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

reviewer#44263 date: Apr-24-2019
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 3
overall: 4.1
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:Sigma 105mm 2.8 Macro
Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 APO EX DG Macro II
price paid:249 USD
positive:* Sharpness and general IQ is great
* 1\1 @ about 1.5ft
* Lightweight but decently built plastic
* Removeable tripod collar
* Decent bokeh and colors
* Large easy to use focus ring, internal focusing
* Filter ring control
negative:* Plastic build
* Huge lens, large front element and a massive hood
* Slow focusing
comment:I don't have much to compare to, this is the longest dedicated macro I have, and also has the longest lens hood I've ever owned, and the only one I have with a filter ring control. My copy came with a Tamron branded CPL, I'm not sure if that was an original accessory or if it was added by the seller, but it's a nice plus considering the largish filter ring.

Focusing speed is what you would expect from a screw-driven macro lens - it's not bad but it's got a long throw. I have not had problems making it work and not had any real issues with hunting. I use the limiter whenever possible on the a77ii to assist in speed. Needed a small MFA to get AF accuracy.

The lens is very sharp, even wide open, and distortion control is good. 3.5 @ 180mm creates a very thin dof, plenty of separation, and pleasant oof. Shooting towards the open end, there's a good bit of fringing, but it's not been difficult to clean up in post, unlike the CA from the Sigma 70-200\2.8 Macro II which tends to be a huge pain.

I haven't intentionally created flare yet, but there's a reason it has that huge hood and you'll need it if you're shooting anywhere close to towards a bright source. Contrast and color is much better with a deep hood on. If I can get away with it I use a smaller 3rd party hood, but at least the big one is there when necessary.

All told, I'm quite pleased with this lens. I can't imagine it would be an everyday carry around lens for most people, but it's a lot of bang for your buck and its a lot of fun to use, which is in many ways, the ultimate test.

I haven't tried this with a 3x teleconverter or macro extension tubes yet to push the extremes, but I will try eventually.

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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