This was no mere update of the Canon EF 100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM lens for Canon's DSLR cameras. Instead, it realized the true potential of Canon's mirrorless mount for macro photography, with holistic improvements and a headline feature – it was the world's first autofocus lens with 1.4x magnification.
Most true macro lenses offer a 1x magnification (or 1:1), which means subjects appear life-size on the camera's image sensor. The increased magnification in the RF 100mm macro lens can record tiny subjects another 40% larger.
That headline feature is backed up by a radical improvement that Canon's mirrorless RF system brings to macro photography over its DSLR equivalent; in-body image stabilization, which works with lens stabilization to offer significantly better results.
In-body image stabilization is the difference between being able to ditch the tripod and shoot handheld more freely with moving macro subjects and still get sharp shots, especially when working at such high magnifications. Put simply, a DSLR camera couldn't easily handle a 1.4x magnification.
Paired with a high-resolution mirrorless camera such as the Canon EOS R5 – which is also at discounted prices in the build up to the Prime Day deals landing next week (see Amazon deal above) – and macro photographers have a winning combination; more detail, sharp detail and closer detail.
The RF 100mm F2.8 Macro is pricier than the old EF-mount equivalent, but it will level-up your macro photography and is now at its lowest-ever price, under $1,000 for the first time in the US, and currently at £1,149 for shoppers in the UK.
Prime Day early deal (US)
Prime Day early deal (UK)
The 100mm focal length is favored by macro photographers because it provides a reasonable working distance from your subjects – important for skittish subjects like insects and butterflies – and gives you a nicely compressed perspective and background, as opposed to a ballooning effect that you get with a wide-angle lens.
This is also a lens that can double up wonderfully for portrait photography, especially given it has another first for Canon; spherical aberration control. This new features allows photographers to further throw the focus and softness of the background or foreground to make subjects stand out even further.
There's no doubt that the Canon RF 100mm F2.8 Macro IS USM is one of the best Canon RF lenses around and the Canon choice for macro. It's a dream combination with one of Canon's full-frame mirrorless cameras that offers fast and near silent autofocus, and is now at its most tempting price ever.
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other.