The Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2M Macro– Is It Worth It?

by Bret Hoy2 Comments

There is one thing that every American consumer knows. If you want quality, you will pay for it. In fact, the idea is so ingrained into American ideology that we actually shy away from deals because we feel as if we’re not getting as high quality of a product! When it comes to high end, expensive camera products like Zeiss glass and Leica bodies you have to know what’s really worth it for you and what’s not.

This lens that I’m talking about isn’t cheap. The Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2M is just a hair under two grand. This puts it just about one thousand dollars above it’s Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L counterpart. The question is: is that worth it?

Luckily, I don’t have to make that decision, I just relay the information you might need to make that decision and point you in the direction that gives you more in depth info.

The Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2M flies beyond it’s Canon brother in multiple ways that are fundamental to the success of a macro lens. First, for me, is the focus ring. One of the main struggles I have when using the Canon 100mm Macro is the finicky nature of the focus ring. It’s far too jumpy. For a macro with razor thin depth of field at a telephoto length, you must have a decent level of resistance in the focus ring throw. You just don’t get enough with the Canon. All reports indicate that Zeiss Milvus, while not an autofocus lens provides you with that necessary resistance.

Does that make it worth the extra $1000?

The Milvus also gives you a little extra range with your aperture as well. Compared to the Canon’s 100mm f/2.8, you get just a little extra bump of light, and perhaps more importantly, you get a little bit more depth of field. With a lens like a macro, where you’re not generally hurting for depth, I’m not sure what this gives you artistically, but also, it can’t be discounted as inconsequential. This does put more colors on your palette for you to choose how to use.

Again, it’s not my decision to decide what you do with your money, I just provide the information. That being said, the Zeiss Milvus sounds WAY cooler when bragging about it to your photographer friends than the Canon 100mm.

If you’re still not sure, check out this detailed and thorough review by Bryan Carnathan over at He goes a long way in explaining the highs and lows of this, gorgeous lens.



Order at B&H

Via Canon Rumors:

Bryan at The-Digital-Picture has completed his review of the Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2M. This is a lens I have a lot of interest in, as I rarely use autofocus when using a macro lens and I’d love to see the results of an f/2 aperture over the f/2.8 of the Canon competitor.

The Milvus is a lot more expensive than the Canon equivalent, but is it worth it?

“If you want the best, be prepared to pay for it. While no other 100mm DSLR lens can touch this one’s image quality at f/2 or f/2.8, there is a price to be paid for this quality. The price tag on this lens ranges from nearly 2x to well over 3x as much as the other options. Read the full review

Source: The Digital Picture

(cover photo credit: snap from The Digital Picture)


  1. “Compared to the Canon’s, you get just a little extra bump of light, and perhaps more importantly, you get a little bit more depth of field.”
    You probably meant that this f/2 Zeiss gives you less or a shallower depth of field, in no case more. 🙂

  2. The difference in image quality of the Milvus compared with the Canon or even Tamron is minimal. Not enough to justify the price. The business about the focus ring is also BS. The canon focus ring is actually easier to use than the Milvus as it is properly knurled whereas the Milvus suffers from marketing manager syndrome, they got rid of the knurls to make it look sleeker. Looks count for nothing. Image performance does. And it’s a good lens but not good enough to justify the price. Sorry. You guys are wrong.

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