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01-16-2010, 06:16 PM   #1
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Sigma 180mm macro lens

I understand that Sigma has discontinued its 180mm macro lens for the Pentax. Does anyone know if it's to be replaced? If not, does anyone know another manufacturer making a long macro lens for Pentax mount?


Last edited by prblack.6206; 01-16-2010 at 06:22 PM.
01-29-2010, 07:05 PM   #2
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I have been looking for these myself. Tamron makes them but not for Pentax.
01-29-2010, 07:06 PM   #3
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There is one for sale right here in the marketplace.
01-29-2010, 07:29 PM   #4
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I wasn't aware that the lens was discontinued!?

If so, I am sure they will either be replacing it or making all mounts in the 150mm version, which is slightly better anyway. The 150 and 180 are the two top macro lenses ever and currently made, seriously. I have used just about every macro lens out there past and present and the only one that came close was the Yashica/Tomioka 55mm macro and it didn't have the reach. . The Canon 180mm L comes darn close or may even be as good, hard to tell honestly, but the Sigmas win out due to being half the price and performing at least as well.

I've been pinching pennies and sorting through equipment in order to sell some to get this lens for my Pentax, grrrr... May have to break down and snag a used one for my Sigma SD14 after all.

01-29-2010, 08:51 PM   #5
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Hi prblack,

I just picked up one of these. I had also heard that they had been discontinued, and the fact that Adorama and B&H no longer had new ones in stock after years of continued "in stock" status seemed to confirm this. Adorama did have an "Open Box" one listed in their used section, so I bought it, knowing from experience that they had an excellent return policy, so if anything was terribly wrong, my only loss might be the shipping charges.

The only way I could be happier with the lens is if it spit out $100 bills when I turned the focus ring or magically transformed itself into an A*or FA*200/4 Macro .

The 180 Macro is very sharp wide open, both at macro distances and as a tele lens. The focus ring rotation travel is only @ 120, with about 60% of that in the macro range and 40% in the tele range of the focus limiter. This makes for pretty quick tele AF, and I've even found some tricks to use AF for macro effectively with this lens. Considering that the D FA 100 Macro's focus ring travel is something like 275, with no limiter, this lens is a totally different animal for AF use. As a tele, I'd say it's easily in the same class as my A*200/2.8 and Tamron SP180/2.5, but it's got the benefits of AF . . . and it's a dedicated macro, of course.

At macro distances, I notice very little CA/PF, but I have mostly used it playing around indoors. The relatively long working distance (18" min focusing distance @ 1:1) allows use of the popup flash without the lens casting shadows at the bottom of the frame. I've been playing around using a Lumiquest Soft Screen with the popup, and for a lot of situations, this will work fine for me.

I have no idea if it's to be replaced, but I decided to grab one in case it isn't. I learned my lesson when I passed on an EX condition A*200/4 Macro a few years back that KEH had listed at $999. . . -- but at this point, this is looking more like a good decision.

Scott
01-29-2010, 09:14 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by digitaldevo Quote

The 150 and 180 are the two top macro lenses ever and currently made, seriously. I have used just about every macro lens out there past and present and the only one that came close was the Yashica/Tomioka 55mm macro and it didn't have the reach. . The Canon 180mm L comes darn close or may even be as good
Hi dd,

Then I assume you haven't tried either the A* or FA* 200/4 Macros. I don't think there's much dispute that these are at least close to the top of the heap. The A* scored a pretty impressive 4.2 weighted MTF on the old Photodo site.

From my very brief use, the EX 180/3.5 is no doubt a truly great lens tho. . .

Scott
01-29-2010, 09:25 PM   #7
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snostorm:

I loved my Sigma 180 on my 40D, Great images but most important for me was the working distance was so nice.

From what I have seen, the 200/4 lenses are at least as sharp and detailed as the 180 or 150 Sigma. I feel the Sigma 150 was probably a bit sharper than my 180 was...but at that point we are down to minutiae to the extent it simply won't matter unless on has a bad copy of any given lense. Still I have an itch to own one of the 200/4's one day, but won't be for a while if ever...not sure I can manage the weight anymore... I believe the 150 is the lightest of the four lenses...and even still it might be a bit much for me w/o at least a mono-pod.

On my recently deceased, as in two nights ago now, laptop I have my images...but at least the drive did not croak only the mobo...new one will be here tomorrow or Monday...I should post a few shots from the 180 in my album here on PF even though they were with 40D that really should not matter other than to wonder how much more detail might be there on a K20D or even a K7...
01-29-2010, 10:58 PM   #8
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Hi brecklundin,

I've always wanted one of the 200/4s, but decided that:

1. There seemed to be few deals on these lenses in recent years, and the prices asked just keep on escalating. The one I passed on was the last I've seen at anywhere close to the price, and I think it's a thing of the distant past. . .

2. The Ex 180/3.5 is actually a better fit to the purpose I intend to use it for. I'm hoping to carry it on the K20 as a second camera to my K7 and FA*300/4.5 + TC while I'm doing walkaround birding. I also like to have a second body for quick handheld shots when I have a 300/2.8 +TC(s) on the tripod. With this lens, I can also take advantage of critter shooting opportunities that arise, yet still have some reach for relatively close birds.

Since I'm so used to carrying and handholding the FA*300/4.5, and the 180 is very close to the same size and weight, I'm pretty confident that I can use this lens effectively, especially with a flash, but I'm not much of a macro shooter. . .yet. . .

Scott

01-30-2010, 04:59 AM   #9
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Well I just took the plunge 30 mins ago.
Sigma very recently reduced some of their top end lens prices here in the UK (still nowhere near USA prices though) as I get the feeling the 180mm is either going to be discontinued completely or go HSM. I decided to get one because at the moment it will work with my Sigma 1.4x and 2x teleconverters I use for the 70-200mm and 100-300mm, If they decide to go HSM that option goes out the window.
01-30-2010, 06:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike.P Quote
Well I just took the plunge 30 mins ago.
Sigma very recently reduced some of their top end lens prices here in the UK (still nowhere near USA prices though) as I get the feeling the 180mm is either going to be discontinued completely or go HSM. I decided to get one because at the moment it will work with my Sigma 1.4x and 2x teleconverters I use for the 70-200mm and 100-300mm, If they decide to go HSM that option goes out the window.
Mike,

That is an excellent observation. If I were in the market for the 180 macro I would probably pull the trigger soon as well...I never thought of that situation...see I am STILL getting used to thinking in terms of the difference from Canon mount copies until someone pointed it out to me here I never even realized the HSM versions did not support the TC's...I was, well, stunned really.

You'll love the beast...I know I did mine and I bought mine used.
01-30-2010, 06:55 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by brecklundin Quote
You'll love the beast...I know I did mine and I bought mine used.
If I'm honest I am hoping it will stop me lusting after a Canon 7D and MP-E65 combo.
01-30-2010, 08:26 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike.P Quote
If I'm honest I am hoping it will stop me lusting after a Canon 7D and MP-E65 combo.
That MP-E 65 would be reason enough to buy a Canon body and the 7D is reason enough to live on peanut butter & Ritz crackers for a few months in order to afford it...when I switched the MP-E 65 was my next lens to buy. It is one fine piece of gear! So, go ahead...just buy it...it wants you to buy it...it's calling to you...can you hear it? You know you want to...give into to the urges....
01-30-2010, 10:02 AM   #13
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Yes, the 200mm f/4 macros are about the same as the Sigmas. Also, yes, the 150mm is a tad better then the 180mm, but it is not actually sharpness, it is contrast(local) which to the human eye is translated as sharpness.

As for the Canon MP-E 65, not all that great IMHO. Never liked it at all. Too much of a PIA to use except under studio controlled type situations IMHO. I much prefer using bellows and extension tubes for greater magnifications, much more convenient as well as versatile.

The absolute best for macro, for prints 11x14" or smaller and internet usage, is either a Panasonic FZ28/35 or LX3 + Raynox add-on macro lenses. Much easier to control and greater DOF over a dSLR for starters. If combine the Tele Macro mode of the FZ with the Raynox MSN-202 one can reach magnifications of close to 24x(24:1)!!! And again, much more versatile and easier then the MP-E 65 lens!

Done with the older FZ8K + Raynox:

A tiny crystal face on a 2mm long green moissanite crystal:

P1010248sm-1 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Quartz crystal from inside a Keokuk Geode. It is iron stained and has inclusions. Crystal is only around 1mm in length. Image is a stack of 2 shots to get enough DOF.

Iron Stained Quartz Crystal on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Raynox MSN-202, tiny crystal inclusions inside a 5-6mm round spessartite garnet, not visible with naked eye:

GemAddicts.Com Copyrighted Image on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Locust:

P1010739sm on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

100% crop of locust's eye:


Lastly, a shot using a bellows + stacked 68mm ETs + 35mm Zeiss lens:

hdr2sm_2 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
P1010752sm on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
01-30-2010, 11:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
There is one for sale right here in the marketplace.
too bad the price is just unreasonable.
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