Undecided: Sigma 150mm v. Sigma 180mm

Discussion in 'Macro' started by photo_galleries, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. I want a macro lens that is longer than 105mm. I plan to use it primarily as a macro lens on my D800e and sometimes on my D500 although, on rare occasions, I may use the lens as a telephoto. I would likely mount it on a tripod, although on occasion I may mount it on a monopod.

    There seems to be consensus that the 180mm is "ALL THAT" when it comes to all image quality criteria and the only negatives are its size and cost.

    The 150mm is highly regarded as well albeit with the occasional nit about its functions and handling. I had actually bought a used 150mm, but it had damage to its filter ring and might have been dropped by its previous owner. I was not impressed with it and returned it, but the filter ring damage (possibly caused by a drop) might have had affected it so I will give it a pass.

    Does anyone have extensive experience with either or both lenses? I plan to buy a new lens rather than a used one.

  2. Are you able to rent the lenses in question? Putting these lenses in hand and using them will tell you which one to get. I've rented most of the lenses that I bought. Renting also kept me from buying others. LensRentals has both. I don't work for them, but have rented from them. They also are a reputable seller of used gear that they have maintained.

    I have a Canon 180 macro, but I don't think that will help here other than to say that the long focal length really comes in handy. Good luck with the decision.
  3. Size, weight and cost kept me from getting the 180; I have been using the non-OS version of the 150 for some time and a few years ago, traded it for the OS version (which is larger and heavier). There's hardly any gain in working distance going from the 150 to the 180 (Macro Photography: Working Distances by Robert O'Toole), so I don't see a good reason to deal with the 180 behemoth.
  4. Good idea re: renting. I may have to do that because I just cannot decide.

    Dieter - I actually liked the working distance from the 150 that I had bought, so I will likely rent that first to evaluate the IQ.
  5. Renting is really a good idea --

    but if you want more technical and objective data as well, you can also look under the appropriate place in All Tests / Reviews (formerly Photozone.de)
  6. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Just a thought for you - a bit off track, I suppose. I bought the AF Micro Nikkor 105 2.8 D. I have found it to be excellent in all respects. When I want more reach I simply add one of a variety of Nikon Teleconverters. Small, light and quite inexpensive. Lots of flowers and insects posted have been shot with that setup.
  7. Keith, I much prefer a longer focal length macro lens with a tripod collar mount. I use my Nikon 200mm macro lens 95% of the time on a tripod. I use my Nikon 105mm f 2.8 D macro lens when controlling backgrounds is not that important and when I can get close to the subject, like a flower blossom. What you shoot will also impact the decision about what focal length you choose for a macro lens. If what you want to shoot is nature, like insects, go for the longer focal length with a greater working distance from the subject. Both the 150mm and the 180mm Sigma s have a tripod collar mount. The 180mm costs about $600 more than the 150mm. I would look at the specs and see what the working distance (how close will it focus) is for each lens and then make your decision. Most of my friends who have a Sigma macro have the 150mm OS.
  8. Keith, I have found that (once again as my Mother told me) Variety is the spice of life - so I have a collection that ranges from 50mm f2.5 EF, 60mm EF-S, 90mm Tamron, 100mm f2.0 EF, and Tamron 180mm with OS. I too prefer a longer focal length macro lens with a tripod collar mount. Most of the time - I alternate between the 90mm Tamron and the 100mm Canon Macro Lenses - although I have become enamored of the Push/Pull auto focus on the Tamron. I agree strongly with the comment that what you shoot will impact your decision about the focal length you choose for macro work. I shoot primarily Hummingbirds (180mm) Flowers (50-90mm) and Butterflies (90mm - 180mm) The tripod collar mount is really a great feature on these lenses (I wish my 90mm came with one). Good luck and happy 'hunting'.
  9. I can tell you now that you'll appreciate the extra working distance from the 180mm, but I'd buy the less expensive of the two. I just picked up the Tamron 180mm non OS and really like it. I also have the Tamron 90mm VC lens.

    scott_eaton|5 likes this.

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