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Author Topic: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM  (Read 17478 times)

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2011, 10:17:35 PM »
Were you the guy that shared a pic of the pink flower / trident stamen with the MPE-65? It was gorgeous. What do you use for illumination?


This one?  (small size since this is not the MP-E 65mm thread)



If so, yes, that's me...and thanks!  Lighting was with the MT-24EX Twin Lite (with StoFens on the flashheads).
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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2011, 10:17:35 PM »

K-amps

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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2011, 08:59:18 AM »
Were you the guy that shared a pic of the pink flower / trident stamen with the MPE-65? It was gorgeous. What do you use for illumination?


This one?  (small size since this is not the MP-E 65mm thread)



If so, yes, that's me...and thanks!  Lighting was with the MT-24EX Twin Lite (with StoFens on the flashheads).


Yep  :)  thats the one!  I had it as my desktop background for a few days as I watched the dazzle of nature... of course the dazzle of the photographer as well :)

Neuro... I don't mean to pry.. but you have awesome gear... are you a pro, or just are lucky enough to have spare cash?
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2011, 11:16:03 AM »
Neuro... I don't mean to pry.. but you have awesome gear... are you a pro, or just are lucky enough to have spare cash?

Photography is just a hobby, but I happen to have a decent budget for gear, mostly from consulting work that I do outside of my day job (I don't spend a lot of time at it, but $300/hr adds up  :D ).
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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2011, 12:33:02 PM »
Neuro... I don't mean to pry.. but you have awesome gear... are you a pro, or just are lucky enough to have spare cash?

Photography is just a hobby, but I happen to have a decent budget for gear, mostly from consulting work that I do outside of my day job (I don't spend a lot of time at it, but $300/hr adds up  :D ).

Nice!  I am glad that someone who knows what he is doing and has a passion, is not constrained by other things. 

Have you compared the 180mm to the 100mm L? What do you think are the pros/ cons of each? (IQ wise) I know the 180 weights a bit....
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2011, 12:53:52 PM »
Have you compared the 180mm to the 100mm L? What do you think are the pros/ cons of each? (IQ wise) I know the 180 weights a bit....

I've never shot with the 180L, but from what I've seen/read, I don't there's a significant IQ difference.  I think the main difference is that the 180L provides an extra 4.5" of working distance, with the trade-off being that the 180L is more expensive and larger/heavier.

For non-macro uses, the 100L is probably superior - it's 2/3 stop faster, has IS, and faster AF than the 180L (which is claimed to be amont the slowest of all Canon lenses).  So, the 100L can double as a decent short tele lens for portraits, but the 180L does a fairly bad job as a tele lens. 
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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2011, 01:09:07 PM »
Have you compared the 180mm to the 100mm L? What do you think are the pros/ cons of each? (IQ wise) I know the 180 weights a bit....
.....   but the 180L does a fairly bad job as a tele lens....

Thanks. Would you care to expand on this a bit, since the samples I have seen, the 180mm has a great creamy bokeh when used as a portrait (granted it is useless indoors) and is very sharp, allows you to snap away people in the outdoors from a distance without being in their face and causing them to act unnaturally... maybe this is not the scenario you had in mind...
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2011, 02:06:15 PM »
.....   but the 180L does a fairly bad job as a tele lens....

Thanks. Would you care to expand on this a bit, since the samples I have seen, the 180mm has a great creamy bokeh when used as a portrait (granted it is useless indoors) and is very sharp, allows you to snap away people in the outdoors from a distance without being in their face and causing them to act unnaturally... maybe this is not the scenario you had in mind...

Many uses of a tele lens involve moving subjects, where the slow AF of the 180L is not ideal.  For portraits it would be good (the AF on my 85L can be charitably described as 'ponderous'), although as you point out, it's long for indoor use. 
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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2011, 02:06:15 PM »

dstppy

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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2011, 02:43:13 PM »
The AF on my 85L can be charitably described as 'ponderous'

I genuinely got a good laugh out of this one.  That reads like a lens review by Douglas Adams himself, though a bit short-winded ;)
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mackguyver

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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2011, 03:03:59 PM »
I rented a 180 for an extended period in the spring and had the good (mis)fortune of encountering a lot of rare wildlife while I was out shooting.  The 180 was too short and too slow to focus (AF or manual) for those shots.  I don't think you should buy it for anything other than macro unless those other purposes are few and far between.  For serious macro, the AF isn't necessary, but isn't just terrible if you are in the neighborhood of the focal point.  I'm not sure why the lens test sites give it such middling reviews - I found it to be among the sharpest lenses I have used.
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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2011, 07:28:09 PM »
Love the 180mm !!

Not easy to work with though   :P
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kirispupis

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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2011, 08:54:46 PM »
I used to own the 180L macro some time ago and found it to be too soft.  After owning it for about a year and a half I wound up selling it.  I am not sure if I just had a bad copy but I do know others who have had similar issues.  I also own the 100L IS macro and the MP-E 65. All three are completely different macro lenses, but in terms of pure sharpness the 180 was easily in last place.

The 180 is a useful lens and I used it quite often when I traveled to Mexico for photographing lizards.  It also does a good job for butterflies.  For dragonflies I find my 300/4 a bit more useful because they can be a bit skittish.  For flowers I tend to prefer the flexibility of the TS-E 90 + extenders.

I absolutely love my 100 IS macro.  It is a sharp lens but the main drawing point is the macro.  I use this lens quite often when traveling in markets and shops to photograph small things and I almost always do this hand held.  Without the IS it simply wouldn't be possible.

If Canon were to come out with a new version of the lens I would probably pick it up once reviews confirm that it fixes the sharpness problems of the original.
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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2011, 08:05:43 AM »
I used to own the 180L macro some time ago and found it to be too soft.  After owning it for about a year and a half I wound up selling it.  I am not sure if I just had a bad copy but I do know others who have had similar issues.  I also own the 100L IS macro and the MP-E 65. All three are completely different macro lenses, but in terms of pure sharpness the 180 was easily in last place.

The 180 is a useful lens and I used it quite often when I traveled to Mexico for photographing lizards.  It also does a good job for butterflies.  For dragonflies I find my 300/4 a bit more useful because they can be a bit skittish.  For flowers I tend to prefer the flexibility of the TS-E 90 + extenders.

I absolutely love my 100 IS macro.  It is a sharp lens but the main drawing point is the macro.  I use this lens quite often when traveling in markets and shops to photograph small things and I almost always do this hand held.  Without the IS it simply wouldn't be possible.

If Canon were to come out with a new version of the lens I would probably pick it up once reviews confirm that it fixes the sharpness problems of the original.

You are the first person I have heard saying the 180mm is soft, if anything this and the 135 f2 are perhaps Canon's sharpest lenses. Maybe you had a misaligned copy and thats just unfortunate.

You are right, in the macro world, the smallest things are amplified, so this and the 100L are quite different. Also I owned that one too, it was sharp, less sharp than the non;L version but very close, but the 180 seems sharper.
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kirispupis

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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2011, 12:11:03 PM »
In the case of the 180L, I wasn't the only one who thought it wasn't sharp.  I also loaned it to a friend who wrote a blog post on it with basically the same conclusion - http://www.ronmartblog.com/2008/10/comparing-macro-lenses-aka-why-i-suck.html

In retrospect I suspect I may have had a bad copy.  That was part of an ill fated order I had with Canoga Camera - at a time when I was trying to find a decent camera store on the West coast. Everything that could have gone wrong with my order did and that was the last time I dealt with them.  I now rigorously test each lens I buy but I didn't back then.

Still, I do know others who have had similar issues and am in no rush to pick up a new copy.  When I owned one I found it to be more of a niche lens.  It is quite long which made it difficult for some flowers.  My TS-E 90 is a much better length and the tilt provides more flexibility.  I really only found it useful for lizards - which are quite rare where I live.
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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2011, 12:11:03 PM »

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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2011, 09:40:08 AM »
Uh Oh, you loaned a reviewer  a bad copy  :-\ ....

You can see from the 2 pics above, it is pretty sharp. I agree with your friend though that the non-L non IS version of the 100mm f2.8 is one very sharp lens!
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 03:00:23 PM by K-amps »
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kirispupis

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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2011, 11:28:36 AM »
It depends.  Are the above two pics 100% crops? If they are not crops then it isn't really possible to tell from the shots.  Keep in mind Ron wrote this blog before the 100mm IS was released.  I never owned the non-IS version, but from what I have read they are basically the same IQ-wise.  Where the IS version really excels is in the specialized image stabilization - which significantly expands the usefulness of the lens.
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Re: Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM
« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2011, 11:28:36 AM »