34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding macro lens at a reasonable price.
I am professional photographer specializing in botanical and nature photography. I bought the Tamron 180 lens after many years of using the equally great 90mm macro. I love the 90mm but was looking for a lens with greater working distance and better ability to control backgrounds. The 180mm has proven to be excellent optically as well as ergonomically well designed. The...
Published on March 25, 2007 by P. Lastra
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quality Control Problems and very slow focus
The copy I had didn't autofocus correctly, it had a back focusing problem. But even ignoring this, the autofocus was so ridiculously slow it was practically unusable. As someone else said, you could go get a cup of coffee while this thing focused.
- Very sharp, even wide open
- Good build quality
- Unusable autofocus
Published on March 16, 2011 by Naveed
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding macro lens at a reasonable price.,
This review is from: Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 Di SP A/M FEC LD (IF) 1:1 Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Model B01E) (Electronics)I am professional photographer specializing in botanical and nature photography. I bought the Tamron 180 lens after many years of using the equally great 90mm macro. I love the 90mm but was looking for a lens with greater working distance and better ability to control backgrounds. The 180mm has proven to be excellent optically as well as ergonomically well designed. The light weight, for its size, coupled with the very intuitive af-mf push-pull design are great in the field. I work at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden. For images taken with the above lens, please visit [...].
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great close up lens,
This review is from: Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 Di SP A/M FEC LD (IF) 1:1 Macro Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Model B01N) (Electronics)This lens is amazing, I am a commercial shooter specializing in medical, and have been a pro since 1980. My philosophy is real simple, buy the best lens for the purpose, and the money is an important part of this. This lens is sharper then the Nikkor 85 mm 2.8 shift lens, ( I have owned 2 of these lenses). Actually sharper then any Nikkor lens I have owned.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Macro I've Ever Used,
This review is from: Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 Di SP A/M FEC LD (IF) 1:1 Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Model B01E) (Electronics)Pros:
Lighter than a Canon L lens (easy to lug around)
Nice rubbery tactile focus ring
Circular polarizer rotator ring
Longer distance for 1:1 macro
Black (doesn't stand out like the Canon)
Has a Lens collar
Versatility (180mm also good for portraits)
Slowest autofocus ever on a lens
Lighter than a Canon L lens (less resistant to impact/mirror slap)
Depth of field 1-2mm!
As you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons. And the cons are really menial in nature, except for DOF. In macro shots, you rarely need autofocus, and the lightness of the lens is both a pro and a con, higher shutter speeds and you won't need to worry about slap. If you can, use a monopod with this lens, or even a tripod, although that's hard when you NEED 1:1 and your subject moves. It's better to use improvised support and breathing techniques for stabilization than a tripod. You never use autofocus really in very close up shots either. DOF is razor thin. Literally, 1-2mm is all that is in focus at f/3.5. Stop down to f12 with a flash for best results on bugs and flowers, otherwise you could have one eye but not the other, or the top of a stamen, but not the root of the stamen stalk.
Now about those pros. This lens is extremely sharp, as with most Tamron lenses. I can pick out a hair on a spider with this thing. That's the end of that. It has very smooth focusing, not gritty in any way. Manual mode rocks so much, but if you really desire to use autofocus, all you do is pull the lens focus ring forward (or pull it back, I don't remember, never use AF). It's a pleasure to hold because it's light and the focus ring has a nice texture to it. If you attach a circular polarizer (72mm btw, they can get expensive, I recommend B+W) then you can rotate it with the lens hood on using the polarizer rotator ring on front, which is amazing if you choose to do so. This thing is 180mm, so it has a longer working distance for 1:1. With my 28mm macro, you have to get 3 inches away for 1:1, with this lens, it's 14 inches, son! No more wasp, bee, hornet, spider fear! It's also black and gets less attention drawn on the street. It has a lens collar like many other long lenses. I also have the option of using the lens collar or the camera mount for a 'pod since it's so light, but I still prefer to use the collar since it could stress my EF mount if I don't. This lens is also good for portraits because it can focus to infinity, and it has a good f/3.5 aperture.
Worth every bit of the cash paid, and though camera bodies switch every year or two, lenses take decades. Put your money into a good lens.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good macro lens,
This review is from: Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 Di SP A/M FEC LD (IF) 1:1 Macro Lens for Konica Minolta and Sony Digital SLR Cameras (Model B01M) (Electronics)I spent countless hours researching for a good macro lens and basically had it narrowed down to the Sigma 70mm, Tamron 90mm and 180mm. I read complaints about how close you have to get with the 70 or 90mm lenses and decided that any extra distance I could place between myself and shy animals and bugs would be nice (this lens is supposed to be able to focus at 18.5 inches).
The lens arrived wrapped in a plastic bag (with small packet of desiccant) and placed in the provided lens pouch (and in the original box). I was glad to see it packaged this way because Amazon did a poor job filling the shipping box with plastic cargo pillows.
The first thing I noticed immediately upon unboxing is the provided lens pouch is not made of neoprene but seems to be made from high quality nylon (possibly 600D?) and about a 1/4 inch of extra padding was stitched around the entire pouch. I was happy to see this because I really don't think neoprene offers much protection and I can't stand the smell. The case is very well made and has a dual drawstring system to close the lens pouch. Also, it has a nice handle to make carrying easier. Unfortunately, there are no hooks, d-rings or loops to easily attach it to your bag or to attach a shoulder strap.
This lens measures about 7.5 inches long with both end caps attached and about 3.5 inches in diameter. Of course, length and diameter will increase if you have the lens hood or tripod mount attached. BTW, the lens hood is huge (which is a good thing) but it will add an extra 4 inches to the length of the lens.
I am using this lens with my Sony A57 and upon mounting it to the camera body I noticed it's a little loose. This is something I find very common with Tamron lenses and is worth a 0.25 point deduction from the overall rating. No, the lens is not going to fall off and no, it's not going to break any connection between the lens and the camera, but I think this is something that Tamron needs to address. I will say that this lens has much less movement than my 17-50 and 70-300 Tamron SP lenses. For the price, I would expect a more precise and tighter fit.
This lens is made mostly of plastic, but does not feel cheap. The fit and finish is perfect and the large focusing ring is awesome! The focusing ring has a nice rubberized (and textured) band and rotates smoothly in MF mode. One thing I found odd (or at least very different than any other lens I've used) was the absence of a AF/MF switch. Instead, you need to grasp the focusing ring and pull it towards the front of the lens for AF or pull it towards the camera for MF. The ring locks in place nicely and should not move out of AF or MF unless you really want it too. AF performance is definitely lacking (as most reviewers indicated) but it does work and when it locks on, you get a perfect photo. I prefer to use MF because I find controlling the focal point to be much easier and faster. If you switch the lens to AF and the focus is not close, it will cycle through the entire focal range, but if you switch the lens and the focus is close, the lens may focus within a fraction of a second. It really depends on the environment, but overall, I found AF to be lacking and it usually cycles through the entire range which takes a few seconds. This is worth a 0.25 point deduction because it would be nice (in some instances) to have AF that works fast.
At the font of the lens, there is another ring that allows for FEC (filter effect control). This allows you to very easily rotate a filter with the hood attached (otherwise you would need to remove the hood, rotate your filter and reattach the hood). I really like this feature (even though I don't use filters) and anyone who uses filters can benefit from this quick and easy way to rotate their filter.
The tripod mount is easy to remove/attach due to its hinged design. It fits in a predetermined groove and there are markings on the mount and on the lens itself so you can be sure your camera is square/level. I plan on keeping the mount attached to the lens most of the time because it's comfortable to hold and can rest in the palm of my hand when taking photos without a tripod.
I really enjoy taking photos without a tripod simply because I don't have to lug it around and I almost always have a very steady hand. However, for macro shots, it's nice to utilize the stability of a tripod because the slightest movement could cause your photos to turn out blurry or the area you thought was in focus could shift to another area of the image. This is the first lens I've used where I noticed this happening. I actually thought there was something wrong with the lens because I would MF an object and when I was ready to take the photo I would notice it was out of focus. Now that I know what is happening, I have been able to effectively correct this without a tripod. But by all means, if you have your tripod with you, use it.
Before I forget, I should mention that this lens features internal focus. This means that the lens barrel does not physically extend or contract when focusing (unlike your typical zoom lens). This feature is nice and can greatly reduce the amount of dust that is capable of making its way into the lens.
So far, I've just been able to test the lens on inanimate objects inside my home as we are preparing for winter and it's just too cold outside. I will be taking a trip to the southwest very soon and hope opportunities for some great outdoor macro shots will be presenting themselves.
Overall, this lens is great. Optical quality is top notch and so far I have not experienced any issues such as chromatic aberration, vignetting or distortion. I've added some photos to the product page and plan on adding more in the near future.
0.25 point deduction for the lens mount
0.25 point deduction for the AF performance
Overall rating is 4.5 stars out of 5
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, what a lens!,
This review is from: Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 Di SP A/M FEC LD (IF) 1:1 Macro Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Model B01N) (Electronics)I have always enjoyed macro photography and I have been doing 'okay' with my 18-200mm zoom lens. It would get me close enough that I could enhance the photo in photoshop and I considered the results acceptable but certainly nowhere close to perfect.
Finally I was sick of 'acceptable' and I wanted to move into perfect. I spent countless hours researching lenses by all sorts of various brands, spending an amazing amount of time on the famous Nikkor macro lens. After doing careful analysis of reviews and careful examination of the resulting photos I had a very difficult time seeing the difference between it and this Tamron's resulting photos. Ultimately I decided to go with this lens because I was buying it directly from Amazon and I could return it if I was not pleased with the quality. If it worked then I just saved nearly 3 times the cost of the famous Nikkor lens.
I have now taken hundreds of photos with this lens and I can certainly say my photos are perfect. The clarity and detail I have obtained from the lens is outstanding and I am truly pleased with the results. I do not see any distortion or pixel loss at the edges of the photo and it captures the colors in correct detail.
The lens is easy to use overall. Changing between manual and autofocus is a real breeze by simply sliding the ring back and forth however I did find this to be a pain at time. I would get the subject in focus with manual setting and then switch to autofocus in an effort to squeeze that last bit of 'perfect' out and in doing so the camera would move. This would result in the auto focus now going through the entire range which feels like forever but is actually up to about 5 seconds in time. If you were trying to capture an insect, animal, or something alive and moving you just lost your shot as you waited for the lens to seek. In the end I kept with manual focus to prevent this from happening.
As one would expect this thing weighs a lot. I would certainly not recommend letting it hang off the body without holding the lens itself. Also, if you are going to be using a tripod with it then use the ring mount provided. You will get better shots and you don't have to worry about it damaging your body.
While the seek time on the auto focus can be annoying it is overcome by all of the other pluses of this lens. If you are wanting to get into macro photography or you are needing another lens to add to your macro collection then look no further!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Construction and Image quality, Slow AF,
This review is from: Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 Di SP A/M FEC LD (IF) 1:1 Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Model B01E) (Electronics)I love this lens.
The AF is very slow, but I use it for Macro Pictures, SO I am on Manual Focus Antway.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tele-macro lens,
This review is from: Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 Di SP A/M FEC LD (IF) 1:1 Macro Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Model B01N) (Electronics)This is a superb lens, with a good solid build and a smooth manual focus. Because it's made from polycarbonate rather than metal, it's also surprisingly lightweight. The tripod collar is easy to remove but solid. The filter effect control is a nice convenience.
The automatic focus is not particularly fast, but this is not much of a disadvantage since most photographers use manual focus in macro work anyway.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Value, The filter holder rotations can be an issue. It is really a f5.6 lens,
One issue that you should think about is the front filter holder of this lens rotates in order to be convenient to use filters that need rotations while the hood is on.
This is helpful when you need to rotate a filter with out having to stick your hand inside the hood or remove the hood to use these types of filters. But if you use this lens mostly for Macro work and you use any type of flash that attaches to the front filter holder of the lens the flash wight causes the front lens element to rotate and makes it impossible to set up the flash in exact location. Otherwise it works OK.
After using it a while longer the images are so sharp it has won me over and I am giving it a 5 star. As for the front filter rotation, Gaffer tape has been my friend. Also I forgot to mention earlier that this lens at close focussing range is a f5.6. That is not an issue for me since I use f8 and higher to get a better DOF. But if you are going to hand hold this lens with ambient light for Macro photos it may be an issue for you.
Hope this helps.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Razor sharp, great value,
This lens is sharp wide open in its DOF, and even one f/stop down it's crisp enough to resolve the tiniest filaments on a tomato vine. Bokeh is also very nice, smooth, and natural looking. This will probably be paired with me olde 5D almost permanently.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid, high contrast, sharp, etc.,
Slow/loud autofocus. It hunts. A lot. More and more the closer you get.
Heavy and telephoto, so it requires a tripod
Makes loud click when you switch autofocus/manual focus
No matter how hard you try, the focus is going to shift when you switch from auto to manual.
No image stabilization, which ended up being a being a bigger problem than I thought (long exposures on cheap tripods degrades the sharpness because of the minute motion blur exaggerated by 180mm focal length, even with a shutter release).
magnification (1:1/6 con crop-sensor, 1:1 on full frame)
solid construction quality
comes with tripod collar/ case/ hood
doesn't extend when focusing
min aperture f/3.5
I love this lens. It's heavy and difficult to use on-site, but I am glad that I bought this lens instead of the 90mm. I love it. It's an amazing piece of equipment. Also, you've probably heard that the 90mm is sharper that the 180mm but the difference is tiny. the 180mm is a VERY sharp lens even when opened to f3.5. If you do more than point-and-shoot, invest the extra money into this one, rather than give into the temptation of the 90mm.
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Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 Di SP A/M FEC LD (IF) 1:1 Macro Lens for Konica Minolta and Sony Digital SLR Cameras (Model B01M) by Tamron