Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L USM macro - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews -
Canon EOS (APS-C)
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special thanks to Rob (1st sample) and Markus Stamm (2nd sample)!
The Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L USM macro is the longest tele macro lens currently available
from Canon. The lens was introduced back in 1996 without any direct predecessor.
Its primary application is, obviously, macro photography but naturally it's not
limited to that. On APS-C DSLRs the field-of-view is equivalent to 288mm on the
The optical design of the lens is made of 14 elements in 12 groups including
three UD elements. Typical for all true macro lenses it features a floating
system for better close-focus correction. The min. focus distance is 0.48m
resulting in a max. object magnification of 1:1. The aperture mechanism features
8 aperture blades.
Due to the complexity introduced by the macro feature the lens is somewhat
longer (83x187mm) and heavier (1090g) than conventional medium tele lenses
such as the EF 200mm f/2.8 USM L. The filter size is 72mm.
The lens accepts all Canon EF tele-converters resulting either in
a 252mm f/4.5 (180mm + 1.4x) or 360mm f/7 (180mm + EF 2x) combination.
When used with these converters the max. object magnification increases
accordingly - 1.4:1 with the EF 1.4x and 2:1 with the EF 2x converter.
Most EOS cameras except the pro grade bodies will not provide AF with the
EF 2x combo anymore because it exceeds the required max. aperture of f/5.6.
The mechanical quality of the lens is excellent - the outer barrel as well
as the detachable tripod mount are made of metal and the very broad rubberized
focus ring is very smooth and well damped. The lens is a true IF design so
it doesn't change its length during focusing.
The AF performance of the lens is a little odd. If the camera is lost
somewhere in focus nirvana it takes forever to focus throughout the focus
range (with forever being about 4-5secs on the old EOS 350D). However, if
the AF starts in the proximity of the focus point it's actually very
quick. So it's something like having a lens with two gears here. In any case
it is a good idea to take advantage of the focus limiter if you're using the
180mm f/3.5L for mainstream photography. For macro work it's probably a good
idea to pre-focus to give the AF a guidance (if you really want to use AF
for this purpose anyway). The focus range can be limited to either 0.48m-∞
or 1.5m-∞. The lens uses a near silent ring-type USM drive which is
usually renowned for a very fast AF but obviously its incarnation
here is a bit of an exception to the rule. Full-time manual focusing is possible
in one-shot AF mode.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 July 2013 12:10