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Sigma 180mm F3.5 APO EX DG IF Macro

Reviews Views Date of last review
12 27,409 Mon March 12, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
92% of reviewers $885.00 9.00
Sigma 180mm F3.5 APO EX DG IF Macro

Weight: 965g/34.0 oz
Length: 182mm/7.2 in
Filter Diameter: 72mm
Min. Focus: 46cm/18.1 in
Max. Magnification: 1:1
Diagonal FOV:
Horizontal FOV: 13.7 degrees
Horizontal FOV on Digital: 9.1 degrees
Min. Aperture: F32
Optical Construction: 13 Elements in 10 Groups
Autofocus: Yes, screwdrive
Mount Type:
Price History:

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Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Perth Western Australia
Posts: 31,279
Lens Review Date: March 12, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Focus..sharpness..handling
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-1    New Or Used: Used   

Have had this Lens for a short while and bought it second hand. Apparently it had already been sent to Sigma to have the mount replaced as it doesn't scratch the K-1 at all and was sharp on focus from day one. This Lens must be fairly rare as it took me ages to find one. Now it hardly comes off my camera.

New Member

Registered: June, 2013
Posts: 17
Lens Review Date: October 22, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: long, sharp, macro
Cons: not in production anymore
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: K1    New Or Used: 8   

First of all, I'd like to say how lucky I am, getting a copy of this lens. Neither this model from Sigma, nor any alternative long macro (Pentax or Tamron) is in production anymore. This is a pity, because a long macro is such a useful and fun tool to have. Therefore, I didn't make an icredible bargain but it was worth every single $.

The way I use it:
  • In combination with the K1 and a proper macro flash (e.g. the Sigma 140 something), it is so much fun taking close-ups of easily scared insects:
  • With a flah sync time of 1/200 secs (thank you K1), there is no real need for a tripod at all.
  • I focus manually with K1's live view. Closing the arperture to ~F/20, I get the perfect combination of sufficient depth of field and peak sharpness (for my taste at least).
  • Moreover, the tiltable screen of the K1 allows for a very flexible way of shooting macros.

Image quality
  • Nothing to complain about sharpness or abberations. (I guess stopped down to F/20, any 180mm lens would look quite neatly.) I haven't really tested the image quality at more open arpertures yet, since I don't use the lens that way.
  • I am surprised how sharp images can look at those tiny arpertures mentioned above. Of course one can see hints of diffration at pixel level. But considering the depth of field you get in return, it's more than OK (and who cares for pixel peeping anyway ).

  • Being used to the Pentax DFA 70-200, this lens doesn't feel heavy or big at all. Size and weight are just about right for handheld shooting (at least for my gigantic hands ).
  • You can switch between AF and MF by moving the focus ring back or forth. At the same time, you have to switch the focusing mode on the camera. Coming from a quick shift lens, this feels a little cumbersome.
  • The lens has a screw-driven AF that is quite fast (mind the focus limiter!) and really not that loud. According to my experience, this true for all screw-driven lenses on the K1. So I guess, credits go to the K1 here.
Concusion: If you like shooting macros and can find a copy of this lens on the market: GET IT! If you are Pentax, offer a long (>= 150mm) macro lens again!


Forum Member

Registered: May, 2012
Location: Spain
Posts: 64

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 3, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, focal lenght, colors
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 8   

Incredible lens.
Since I bought it, itīs the only macro than I use.
It's perfect for taking pictures of insects easy to scare.
Some samples:
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: Near Sydney, NSW
Posts: 331

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 23, 2013 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 1 

Pros: It's macro
Cons: Almost everything
Sharpness: 2    Aberrations: 3    Bokeh: 1    Handling: 1    Value: 1   

Thought I'd got a bargain with this lens but turns out it wasn't the only cheap one out there - and I can see why.
The thing is a tank - and OK, I kinda expect that from a fast(ish) 180mm lens but why is it slightly bigger than a 70-200 f2.8?

Oh yeah, it's macro. But the IQ is poor in about every way, so it's maaaaybe good for soft portraits - so really as a macro lens it's more like a weight in your bag.
If you want a macro lens of longer FL on a cropped sensor, get the 105mm f2.8. It's SHARP even at f2.8, it's about a quarter the size, and it's not $350++.

I don't recommend this (duh).
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2011
Posts: 622

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 1, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, fast enough
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

The lens is big and heavy, so a tripod is recommended.
AF is good, but slow like any other real macro lens. My non-DG has a focus limiter switch.
Got mine for a very good price, it was my first AF lens buy. Triggered a severe LBA and made me like Sigma.

New Member

Registered: May, 2012
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: January 30, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: super sharp!
Cons: AF a bit slow, availability!
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

This is one of the best macro lenses I've ever tried.

Very sharp with a very pleasant bokeh. Color rendition and contrast is excellent with creamy backgrounds.

The focal length is perfect for dragonflys and butterflies. This lens is really a must have.

A couple of examples:

Update - With the K-3, just amazing
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2011
Location: In the boonies (NW Penna)
Posts: 5,670

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 20, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super sharp, fast AF, great build
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I love my macro lenses. I don't do much 1:1 macro work, but like to do close-ups of various subjects. Because of this, the 180mm focal length suits me very well.

This lens is sharp - so sharp it will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Rendering is great - just a tad below the top of the line Pentax lenses - colors really pop. The auto focus is quite fast and decisive. General IQ is fantastic - I look at all my images @100% when judging for keepers and every image with this lens looks fantastic at that level - plenty of room to crop if need be.

This is my first Sigma lens which I bought used here on the Marketplace. I am very impressed by the build quality and handling. Because of this lens, I am now looking at other Sigma EX lenses.

The only real alternative to this lens is the Pentax A*200 lens which if you can find one can be very expensive. For the price, the Sigma 180 Macro is a super value - it is a keeper for sure!
Senior Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Svealand
Posts: 172
Lens Review Date: February 28, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,050.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, fast AF, no distortion or vignetting, great colors, affordable, hight build quality
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

When using it as a telephoto lens the AF is extremely fast. When using it as a macro lens I focus manually and it's very easy with this lens. 180mm equals to 270mm on my dslr so it's really great using this lens when you taking macros at butterflies or other shy insects.

I have the bad habit of buying and selling most of my lenses because I like to try new ones. But no chance that I'll ever sell this one as I searched for this lens on eBay for a very long time, it's not often for sale (with K-mount). Sigma 180mm Macro gives you the best value for your money in the Macro Lens category.

This is a full format lens so if Pentax ever will make a FF dslr I'll be ready
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Prague
Posts: 1,200
Lens Review Date: November 14, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, quick AF, APO, durable
Cons: not compatible with my SuperA or with AF1,7TC (communication problems), AF/MF switch
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

I have the non-DG version, but I believe it is very similar in this case.
I'm constantly pleased with high sharpness and contrast delivered by this lens. It is more than a match to 16Mpix of my K-5. Even with some extension tubes the image quality is maintained.
In the field the lens is heavy, but not too much. With the K-5 the AF is surprisingly quick. Virtually instant and accurate enough for tracking the BIF photos, profided you use the limiter. I just wish it had QSF system.
I wouldn't trade it for any 200/2.8, not even the Canon L one which seemed inferior to me (with 550D).
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Southeast Wisconsin
Posts: 391

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 2, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, colors, build quality
Cons: none

This is a great lens. The build quality is great, very nice. The manual focus ring is nice and big and is very easy to use.

I use this lens for macro and normal photography with great results. The focus limiter is a nice feature for non-macro situations. I think the bokeh is great for macro shots and telephoto work.

Here are some photos of a bike race I attended. Almost all are with the Sigma.
Inactive Account

Registered: May, 2009
Location: Germany
Posts: 69

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 15, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Stunning sharpness, large working distance, nice soft bokeh, great build quality, nothing extends outward (IF-design).
Cons: As with all similar lenses, this thing is a bit big and heavy!

The Sigma 180/3.5 EX DG APO Macro Lens is currently the only one over 100mm Lens that you can currently buy new for our Pentax Cameras.
The Sigma is awesomely sharp, remains even so with stacked dedicated Sigma converters. (1,4x and/or 2x) This really challenges optical quality, but it delivers.
The color rendition, contrast and the "bokeh'" are exellent.
The large working distance from approximately 46cm is the main reason for my purchase of this lens.
I would rcommend this lens to anyone interested in macro work, all around it is
a super Macro lens.
And it is the cheapest professional lense for typical macro photography.

Some example Shots ith the K-7 and the Sigma 180/3.5 IF APO Macro DG.
Shots freehand without a tripod, JPG out of Cam.

Hartmut from Berlin/Germany
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,340
Lens Review Date: April 11, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Exc.focal length, sharpness, color and flare control
Cons: intermitant mechanical problems with manual focus
New Or Used: New   

I have used the lens for approximately two years and found that the quality of the images can be amazingly sharp. Since I don't do AF macro I use this lens manually.

The color and contrast as well as flare control are quite beautiful with this lens. The lens is fairly sharp wide open and performs best between f4 and f11. The bokeh is very smooth and buttery even through f22 at 1:1.

It obviously comes at an elevated price tag but it performs almost perfectly.

I do not use the lens with the hood on and have not seen contrast problems in any instances.

The finish on the lens is nice matt black which looks like it can scratch easily, though after two years mine shows none. The lens is of reasonable weight for the focal length
but it can get a little heavy after a full afternoon of shooting in the field.

Since FA 200's simply rarely come on the market, this is the next best affordable alternative for those who want AF.

You can see some of the macro capability of the lens by clicking on the www button below as most of my macros are shot with this lens.
Add Review of Sigma 180mm F3.5 APO EX DG IF Macro

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