Sigma APO Macro 180mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM review – Introduction

Sneaking up on insects isn’t easy, as anyone who has attempted a macro shot of one will attest. With reactions many times faster than humans, trying to get close to a fly, wasp, bee or even a butterfly is often an exercise in frustration.

The key is to move slowly, and to remain as far from the subject as possible, but when you are using a 60mm or even a 105mm macro lens, it can be tricky to get the shot you want. However, help is at hand in the form of Sigma’s APO Macro 180mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM optic, which offers 1:1 macro reproduction at a minimum focus distance of 47cm. Compare this to the 18.9cm minimum focus distance of the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro lens and the advantage of the longer 180mm focal length becomes clear.

There are other benefits to being further from the subject. For example, the shorter the minimum focus distance, the more likely it is that the photographer will cast a shadow over the subject. The extra space therefore allows the photographer to light the subject more easily.

The 180mm focal length also creates a narrow angle of view. This helps photographers avoid distracting backgrounds, and makes sure the viewer’s attention is drawn to the subject.

There are compromises to be made, though. The long 180mm focal length, combined with the large f/2.8 aperture, means that this lens is large and heavy. I was interested to see how well a lens with this range of features would perform, both optically and with the practicalities of shooting macro images.

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