauticam SMC-1. Nauticam also makes the Multiplier-1 which can be added to the SMC-1 for extreme magnification!
I use a focus gear with my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM. The full-time manual focus override allows me to fine tune focus at any time without the need to switch the lens out of auto focus. If your housing allows you to comfortably use back button focus, I would highly suggest you give it a try.
Todd Winner is a contributor, instructor, and trip leader for Samy’s Underwater Photo & Video and has over 20 years of experience in underwater still and broadcast video. To see more of Todd’s work please go to www.toddwinner.com. For the latest information on workshops and trips, sign up for our newsletter.