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Tamron 180mm f/3.5 Di LD IF Macro Autofocus SP AF

19043180mm_1_
Review Date: Jan 20, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: - usual incredible macro sharpness - possibly the longest working distance for all canon compatible macros - comes with hood and tripod ring - less than half the price of the Canon 180mm and reputedly as sharp
Cons:
- that FEL filter spinning device is a minus if you're using a ring flash or twin flash, but not insurmountable.

First of all - this is a Very sharp lens.

I bought this used on ebay, from Canada (I wonder if it's the same lens sold by the poster who gave it a 2 on this site?). I paid half what I would have paid for it new, and that is less than half what the Canon version costs new. 300 - what a bargain!!!

I keep thinking about buying a 60mm in addition to this one, due to it's portability (It would fit in my pocket as opposed to my 180 with convertors and MR14 EX ringflash - which doesn't Wink ), but then I remember what's so great about this lens and I realise that that 'handy pocket sized 60mm just wouldn't give me what I find so useful in the 180mm

1. - Working distance! This lens has the longest working distance of all the canon compatible macros - the canon 180 is very close, but as mentioned it's twice the price new. That distance is Great for shooting insects which is what I do most for macro. Dragonflies, damselflies, etc are quite twitchy and you often do need that extra working distance so as not to scare them off.

2. - Works well with teleconvertors (I'm not sure that a 60mm would be so good as telecons are not really designed for such short focal lengths). I've used it often with a canon 1.4x teleconvertor and also with a 2x convertor, attached by adding a 12mm extension tube between the convertor and the lens. It works really well although you do loose infinity focus due to the extension tube and sometimes that's annoying (if you suddenly see something that's more than a few feet away, you can't take that picture (butterflies, randomly appearing deer, hares etc). Solution - I bought the kenko pro 300 DG 1.4x which fits without the need for an extension tube. Initial tests indicate it's optically equal to the canon (amazingly).

Occaisionally I consider replacing this lens with the canon 180, but all the reviews I've read say that optically, this Tamron is a whisker better, so for the weather sealing and the red ring - I just don't think it's worth it.

I love this lens. Here are some of my pictures taken with it:

Lens only:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/2798728489/in/set-72157605732688466/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/2729049377/in/set-72157605732688466/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/2603178643/in/set-72157605732688466/

Lens with 1.4x and 12mm extension tube:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/3562550080/in/set-72157605732688466/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/3827301816/in/set-72157605732688466/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/3827250013/in/set-72157605732688466/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/3634822805/in/set-72157605732688466/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/3589464475/in/set-72157605732688466/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/3562550092/in/set-72157605732688466/

Lens with 2x and 12 mm extension tube:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/3626201493/in/set-72157605732688466/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/3626016539/in/set-72157605732688466/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/3620440032/in/set-72157605732688466/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/3612376090/in/set-72157605732688466/

Go on,,,,,,,,, treat yourself!
Clive


 
Canon EOS 50D

50D_1_
Review Date: Aug 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: 1 - 20% increase in resolution over the 40D - it shows! 2 - Screen sharp enough to judge pics properly in the field 3 - Live view with new screen excellent for manual focus macro
Cons:
None

Well, it was hard choice to buy this camera, mainly because of how many regurgetated poor reviews there are scattered around. This website is the leveller in this as the reviews are from real owners/users. So, thank you FM and thank you to all the FM posters, because I am Very Happy with my purchase.

I wanted more resolution, mainly for my macro work. There's a lot of criticism of the 50D, mainly centred around two points "it's not sharp at pixel level" and "it's too noisey".

Well maybe at 100% on an unsharpened RAW file you could say it doesn't look so sharp and yes, on a RAW file with no noise reduction at ISO 800 and above it does show noise,,,,,,,,,,,, BUT hold your horses, RAW images require processing right? - if you use the the whole package - i.e. camera settings for noise reduction and sharpening and use the new canon DPP software for processing, the images look Great. The files take noise reduction very nicely (with the new canon DPP software) and simillarly they take sharpening very well. The end results are visibly smoother and sharper than my 40D files were - without doubt.

I posted a 100% crop of a damselfly a few days ago on flickr. See for yourself:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clive_bushnell/3827250013/

The new vga screen looks fabulous and is excellent for manual focus macro using live view!

The lens micro focus adjustment is a brilliant feature for anyone with front or back focus issues with their lenses (I've not tried it yet as I haven't noticed problems with my lenses, but it's proven technology from the 1D series cameras).

Build quality is the same as the 40D - excellent. If I wanted to nit pick I'd say that they could have weather sealed it, but I think that this is a marketing decision to keep that for the 1 series pro bodies and anyway, I knew it wasn't sealed before I bought it, so it doesn't loose a mark for this.

AF - it's at least as good as the 40D if not better. Art Morris says it's the best canon body so far for birds in flight. Google Art Morris 50D and read for yourself.

High ISO (6400 and 12800): As regards noise - the ISO expansion of 6400 and 12800 are very noisey - but they're are there if you really feel the need and in such cases you'll get an image where you would otherwise had nothing (or something very blurred).

If you buy this camera specificly to shoot about 3200, you may not be happy with the results (depending on what level of image quality you are expecting). however; if you are buying it for the high resolution for cropping or for very large prints; for the excellent screen and live view; for the solid build; for the lens micro focus adjustment; you will be one happy camper! I certainly am!

Incidently, it cost me 150 more than a 40D - at 750, that's a massive drop from the original 1200 price tag when it launched. That's one benefit I got from all those bad reviews - sales have suffered and now it's a lot cheaper. Take my advise and take advantage of that - I doubt that the 5DmkII will drop by the same margin.

Hope this has helped you in your hunt for you next camera.
Thanks to FM for a great site.

Clive