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09-16-2010, 07:44 AM   #1
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Help with lens

I am fairly new to the photography scene.... I love macro but my kit lens just doesn't do it for me anymore I was searching macro lens' and I saw some that attach to the lens you currently have?? What is the difference (other than price, obviously) and what should I start out with? I have also seen people using tubes and such?? Maybe I need to take a class Thanks for any info

09-16-2010, 07:59 AM   #2
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It all comes down to price, quality and convenience.

If you get a fairly high quality attachment the image quality will be okay but not great. A tube allows you to use a high quality lens but then the autofocus won't work, so it's more work. A dedicated macro lens, which can be quite expensive, works with autofocus (provided it's an autofocus lens). Personally I use bellows (you also lose autofocus, but it gives high magnification and allows the use of high quality lens. SO the short answer is this:

Lens attachment: cheap, lower quality, easy to use
Tubes: cheap. better quality, somewhat harder to use
Dedicated macro: high quality, expensive, easier to use
09-16-2010, 08:15 AM   #3
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A "true" macro lens can also have some design features such as being optimized for a flat field.

I have the "relatively" inexpensive Tamron 90 which can also be used for portraits or other subjects where the that focal length is appropriate. It is also f2.8 which is a bit faster than what you might get by putting an attachment on a f4-5.6 zoom. (It turns out I'm not really a macro person, and have hardly used the lens :-(

Although many macro lenses are AF, you will usually want to MF anyway at these close distances because AF not exact.

However, many of the best macro people on this forum use "old" manual equipment with various degrees of DYI flashes and other equipment in various configurations.
09-16-2010, 08:17 AM   #4
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I have a Raynox 250 and a Teleconverter that is also an extention tube and both are good enough for me now (I have only had a DSLR for abour 5 months) but I already want to upgrade to the DA 35mm Ltd.

Like Moray-Eel said, the attachements and tubes will produce ok-good photos where as a dedicated macro lens like the DA 35mm ltd will produce great images.

I think you should start with the Raynox 250 attachement because this will allow you to attach it to a lens that has AF, but do not expect super high quailty images, remember you are only paying about $60 for a new one of these.

09-16-2010, 08:25 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by newbabypentax Quote
I am fairly new to the photography scene.... I love macro but my kit lens just doesn't do it for me anymore I was searching macro lens' and I saw some that attach to the lens you currently have?? What is the difference (other than price, obviously) and what should I start out with? I have also seen people using tubes and such?? Maybe I need to take a class Thanks for any info
the Raynox 250 is a good place to start. It clips on to the front of the kit lens. Have a look at this thread. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/74221-raynox-macro-club.html
09-16-2010, 08:33 AM   #6
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As a person who spent >2000$ on macro dedicated equipment, I can assure you that good prime lens is necessary even if you want to deal with tubes and attachments.

For example A50/1.7 with automatic tubes can quickly lead to satisfying results if you figure out the lightning.
The best thing you can do with kit zoom is reversing it. But taking pictures that way ain't easy.
09-16-2010, 09:12 AM   #7
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Hi nbp and welcome to the forums!
I would echo audiobomber above and suggest that you start out with a Raynox 250. It is a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment (@ 60usd) that allows you to explore the macro world. It's not a perfect solution, but it will allow you to get close enough, and give you an idea of the joys and difficulities of macro photography. If, after using it for a while you find you want to go further into macro land, I would suggest getting a lens specifically made for macro work. I've owned several different ones and my personal favorite is the Tamron 90mm F2.8. It is a versitile lens that lends itself to portraits, short telephoto work, and of course it is an excellent macro lens.
First of all however I would check out the Raynox first. There are many many ppl out there who bought a macro lens and after a week or so of macro photography, found it wasn't for them. If after experimenting with the raynox for a while you find that like me you want to go further, come back and we can discuss the various macro lenses, extension tubes, reversing rings, focus rails, bellows and all the other various arcane paraphenalia of macro photography.

NaCl(check out the shallow end of the pool before you jump in over your head)H2O
09-16-2010, 09:23 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by elho_cid Quote
As a person who spent >2000$ on macro dedicated equipment, I can assure you that good prime lens is necessary even if you want to deal with tubes and attachments.
.
I agree. The least expensive high quality K-mount prime you can get your hands on is the Pentax 50mm f1.7 M, which usually sells, used, somewhere between $50 and $70. Then you have to decide whether to get an attachment (i.e., the Raynox 250) or tubes. You can get some very rudimentary tubes for around $10 on ebay. These tubes have no electric contacts and you lose all automatic functionality, including automatic diaghragm (which means when you stop down your lens your viewfinder darkens).

Another option is to hunt down a used macro lens. The old Pentax 100mm f4 M macro can usually be purchased for around $150. The Pentax 50mm M macro can be had for even less. These old macros have only 1:2 magnification (rather than the 1:1 standard for the newer, more expensive macros), but you can always use extension tubes to get closer.

09-17-2010, 04:38 AM   #9
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Thank you all for your input. I already know that I love Macro so I guess I better just save my pennies! But I do agree I should start small and work my way up. Maybe I can find a used macro lens and not break the bank. I have already noticed that I have to Manual focus so I have gotten used to that, so maybe losing AF isn't all that bad.....
Thanks again for all your help.
09-17-2010, 09:57 PM   #10
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A little more: The DA18-55 is a fine lens but it's NOT for macro work, although you can get REAL CLOSE with a Raynox DCR-250 or -150 (the -150 magnifies more). Don't try reversing any AF lens that lacks an aperture ring because it just won't work satisfactorily.

Flatfield was mentioned. Flatfield lenses (macros, enlargers, etc) produce images that are edge-to-edge sharp. Most standard lenses have a more-or-less curved field, which leads to complaints of edge softness. But that's due to their curved front and inner elements. The REAR of any lens must project a flat image to the film or sensor plane, or that lens is useless.

And that's why many doing close macro work will REVERSE the lens. Now you've flipped the optics: you're capturing a flatfield image, and what was the lens front is too close to the film/sensor frame to cause edge distortion. A reversed lens can be mounted on tubes or bellows, or can be stacked onto a longer lens for MUCH greater magnification. But there's no free lunch. The working distance for any reversed Pentax-type lens is under two inches. A long enlarger lens on tubes and/or bellows allows for working further from a subject, so the bugs aren't scared off so quickly.

I haven't spent kilobucks on macro gear. Let's see, what's my macro kit?

* M42 and PK bellows cost me ~US$40 each.
* Sets of manual M42 and PK macro tubes were under US$10 each.
* My M42 Vivitar 90/2.8 macro lens was US$3 (but I got lucky).
* The Macro-Takumar 50/4 (1:1) was US$50 (still rather lucky).
* The Raynox DCR-250 was US$50 and is handy to have along.
* Some 50-75-90-105-140-162mm enlarger lenses were ~12 each. I overspent.
* A Schneider Betavaron 50-125 enlarger zoom was US$70 (discounted from US$3500).
* Some mount- and thread-reversal rings (used with existing lenses) were under US$5 each.

That adds up to under US$400. A new AF macro lens might cost about that much and would be easy to use, but would be much less flexible. If I had to pare this gear down to a minimum, I'd keep rings, tubes, a bellows, and the Betavaron. That monster is brutally sharp, and nicely weird to use with just 30mm extension for general photography. Well, I'd probably hang on to the MacTak too.

Oh yes, buy a new AF macro lens, by all mean. Preferably a Pentax DFA 100 WR. Yes, definitely buy a Pentax lens. Keep the PenHoya management and stockholders happy!
09-17-2010, 10:17 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
A little more: The DA18-55 is a fine lens but it's NOT for macro work, although you can get REAL CLOSE with a Raynox DCR-250 or -150 (the -150 magnifies more).
That's not correct, the DCR-250 focusses closer and therefore has stronger magnification than the DCR-150.
09-17-2010, 11:10 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
That's not correct, the DCR-250 focusses closer and therefore has stronger magnification than the DCR-150.
The DCR-250 is +4 diopters. The DCR-150 is +6.66 diopters.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

EDIT - CORRECTION. The DCR-150 is 4.8 dpt. The DCR-250 is 8 dpt. The MSN-202 is 25 dpt. The MSN-505 is 32 dpt. Let's get small.

Last edited by RioRico; 09-18-2010 at 08:43 PM. Reason: correcting a f*ck*p
09-18-2010, 04:38 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
The DCR-250 is +4 diopters. The DCR-150 is +6.66 diopters.
I don't know where you got these figures from, but they are not correct. I own both; there is no doubt whatsoever, the DCR-250 focusses much closer and has stronger magnification. I recommend the Raynox 250 for a shorter FL lens like the 18-55.

DCR-150 is 4.8 diopter. DCR-150 Macro conversion lens for D-SLR camera
1000/4.8 = 208mm

DCR-250 is 8 diopter. DCR-250 Super Macro conversion lens for D-SLR camera
1000/8 = 125mm
09-18-2010, 08:53 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
The DCR-250 is +4 diopters. The DCR-150 is +6.66 diopters.
I don't know if you saw my post from a few days ago pointing out the errors in your calculations (or at least, pointing out that there *were* errors; I still don't know the source), but as Dan says, the above is definitely *not* correct. The 250 is the higher diopter lens. It forces focus closer than the 150, and thus allows a greater maximum magnification.

From your other posts, it certainly looks like you've gone through quite a bit of calculations to arrive at your conclusions, but something is off, because they simply don't match reality at all. Even the Raynox web site lists the diopter strength of these lenses: +4.8 for the 150, +8 for the 250.
09-18-2010, 12:51 PM   #15
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Oops.

I was calculating with faulty information.

I stand corrected.

Thanks.
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