Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 SP Di LD [IF] macro (Nikon) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews -
Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
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Lens kindly provided by Tamron Europe!
The AF 90mm f/2.8 SP Di may be the more popular macro lens made by Tamron but it
is not their only offering in this segment. The Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 SP Di LD [IF] macro
has certainly a lesser visibility due to its double price tag (~700€/US$) but
apart from the longer focal length (equivalent to 270mm when used on APS-C DSLRs)
it offers a significant advantage - a bigger minimal working distance (25cm vs 9cm)
which can make life a little easier when it comes to shooting rather nervous critters.
In absolute terms the Tamron is a fairly big lens but within its class it is actually
comparatively compact and light-weight. Fortunately the weight reduction measurement
don't seem to come at cost of build quality - it is obviously a pretty sturdy lens
also thanks to an IF design and a constant physical length regardless of
the focus setting. The very broad, rubberized focus ring operates very smooth. An
quite nice feature is FEC (Filter Effect Control), a dedicated control ring to
rotate the filter thread even with attached lens hood - a quite interesting and efficient
The lens has no internal AF motor and relies on a slotted drive screw operated by the camera.
This generates some noise during AF operations and the AF speed is very slow when focusing
throughout the extensive focus range. This can happen quite frequently because
Tamron did not implement a focus limiter - in the middle of focus nowhere there's a good
chance that the AF focuses towards the wrong direction before hunting back again. If the
focus is well off it makes sense to do a coarse manual pre-focusing prior of activating the AF.
You change between AF and MF by pushing/pulling the focus ring so there's no need to fiddle
around with the small AF/MF switch on the camera. A side effect of this focus clutch design
is the decoupling of the focus ring from the AF gears so it does not rotate in AF mode.
|Equiv. focal length||270 mm (full format equivalent)|
|Equiv. aperture||f/5.3 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)|
|Optical construction||14 elements in 11 groups inc. 2x LD elements|
|Number of aperture blades||7|
|min. focus distance||0.47 m (max. magnification ratio 1:1, 25 cm min. working distance)|
|Dimensions||166 x 85 mm|
|Filter size||72 mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||barrel-shaped (included), snap-on type|
|Other features||floating system, detachable tripod-mount, FEC (Filter Effect Control)|