I was gifted the Yongnuo 100mm f/2 lens for my Canon DSLR a couple of years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite lenses. The photos above I took while on vacation just a couple of weeks after getting the lens. I mostly wanted to see how the lens performed with these photos and I was impressed. However, this lens isn’t without it's flaws. I’ll give my thoughts here, but keep in mind my views are from a practical use perspective, not pixel-peeping.
When I first got this lens, I owned a Canon 7D Mark II. This was one of Canon’s best DSLRs at the time, the top tier crop sensor camera. This lens paired nicely with that camera. Focus was fast enough, though most will claim Yongnuo’s auto focus motors are slow. The lens was sharp enough to impress me with smooth bokeh, and the lens feels well built.
First, let’s talk about auto focus. This is the biggest issue with this lens. While it may not be the fastest lens to focus, it focuses faster than many reviewers may make it seem. If you need to focus across the entire range close to far, it might be frustratingly slow. But if your focus is close to where it’s already set, there’s nothing to complain about. The focus motor is also quieter than some previous Yongnuo lenses. This doesn’t mean this lens is silent, but it’s also not obnoxiously loud. I would worry about hearing the focus motor while recording video, but I wouldn’t worry much about it during a social event.
Accuracy is another issue. The lens wasn’t perfect at first. I had to calibrate it to my camera using auto focus micro adjustments. If your camera doesn’t offer this in the menu, you may want to think twice about picking up this lens. Canon generally reserves this setting to upper-tier cameras. I used FoCal to calibrate my lenses, including this one. My other lenses calibrated reliably and consistently. The Yongnuo lens, on the other hand, showed very inconsistent results. I had to calibrate it several times before settling on a calibration setting that was middle ground for all of the wild variations in results. I will tell you, though, that once I settled on something, the lens did perform much better.
This is when I decided to test this lens at a concert I was attending. You can see the results below paired with my Canon 7D Mark II.
I had so much fun shooting with this lens during Shaman’s Harvest’s set that I stopped changing lenses throughout the set. I couldn’t wait to shoot more with this lens! I had no problems getting focus and the lens focused fast enough to get the shots. If I had any problems, it was from not being fast enough pushing the shutter since I tend to focus and recompose.
Then several months later, I changed cameras. I downsized from my Canon 7D Mark II to a Canon M5 mirrorless camera. Yes, I miss a couple of things the 7D offered that the M5 doesn’t, but this is also where I learned something about the Yongnuo 100mm f/2 lens I had no clue about. It does not support live view auto focus. I don’t usually use Live View, so I had no clue with my 7D Mark II. However, the M5 does not have an optical viewfinder. Mirrorless cameras like the M5 use an electronic viewfinder or the rear LCD screen. Both displays are the same as using Live View. This means I cannot auto focus with this lens on my M5. Auto exposure still works just fine. Manually setting the aperture works too. I’m only now limited to manual focus with this lens.
Regardless, I still enjoy using this lens. Canon mirrorless cameras, including the M5, offer focus peaking to make manual focus easy. More importantly, though, is that this lens makes for a great macro lens when paired with extension tubes. It doesn’t offer 1:1 macro with extension tubes, but you get close enough for impressive macro photos. Some samples can be seen below.