Canon’s RF 100mm Macro promises to be a significant upgrade to the EF equivalent when it arrives in early July. The first hands-on review, done by Canon Ambassador Irene Rudnyk, shows what we suspected from the pre-announcement of the specs: improved magnification, sharpness and stabilization will be much appreciated. But the new spherical aberration ring will be useful primarily to people willing to composite the subject back in to shots affected by the aberration-added background.
Canon is tipping its hand a bit in sending the lens to its portraitist Ambassador. Previous SA control technology was included in the 85mm L lens, also geared to portraitists. Using the SA control ring, especially in pushing it in the negative direction, creates the sort of dreamy background appreciated primarily by soe wedding photographers. The feature doesn’t appear to be as useful to the hardcore, insect-hunting macro shooters typically associated with the 100mm Macro use case.
The EF 100mm Macro, though, has always been well respected as a portrait lens. The one thing it lacked was a super wide aperture that allowed for blowing out the background. While the SA control ring available on the new RF version may go some distance to help blur that background, the effects on the selected subject are significant enough that a professional will want to Photoshop back in the selected subject taken without aberration added in.