Comparisons were never (really) fair when it comes to photography gears. But when it comes to updating
old models, manufacturers will always release another “better” version of the previous version, isn’t that
all sounds too familiar to you? Earlier this year, Sigma Corporation released an updated version of its
180mm F3.5 Macro and had it replaced with a totally brand new 180mm F2.8 Macro. I was given a weekend
to “play” with this lens by the local distributor APDS and I totally love it. Why?
First Impressions – This is lens is huge. When I brought it out for a class, my students were thinking I was trying
to shoot birds. With the hood in position, the 180mm is Goliath by any standards. I was issued with a Canon-EF Mount version so I brought it out with my Canon EOS 1D MarkIV. The Lens + the body, it is heavy. I will recommend the use of
of monopod or tripod with this set up. The lens exterior had been given a major rework, it’s a like a lens built from
scratch and nothing resembles the previous F3.5 version. The new coating on the lens body feels very much like
something out of a Carl Zeiss box, sleek & elegant and the focusing is smooth as cream.
Remembering the previous Sigma 180mm F3.5 Macro, this lens is not just a replacement, it is a brand
new lens by itself. Reading up, the lens elements is now arranged in a different configuration, 3 FLD glass
(FLD which stands for SIGMA’s new proprietary “F” Low Dispersion, and has the same optical performance
as Fluorite glass – commonly found in Canon L-Series lenses) along with the various floating lens group
that gives super fast focusing (HSM) and tack sharp photos as this lens also comes with the company’s
Super Multi-Layer Coating on the lens elements.
It has a closer focusing distance of 47cm, the latest version of Sigma’s optical stabilizer (OS) that promises a 4 stop slower shooting speed and the 9 blades aperture gives smooth bokehs. I shall not bore you further with the technical
specifications and let’s look at the photos from this 180mm Macro.
Well, I love the colors and the sharpness of this lens. A few of my students asked me how I feel about using
this 180mm F2.8 Macro as compare to the Canon’s EF-180,mmF3.5L USM and my answer is simple –
it’s a different lens now.
Previously when the public compared the older Sigma 180mm F3.5 with Canon’s
equivalent, Sigma’s version was unfairly noted as a “quick-put-together” to lure consumers away from
Canon’s version with it’s almost similar specifications and with a lower price tag.
But the new Sigma APO Macro 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM is a new breed, so it will be unfair again to
compare to other lenses of this range. Everything else about this lens from its solid exterior construction
to its inner elements just simply announce “This is the NEW Generation of Sigma Optics”.
Like every gear I reviewed, it cannot be a 100% buy for me. As a “Closet Gear Head” myself, i have touched
hundreds of Lenses and the “Feel” is very important to me. Although I like this lens very much, I do have
complaints, the weight can really tires a person out – that was why earlier I recommend the use of a tripod
or monopod with this lens. And hey, apart from the weight issue, everything about this lens just screams
Some Quick Specs here:
– Focal Range 180mm (270mm on Nikon, Sony-Minolta, APS-C bodies & 288mm on Canon APS-C bodies)
– Filter Size 86mm
– Inside the retail box, you get the Lens, a nicely cushioned pouch, instructions, hood, tripod ring & warranty papers.
– Aperture F2.8 to F22
– Magnification 1:1
– Minimum focusing distance 47cm.
Special Thanks to Sigma Marketing Singapore for allowing this review to happen.
** Sigma had re-organized their whole lens line into 3 category.
They are “C” Lens, “A” Lens & “S” Lens.
C Lens = Contemporary Lens Line
Featuring the very latest technology, and combining optical performance with compactness, Sigma’s high-performance Contemporary line covers a wide range of needs. Lenses in this category are Standard zoom lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, high-magnification zoom lenses.
A Lens = Art Lens Line
Designed with a focus on sophisticated optical performance and abundant expressive power, Sigma’s Art line delivers high-level artistic expression. Lenses in this category are Large-aperture prime lenses, wide-angle lenses, ultra-wide-angle lenses, macro lenses, fisheye lenses.
S Lens – Sports Lens Line
While offering sophisticated optical performance and expressiveness, Sigma Sports line lenses deliver high action-capture performance, enabling photographers to get exactly the shots they want. Lenses in this category are Telephoto lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, super telephoto lenses, super telephoto zoom lenses.
For more information, please visit http://www.sigma-global.com