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02-16-2011, 11:36 AM   #1
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Macro Lens Advice

A friend has asked me for some advice on macro lenses, something I know nothing about! So I thought I would ask here as its for a Pentax Mount SLR (Samsung GX20)
He's looking at the Tamron 90mm or the Pentax 100mm macro's and I am aware that in the UK the Samsung 100mm f2.8 Macro is still available, probably cheaper too, so just wondering what I should advise him to get?

02-16-2011, 11:43 AM   #2
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According to the stats on photozone the Tamron 90 is the better lens, and it's half the price, but, the numbers are close and if water resistance is an issue then the pendulum probably swings to the the Pentax.. they are both good lenses, if you check out the shots in the Macro Lens Thread you'll see great images from both lenses, and quite a few others as well.
02-16-2011, 11:47 AM   #3
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Manual focus lens would do the same job for a very small price, if you are looking to spent less than $100
02-16-2011, 12:20 PM   #4
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There is a Pentax DFA 100mm WR Macro at the marketplace right now for $500. That is such a great price for such an incredible lens. I would jump into the offer if I didn't have the DA 35mm f2.8 Macro.

02-16-2011, 12:35 PM   #5
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I have sigma 105mm 2.8, but today I would buy sigma 70mm 2.8 macro.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/Sigma-MACRO-70mm-F2.8-EX-DG-AF-Lens-for-Pentax.html

70mm is easier to point and hold than 105mm and this 70mm sigma produces a bit better IQ than 105mm. realy sharp and nearly free from aberration. important thing in macro photography.


vivitar by kiron 105mm 2.5 manual is the legend.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/Vivitar-Series-1-105mm-F2.5-Macro-for-Pentax.html

real killer. hard 2 find, but worth the money.



I've seen some phots taken with manual zeiss 100mm 2.0. it has superb I.Q.



https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/showproduct.php?product=787&cat=88



I love most pentax lenses, but pentax 100mm macro wouldn't be my choice. I vote for sigma 70mm
it has best quality/price ratio, but If money does not matter ZEISS, no doubt.



ok, there is one more realy good and cheap choice - russian super-sharp legendary volna-9 50mm 2.8 macro.


https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/Volna-9-50mm.-F2.8.-M42-Lens-for-Pentax.html

check the mad samples. this is true. I got the lens and it realy produces this kind of IQ.


it has outstanding sharpness. sharper than sigma, but its manual. should cost about 100$

Last edited by 006; 02-19-2011 at 06:32 AM.
02-16-2011, 06:45 PM   #6
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It depends on what your friend wants to shoot and how much hThe wants to spend. I find autofocus of little use close up. The A50mm f2.8 is super sharp, well-made, and not too expensive. The Tamron 90mm is good in any version.
02-16-2011, 09:17 PM   #7
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I agree with Civiletti: it depends on what your friend wants to shoot. Focal length is the deciding factor in choosing from a group of excellent Macro lenes, and focal length is determined largely by your subject & what you want to do with the subject.

I shoot with a Tamron 90mm Macro--it's a great lens.
02-18-2011, 08:42 AM   #8
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Can someone explain how a focal length makes a difference?I understand that say a 100mm would be more useful for say bugs as not to scare them and I guess 90mm is similar but what else would you use a macro lens for?

(You can tell I know nothing about macro!)

02-18-2011, 09:08 AM   #9
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Generally the longer focal lengths will be easier to work with, not only for bugs. If he is considering product photography (watches, jewelry, etc), then the longer distance from subject helps in easier lighting setups.
02-18-2011, 09:35 AM   #10
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A difficult question since few people own both. I finaly bought the Pentax DFA 100mm WR, coming from my trusted SMCP-FA 50mm 2.8. Almost as sharp (the FA 50 may be the sharpest Pentax lens going), better color rendition, better manual focusing than the 50. The focus dampening on the 100 feels like a super takumar-- it's simply beautiful.

I did use the Tamron 90mm for a few test shots, but I found the Pentax to be better built, and much more important quite a bit nimbler (hand-held) for taking macros of moving subjects. The size of the 100 was the diciding factor for me.

For price/peformance the Tamron is probably the better choice, but if absolute Macro usage/quality is the criteria then I think the Pentax is the better choice.

Let me put it this way: if someone knocked on my door and said they wanted to gift me a Macro lens, and that I had only 2 choices to pick one: the DFA WR 100, or the Tamron 90--I would gladly and very appreciatively choose the Pentax 100.
-w
02-18-2011, 10:32 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wormtographer Quote
A difficult question since few people own both. I finaly bought the Pentax DFA 100mm WR, coming from my trusted SMCP-FA 50mm 2.8. Almost as sharp (the FA 50 may be the sharpest Pentax lens going), better color rendition, better manual focusing than the 50. The focus dampening on the 100 feels like a super takumar-- it's simply beautiful.

I did use the Tamron 90mm for a few test shots, but I found the Pentax to be better built, and much more important quite a bit nimbler (hand-held) for taking macros of moving subjects. The size of the 100 was the diciding factor for me.

For price/peformance the Tamron is probably the better choice, but if absolute Macro usage/quality is the criteria then I think the Pentax is the better choice.

Let me put it this way: if someone knocked on my door and said they wanted to gift me a Macro lens, and that I had only 2 choices to pick one: the DFA WR 100, or the Tamron 90--I would gladly and very appreciatively choose the Pentax 100.
-w
I do like the look of the Pentax 100mm WR however at almost 500 brand new over here its a bit much, especially when the Tamron can be had for almost half that.

What about the older non WR Pentax 100mm is it still as good a lens? and by extension its sister Samsung 100mm Macro which can be bought new for much less than the Pentax version.
02-18-2011, 11:35 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by chrism_scotland Quote
I do like the look of the Pentax 100mm WR however at almost 500 brand new over here its a bit much, especially when the Tamron can be had for almost half that.

What about the older non WR Pentax 100mm is it still as good a lens? and by extension its sister Samsung 100mm Macro which can be bought new for much less than the Pentax version.
Sorry chris, but I've never used the older DFA 100. I'm not sure if it is optically different than the newer WF version? Somebody here I'm sure will tell us.

If price is a deciding factor, then either the Tamron 90 or the older DFA 100 would be comprable, I suspect. I might be inclined to choose the least expensive, or even entertain some of the other candidates.

The DFA 100 WR is a different lens from the above, not so much because of it's weight (340g)--but because of it's overall form factor (including weight). If you've ever held in your hands an old 105mm 2.8 Super Tak--that is exactly how the WR feels, and shooting bugs that scurry about at high f numbers becomes a real pleasure.

Sorry I can't help you more--the reality is that there are a number of very good Macros for Pentax...and that's a good dilemma to have.
02-18-2011, 11:45 AM   #13
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Two considerations, the first already mentioned by taiweitai.
  1. Consider an older, MF lens. I've found it's often too difficult to use AF for critical focusing with such shallow depth of field. MF will provide finer control, so AF -- and it's associated expense -- isn't really necessary. This opens up Pentax K/M/A options at substantially lower cost than the newer models, for which there are a bunch of reviews here on PF.
  2. Consider whether you really need 1:1 macro, or if 2:1 will suffice. 2:1 will fill the sensor width with an object ~1.75" (~4.5cm) in length (see resized image below for reference; not intended to show quality of A100/4 macro, only the field of view for 2:1). I find 2:1 good enough for my purposes, as I'm not shooting anything really tiny. Hence, my A 100/4 Macro works just fine (as would the M/K versions of the lens, all of which share the same optical formula).

Happy choosing!
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02-18-2011, 02:49 PM   #14
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Small correction: half the life size is 1:2 not 2:1.

Ontopic.
I have the Sigma (see signature) which does a nice job but as the others already said for true macro work AF is more of an annoynace than a help. You'll end up focusing by moving yourself anyway. I just made a great deal so I bought it.
Of course AF still comes in handy when you use it for normal photography work.
Macro lenses are generally tack sharp which makes them perfect for practically anything.

I thing I don't like about my Sigma: aperture blades aren't rounded so the OOF areas are rather edgy and bokeh isn't always that pleasing.
02-19-2011, 12:48 AM   #15
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Longer focal length close-up lenses give more working distance. This gives more room for lighting, keeps one away from shy or dangerous subjects, and flattens perspectrive.

Shorter lenses are less affected by vibration and give more dramatic perspective.
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