coachjohn if it is everything you described then why a rating of 9? It is reviews like this that make people think of them as worthless.
My review of this lens is simply outstanding if you know how to use a Macro lens. As ALL Macro lenses it does focus slow, but not hindering at all. How ever when put into 1.4 to infinity it can be used as a very nice tele as well and focus locks on fast and holds.
This lens used on my 1dsmkII and my 5D has produced some terriffic portrait shots as well.
I have the Sigma 150 Macro as well which is also another great lens for the money, if money is an objective then go for the Sigma 150 macro, if not get the Canon 180 macro. The big difference between these two lenses to me is color, the canon has much more true color and is sharper, but by a very small amount, and not noticable at all on prints up to A3.
By far the sharpest lens in my Canon lineup!
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
EF 35mm f/1.4L USM
EF 135mm f/2L USM
EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM
EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM (2nd Sharpest)
EF 500mm f/4L IS USM