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12-08-2010, 06:21 PM   #1
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Fast (f/2.0 or greater) Macro lenses available in Pentax K mount?

My current lens collection consists of the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 HSM and my Pentax 18-55mm kit lens. I will have around $400 - $600 to spend on a new lens soon, and I'm trying to decide between three likely options to enhance my kit:

1) Wide zoom (Sigma 10-20mm)

2) Fast prime & telephoto combo (Pentax FA f/1.4 & Pentax DA L 55-300mm)

3) Macro lens (Pentax 100mm f/2.8 WR or Tamron 90mm f/2.8)

I am leaning most towards options 2 or 3, but I haven't decided whether I would prefer to have a very fast prime, or a nice macro lens.

But then I came across the Tamron 60mm f/2.0 Macro and thought "Great!, by getting a very fast macro lens I could kill two birds with one stone". But I quickly discovered that for some reason, Tamron doesn't offer the 60mm macro in K-mount.

So my question is, are there any other similar lenses out there for the Pentax system? Specifically I would like to find an autofocus macro lens with a very fast aperture (f/2.0 or larger), preferably in a med telephoto range (approx 50mm - 100mm) so it could do double-duty as a fast portrait lens. Thanks!

12-08-2010, 06:35 PM   #2
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If you get a 50mm or 70mm macro you could use it for portraits as well, though 50 may be a little short. The Tamron 90 is excellent, and a good value, but is at the longer end for portraits. The longer focal length provides a little more working room for actual close-up macro shots, though.

Most macros are f2.8 or f4, and are used stopped down to get the necessary depth of field in close ups.
12-08-2010, 06:40 PM   #3
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Except for the Tamron 60mm F/2 and the Olympus 50mm F/2, I don't think you can find a macro lens faster than F/2.8.

IMHO, a 90mm lens at F/2.8 has thin DOF, enough to be qualified as a "fast portrait lens."
12-08-2010, 06:42 PM   #4
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Thanks for your response. I'm aware that there are many great f/2.8 macro lenses to choose from, but I was hoping to find something like the Tamron 60mm f/2.0 Macro that would do double duty as a macro lens, and as a very fast lens for low light photography or a portrait lens that excels at separating the subject from the background.

12-08-2010, 06:42 PM   #5
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Tamron 90 or DFA 100 work as portraits, but you need a lot of working space. You would be able to kill two birds with one stone here. This is really the only option you have, unfortunately.

Realistically, you might want to tease apart the idea of macro and portrait in your mind. Macro lenses are not fast-focusers, and this can mean missed shots with a moving subject. Otherwise, though, the 90mm and 100mm macros will do a bang-up job, provided you have the working room.

Strongly consider the DA 70 2.4... it's the best focal length for portraits on ASP-C I've ever tried.
12-08-2010, 06:46 PM   #6
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Zeiss has the 100mm f2/0 macro, though you'd have to sell most of your current lenses to afford it. It also only goes down to 1:2 scale reproduction.
12-08-2010, 06:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
Except for the Tamron 60mm F/2 and the Olympus 50mm F/2, I don't think you can find a macro lens faster than F/2.8.
That's what I was afraid of. Thanks for the info.


QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
IMHO, a 90mm lens at F/2.8 has thin DOF, enough to be qualified as a "fast portrait lens."
I already have the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 and the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8, so I pretty much have the portrait range well covered at f/2.8. But there are times when it would be nice to blur the background even more than f/2.8 allows. And I would like to eventually add a fast prime (f1.4 - f2.0) to my kit, as well as a Macro lens. Getting both in one lens would have been great.
12-08-2010, 06:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
Specifically I would like to find an autofocus macro lens with a very fast aperture (f/2.0 or larger), preferably in a med telephoto range (approx 50mm - 100mm) so it could do double-duty as a fast portrait lens.
I had the same requirements as you and I can fully recommend the Sigma 70/2.8 EX (follow the link for some arguments).

I think you'll rarely need faster than f/2.8 in a 70mm (or longer) portrait lens. If the face is angled towards you it is already impossible to get both eyes in focus. The Sigma 70/2.8 EX is mighty sharp starting with f/2.8 so you can shoot it wide open without reservation. On the contrary, you'll typically have to do some skin softening in PP.

12-08-2010, 06:59 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
But there are times when it would be nice to blur the background even more than f/2.8 allows.
I see (your post wasn't available yet when I wrote my first answer). I might add that f/2.8 on the Sigma 70/2.8 EX will be different than the f/2.8 on your zooms (in terms of sharpness) but if you are happy with the portraits you are getting from them, there is no need to get the Sigma for that.

I sometimes use the FA50/1.4 for portraits too and it has a lovely bokeh, but very rarely do I go below f/2.8 because a) the DOF just gets too thin and b) the bokeh isn't as nice anymore.

I think the new Sigma 85/1.4 will be great for portraits but wonder how many shots will utilise it below f/2.8.
12-08-2010, 07:03 PM   #10
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If I were you I would go for wide angle. I'm a macro freak, I love my Vivitar and rails, but I have my 12-24mm on 75% of the time. That and the 50-150 f2.8 are my walk around kit. I'd look for a cheap manual focus macro, as I don't see the need for AF with it.

Many people use their macro's as a poor man's portrait lens, but your 50-150mm f2.8 and the 28-75mm f2.8 have that covered.

Last edited by omega leader; 12-08-2010 at 07:05 PM. Reason: Can't think, speak or type coherently.
12-08-2010, 07:16 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I had the same requirements as you and I can fully recommend the Sigma 70/2.8 EX.
Somehow I had overlooked that lens in my web-wanderings, but it sounds like a real winner. And unlike the Pentax macro I was looking at, it has a focus limiter. This lens is suddenly a contender for my cash!

I just read the Photozone.de review and the only negative thing they could say about it was that the autofocus was not super fast. Not a huge issue for me since I already have two great f/2.8 portrait lenses that focus quickly. They tested the Canon version which has a built-in autofocus motor. Do you know if the Pentax version uses a motor, or is screw driven?
12-08-2010, 07:23 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
My current lens collection consists of the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 HSM and my Pentax 18-55mm kit lens. I will have around $400 - $600 to spend on a new lens soon, and I'm trying to decide between three likely options to enhance my kit:

1) Wide zoom (Sigma 10-20mm)

2) Fast prime & telephoto combo (Pentax FA f/1.4 & Pentax DA L 55-300mm)

3) Macro lens (Pentax 100mm f/2.8 WR or Tamron 90mm f/2.8)

I am leaning most towards options 2 or 3, but I haven't decided whether I would prefer to have a very fast prime, or a nice macro lens.

But then I came across the Tamron 60mm f/2.0 Macro and thought "Great!, by getting a very fast macro lens I could kill two birds with one stone". But I quickly discovered that for some reason, Tamron doesn't offer the 60mm macro in K-mount.

So my question is, are there any other similar lenses out there for the Pentax system? Specifically I would like to find an autofocus macro lens with a very fast aperture (f/2.0 or larger), preferably in a med telephoto range (approx 50mm - 100mm) so it could do double-duty as a fast portrait lens. Thanks!
FA77 + diopter lens. problem solved.
12-08-2010, 07:26 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by omega leader Quote
If I were you I would go for wide angle. I'm a macro freak, I love my Vivitar and rails, but I have my 12-24mm on 75% of the time.
Thanks for the input! I've never ventured wider than 18mm (except for the few days that I owned the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, which I quickly returned since it actually performed like an f/3.3 lens), so I wasn't sure how much I would actually use a very wide angle.

It might be fun to learn to use wide angles though, and there are times when it would open up all kinds of photography options. I can already imagine some of the images I'll be able to get next time I take my daughters to the Children's Museum in a few weeks. I'll have to give option 1 some more thought...
12-08-2010, 08:37 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
Do you know if the Pentax version uses a motor, or is screw driven?
It's screw drive.
12-08-2010, 08:43 PM   #15
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Seems to be no alternative than two separate lenses.
Macro lenses are generally f/2.8 tops, but have yourself an FA 50/1.4 and suddenly you have 2 extra stops of light gathering ability. Perhaps it may be in your price range to get an FA 50/1.4 and Tamron 90/2.8 macro?
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