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Emile Abbott
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Sigma 150 Macro vs. Sigma 180 Macro


I currently shoot with Canon EOS 20 D and Canon EOS 5D. Id am considering obtaining a macro lens - either the Sigma 150/F2.8 or the Sigma 180/F3.5. From best I can determine, the 180 is a slightly higher grade but with a higher 3.5 F/stop. I was concerned about the higher 3.5 F/stop. I realize the 150mm is about $200 more but that is not a primary factor. Any advice regarding these two lenses, or other macro lenses, would be appreciated.

1/30/2007 3:02:08 PM

 
Ibarionex R. Perello
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  The real advantage of the Sigma and the reason for its higher price is the faster maximum aperture. If you are typically shooting under good lighting conditions, this will not be a huge advantage. Since with macro, you will often be shooting at moderate to small apertures, that is not often a big consideration.
If, however, you are going to use the lens for other types of shooting - particularly available light when light levels are low - you should seriously consider the Sigma.
From what I've read, both of these lenses are considered excellent performers, so it really comes down to the maximum aperture and your personal preference over look and feel.

1/30/2007 6:15:45 PM

 
Suzanne Colson
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  My understanding of macro lenses (I have the Sigma EX 100mm macro) is that the longer the length the farther you can be from the subject to achieve a 1:1 lifesize. When it comes to a macro lense I find that with an aperture as large as 2.5 and the fact you are so close to the object that the depth of field is so narrow that I never end up using it at this setting.

1/30/2007 6:46:33 PM

 
Jon Close
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member since: 5/18/2000
  Ditto Susan's comments. While the 180's maximum aperture of f/3.5 is two-thirds of a stop slower than the 150's f/2.8, the only practical difference is a somewhat dimmer viewfinder. Macro shots are usually taken at much smaller aperture of f/8-f/32.
Most camera/lens makers offer macro lenses in ~50mm, ~100mm, and ~180mm, with 1:1 working distances of ~5", ~8", and ~11", respectively. Sigma offers these traditional focal-length macros, but in recent years has introduced intermediate lengths like the 150mm and 70mm to split the difference. The 150mm is a great solution for someone who wants greater working distance than the ~100mm gives, but can't justify the greater expense of a 180mm.

1/31/2007 7:26:16 AM

 
Kathleen Nealon
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thephotodamsel.com

member since: 3/12/2005
  I'm also researching macro lenses and surprisingly when I went out to the Sigma lens chart (on their website), it stated that the 150mm had a 9.56" working distance and the 180mm had a 9" working distance. When you're in that close a range, I would suggest a call to the mfr. to get the absolutely correct answer.

2/6/2007 8:34:01 AM

 
Emile Abbott
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  THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUGGESTIONS AND COMMENTS. I DECIDED TO GO WITH THE SIGMA 180 F/3.5 BUT IT HAS NOT ARRIVED YET. IF I FIND I NEED TO GET TO A SHORTER WORKING DISTANCE THEN I WILL CONSIDER ONE WITH A SHORTER FOCAL LENGTH. I WAS TOLD THE MINIMUM FOCUS DISTANCE WAS 17 INCHES OR 46CM WHICH IS ACCEPTABLE TO ME AT THIS TIME.

2/6/2007 10:34:02 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  >>"...the Sigma lens chart (on their website), it stated that the 150mm had a 9.56" working distance and the 180mm had a 9" working distance."<<

I'm pretty sure the 9.56" given for the 150mm is in error. The working distance can be calculated as the closest focus distance (subject to image plane) minus the maximum length of the lens and minus the 44mm (1.7") distance from lens mount to image plane. The chart values (in parentheses) for the Sigma 50, 105, and 180 macros are consistent with this, off only a couple mm.
50: 188mm - 101.5mm - 44mm = 42.5mm (40mm, 1.6")
70: 257mm - 95mm - 44mm = 118mm (112mm, 4.4")
105: 310mm - 150mm - 44mm = 116mm (120mm, 4.7")
180: 460mm - 180mm - 44mm = 236mm (227mm, 9.0")
For the 150mm macro, it looks as though the working distance given in the chart didn't account for the 44mm mount to sensor distance.
105: 380mm - 137mm - 0mm = 243mm (240mm, 9.56") should be
380mm - 137mm - 44mm = 199mm, 7.8"

2/6/2007 12:00:39 PM

 
Suzanne Colson
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  Given the minimum focus distance is 7.8" for the 150mm and 9.0" for the 180mm what is the real advantage? The maximum aperture on the 180mm is 3.5 and the max aperture on the 150mm is 2.8. The MSRP on Sigma's site shows the 180mm at $90 more. I am hoping to understand the specs on a lense a little better.

2/6/2007 1:47:31 PM

 
Chris Starbuck
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/29/2006
  I also shoot with the Canon 20D, and bought the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro instead of the 180mm f/3.5 mainly because of the 2/3 stop brighter max aperture. Whether you realize it or not, you're using every lens's max aperture every time you use the lens: for focusing! For autofocus, who cares? Current autofocus systems are superb even at an f/5.6 max aperture. (The Canon 1-series digital & film cameras, and the EOS-3, autofocus accurately at f/8!) But in macro (1:2 magnification or larger) you're almost always focusing manually. The 20D's viewfinder is significantly dimmer than any full frame camera I've ever used, and that 2/3 stop more light makes a difference in how accurately I can focus manually in natural light. On the other hand, if you're using a full frame camera, like the 5D, I doubt you'd notice the difference except perhaps in the dimmest light.

2/7/2007 9:08:05 AM

 

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