Canon’s new Mighty Mouse Macro

Canon’s new Mighty Mouse Macro

Canon have recently added a small EF-S 35mm f2.8 Macro IS STM lens to their inventory. It is relatively small, 2.7″ H  x 2.2″ D and lightweight 6.7 ounces. It is compatible with all Canon APS-C cameras from their earliest Digital Rebel to their newest EOS 77D camera and with an adapter can be used on their EOS M series mirrorless bodies such as the M5. The lens has a retail price of $349.99.

Canon 35mm f2.8 Macro switch positions

Removing the included metal lens hood reveals a built in Macro Light which is powered by the camera battery. The Macro Light is powered On/Off by using a small button on the side of the lens body. It lies below the stabilizer switch which is below the AF/MF switch. Pushing on the light’s power button will illuminate two lights and pressing the power button a second time will decrease their intensity and pressing a third time will turn off the light. Pressing and holding the power button for about six seconds will then enable just the left side to illuminate. One still has the ability to decrease the power with a second push and a third push turns off the left side and only illuminates the right side with the same ability to decrease the right side power. One final push turns off the Macro Light. It’s definitely faster to implement in practice than reading this paragraph. Nicely done Canon.

Comparative sizes Left: Canon EF-S 60mm f2.8 Right: Canon EF-S 35mm f 2.8

The lens has a minimum focus distance of .43′, which then allows 1:1 or life size magnification.  One thing this Canon macro lens does not have is a manual focus scale, which will show the various magnification ratios. This may not matter as much to a rookie macro shooter but possibly more so to a seasoned macro photographer. The focus is relatively fast. I used the Canon 80D as the test body and used live view and touch screen focus. I switched the lens to the manual focus position and manual focusing was smooth but with minimal damping.  The lens accepts a small 49mm filter, but it screws on the outer edge of the lens hood, which in my opinion is not ideal, as the hood helps to control lens flare.

“Canon’s Hybrid Image Stabilizer technology compensates for both rotational and linear camera shake.” Canon also claim 4 stops of correction. I’m a shaky old guy and I could not consistently get sharp photos below 1 stop; meaning any photo I made below 1/15 second was hit or miss. The stabilizer works but the effectiveness will vary from person to person. My advice is for any potential customer to do their own testing as results will vary. The lens also uses a STM (stepping motor) which enables for smooth and silent autofocus. The lens also incorporates a rear inner focus design which maintains a constant lens size and balance while focusing, plus a non rotating front element making use of a polarizing filter easier. One last design goodie is use of a circular aperture which should produce a more rounded out of focus highlight.

Tripod mounted close-ups: SD memory card

 

Macro-Light activated.

 

Detail of stitching on camera bag

Impressions

Would I buy this lens? Probably not as I prefer a longer focal length macro lens. My main issue with short focal length macro lenses is that at 1:1 magnification the lens is so close to the subject that the user will notice the lens casting a shadow on the subject. Kudos to Canon for the assist with their built in Macro-Light to help resolve this problem. Even with a few of the lens short comings, I find this lens is a very nice inexpensive option for a Canon photographer to jump in and explore the exciting world of close-up photography. The lens will also double as a general purpose 50mm focal length equivalent on the Canon APS-C bodies. It is sharp, lightweight, has fast focusing, comes with a metal lens hood and their clever adjustable Macro-Light built in to save the day.

I have used the lens outdoors and will post some nature related macro shots in the next few days!

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