Tamron SP AF 180mm F3.5 Di LD IF A-mount lens review by Mark Twain

reviewer#11251 date: Jul-14-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 60mm f2 Makro
Minolta 300mm f2.8
price paid:
very solid
negative:autofocus blahblah (not really a negative because unneccessary when shooting macro)
comment:This is the perfect lens for doing great macro! Don't believe those who say it has a small manual focus ring and the autofocus is oh-so bad. Small focus ring? That ring is really big! And I think you're absolutely on the wrong train when you try to focus manually while doing macro... Also the build is very solid and not "plasticky" like someone else said here. And when your object is in focus it is definitely not "soft"!

This lens is incredibly sharp and has a very nice bokeh and hardly any CAs. Furthermore it's very solid built.

Another few words to the focus: Yes, the autofocus is very loud, yes it is very (I when I say very I mean very! Every insect is far away before focus locks in.) slow and no there is no focus limiter. But this does not matter because you can confidently turn autofocus off and work with manual focus (which is a pleasure with 10x manignification!). I've never used the autofocus of that lens and I'll never do.

The lens hood is really big so I suggest either not using it when shooting shy insects or cut it in pieces.

In my opinion this lens is very lightweight because I am used to my Minolta 300/2.8 which is a tank so I guess you just have to try it out. Nevertheless I strongly recommend using a tripod because 180mm is very difficult to handle without. You will lose focus and have a bad composition without.

The filter control mechanism is nice and I think it is working good (I never use filter with this lens).

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 38
  • sharpness: 4.78
  • color: 4.68
  • build: 4.29
  • distortion: 4.74
  • flare control: 4.42
  • overall: 4.58
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