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70-200mm F4L vs Sigma 180mm Macro


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Jun 21, 2003
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#1
Hi all,
just want to seek some opinions regarding the 2 lens cos I'm undecided between the 2.

Considering the price difference is not that much : 180mm @ $900 (Kenghor's MO) and 70-200mm @ $1050 used, what other factors should I consider?

I'm starting to shoot butterflies and been enjoying it, but was using a 50-500mm, which is way too heavy especially when I have to trek. Was thinking a macro lens would be better suited. But, at the same time, a zoom lens would be more versatile. With the zoom lens, I can bring it along when I travel (lugging the 50-500mm, with other things in tow, through airport is a killer). The Sigma 180mm is heavier (960g) compared to the 70-200mm (720g).

Does the 70-200 F4L give a 1:1 magnification?
How does both lens compare at 180mm?
I assume the sigma 180mm would give a better bokeh?

Thanks for any comments! :D
 

mpenza

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#2
cheesypoofs said:
Hi all,
just want to seek some opinions regarding the 2 lens cos I'm undecided between the 2.

Considering the price difference is not that much : 180mm @ $900 (Kenghor's MO) and 70-200mm @ $1050 used, what other factors should I consider?

I'm starting to shoot butterflies and been enjoying it, but was using a 50-500mm, which is way too heavy especially when I have to trek. Was thinking a macro lens would be better suited. But, at the same time, a zoom lens would be more versatile. With the zoom lens, I can bring it along when I travel (lugging the 50-500mm, with other things in tow, through airport is a killer). The Sigma 180mm is heavier (960g) compared to the 70-200mm (720g).

Does the 70-200 F4L give a 1:1 magnification?
How does both lens compare at 180mm?
I assume the sigma 180mm would give a better bokeh?

Thanks for any comments! :D
70-200 F4L is not a macro lens. It doesn't give 1:1 magnification. You'll need to add on extension tubes or use close-up/macro filters to increase the magnification.

Both lenses give good bokeh.
 

MaGixShOe

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#3
If u want to shoot only butterflies as ur macro subjects then get the 70-200 F4L and use it with ext. tube or 500D filter.
 

mpenza

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for butterflies, I believe Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro and Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro are enough. both are lighter and significantly (<$600) cheaper.
 

y0ngcheng

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#6
hehe, i own a 70-200f4l too. was thinking of this idea too! but however, asked oeyvind for his views. i decided to keep my 70-200, and buy a 100 or a 105 macro. :)
 

Jun 21, 2003
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y0ngcheng said:
hehe, i own a 70-200f4l too. was thinking of this idea too! but however, asked oeyvind for his views. i decided to keep my 70-200, and buy a 100 or a 105 macro. :)
I'm looking for something more than 100mm leh...

What magnification will I get, for the 70-200mm with a 25mm ext tube?
 

jbma

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#8
mpenza said:
for butterflies, I believe Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro and Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro are enough. both are lighter and significantly (<$600) cheaper.
Ditto on that. I am using the Tamron 90mm Macro. It is light and good to carry around with.
 

Garion

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cheesypoofs said:
I'm looking for something more than 100mm leh...

What magnification will I get, for the 70-200mm with a 25mm ext tube?
The magnification factor would be extension tube length/focal length. So lets say if you're shooting at 70mm with a 25mm ext. tube, you get 25/70 = 0.36 magnification (just an example).

Given that you already own the Sigma 50-500, I would say go for a dedicated macro lens instead, coz of the overlap factor of the Sigma with the 70-200 f4L. And a macro lens gives you 1:1 magnification, and is very sharp. For shooting butts, or other skittish insects, longer working distances are always better, thus a 180mm macro lens would be ideal. Either the Sigma or Tamron would suffice, no point getting the expensive Canon 180mm f3.5 L. Stopped down a few stops (which is the usual case for macro work), they will all give an almost equal performance.
 

Jun 21, 2003
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#10
Garion said:
The magnification factor would be extension tube length/focal length. So lets say if you're shooting at 70mm with a 25mm ext. tube, you get 25/70 = 0.36 magnification (just an example).
so at 200mm, it will be 25/200 = 0.125, which is 1:8 magnification? Is that correct?
 

mpenza

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#11
cheesypoofs said:
I'm looking for something more than 100mm leh...

What magnification will I get, for the 70-200mm with a 25mm ext tube?
Any of the Tamron 90mm, Canon 100mm, Sigma 105mm or 180mm macro will give you 1:1 magnification. The difference is the working distance which is longer for a longer lense.
 

rainman

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#12
Garion said:
The magnification factor would be extension tube length/focal length. So lets say if you're shooting at 70mm with a 25mm ext. tube, you get 25/70 = 0.36 magnification (just an example).

Given that you already own the Sigma 50-500, I would say go for a dedicated macro lens instead, coz of the overlap factor of the Sigma with the 70-200 f4L. And a macro lens gives you 1:1 magnification, and is very sharp. For shooting butts, or other skittish insects, longer working distances are always better, thus a 180mm macro lens would be ideal. Either the Sigma or Tamron would suffice, no point getting the expensive Canon 180mm f3.5 L. Stopped down a few stops (which is the usual case for macro work), they will all give an almost equal performance.

I owned a 180mm macro lens. I noticed that in order to achieve 1:1 magnification i still need to get as close as 6-10 cm from the object (which is not wat i expected)... i mean i was expecting for a 180mm macro to achieve 1:1 at let say 50 cm and a 90mm macro at 25mm and 50mm macro at 10 cm that kind of thing....

So meaning to say whether if i get a 90mm and 180mm macro there is no differents leh... and worse still it seems to me my sigma 70-300 can achieve 1:2 at a further dist than my 180mm macro...(seems so lah)

So whether I get extension tube or any filter..if i going to shoot larger than life I will have to get close right? no escape on that?

Anyone can enlighten a super macro newbie who is keen to know all these? Thks. :)
 

jbear

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The Sigma 180mm 3.5 HSM is superb. I haven't found it to be any less sharp or contrasty than the micro-Nikkor 60mm (I've shot them side-by-side). It is superb wide open and also performs well with the matched tc's. The Af is smooth and silent (if not especially fast), and the MF damping is excellent. So far with a lot of field use, it appears to be very well constructed. Although there aren't really "bad" macro lenses, this one is a gem in my estimation.
 

FLiNcHY

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#14
70-200 f4l is not a macro lense. it's quite bad actually for macro photography.

I'm going to sell my soon. Not because its not good, but because the f4 is really too small for me. its pretty much a useless lense when the lights go bad.

I'm going to sell mine and just get the 135 f2 prime.

that'll be the last of my zooms already. heh heh, all primes for me.

I heard the 180 macro is really really good. if you really like macro, just go for that.
 

#15
cheesypoofs

I recommend the Tamron 90/180, the canon 100mm.

for butterfly, the 90 to 100mm range is quite good, if coupled with a 1.4x TC will give u better distance as well

http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=79056
shots taken with canon 100mm + 1.4xTC (all shots manual focusing) :thumbsup: excellent len, except for the pricing

I just got the tamron 180, so far.. the outcome is great, AF is equivalent to the canon 180 L but more accurate, the canon tend to search quite abit

go read the macro len review, you will see a clear winner
http://www.orchideen-kartierung.de/Macro100E.html
 

Garion

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#16
jbear said:
The Sigma 180mm 3.5 HSM is superb. I haven't found it to be any less sharp or contrasty than the micro-Nikkor 60mm (I've shot them side-by-side). It is superb wide open and also performs well with the matched tc's. The Af is smooth and silent (if not especially fast), and the MF damping is excellent. So far with a lot of field use, it appears to be very well constructed. Although there aren't really "bad" macro lenses, this one is a gem in my estimation.
Hear, hear. :thumbsup: The Sigma 180mm f3.5 is an excellent macro lens. Nearly wanted to get the Tamron, but went for the Sigma instead, and no regrets. :)
 

ZhiJie

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Just would like to add another point (that wasn't mentioned here) but I feel that it's quite important too.

Longer focal length macro lens will have narrower angle of view and thus will have better chance of getting good and clean background. (easier to "select" background) No doubt that Tamron 90mm, Canon 100mm, Sigma 105mm all will be able to give 1:1 mag. For good nature images, including macros, clean background is usually desirable. It doesn't mean that shorter focal length lenses cannot produce good bg. Just that slightly more difficult. This aspect is discussed in the books writen by great nature photographer : John Shaw.

Just my 2 cents worth :)
 

Jun 21, 2003
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#18
Garion said:
Hear, hear. :thumbsup: The Sigma 180mm f3.5 is an excellent macro lens. Nearly wanted to get the Tamron, but went for the Sigma instead, and no regrets. :)
What about the AF? I heard its the main complaint about the lens.
 

Garion

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#19
cheesypoofs said:
What about the AF? I heard its the main complaint about the lens.
Most macro lenses have rather slow AF, this lens is no exception. Anyways, you normally wouldn't use AF when you are taking macro photos, so IMO its not much of a big concern to me. Personally, I always use MF when taking macro shots.
 

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