100mm 2.8 is my favorite. The one I borrow from time to time from a friend is not the IS version. It's a great lens, for macro shooting or otherwise. I use it for weddings all the time.
That being said, I actually used the 50mm compact macro professionally every day for years. I've made more income with that lens than any other, by far. It almost never disappointed – only in its inability to focus super-duper closely from time to time. In those cases, I just backed off and cropped. Big deal for the small shots I needed in the end. I just switched the camera to large jpeg instead of small jpeg for those few and far between shots.
For FD, I like the lens of the same name. Not sure if it is the same optically as the EF version.
You can also adapt many old lenses to your camera. Nikon and Pentax, for example. There are some great manual focus choices for very reasonable prices out there, such as the Nikkor 55mm (http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/55f28ais.htm).
If you use say 12mm extension tube, you may still be able to go to 1:3 for bigger stuff. From memory when 68mm kenkos are mounted on the 60mm macro the magnification goes from 1x to 2.5x using the focus ring.
My favourite macro lens for ef is the mpe65mm. Great for close ups, however I do miss not having an infinity focusing macro lens.
here are some shots with mpe65mm on eos 300.
ignore the grain, I pushed fp4125 to 800 :blink:
I love those insect pictures!
I have the Canon 100mm 2.8L Macro IS and it does not leave my body. It's an incredible lens. Fastest, sharpest, and lightest lens I have ever owned. I made the jump from the 60mm EFS Macro to the 100mm 2.8L and the difference is incredible. The 1:1 on the 100mm is unreal, which you mentioned is what you want to use it for. Personally, I use it for all my portraiture (only thing I'm shooting digitally) and it's perfect. If you have the money, go for the 100mm, you will not regret it.
I purchased a Sigma 105 Macro several years ago for my Canon. It's not the EF in terms of quality, but has proven an asset where I need a closeup in an industrial application. It appears to have travelled well in my vehicle despite the off-road construction sites I've had to visit. Fracture and concrete failure analysis in the field can be a bit rough on equipment.
NDP_ 2010 love those up close and personal of the insects! You may have given me a way to expand my horizons!
55mm micro Nikkor with canon adaptor
Back when I shot digital and had a macro lens, I had the 100mm 2.8 USM. Not the newer IS version. I was happy with it.
NDP - awesome shots.
I totally love Canon 100 FD lens.