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09-18-2010, 08:19 PM   #1
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Cheap, Old Macro

Hey guys,
I'm looking to get a cheap macro lens (think under $50 or $60). I am aiming for a A mount lens, but anything better will work as well, if they exist. I'm not looking to be outstanding with this lens, just want it to play around with and it seems relatively difficult to figure out which of the old lenses are actually good as macros. I understand I will have to look for a while to find one at my price point, but if I could just get some suggestions of general good macros that tend to go for cheap, I'd appreciate it. Thanks a lot guys!

09-18-2010, 08:35 PM   #2
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It may be tough to find a dedicated macro in the $50-$60 range. It can be done though. I would keep my eye out for these,

M 50/4 Macro (1:2)
M-100/4 Macro (1:2)
SMC Macro Takumar 50/4 (1:2)
SMC Macro Takumar 100/4 (1:2)
Tamron adaptall 90/2.5 (1:2)
Vivitar 55/2.8 macro (1:1)
Cosina 100/3.5 macro (1:2)

These lenses usually sell for $100+ but sometimes you can find them on CL for much less. I paid $60 for my Tamron 90/2.5 adaptall complete with PK/A adapter.

Another option is a telephoto zoom with a good macro like some of the Vivitar Series 1 70-210 lenses. The version 1 has a 1:2.2 macro and you can sometimes find it in the price range you're looking for.

Hope this helps,
09-18-2010, 08:42 PM   #3
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Sigma 50/2.8 Macro is not bad if you can get one for cheap. There's one now on Ebay with $90 BIN, and one in auction @ $27 with less than a day to go.
09-18-2010, 08:57 PM   #4
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Raynox auxiliary lenses are your best bet. There is a Raynox club in this forum.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/74221-raynox-macro-club.html

Alternatively, extension tubes work really well too.


Steve

09-18-2010, 09:23 PM   #5
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Keep an eye out for a Sears 28, 50 or 135 Macro lens in the $40-60 range. These are very usable and similar to the SMC-M class lenses.

H2
09-18-2010, 09:37 PM   #6
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For playing around consider a $10 set of extension tubes for your 50mm lens. Even if you need to buy a 50mm Super-Takumar and genuine PK adapter, the setup fits your budget. Most 50's serve surprisingly well as a macro lens with tubes, bellows, or reversing ring, much much better than an inexpensive macro attachment lens.

A real macro lens is beyond your budget unless you are willing to wait for just the right opportunity. Even a decent attachment lens.
09-19-2010, 12:07 PM   #7
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Alright thanks for the help guys. I do have a reversing ring now and that works to get pretty close, but I guess I am aiming for even bigger . I understand I may have to wait a while to find the right oppertunity, this thread is more for knowing what to keep my eye out for rather than a "I need buying advice now" kind of thread.

I would like to avoid using converters if possible, however extension tubes are something I would look into. Could I expect to see a major increase in magnification with some tubes over just the reversing ring on my 50mm?
09-19-2010, 12:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Raynox auxiliary lenses are your best bet. There is a Raynox club in this forum.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/74221-raynox-macro-club.html
Alternatively, extension tubes work really well too.

Steve
This.

The Raynox fits your budget and adds macro to virtually any lens. Extension tubes do the same thing but the Raynox is just easier to snap on / off .

09-19-2010, 12:29 PM   #9
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Oh, for some reason I was under the impression that was a converter. What would that change my magnification to?
09-19-2010, 12:52 PM   #10
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Do you have a fast 50mm? Like the SMC Pentax-M 50/1.7 or K 50/1.8 or 2.0? Any of the f2.0 versions would do as well, or the f1.4 versions (buth they will cost more of course). If you have that I suggest you look for a Vivitar/Kenko 2x macro converter. It turn for example a 50mm/1.7 lens into a 100mm f3.4 macro 1:1 lens with surpricingly good optics. The closest you can come a dedicated macro lens without actually getting one. Better than any front lens converters, close up filters and bring you to real macro scales. Not much more expensive than extension tubes and gives you a more practical shooting distance being a 100mm lens.

A 2x macroconverter without A connections should cost around 50 Euro / 60 USD. With A contacts about twice that cost. If you don't have a fast 50 you may be lucky to get one for around 25-40 Euro (say a Chinon or Richo K mount f2.0/1.9/1.8 or a Pentax K55/1.8 or 2.0). Of course, a fast 50 gives you also as a bonus a good portrait option.
I did manage to get one of the macroconverters for about 25Euros (without A contacts) a while ago for my father in law.
09-19-2010, 01:01 PM   #11
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Oh alright, I didn't know that a converter gave you more shooting distance over extension tubes... The 50 I have is a A mount 1.7. So I guss I'll try and find a 2x converter with a contacts if I can, and if not I'll get one without. Its not like my reversing ring lets me use the in camera metering anyways lol
09-19-2010, 01:06 PM   #12
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Attachment lenses degrade optical performance.

Extension tubes can also be used with reversal ring.

Magnification with reversal ring depends on how recessed is the lens front element; magnification with tube(s) increases with tube(s) length.

There is a magnification calculator and more information here: Macro Extension Tubes & Close-up Lenses

(btw, I heartily recommend all the Cambridge Color Photography tutorials, list here: Digital Photography Tutorials )
09-19-2010, 01:15 PM   #13
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That was always my impression of converters as well... I'll have to do some comparisons between pricing and the benefits of each to figure or what I'll actually buy. I an sill open to other suggestions though if other people have them...
09-19-2010, 02:32 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rhodopsin Quote
Attachment lenses degrade optical performance...
That has been my opinion (and experience) as well, though I have been forced to modify that stance in light of the kind of results I have seen regularly posted on this forum from the Raynox. As noted in several of the above posts, the least expensive macro solution is a 50mm lens with a set of extension tubes with or without a reversing ring, assuming you already own the lens.

For myself, I already had a fast 50 when I found a Pentax K-mount bellows for $45. Excellent results, but a bit cumbersome. About a year later I got my Sigma 50mm macro lens ($236 USD) and have been quite happy since, though it would be nice, on occasion, to have a little more working distance.


Steve
09-19-2010, 05:46 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by soppy Quote
Oh alright, I didn't know that a converter gave you more shooting distance over extension tubes... The 50 I have is a A mount 1.7. So I guss I'll try and find a 2x converter with a contacts if I can, and if not I'll get one without. Its not like my reversing ring lets me use the in camera metering anyways lol

Hin writes about Kenko's 2x macro converter: Hin's Tech Corner: Kenko 2x Macro Teleplus MC7 Adapter

The same was sold under Vivitar label. The Panagor with similar name is not as good optically and do not focus on infinity. The 50 you have is one of the best choices you have to put on the macro converter. I've used that combo quite a lot before I got my first dedicated macro lens, and still it ends up in the bag if I don't have space for the macro lens but already decided on a fast 50. I've used it also on longer lenses, though you don't get 1:1 macro you get good reach for butterflies etc.


Reverse rings are fun. But do you mean filter-thread-to-filter-thread or K-mount-to-filter-thread. For the former your fast 50 would work well in front of a longer lens. This is like a real high quality front lens converter with SMC and all, and all auto exposure functions still works (if the long lens have KA contacts). A 50mm lens in front of a 100mm lens gives macro 2:1. A 28mm lens in front of a 135mm gives you roughly macro 5:1. You will want to do this so that the reversed lens has an apperture ring, since you will want to keep it wide open to let the light in, and then close down with the second lens. This is what it may look like.
The later option really don't work well until you put the reversed lens in front of bellows or extension tubes. These can be completely manual (and cheap) since you will anyway not have any automatic controle over the lens when it is reversed.
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