I have the older f3.5 version of this lens, and always liked it. For general macro purposes, one is probably better off going for a lens in the 90~105mm range, and consider this lens after mastering a shorter focal length. The 2.8 version is quite a bit heavier (about 700 grams heavier) than the the 3.5 version, so the weight alone could be a dealbreaker for some.Advantage of the long focal length is much better control of backgrounds, along with the working distance, as others have mentioned.Here's a recent post of some bees I shot, using the 180 f3.5's AF at 1:1 distances. I was very pleased with the success I was having:http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1030&message=41976985
Love the book. Love the back story. Visiting a gallery showing of her work yesterday at the Steven Kasher Gallery on521 West 23 Street, NY NY. I have her book, but there's nothing like seeing 12 x 12 proper printings.
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