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07-26-2010, 03:10 PM   #16
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get the pentax 100mm WR, the non WR is disgustingly ugly, not that it'd not a good performer, it just looks like something i'd only ever use in secret


the sigma 70mm and the tamron 90mm are ridiculously sharp, the sigma 105mm is not as sharp

70mm is not as short as you'd think tbh- if you keep still and let the animals get used to your presence you can get very close without spooking them


think about whether 70mm or 100mm is a more useful focal length for you


my personal macro kit consists of a 2x macro teleconverter and a 50mm and 28mm lens- I use the former for flying insects and the latter for when I want to take really close photos of like, a spiders knee or something. I use the onboard flash with a home made diffuser. Flash is absolutely essential- shooting at f11 there is no way you can get enough light, even if daylight- i'm planning on adding an external flash so I can shoot at a lower ISO- I have to use 800+ to get correct exposure, and on an ist DL that isn't pretty
p.s. all the above cost me less than 100


Last edited by clark; 07-26-2010 at 05:55 PM.
07-26-2010, 05:08 PM   #17
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Best for the money depends on WHAT money i.e. how much.

If you go with the Pentax 100mm, go with the WR. It also has the rounded aperture blades in addition to the sealing. It does give up the aperture ring, but that probably is what made it feasible for WR.

I have the Sigma EX DG 105mm and it is my primary macro lens followed closely by the DA 35mm ltd. I also have 2 version of the Tamron 90mm in adaptall-2, the 52B and 52BB with matching tube and 2x flatfield adapter. Its possible to get one of the setups for ~ $200 or less.

There are a few other options out there including the Vivitar 105mm series 1 and its clones. If you have the $$$, the Voightlander 125mm may fit the bill.

There are several potential m42 lenses out there in the 90-100mm range including the one used by Rense.
07-26-2010, 05:54 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by A.M.92 Quote
Okay, so i have some money, and i need advice on which macro i should go for, i tend to shoot flowers and some insects, i have these choices, now i want to know which one would be best for the money. Budget max 600.

Tamron af 90mm f/2.8 macr,o I like the price , and just kind of wondering is it really good IQ lens?
The Tamron SP90mm is outstanding and it was rated Highly Recommended by Welcome to Photozone!. The IQ is excellent.

You already received a lot of advice, and the thrust of these is that there are several outstanding macro lenses around 100mm incl. the Tamron SP90mm, Sigma 105mm and the Pentax 100mm WR.

I went through a similar exercise as yourself, looking for a macro lens. I decided for a 100mm focal length to complement my own lenses. There were very little between these three lenses (Sigma, Tamron, Pentax), and I chose the Tamron because of a combination of excellent pricing and lightweight. I do not regret my choice and can recommend strongly the Tamron SP90mm for macro.
07-26-2010, 11:11 PM   #19
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I am surprised nobody mentioned the adding of the very versatile DA 35mm Ltd MACRO...it is a 1:1 macro just kinda short and has a short working distance so that can be a consideration.

I went from a 180/3.5 Sigma to the 35ltd and while quite a swing in how one uses it, it has become my most used lense by a large margin. While it might be a bit out of budget it is something to ponder along the line.

I know in my macro hunts in the past I liked the Sigma 70mm macro but my final choice a few years back was between the 180/3.5 and the 150/2.8....since the 150/2.8 is not made in a Pentax mount it's not part of this discussion...but given everything so far I would say you obviously won't go wrong with any of the options. I would look very hard at the Sigma 70mm and the Pentax 100WR...I think I would give the nod to the 100WR simply for the increased working distance. Still if you like botanical shooting and just some bug-hunting, you might also be happier with the 35ltd over all. It's a coin toss really...a focus limiter switch is nice on a macro you might want for other uses as is FTM focus (full-time manual focusing). But since I don't dial in focus on my macro shots I move forward and back because adjusting the focus or using AF will alter the magnification ratio...so I set that and make my changes to camera position to get focus.

EDIT: d'oh!! I now see Blue brought up the 35ltd...sorry I missed his notes on using it...

07-26-2010, 11:14 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by brecklundin Quote
I am surprised nobody mentioned the adding of the very versatile DA 35mm Ltd MACRO...it is a 1:1 macro just kinda short and has a short working distance so that can be a consideration.

. .
I mentioned it in post 17!
07-26-2010, 11:16 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
I mentioned it in post 17!
hehehehe...yeah, yeah....I found it...
07-27-2010, 12:02 AM   #22
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although the DA35 is a great lens, I'm finding it a little bit tricky between using it as a macro or even using it as a walkaround lens. it's too short IMO to shoot macros with bugs and slow AF to be used as walkaround. however, I may find it great for shooting architectures, landscapes. as far as a walkaround lens is concerned, most people would prefer the FA31 if they could afford it, DA40, FA35, and FA43.

I didn't include the FA50/1.4 because IMO, it is nearing it's final phase of it's life cycle. and I would honesly pick-up the cheaper FA43 as a replacement as the normal prime. DA*55 is another alternative. great lens but the 43 is just sexy.

oh and Sigma 70 is a great macro lens. LOL
07-27-2010, 03:18 AM   #23
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My wording of "requires a tripod" was obviously too strong. If you can hold the camera still by hand, then thats ok too.

In the pursuit of quality, the weakest links in the chain need to be addressed first (often its just the nut behind the viewfinder). It might be better to spend GBP 80 on a Tamron SP 90mm and GBP 80 on either a tripod or ring flash, instead of GBP 150 on a Vivitar 90mm for example.

Consider the losses just due to sideways motion. Humans natural tremor is about 8Hz, so 8 cycles a second. Maybe your hand shakes only 0.5mm each cycle, this means the movement on the sensor is 0.008mm (with a macro at 0.5x and 1/250s exposure time). Coincidentally, the pixel pitch is also about 0.008mm for a 6mp crop sensor. ->the loss in resolution are of the order of magnitude of the loss due to pixel pitch.

If someone was only going to look at the image on a screen or print out to 6x4, a cheap alternative would be a close-up lens (achromat) to screw into the filter thread, where maximum sharpness does not matter.


Last edited by whojammyflip; 07-27-2010 at 04:53 AM.
07-27-2010, 04:20 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
although the DA35 is a great lens, I'm finding it a little bit tricky between using it as a macro or even using it as a walkaround lens. it's too short IMO to shoot macros with bugs and slow AF to be used as walkaround. however, I may find it great for shooting architectures, landscapes. as far as a walkaround lens is concerned, most people would prefer the FA31 if they could afford it, DA40, FA35, and FA43.

I didn't include the FA50/1.4 because IMO, it is nearing it's final phase of it's life cycle. and I would honesly pick-up the cheaper FA43 as a replacement as the normal prime. DA*55 is another alternative. great lens but the 43 is just sexy.

oh and Sigma 70 is a great macro lens. LOL
Once you get used to it, the auto focus isn't particularly slow. I just always turn focus to infinity when I am not shooting macros. As long as it doesn't miss, it is quite zippy. The problem is that most of the focus throw is involved with the close focus function of the lens and it takes quite a while to cycle from one end to the other.

I don't shoot that many macros of bugs, but it is possible to get pretty sharp shots as long as you don't need to get too close. Seems like this thread needs a photo or two.

Butterfly shot with the DA 35.

07-27-2010, 05:57 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Once you get used to it, the auto focus isn't particularly slow. I just always turn focus to infinity when I am not shooting macros. As long as it doesn't miss, it is quite zippy. The problem is that most of the focus throw is involved with the close focus function of the lens and it takes quite a while to cycle from one end to the other.

I don't shoot that many macros of bugs, but it is possible to get pretty sharp shots as long as you don't need to get too close. Seems like this thread needs a photo or two.

Butterfly shot with the DA 35.
yes, it is possible. as long as the bug doesnt get easily disturbed and fly away. certain bugs are a challenge.
07-27-2010, 07:05 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
yes, it is possible. as long as the bug doesn't get easily disturbed and fly away. certain bugs are a challenge.
That's true with any macro setup. The exception may be the 180 & 200mm lenses. I'm an entomologist. When I stick a 105 or 35 lens in a wasp nest, yellow jackets nest, the difference of an inch working distance doesn't matter. Firing a ring flash may. One advantage is I almost never use a ring flash with it. Another advantage the 35mm has is that it is easier to hand hold because of the fact 1/35 shutter speed is better on a 35mm lens than a 105mm lens. Turn of your SR and try it out. I don't know what to say about this statement because that's not my experience nor dozens of others.

QuoteQuote:
or even using it as a walkaround lens. it's too short IMO to shoot macros with bugs and slow AF to be used as walkaround.
07-27-2010, 11:57 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
That's true with any macro setup. The exception may be the 180 & 200mm lenses. I'm an entomologist. When I stick a 105 or 35 lens in a wasp nest, yellow jackets nest, the difference of an inch working distance doesn't matter. Firing a ring flash may. One advantage is I almost never use a ring flash with it. Another advantage the 35mm has is that it is easier to hand hold because of the fact 1/35 shutter speed is better on a 35mm lens than a 105mm lens. Turn of your SR and try it out. I don't know what to say about this statement because that's not my experience nor dozens of others.
well, longer lenses are kinda difficult to handleheld and one primary reason is because of camera shake due to weight and balance. under strong lighting, this won't be a problem since you'll be shooting above 1/4000 on average. ring flash is a good one but can be a bother in disturbing bugs.

as far as yellow jackets goes, I hate those guys. some years ago, I got stung with one behind my neck. it felt like it hit a nerve and instantly I was in pain that I cant even describe or maybe something like when the nurses stuck a gigantic needle into my spine when I had surgery. I dunno if it's a natural reaction but it caused me some serious migraine that didnt subside until the end of the die.
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