Classic SLR Series :
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Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM (Marketed in 1996, current model)
I guess every major camera cum lens manufacturer usually has a classic representation in every segment of their lens group. In the lens selection specifically designed for macro-photography, Olympus has a series of very innovative collection of Macro-Zuiko optical lenses; Leica and Contax each has a very high quality representation in their famed Leica's APO-MACRO-ELMARIT-R 100mm f/2.8 and Carl Zeiss Makro-Sonnar T* 100mm f/2.8 and even Canon FD system does has a very good Tele-Macro of FD 200mm f/4.0 but if you noticed, most of the lenses are confined to medium telephoto. An exception is the Nikkor where the Company has a long history in producing a series of MF and AF 200mm Micro-Nikkor lenses. One of which, the current AF-D Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4.0 ED-IF can be regarded as one of their recognized Nikkor classic (Nikon also has another Micro-Nikkor zoom AF 70-180mm f/4.5~5.6D ED, yes - it is a true micro-zoom). What the hell that I got all these related with a Canon ? Oh..yeah. Like it or don't both Nikon and Canon has been competing at the professional users market for decades. Canon currently is sitting comfortably at the driver seat, I guess one way or another, they want their users to have a comparing, if not better quality product at every aspect in the lens selection. The comparing Micro-Nikkor is the basis for every product development and the eventual research was a superlative lens with the EF 180mm f/3.5L MACRO.
Lantana, a type of Tropical Malaysia flower, vibrant in colrs, poisonous in nature but it comes with some medical value as traditional herbs for the locals.
Private Visual works for another project on www.IMAGES.com.my Interim photo usage ONLY. Looking for contributing image to replace this.
Back in those MF days, along with a FD 50mm f/3.5 MACRO, FD 100mm f/4.0 MACRO and two specialized lens board lenses of FD 20mm f3.5 & 35mm f2.8 Macrophoto optics; Canon also used to have a FD version of a Macro FDn 200mm f/4.0 lens in their product line. So, why didn't Canon retaining 200mm focal length instead of a new 180mm ? Simple, because they opted for a brighter f/3.5 constant aperture instead of a conventional f/4.0. I would say every aspect of the new lense is aiming to better off than the comparing Micro-Nikkor 200mm ED tele-macro lense which acts as a virtual product as rivalry. From optical innovation, performance, lens dimension, weight, physical qualitative aspect and practicality of features are well thought of with the aim of designing a lense of delivering top rated image delivery and improved upon user interface. The resulting research has made a instant classic tele-macro lense, praised by users and prized by owners.
Personally, I am quite inclined to selecting a tele-macro lens at longest possible focal length. The advantages can be overwhelming as compared to lenses of shorter focal length. To maintain versatility in filed works of course requires plenty of thoughtful consideration. Preferably, it can focus down to life size reproduction without accessory; maintaining constant aperture with wider lens opening for creative depth of field manipulation, has a rotable and removable tripod collar, be able to deliver superlative optical performance and so forth, actually all you wish for can be found in this Canon macro package, It has a focusing capability from infinity down to life-size (1X or 1:1) reproduction singularly (closest focusing distance at 1.57ft.); the 180mm focal length provides a very natural perspective even when you go extreme in its magnification ratio; the good free working distance between lens and the subject couldn't be more desirable and avoid interfering the subject matters. If I wish to setup artificial illumination, the working distance and exposure control is less taxing for erroneous The out of focus background renders better to bring the subject more distinguishing and with an incorporation of not one but three UD glass elements which combine with floating lens elements construction to correct residual chromatic aberrations for improved image quality. When comes to this point, photographs captured with an UD glass optic always excel when the scene occupies with plenty of blue or red in its spectrum. Further, Canon USM ensures high-speed, quiet AF operation at all focusing range and even full-time mechanical manual focusing is possible The lense is compatible with EF Extender 1.4X (252mm @ f/4.5~f/45, one f-stop drop in light gathering) and EF Extender 2X (360mm @ f/6.7~f/64 (two f-stops drop in speed) for other magnification/combinations (see below at technical specification section), adding the fact you can focus closer with these accessories on (manual focus only with Extender 2X). In short, other than the Image Stabilizer, this Canon optical marvel packs with most of the supreme technological innovation and even if it is priced rather expensive, but many photo enthusiast and Canon fans are still coughing out willingly as they recognize the value it comes with the hefty price tag.
Considering with a moderately fast aperture of f/3.5 (which makes this lovely Canon L-class macro the fastest lens in its class and the reduction of 180mmfrom 200mm actually auto compensate for the wider aperture which would, otherwise increases both weight and dimension of the lense) the EF 180mm f/3.5L MACRO can be considered as reasonably compact. Adding to its capability to go extreme macro, the Canon tele-Macro is also an excellent long telephoto lens for all round general photography. Be it for portraiture, scenic, nature, reportage or other scientific and industrial applications.
The close-up limit of this lens is 12.4 inches (31 cm) from the film plane. It has a delightful feature in avoiding a camera such as EOS-1N's AF system from running back and forth seeking the entire focus range between 12.4 inches to infinity, where it can limit focusing range to, say 12.4 to 22.8 inches (31 to 57 cm). This brings advantages such as time saving, lesser power consumption and aggravation when close-ups are taken. For EOS camera models that equipped with depth-of-field control it facilitates easier control for many kind of usage For EOS cameras that has multi-AF sensors selection which close focuses down to a magnification ratio of less than 1:8, always make use of individual point to make focus selection rather than depends on dead center or using focus lock control.
Technical Specification for Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Tele-MACRO:-
Type: - Autofocus lens type with manual focusing mechanism
Focal Length: 180m
Maximum/Minimum Aperture: - f/3.5 ~ f/32
Focus Adjustment:- Internal focusing, rear focusing with USM AF Actuator
Manual Focusing:- possible via AF/M switch and full time manual focusing possible via focusing ring
Zoom Adjustment:- Nil. Fixed Focal Length Lens
Closest Focusing Distance:- 0.48m (1.6 ft) film plane to subject
Maximum Magnification:- 1X (1:1)
Drive System:- Ring-type USM equipped with full-time manual focusing
Distance Scales: Provided via window on metres/feet.
Angle of View:- 11° 25' 7° 40' 13° 40' (horizontal, vertical and diagonal)
Lens construction:- 14 Elements in 12 Groups
Aperture range:- f/3.5 - f/32
Number of Diaphragm Blades: - 8 blades
Filter Attachment Size:- 72 mm
Others: - Macro magnification scales provided.
Diameter:- 82.5 x 186.6mm ( 3.3" x 7.4")
System Accessories:- Extension Tube EF12 (II) 1.09X~0.07X; Extension Tube EF25 (II) 1.21X~0.15X; lens hood: ET-78 II Lens Cap E-72U; lens case LZ1324; Hard case: LH-D24C; Gelatin Filter Holder III 5 and IV:- 5. Dust cap.
Safe working distance provided by a telephoto MACRO lens is useful, other than giving a more natural perspective. Extracted from documentary series for Discovery Channel on wild elephants at Borneo Island by my friend, Michael Patrick Wong.
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Extender EF 1.4 x II attached:
Focal length: 252mm Max aperture f/4.5~f/45 Light loss: drops by one half; Maximum magnification: 1.4X; AF working range is 0.8m ~ OO
Extender EF2xII attached:-
Focal length: 360mm Max aperture f/6.7~f/64; Light loss: drops by 1/4; Maximum magnification: 2.0X; AF not possible
BELOW: - Canon published the MTF publicly for assessment and indirectly showcasing their confidence. Note the performance between 100mm MACRO and the 180mm L lens stable performance (except when uses with Extender(s))
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 MACRO
Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L MACRO
With 1.4X Extender
With 2X Extender
Minus the qualitative aspect in optical performance where I assume all these are great optic for macro photography; but based on lens spec and practicality, Canon does showed they are in serious business to rival the Micro-Nikkor counterpart, huh ?.
Lens construction:- 14 Elements in 12 Groups close focus 0.48m 1:1 UD lens elements: 3; IF (Internal Focus). Removable tripod collar; body weight: 1,090g
Nikon Micro-Nikkor 200mm 13 Elements in 8 Groups close focus 0.5m 1:1 ED lens elements:2; IF (Internal Focus); Fixed tripod collar; weighing 1,190g
Micro_Nikkor Zoom 70-180mm 18 Elements in 14 Groups close focus 0.37m 1:2 ED lens elements: 1 IF (Internal Focus); Fixed tripod collar, weighing at 1,010g
The current version has a larger dimension 78.6 x 118.6mm, with a larger 58mm filter attachment size but actually weighs lighter at 580g. It has an entirely new optical design and so does physically Optically, the 12 elements in 8 groups optical formula comes with a three-group floating system for exceptional close-up performance. Inner focusing affords a long working distance of 5.9in. (149mm) at 1x. It is also the first lens in its class to feature inner focusing which means there is no physical extension of the lens - even when extended to life size magnification. It incorporates with a secondary diaphragm which aims to block stray light at its widest aperture at f/2.8, hence, improving contrast when shooting the lens at wide-open. The Ultrasonic Motor (USM) provides smooth, swift and quiet AF speed/operation. The wide manual focusing ring was also being improved upon from older version for smooth action, and full-time manual focus even in AF mode.
Credit: Images courtesy of Jakob K. Rohrbach®™, Switzerland <firstname.lastname@example.org> where I found this picture from his online Portfolio at Pbase. For more of his works, please browse :www.jaro.ch. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
The AF/MF switch is well designed and rigidly built. The focusing range can be easily switched between 0.48m to OO and 1.5m to OO for more responsive activation for autofocusing.
The tripod of the Canon is a removable type. It reduces weight if you doesn't require it. The Nikon has a fixed type tripod collar.
The filter attachment size is a 72mm type. Although the USM indicative ring is not painted, the distinctive red circle of a typical professional L-series ring represents the best of Canon EF range in spec.
It can be a little amusing as the generous four segments rubberized hand grip is like a typical Nikkor design. The longer the focal length in attachment, the narrower is the depth of field, manual focusing is often used as the less distinguished focus could fool the autofocus sensor for unable to detect a particular focusing point. The wide grip is useful when using a glove for hand focusing. I like the quality feel of this Canon tele-Macro, the weight distribution is balance and the coating on lens barrel adding to the weight projects a very good quality feel. As the lens is deployed with an internal focusing mechanism with floating elements, the front of the lens is stationary without moving back and forth with the lens barrel extension; anyway, best of all is the free room when during shooting - it takes a seasoned macro-photography enthusiast to understand the difference it brings.
Other than the comparing Nikon, many third party lens manufacturers (Leica can be considered as one now after dropping out of active camera manufacturing) also tried to offer their design. One of which is the Sigma which packs their Sigma APO MACRO 180mm f/3.5 EX DG IF HSM as well as Tamron which made a very good trade name in their previous SP 90mm MACRO with Tamron SP AF 180mm f/3.5 Di Macro 1:1 where both lenses give Canon tele-macro 180mm a good competition as both manufacturers offer their tele-macro in a cheaper price package to consumers. I have no experience with these two third party labels and all I can provide is a link for you to exercise your wisdom to evaluate and call for justification.
Specifications/indicative street price:- Sigma APO MACRO180mm f/3.5 EX DG IF HSM Suggested List/retail Price: USD$492 to $799; Tamron SP AF 180mm f/3.5 Di Macro 1:1 suggested List Price: ranges from USD $675 to $700; Canon Telephoto EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM Autofocus Lens: Approx. $1,145 to $1,660
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The telephoto nature of this Canon EF autofocus tele macro can be use as a normal telephoto lens for other general photography, be it portraiture, scenic, nature, street candid and even as an all round prime telephoto for journalism/news etc.
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An illustration of a typical telephoto effect for travel and other general photography
Other Canon macrophotography lens alternatives: EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact MACRO w/ Life Size Converter EF | EF 100mm f/2.8 MACRO | EF 180mm f/3.5L MACRO | Canon MP-E 65mm f/28 MACRO Photo | External Link: - Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro (linked to www.photozone.de review) | Relative: - Canon FD Macro Lenses 20mm 35mm 50mm 100mm 200mm or older S.S.C. range of macro lenses + Main Index Page on Canon FD lens Resources
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