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Keywords: Sigma Canon Nikon Minolta Pentax Tele Prime Macro 35mm DG HSM APO

Dennis Ernst

Registered: April 2011
Posts: 1
Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG IF HSM APO Macro review by Dennis Ernst
Review Date: 4/25/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $650.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp, solid build, smooth bokeh, cost effective
Cons: Slow auto focus, heavy

I spent a good deal of time reading reviews before I purchased this lens. It proved to be an excellent choice. I get very positive comments on work I've done with this lens.

It is built like a tank and is both solid but also a bit heavy. After 3 years of use it shows now wear nor has developed any issues.

The longer working distance is very helpful in working with live subjects in the field. It also gives you just a little more focus distance too.

The auto focus is slow. Most long macro lens are. This was not an issue for me as I use manual focus anyway. The Canon version of this lens is a bit faster but now what I would call fast either.

I shoot this with a canon camera and I've found it to be a very sharp lens. People always remark about how sharp, how much detail and color I get with this lens.

As I'm using manual focus a solid tripod is very important. I have shot it hand held but it is a bit heavy for much of that. It really shines when you the effort to use a solid tripod, mirror lock up and a remote shutter release or timer. If the lens is rock solid still, you'll be amazed and the detail you can get. The focus ring is very smooth and is fine enough to allow you to very precisely choose your focal plane. I have used the autofocus features but you want to make sure you have a single focus point and you have put it exactly in the middle of the area you want in focus. As the focal plane get very narrow I love to use the manual focus so I can choose exactly what element will be razor sharp.

I've shot this lens right along side others shooting the Canon and Tamron 180's, and usually at the end of the day when we compare shots,we'll all pick the work I've done with this lens. The only advantage I've seen with the Canon is that it has a bit faster auto focus. If you are shooting butterflies in flight that may be important but it comes at twice the price.

I purchased this lens before the Sigma 150 hit the market or I might have chosen it for it's smaller lighter build. That's not to say I would trade it now as I've very spoiled with the remarkable results I get with it.

I do have the Sigma 2x teleconverter that I use occasionally. This is a nice combination and produces very good result if you need a little more magnification. I can see a very slight degradation in image quality but nothing more that what you would expect from any brand. This is right on the edge of being able to notice it at all. Of course the higher magnification requires even better technique to make sure everything is absolutely still.

I am very pleased with this lens and recommend it to anyone look for a cost effective alternative to the Canon 180.

Registered: November 2009
Posts: 10
Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG IF HSM APO Macro review by elho_cid
Review Date: 3/6/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $800.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpnes and bokeh, fast AF
Cons: not compatible with my SuperA or with AF1,7TC (communication problems), AF/MF switch

I own a non-DG versionof this lens, Pentax mount.
Pentax version is driven from the camera body, not a HSM. Still with camera like K-5 the AF is instant and accurate, usable for tracking of flying birds or sports.
The optics is first class, no reservations. I beleve it is better buy than 200/2.8 - larger and half stop slower, but also macro and APO.

Registered: October 2007
Posts: 82
Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG IF HSM APO Macro review by lextalionis
Review Date: 6/18/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $700.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: More affordable and solid build.
Cons: Slightly lower IQ than the Canon/Nikkor versions.

If you are looking for a 180mm 1:1 macro and don't want to break the bank, then at roughly $700 USD this lens will save a ton of cash over the Nikkor and Canon equivalents. However, if you pride yourself with the very best IQ and smooth bokeh, then compare this lens with the others.

I feel this lens has slightly less IQ and smooth bokeh compared to the Canon 180mm L version.

Sample Photos taken with a Canon 1D MkII N

Peter Toft

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 1
Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG IF HSM APO Macro review by Peter Toft
Review Date: 11/20/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,049.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything and most of all the buildquality for the money
Cons: If there where any it would be the weight

I use this lens with my nikon d 80 and i must say that in my experience this combination is extremely versatile for allmost all kind of photographing
I do a lot of photos in the wild weather and nature.
And i really recommend this lens for this kind of use.

Yours truly
Peter Toft

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 5
Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG IF HSM APO Macro review by wilfried
Review Date: 11/4/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 


This is a very convenient macro lens for walking about the countryside. You can shoot anything from tiny bugs to dragon flies to birds. Impressive 1:1 macro without accessory. USM autofocus is nice, but for small bugs I usually use manual focus.
It is longer and heavier than the Nikkor 180mm f/2.8, dispite having a smaller aperture of only f/3.5.
The tripod collar can be easily taken off to reduce a little weight.
The supplied lens hood can be reversed for storage.

Strange: In the EXIF files the focal length is stated as 185mm.

The working distance from the front lens at full 1:1 macro is 22cm, and at 2:1 (butterfly) it is 40cm. These are good working distances for shy critters. In comparison, at 1:1 the Zoom Micro Nikkor 70-180 has a working distance of 12cm from the front lens, and you even need an extra close-up lens for that.

Optically I gave the Sigma an 8, but you should give it the benefit of the doubt; I only shoot handheld and at high ISO speeds.
The reason why I'm not 100% satisfied is because I feel that I get more pleasing macro shots with an unusual competitor: an old Nikkor AF 180mm f/2.8 plus extension tube (however, this setup is completely manual). Sharpness of the Sigma seems okay, but maybe the Nikkor has a better bokeh.

So, for convenience the Sigma is great. It is also quite robust and has survived many hiking trips.


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