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Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
52 177447 Apr 22, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,218.60
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.88
8.50
9.7
ef_180_35_1_

Specifications:
Another telephoto macro lens with a maximum magnification of 1x. Life-size close-ups can be taken from a farther distance without disturbing the subject (insects, etc.). The internal floating system minimizes fluctuations in aberrations caused by changes in the focusing distance. Optical performance is outstanding from 1x to infinity.

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 180mm 1:3.5
Lens Construction: 14 elements in 12 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 13 30'
Focus Adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM
Closest Focusing Distance: 0.48m / 1.6 ft.
Filter Size: 72mm
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.2" x 7.3", 2.4 lbs. / 82.5 x 186.6mm, 1090g



 


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xmattkx
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Registered: Jul 4, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 5009
Review Date: Feb 22, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: What else matters?- Image quality is unbelievable! Colors/contrast, feel (built like a tank) Wonderful Bokeh
Cons:
Price- but you get what you pay for...

Much has been said about this lens both positive and negative-
I have used the following macros:

Sigma:
50 / 105 / 150

Canon:
50 / 100 / 180

Tamron:
90

This lens has the most beautiful results of all of them, focus is spot-on, even to 100% the pics are sharp and contrasty.

There is much said about the autofocus speed on this, but I have to disagree with many of those that have complained, if you turn the focus limiter on, focus is fast and accurate.

I also have to disagree with those that complain about shot at infinity focus, I have found it to be pretty sharp, even wide open-

All-in-all this is expensive and heavy, but the image is produces are second to none!


Feb 22, 2006
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epphoto
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Registered: Apr 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 5193
Review Date: Feb 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp Build like a tank nice great working distance
Cons:
Very thin DOF

Incredible lens, nice and sharp images ease to work with, and great working distance
The only thing I don't really like about this lens is the very thin DOF you move 1/6'' and you will get a blurry picture.
I wish this lens was a 2.8 but it still will get my 10


Feb 8, 2006
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kross
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Registered: Dec 14, 2004
Location: Singapore
Posts: 50
Review Date: Dec 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Tack Sharp! Creamy bokeh. Excellent build.
Cons:
Expensive, Slow AF and heavy.

Switched from 100mm F2.8 to this 180mm F3.5L because I needed that extra working distance and better framing. Its sharpness is incredible compared to my 100mm. Bokeh rocks. Solid build.

Though expensive, heavy(macro requires tripod so not a problem) and slow AF(MF for macro so not a problem too), it's well worth it!!

P.S. I hope Canon will come out with a 180mm F2.8L IS USM in future! Haha...



Dec 21, 2005
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JORDI350D
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Registered: Dec 7, 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 31
Review Date: Dec 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp. Doble use (macro and telephoto 180mm F3.5 and 252mm F5 with 1.4 extender).
Cons:
Price. Poor performance after F22.

This is an special lense for me. I am very surprised of the telephoto qualities of this lens. If you move the switch to the 1.5-inf. position you will have a lense with a very fast AF and more or less fast lense (f.3.5 it is good for me because his performance at 3.5 is very well). With the Canon extenders you will have a 1.4/1 and 2/1 macro lense. It is incredible all that you can do with a 2/1 macro lense.


Only the price is negative in this lense.

Jordi


Dec 9, 2005
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thequickad
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Registered: Sep 17, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 10
Review Date: Oct 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,249.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpest lens in Canon's line-up. Fast and absolute silet AF. Superb image and bokeh.
Cons:
f3.5

Sharpest Canon lens ever. I was a bit skeptical looking at the published MTF chart but the lens is just that, sharpest one. Superb image, fast and silet AF. Canon must have improved the AF so make sure you don't buy an older model.

To test the AF I even took the lens to a football game at night and when the switch is set correctly (1.5m to infinity) the focus was dead on, fast and silet. I pushed the ISO to 800 and was able to get some great action shots even at f/3.5.

It's a superb Macro lens and can double as a telephoto lens.


Oct 29, 2005
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mbailey
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Registered: Apr 12, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 333
Review Date: Sep 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,239.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp even wide open. Gives great working distance. Very well built and good looking.
Cons:
Slow AF. Moderately heavy. Fairly slow (3.5).

I bought this lens primarily for macro work. In this area the lens is excellent. I can find no fault with its macro ability. Some users may find the f3.5 to be a bit slow. I use a MT-24EX so light is not a problem. Also the DOF is so thin at 3.5 I doubt many would like the results of shooting macro at that f or lower. The AF is really slow but this is not likely to be employed in serious macro shooting. Some (especially those with full frame cameras) may want to let the lens double as a long portrait lens. The AF will work adequately for this mission provided you set the focusing distance switch to 1.5m-infinity. The lens will not do at all for any fast action like sports because of the slow AF and f3.5. I use this lens on a tripod with a focusing rail for macro. If lighting is less than sunlight I throw in a ring light as well. In this area I doubt you can find a better lens for anywhere near the price.

Sep 10, 2005
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The Image
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Registered: Dec 3, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2980
Review Date: Jul 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros:
Cons:

an incredible lens. its so sharp it will shock you, probably canons sharpest lens. needless to say its meant for tripod shooting.
if your into macro this is as good as it gets. highly recommended


Jul 28, 2005
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Geofn
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Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 842
Review Date: Jul 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,085.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything.
Cons:
None.

THIS is THE macro lens to own. Astoundingly sharp images.
Yeah, it's heavy, and you're gonna have to use it with a good, solid tripod. Get some rails (I use 2 Manfrotto 3419 Micro Positioning Plates mounted together at right angles) for focusing and lateral adjustments and you'll be happy.

I use this lens quite a bit with the MT-24EX Macro Ring Light (which really isn't a ring light at all but rather 2 fully adjustable small flash heads that attach to the front of the lens), and my only complaint is that the working distance of this lens is so long (great for not scaring your subjects) that the flash angle tends to be somewhat flat (as compared to using the MT-24EX on the 50mm Compact Macro, for example). Need to find (or make) some flash arm extenders...

This puppy is expensive, but well worth the cost is you're seriously into macro work.



Jul 27, 2005
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sieracki001
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Registered: Mar 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Apr 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredibly sharp and contrasty. I love being able to focus this close up.
Cons:
None really. It's heavy and attracts attention. Fortunately it isn't white. It does stick out a mile.

If you want to do macro this is the lens. Personally I find autofocus to be fast enough but I've only autofocused twice. No need. Closeups don't really demand it. Others have commented on the lens' sharpness. Any look at this lens' MTF will clue you on that.

What I want to address is comfort in shooting and the utility of the lens. I have shot almost 2000 frames with this lens in the past month, as it is spring and I'm doing a lot of floral and closeup photography. I literally left all the other lenses I own at home and went out the door with this lens, camera and tripod.

I've needed to get used to shooting closeups with a 180mm focal length. It's a totally different world than a 50, and quite a ways from a 100, in terms of working distance. What I do admire is that I can get extremely close to my subject and still be able to focus up close. I'm finding that I often will discover new possible compositions when I get the distance wrong. I am too close, but yet I can focus and I find myself in an alien world. Yet I can take 'normal' photos of bushes and trees with the same lens. I find the lens extremely versatile despite being a prime. I'd be limited with a zoom.

It's a bit heavy but you don't want to handhold this lens. Get a sturdy tripod and use it. You've heard this advice. If you go for this lens you had better do it. You'll be looking at your frames at 100% in Photoshop (if you do that) all the time from now on, so don't dissapoint yourself. I do have a slight problem with gunk getting into the rear of the lens. I'm using a hurricane blower to tackle that. I can hardly wait to get out and shoot with this lens. If you don't have a macro lens and you would like to see what this can do for you, you'll like this lens. Sure it's expensive and there are third party lenses aimed right at this Canon lens. You won't be disappointed if you use it correctly, that is, with solid support.


Apr 29, 2005
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lensjunky
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Registered: Apr 25, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 83
Review Date: Apr 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: everything, Sharp, color contrast, etc. GOD this lens makes beautiful macro shots
Cons:
AF Freakin sucks, yes I expected that in a macro, but still, it pisses me off to use AF on this thing because it is so slow, and half the time I wind up releasing the shutter tryinng to get the AF to finish focusing.

Beautifull photos, sucky AF, but I baught this lens for Macro work not sports so I can forgive this.

Apr 26, 2005
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gerrit p
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Registered: Jun 10, 2003
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 2
Review Date: Apr 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, bokeh is beautiful, can be used wide open. AF is fast when the limiter is used.
Cons:
the bajonet has no sealing, I expected this feature for an L lens

This lens is used by me as normal tele, got it second-hand, when I was looking for a 200mm lens. This one stays, because it so good!!
together with the 100mm f2.0 this one makes a good combination.
Not sure if I need a zoom anymore; these two give me flexibility, usable wide apertures and exellent quality.


Apr 4, 2005
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Cibs
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Registered: Feb 8, 2005
Location: Brunei
Posts: 626
Review Date: Mar 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything you can dream off..
Cons:
Weight... and with macro photography.. the weight makes the difference.

Nothing compares.. period.. however, value for money, my old EF100mm f2.8 USM is better value.. the only differences are:

1) Compressed perspective more pronounced
2) Sharpness better but not by the difference in price
3) Weight is horrendous - imagine trying to sync yourself to a moving object with over 1.5kg in lens and camera weight (let alone being coupled with a flash)

Its one hell of a sharp constrasty lens...


Mar 22, 2005
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cjac
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Registered: Dec 12, 2004
Location: Belgium
Posts: 2530
Review Date: Jan 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, working distance, color, bokeh, build quality ... excellent
Cons:
Price (it's worth it !), weight, AF focussing limits

Great macro lens, wonderful when used on butterflies, insects, jewelry, ... Colors are spot-on, great contrast and bokeh, outstanding sharpness, no vigneting, no distortion. Fantastic lens.

Negative aspects : A bit heavy (quality glass weights), slow focus when poor light conditions but macro should be MF anyway so this is only relevant for non-macro shots, the AF limit buttons are 'all distances' and '1.5m to infinity' - it would have been nice to have a third one : 'minimum to 1.5m'.


Jan 20, 2005
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traveler
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Registered: Jan 8, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 3453
Review Date: Nov 8, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,180.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazing color and contrast Superb top line L build Sharpness at the top of it's game
Cons:
None

First let me say that I have been used to a 180mm lens so it's weight didn't put me off. I used the 100mm macros on the market for several years until switching over to a 180 over a year ago (a Sigma 180mm EX HSM). When rebuilding my lens collection for this year I decided to just go all out and give one of these beauties a try. Indeed it surpasses the Sigma in contrast, color and build. As it rightly should for over twice the price. This lens delivers even wide open, but since for most things the depth of field is so limiting I prefer to shoot at F11-F16 anyway as I do jewelry catalog shoots and it requires a significant depth of field. Also my move to a 180mm was for the purpose of eliminating the reflection of the lens hood from the product (which drove me nuts with the 100mm F2.8 Macro). I have NOT found the focusing to be slow. I don't know why but mine snaps into immediate focus. I guess I typically have decent light so it's not been an issue. All in all this is the 'Rolls Royce" of macro lenses. If a greater working distance is your thing.......you've found your lens.........

Nov 8, 2004
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MikeBinOKlahom
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Registered: Sep 16, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 653
Review Date: Jan 17, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,239.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding quality. Compatible with Canon teleconverters. No worries about future compatibility issues with new Canon bodies.
Cons:
My Gawd, the price! I have the nagging feeling that I should have gone with the cheaper Sigma or Tamron alternatives. IS would be a great help in allowing handholding.

This is the big one for Canon Macro shooters! It is an excellent product, as my rating shows, but for cost-effectiveness I'd rate it only "fair", due to the inexpensive alternatives. I've had it for about a year now, and have used it for some great insect macro pictures. Don't forget that you can use this lens for landscapes also, though.
In theory, I guess you could handhold this in excellent light. But I invariably end up shooting from a tripod. Ninety percent of the time I use an adapter ring to mount Canon's MT-24 macro flash, which I recommend if you want to use the 180 for macro work. Only quarrel I have with the combo is that the adapter ring sometimes starts to unscrew, making your dual flash flop over to the side of the lens. Using an adapter ring to mount is not the best available solution. Not a real hazard, but annoying, and I've lost a shot or two while re-adjusting it. I'm thinking of using Loc-Tite or a similar product to fasten the adapter ring in place!


Jan 17, 2004
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Jack Flesher
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Registered: Oct 23, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 3489
Review Date: Dec 14, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Tack sharp everywhere. Beautiful Bokeh.
Cons:
Price and weight -- and heck, I wish it was an f2.8 and had IS too.

"Wow!" is the best word to describe this optic. It is incredibly sharp, even when the 1.4xII converter is attached, and even when being used as a regular telephoto in the "normal" shooting distances. IMO as a macro, it is even a notch above the excellent 100/2.8 USM macro. (And in fact I sold my 100 macro after getting this lens.) AF speed is sluggish and sometimes finnicky in the macro range needing manual assistance, but I find it to work very well in the normal range and is additionally suprisingly fast.

As for nits, it is a heavy lens and pricey, and I wish it were a true f2.8 lens with IS... but then of course it would weigh and cost even more Wink



Dec 14, 2003
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Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
52 177447 Apr 22, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,218.60
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.88
8.50
9.7
ef_180_35_1_


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