Canon 60mm Macro vs 100mm Macro
What is the main parameters in the decision ?
Both lenses and usually macro lenses in general are usually very high performance lenses with the highest possible image quality, with very good resolution, sharpness, contrast and little distortion.
First the Canon 100mm Macro is a Full frame compatible lens, the Canon 60mm Macro is an Aps-C compatible lens. (You can read the reviews of both lenses by clicking the link.) What does it mean ? If you plan to buy a Full frame camera in the future, you cannot attach (this way you can’t use) the Canon 60mm on it. The Canon 100mm you can attach and use without any problem.
Size and weight
If we see physical size the Canon 60mm is a smaller lens, little bigger than the 50mm, the Canon 100mm Macro is a bigger, heavier lens. The Canon 100mm is 600g, the Canon 60mm is 335g. The Canon 60mm macro lens can be put in a bigger pocket, which is not very possible with the Canon 100mm macro lens.
For a macro lens usually the most important parameter is working distance. If you make photos on desktop objects, perhaps it is not the most important. But if you intend to make lots of photographs of insects, small flowers in the ground, or butterflies, the longer lenses are usually more comfortable to use. Why? You don’t need to go so close, not need to bend down so much, and it is harder to come so close to living insects. If you check longer macro lenses are more expensive, because these lenses has more working distance. The magnification is the same for all true macro lenses has 1:1 magnification today except the Canon Mp-E 65mm 1:1-5x macro, which is quite a special lens.
In case of the Canon 60mm macro the working distance (the distance between the end of the lens and the subject) is small (90 mm), which can result in shadow of the image by the end of the lens. The Hood is definitely not very usable for macro photography. In case of the Canon 100mm Macro lens the working distance is longer, here 149mm, which is more comfortable. My experience for bug photography the Canon 100mm much more comfortable, for flowers I prefer the longer focal length also. But to make photos of insects with the Canon 60mm macro is also possible. Need to be quiet and slow in movement but possible. I like the picture quality of the 60mm better, but much harder and tiring to use it because need to bend o lot.
There are two kinds of portaits. First when we make pictures of family or friends etc from close distances in a room, pub or family event. The other when we make artistic portraits of one person or make photos of people when we don’t speak to them. For example running kid, people on the street. For the first kind of portraits the 60mm is better because it is wider, for the second type the 100m is better for two reasons: first it is longer and blur the background more, second you can go further from the subject.
In both cases consider these lenses can be too sharp for a portrait. All kinds of skin problems is very visible in detail, which some old people would not like. It is usually not a problem with babies with perfect skin.
According to my perception the 60mm is sharper. This does not mean the 100mm is not sharp, for example at f/2.8 aperture wide open the Canon 100mm is sharper. Both lenses can produce very nice colors, and contrast, with very little distortion. Both lens can produce stunning images, you can check in the review by clicking the links with the lens name above the page.
Both of them are prime lenses, which means you cannot zoom with it, and a telephoto lens, which mean not really useful for landscapes. You can make landscapes if you have plenty of room ahead, but for example in a room you only can make a portrait. But if you want to make some landscapes usually the wider lens is better in this case the 60mm. For primary landscape lens the 60mm is awkward, as many situations you cannot go back enough to have the desired perspective. Other thing is the dof (depth of field) means telephoto lenses blur the background, which is usually not useful in landscapes, as it can come out as parts of the photo is not sharp. According to my judgement for landscapes the best is the 16mm focal length if you think about it as a prime lens, which is equal to 24mm on a Full frame.
With both lenses it is possible to have more magnification. In case of the Canon 60mm the best is perhaps to buy extention tubes (Empty ring). Rings with autofocus function are usually very expensive, compare to this is only a piece of metal. There are non focusing rings as well, for the fraction of the price. In this case af is lost (most macro photography is with manual focusing anyway) and exif data as well. If we put the ring on the lens, the lens able to focus closer.
In case of the Canon 100mm a 25mm extention tube gives 39% more magnification. This extra magnification is quite handy at small insects or other tiny objects.
The Canon 100mm f/2.8 can be attached with the Kenko 1.4 dgx teleconverter. Autofocus is maintained, the lens will be a 140mm f/4 equivalent. Little loss of image quality expected, but still very good, certainly for macro as well. The working distance is the same not like with the extention tubes.
Canon 60mm Macro vs 100mm Macro specification
Canon 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens specification
Minimal focus distance: 0.2m (90mm working distance)
Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro specification
Minimal focus distance: 0.31m (149mm working distance)