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06-22-2010, 01:51 PM   #1
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Recommend (inexpensive) macro glass

The only macro that I currently have is the Vivitar 70-210 (1:4x). It's actually a decent lens. I took this photo with it on my kx:

(I can explain the noise. Really, I can.)

The above is the type of photo I will be using the lens for the majority of the time. BUT....it is heavy for my delicate wrists. Also, it is not a macro that I can get up close and personal with, and as a result, I have a bit more issue with some telephoto motion (HS) blur, since I'm not using a tripod. I think I had to be 3 feet away for that photo.

I do not mind manual focus at all, as long as it's smooth.

Any recommendations? Anything currently on the For Sale board that fits this bill? Perhaps something fairly wide angle. My favorite lens is my 50mm 1.7, but I just scored the 28-70mm 2.8 off ebay, and plan to use it quite a bit too.

And did I mention cheap?

Help a girl out.


Last edited by kmwsbabe; 06-22-2010 at 01:52 PM. Reason: clarified the type of blur
06-22-2010, 02:10 PM   #2
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The DA 35mm macro is spot on for what youre doing but it is expensive.

Inexpensive solutions include the 50mm f4 macro for under a hundred dollars. It's small, light, manual focus and gives great image quality. However, it is only 1:2 but I think that's perfect if you're shooting baby's feet and not flowers or insects.

Even cheaper options include extension tubes, or reversing rings to reverse a 50m lens.
06-22-2010, 02:29 PM   #3
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Definition of cheap?

Tamron 90mm AF - USD 300 sh (one on the forum for 250 right now) or the Tamron 90mm MF

excellent lenses.

Cheap? reverse rings + a Pentax M 50mm f2 - 5 USD + 20 USD
06-22-2010, 02:49 PM   #4
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Manual Focus

For close up images, such as the one you posted, I enjoy a 28mm or shorter lens. Shorter focal length have more generous depth of field and this combined with a small focal length aid with hand held shots (the old rule on hand holding is 1/focal length – a sharp image at a focal length of 70 is 1/70, at 200 it is 1/200, at 28 it is 1/28 so they say…)

I use an old vivitar 28 f 2.0 manual focus lens. Pentax made some wonderful manual focus lenses (with smooth movements and generous focus rings) that probably can be adapted to your camera.

If you are interested in some more magnification, say close to or great than 1:1, then this article may be of assistance. It covers manual focus prime 1:1 macros, enlarging lenses (super sharp, super small and inexpensive).

Inexpensive Macro Photography

A final thought, if you add extension tubes to a lens you will be able to do close focus. Since you are okay with manual focus, you could get the generic type of tubes without electronics. They are the least expensive. They can be paired with a prime lens, macro 1:1 lens and the inexpensive enlarging lenses.

Perhaps try the 28 end on the zoom you purchased and see how it works for your compositions. If you need a sharper image or lighter lens consider a manual focus prime. If you need more magnification try tube(s). If you need magnification and sharpness then get an enlarging lens on tubes.

06-22-2010, 02:53 PM   #5
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Thank you both for your helpful replies.

I forgot. Cheap is a relative term. I'm thinking <$100.

I do have a M 50 mm. Would I really just use reverse rings with that? This is me displaying my ignorance, but I kind of assumed those were just a gimmick. They seem too good to be true.
06-22-2010, 02:55 PM   #6
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Stover, thank you so much for the thorough info and the link! That is so helpful.
06-22-2010, 02:56 PM   #7
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I would suggest that you check KEH. Their prices for some of the well known macro lenses surprise me a few times (eg. Sigma 105, Tamron 90 in E+ condition for about $250 USD)

Regards,

Peter
06-22-2010, 03:17 PM   #8
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You can get the Sigma A 50mm f/2.8 for less than $100.

PentaxForums.com Third-Party Lens Review Database - Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro Lens Reviews

I paid $100 for mine.



06-22-2010, 03:47 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kmwsbabe Quote
Thank you both for your helpful replies.

I forgot. Cheap is a relative term. I'm thinking <$100.

I do have a M 50 mm. Would I really just use reverse rings with that? This is me displaying my ignorance, but I kind of assumed those were just a gimmick. They seem too good to be true.
Extension tubes or bellows with your M 50 is one option. Another would be auxiliary close-up attachments such as the Raynox DCR 150 or DCR 250 (either for less than $60). I have seen some incredibly beautiful work done with the Raynox lenses. (Do a search here for some stunning examples or take a look at this Flickr search.)


Steve
06-22-2010, 05:35 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kmwsbabe Quote
The above is the type of photo I will be using the lens for the majority of the time.
Unless I'm missing something, though - or completely misremembering how big a baby's feet are - that doesn't require a macro lens. Not even close that I can see. I'd be rather surprised if your other lenses couldn't do the same.

But if you were looking closeups of individual fingers, that sort of thing, *then* you'd need a macro lens. or just a set of extension tubes, reversing ring, or a Raynox or other achromatic closeup lens for your 50.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 06-22-2010 at 07:47 PM.
06-22-2010, 06:01 PM   #11
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Thanks for the article comment

kmwsbabe - thanks for the comments on the article and advice.

As has been pointed out you do not need a macro lens for this type of work.

Below are two photos, the one with Seattle's best coffee mug was taken with the 28 mentioned in my prior post. The second photo was taken some time later with a 105mm enlarging lens.

Both allow for close focus. With an enlarging lens you focus with your body and feet - there is no focus ring - so very smooth but perhaps not as convenient as a lens that has a focus ring.




06-22-2010, 06:08 PM   #12
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I don't know what you mean by Inexpensive (Actual dollar amount) or if this has been mentioned. See if you can find yourself a Fantastic Plastic. 100mm f3.5. It's a lens marketed under several names, notably Vivitar and Phoenix. It's a 1:2 Macro that comes with a closeup lens intended to make it 1:1 (make sure it comes with). These typically run around $100 or so. It's a manual focus like your zoom but weighs only a few ounces.



Another you might consider is a Pentax A 35-105 f3.5. These have an asking price of about $140 (again, don't know what you mean by inexpensive).

I would love to recommend the macros that I own but none of them are particularly inexpensive. The Takumar 50mm f4 is a decent lens but it does require you to use an M42-K mount adapter.

One thing I do, is scan ebay (this takes some time and dedication) for complete camera outfits.

06-23-2010, 10:08 AM   #13
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I like my Vivitar 55mm F2.8 a lot - it's a 1:1 macro and can usually be had for under $100. Mine is an M42 but I have seen K-mount versions for sale here.

06-23-2010, 10:38 AM   #14
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Marc, you actually bring up an excellent point. Perhaps I don't really need macro. I am only 2 months into my grown-up camera photography journey, so the technical aspects are still a bit elusive. I may be missing something very simple and obvious, so feel free to point that out for me. That photo was the best (read: closest) I could do with my existing lenses, but I would like to be a bit closer. I have the 50 mm 1.7, but can't get focus (even on manual) when I want extreme closeness. I think I need to be about 1 foot (sorry, I don't know the metric equivalent) away, but for the above photo I would rather have been able to really fill the frame better with those toes. And the macro that I do have requires me to be so far away that the above photo was zoomed as much as possible, yet not truly as much as I wanted. I did try out my kit lens, and with the focal length at 55, I was able to get about 6 inches away and focus manually. But the tradeoff was a slow shutter speed with that high (4.5 or something) aperture. I want eyelash photos, a button, the swirl of hair on a baby's crown, wedding rings...the details. Larger than life. Mostly shot indoors. So any advice to achieve that end would be very much appreciated.

Maybe I just need to wait and play with the 28-70mm 2.8 that I have coming. Being able to shoot more wide open should enable me to use a faster shutter speed, and I should be able to get in nice and close, right?

And thank you all for taking the time to offer your suggestions and input. I truly appreciate your wisdom and experience! Thank you for sharing it.
06-23-2010, 11:11 AM   #15
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Groucho, great pic! Is that cranberry sauce, with orange and rosemary?
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