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10-08-2010, 02:25 AM   #1
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macro lense recommendation for pentax kx

Hi all,

I am currently using a pentax KX. i would like to get a macro lense for some products shot.

I am thinking that auto focus may not be very useful in macro shooting, so i am thinking to get a manual lense.

what will you recommend? the 50mm f/4 macro seems good? but which version?
I read about the first version with preset, but i have no idea what is the advantage, and does it has a k-mount version? i find it is quite tough to get a m42 to k adapter.

thanks.

10-08-2010, 04:52 AM   #2
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Hi ! The k-x is a great camera ( I own a stormtrooper one!) and I quite like it. as for a macro lens for product shot, I agree with you that autofocus will not be a must. I don't think your products will start moving around the table any time soon right?

I don't know how small and how close you want to take picture of your product. However, if your product aren't incredibly small, or if you don't want to take extreme close ups (to show a small imperfection for example) you can consider a macro lens with a magnification of 0.5 x (1:2). A true macro lens will go to 1:1, of course.
That being said, the Takumar 50mm f/4 would be a viable option. I am not an expert, but judging from what I read on this page of the lens database : S-M-C/Super Macro-Takumar 50mm F4 Lens Reviews - Pentax Lens Review Database
there were 3 versions : the older one marked MACRO-Takumar, then, SUPER-MACRO Takumar and finally, the SMC-MACRO Takumar.

Only the first one, the MACRO-Takumar goes to 1:1 magnification. Again, only you know if you need that. 1:1 is very close, so it depends on what you will be shooting. Edit : The other to are 1:2 (0.5x magnification), which is suitable for most situation IMHO.

Then, you would need to use it with an adapter... the real one, from pentax, costs about 40$(I think...?) and if you are not in the US, can be a pain in the neck to get. Take that into consideration.

If you have a little bigger budget, I may suggest the excellent Tamron 90mm Macro. It is auto focus, newer, longer (not necessarily better for your needs though) and cost not that much more that a manual macro lens. You can get it for below 400$ BRAND NEW ! You can probably find a nice one used for less off course.

I hope it helps... but I have a feeling that my message brings more confusion into the matter that there was before!
10-08-2010, 05:00 AM   #3
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The macro Taks are great lenses, and as you can see from my signature I don't ever poo-poo Taks.

But...

If you want to do a lot of macro work, and you can afford it, go for the Tamron or the Pentax 100. Although you're paying a premium for the AF, not only do both lenses offer wonderful double duty at those focal lengths, the longer length makes it more convenient for macro.

In addition, in MY opinion, they provide more of a scientific, realistic image, as opposed to the Taks. Hard to explain, but like if was shooting coins and wanted the most realistic image possible, it would be the 90 or the 100.
10-08-2010, 05:07 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtkang Quote
Hi all,

I am currently using a pentax KX. i would like to get a macro lense for some products shot.
What minimum field size must you cover? 24mm (1:1) 48mm (1:2)? Will the results be printed or for the internet?
QuoteQuote:
I am thinking that auto focus may not be very useful in macro shooting, so i am thinking to get a manual lense.
You are correct.
QuoteQuote:
what will you recommend? the 50mm f/4 macro seems good? but which version?
I read about the first version with preset, but i have no idea what is the advantage, and does it has a k-mount version? i find it is quite tough to get a m42 to k adapter.
Really, any non-zoom macro lens will be ok. I've had good luck with a 50:4 Macro-Takumar.
M42-K adapters are easy to get from ebay.

10-08-2010, 05:36 AM   #5
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I accept that most PENTAX users will object to my suggestion. but you might want to include a Sigma or Tamron 70-300 zoom. If you do not already have a super zoom, this relatively cheap lens (less than $100 used on ebay) will give satisfactory macros will good light, and also be useful on many days when you don't need a dedicated macro. Two or three samples are attached. Others are on ocalahorsepix.com

I find that the 70-300 is on my KX most of the time, and a kit lens with external flash on my K100. I also have a RAYNOX macro lens for the the kit lens if I need it, but most of my photos (by far) are made with the Sigma. Just don't expect to take any landscapes.
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10-08-2010, 07:01 AM   #6
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One consideration: How will you light your shots? If everything is happening inside a light tent with constant lighting, then any old manual macro setup will work. Enlarger lenses on bellows are sharp and cheap. If you will use flash, it's a different story. You will want an A- or F- or FA- or DA- type lens, so the camera and lens and flash can communicate for proper exposures. M- and K-type lenses, and M42 screwmounts on adapters, and lenses on simple extension (tubes and/or bellows) can be tricky to use with flash.

Another consideration, mentioned above: What sizes are your product subjects, and how much magnification will you need? Short lenses let you fill the frame from close up; longer lenses let you work from further away. 1x or 0.5x (1:1 or 1:2) magnification is great for very small stuff, like coins. If your product subjects are the size of a 50mm prime lens, you DON'T need much magnification. The 18-55 kit lens focuses to well under one foot, and (I think) achieves about 1:4 magnification. You'd be amazed at the product shoots the kit lens does.

My close setups: I have two manual M42 1:1 macro lenses, a Macro-Takumar 50/4 v1 and a Vivitar-Komine 90/2.8. I also use various enlarger lenses (50mm to 160mm) on bellows and tubes. Those are all for existing-light or light-tent shooting. For flash, either on- or off-camera or a ringlite, I use various non-macro A, F, FA or DA zooms or primes, often with a Raynox close-up adapter.

In general, all macro and enlarger lenses are very sharp. [Forget about macro-zooms; that's a marketing label! Close-focus and macro are NOT the same.] A modern macro lens with at least aperture automation is a great and fairly easy-to-use tool for many kinds of shooting. If you skip aperture automation by using an M42 or M-type lens or simple extension (bellows and/or tubes) you can save much money but must work harder. And again, you only need great magnification if you're shooting VERY small stuff.
10-08-2010, 07:31 AM   #7
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I have the Vivitar 50/2.8 1:1 macro and the Panagor 90/2.8 1:1 macro. They both come in both brands btw. And I think they are great!. K-mount, good colours, and very sharp. And a nice thing: they are cheap!!!

Some photos:

























10-08-2010, 08:33 AM   #8
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I'm with those who favor the 90-100 macros and am partial to the Tamron.

10-08-2010, 09:54 AM   #9
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The 42mm adapters from Pentax are easy to get in the US (at least when I ordered mine 1.5 yrs ago). Simply find them on the Pentax site and order. Very worth the money.

Rense, very sharp images. the 50's are impressive
10-08-2010, 11:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by gentrysama Quote
The 42mm adapters from Pentax are easy to get in the US (at least when I ordered mine 1.5 yrs ago). Simply find them on the Pentax site and order. Very worth the money.

Rense, very sharp images. the 50's are impressive
Thank you
10-08-2010, 09:16 PM   #11
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There are some VERY good images here!!

But they're not product shots.

We still don't know the size and type of products to be shot, nor how they'll be lit.
10-08-2010, 10:44 PM   #12
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well, thanks all for your contributions..

right now i am playing with a reverse lense, using 'nikon adapter'.. I haven't really used any macro lense before, other than the sigma 70-300 that with minor macro feature.

what i understand between a 50mm macro and 90 or 100mm macro is the working distance right? 90mm or 100 allow you to shot in a distance, it is useful for insects or objects that is difficult to get close right?

so i guess i may need to try on 50mm first, for 1st generation pentax takumar 50mm f/4, does it has a k-mount version? what is the advantage of the preset feature?

so it sounds pentax is still selling m-42 to k-mount adapter? i heard there are 3rd party adapter which may jam the camera that should be avoided.

thanks for the recommendation of Vivitar 50/2.8 1:1 macro and the Panagor 90/2.8 1:1 macro..i google it first!

pm me if anyone interested to sell your macro lense!
10-09-2010, 06:07 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtkang Quote
right now i am playing with a reverse lense, using 'nikon adapter'..
As you are probably finding out, reversing a lens gives a sharper image and makes you work very close, like around 45mm (under 2 inches). But unless the lens has a deep front inset, you don't gain much magnification. For magnification you need extension: tubes and/or bellows.

QuoteQuote:
what i understand between a 50mm macro and 90 or 100mm macro is the working distance right? 90mm or 100 allow you to shot in a distance, it is useful for insects or objects that is difficult to get close right?
That's right. A non-reversed single lens can't focus closer than its focal length. So to approach 1:1 magnification, with a 50mm lens you can't get closer than 50mm (about 2 inches), and with a 100mm lens you can't get closer than 100mm (about 4 inches). I often use a 162mm enlarger lens on bellows, for a closest working distance of over 6 inches. Some outdoors shooters depend on a 200mm lens.

We could say that a longer lens either allows or forces you to work from further away. One extreme example: Long ago I used an Olympus Pen-FT half-frame 35mm SLR, about the same frame size as an APS-C dSLR, with a 400mm tele lens on up to 400mm of extension (tubes and bellows) mounted on a shoulder stock. I could take closeups of rattlesnakes in broad daylight from a safe distance, like 3m.

QuoteQuote:
so i guess i may need to try on 50mm first, for 1st generation pentax takumar 50mm f/4, does it has a k-mount version? what is the advantage of the preset feature?
If you look in the lens review database you'll see that K-mount 50/4 macros exist. The only variants I've seen on eBay are the M42 versions, but I haven't looked real hard. Advantage of presets? I'll let someone else answer that.

QuoteQuote:
so it sounds pentax is still selling m-42 to k-mount adapter? i heard there are 3rd party adapter which may jam the camera that should be avoided.
There are 3 or 4 kinds of M42-PK adapters. The official Pentax version is safe and expensive. The cheap clones work fine (for me, anyway) BUT YOU MUST REMOVE THE SCREW AND CLIP! There are cheap, safe adapters with flanges that don't allow infinity focus but are just fine for macro and close-up work. And I hear of a safe and expensive fourth kind that keeps aperture automation (auto stop-down) but I haven't tried that.

QuoteQuote:
pm me if anyone interested to sell your macro lense!
Not a chance!!

OK, as I said in my last post, we still don't know what products you want to shoot, how big they are, how you will light them, etc. For tight close-ups of coins in controlled lighting, a manual 50mm or even 28mm macro lens is fine. For full-size shots of chess pieces in the wild, an 18-55 kit lens with a ringflash is fine. Choosing the best lens really does depend on your subject and light. Shooting a spider in a web outdoors is NOT like shooting widgets in an indoor studio.
10-09-2010, 07:46 AM   #14
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For product shots I like something between 90 and 135. The shot below was taken with a 105 or 135mm enlarging lens.

All of the equipment can be found on eBay inexpensively.

You will need an enlarging lens ~$35
M42 manual tubes ~$15
M39 to M42 adapter ~$5 (enlarging lenses tend to have a M39 mount and you will need to get that upto M42)
M42 to K adapter ~ $15

Total ~ $70

With this setup, you can add focal lengths for about $35 a lens. So you could have two different focal lengths for about $100.

Enlarging lenses for macro are discussed in this article in case there is an interest.

https://sites.google.com/site/inexpensivemacrophotography/

The photo is of a manual focus vivitar 90 mm 1:1 macro lens (which I paid about $130 to get and I sold for about $130) was taken outside on an overcast day.

Cloudy overcast cover makes a wonderful natural light tent and is super easy to set up. Also no strobes to mess with.


Last edited by stover98074; 10-09-2010 at 08:00 AM.
10-09-2010, 09:18 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stover98074 Quote
You will need an enlarging lens ~$35
M42 manual tubes ~$15
M39 to M42 adapter ~$5 (enlarging lenses tend to have a M39 mount and you will need to get that upto M42)
M42 to K adapter ~ $15
Total ~ $70
You are paying too much. My last couple weeks of eBay purchases include:

* Enlarging lenses: Ilex 90/4.5 and Omega 50/4.5 for US$5 each
-- (and I missed an EL-Nikkor 80/4.5 for US$7.50)
* M42 manual tubes: 2 sets for US$6 each
* M39-M42 adapters: 10 rings for US$1 each
* flanged M42-PK adapters: 5 for US$4.50 each
* also, PK manual tubes: 2 sets for US$7 each

All but the lenses are new. When using longer enlarging or MF/LF lenses with or without bellows, extra macro tubes are quite handy.
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