Tamron SP AF 180mm F3.5 Di LD IF A-mount lens review by rsf3127

reviewer#11401 date: Oct-23-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 2
overall: 4.4
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 90mm DI macro
Tamron 70-300mm DI USD
Minolta 100-300mm
Sony 135mm 1.8f
price paid:430 USD (used mint)
positive:tack sharp for macro
Bokeh buttery smooth
negative:AF not practical
Cannot be used as a tele prime, but this is not a negative since it is not intended to do that.
comment:This lens is as sharp as the 90mm which I also own, and that is to say it is VERY sharp. Like its little brother, the AF hunts a lot, but the smaller one has a focus limit button, which the big guy lacks. So it will go back and forth a thousand precious seconds until it locks focus and your subject is already gone scared by the noise of the focus engine (not ultrasonic). So it is in fact a manual focus lens. This is not a problem since most modern Sony bodies have focus peaking and the focus ring is wide and well dampened. Manual focus is a breeze. Focus stacking is also very easy. I find the best combination is with my NEX-7, the LE-EA1, and my tripod. I set the shutter to front curtain and that is it. The good thing about the long focal length is that shy creatures are not disturbed.
Don't try to use it as a tele. Focused at infinity, it is awfully soft and shows off lots of CA.

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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