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04-23-2011, 09:22 AM   #1
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Macro lens decision

I've got a guy offering to sell me a Panagor 90 macro in pretty nice condition with a dedicated flash unit. It's not a giveaway price or anything but it's fair probably given the condition and flash. My question is despite the fact it's a good lens, is it that good by todays standards to let the lower price be a deciding factor? I know it's big and heavy and won't have as many features on my K-R as a modern macro lens. Would I be happier with say a d fa 100 or a newer third party macro even? Also does anyone know if there would likely be compatibility issues with a 30 year old flash and my K-R?

04-23-2011, 09:44 AM   #2
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depends on how much both are and what flash it is.

I'm sure you could find an AF macro for $250-$300 and a new flash for about $40-$50.
04-23-2011, 11:16 AM   #3
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I can not judge the lens as I don't have it. One of the google hits is How good/bad is Elicar 90/2.5 macro? (Page 1) - Manual Lens: Usage - Manual Focus Forum

Just a warning regarding the flash; make sure that is has a safe trigger voltage or take precautions (e.g. wein safesync) to 'make it' a safe trigger voltage.
04-23-2011, 12:26 PM   #4
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Well it's 275 and the flash is a very cumbersome looking old lester dine set up with a a/c power source and power controller. Looks like something that might end up just sitting unused as far as the flash goes.

04-25-2011, 06:39 AM   #5
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I don't think the Elicar 90mm 2.5 and the Panagor 90mm are the same lens. The Elicar (which I have - and it's awesome) is made by Komine.
The Panagor should be made by Kino Precision (aka Kiron).

Provided the macro lens is in good condition, the biggest difference is going to be in the lens coatings and lack of resistance to flare. I have 10 macro lenses, some old some new. (Don't ask - I somehow kinda collected them.) Some of the 30-year-old designs are clearly sharper than my newest (SMC-FA 100mm). In fact, I prefer using some of the older ones as they provide better handling, ie - longer focus throw. Sometimes the unique character the older lens brings is desirable. For instance, the Elicar 90mm is prone to creating a slightly busy / watercolour like effect in it's bokeh. This is useful when the subject isn't particularly intricate.

The only feature you are going to lose is AF. And while AF can be useful when trying to get moving subject shots, it is generally useless for macro shooting.

If you decide to go for it, you need to check the older lens thoroughly. Look for dust, oil, and other nasties inside. Look for any separation of elements. You may find that the optics have yellowed slightly - although this can be easily fixed by exposing the glass to UV light.
If it's in good shape and the price is right, I say go for it.
04-25-2011, 09:47 AM   #6
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I have the panagor macro lens. I bought it off ebay for 150 in near perfect condition, but after a couple months fungus started growing. It hasn't affected the image quality as far as i can tell, since the fungus is still along the edge of the lenses.

The panagor has very nice colors and is extremely sharp. The only problem I have with it is that if you shoot under very bright sunlight there will be a significant amount of chromatic aberrations. I also have the DFA 100mm macro that does not have this problem. Nonetheless, if you use the panagor with a flash you'll get very nice results.
04-25-2011, 10:58 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jeff Bennett Quote
Well it's 275 and the flash is a very cumbersome looking old lester dine set up with a a/c power source and power controller. Looks like something that might end up just sitting unused as far as the flash goes.
That seems expensive (even if it is an excellent lense) when you can pick up a used Tamron 90 di for about that. Manual flashes are cheap so I'd discount his which is probably worth nothing anyway.
04-25-2011, 11:21 AM   #8
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""I don't think the Elicar 90mm 2.5 and the Panagor 90mm are the same lens. The Elicar (which I have - and it's awesome) is made by Komine. The Panagor should be made by Kino Precision (aka Kiron).""

The Elicar, Panagor, Panagor-Admiral, Soligor, Rokunar, Spiratone and Vivitar 90 (2.5-2.8 Serial #s 28XXXXXX) 1 to 1s without adapter are all Komine. Later Vivitars S1 (Bokinas) were Tokinas. The Lester Dine dentals were Kiron.

There are also a few later 1 to 1.25s made aparantly. I have seen one white one for Nikon mount.

I would say dump the old flash (vintage early '80s) and not take a chance with it or consider the flash worth zero in the deal.

I have owned a Panagor PK mount and presently have an Elicar PK/R mount (without the Ricoh death pin in the PK/R mount).

Panagor 90mm f2.8 Macro PMC Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

Elicar Super Macro V-HQ 1.25:1 / 90mm F2.5 Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

Admiral/Panagor 90mm Macro Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

Elicar 90mm f2.5 V-HQ Macro MC Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database


Last edited by Phil1; 04-26-2011 at 09:22 AM.
04-25-2011, 12:30 PM   #9
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Or just buy a Raynox 150 and 250 for cheaper than that and track down an old flash, the 250 you could use on all your lenses easily except the 55-200mm, the 55-200mm would be better used for the 150, you would get good versatility and great macro close ups, especially using the 250 on your DA 70 and DA 40. Check the Raynox Macro club shots to see if you think it would work for you, my guess is that is will.
04-25-2011, 02:10 PM   #10
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I have had the 105mm f2.5 Series 1 Vivitar (gone); 90mm f2.5 Tamron (52B) with 1:1 extender (still have it); the Pentax A 50 f2.8 (still have it). All are/were great macro lenses. I was in for a surprising shock when a relatively cheap Flektogon 35mm f2.8 M42 could focus so close it was in effect a 1:2 macro with outstanding clarity.
Never liked AF lenses (too busy & power draining). Catch-in-focus and that green button work great on the k-x. A ring flash would be nice addition.
04-25-2011, 10:14 PM   #11
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QuoteQuote:
The Elicar, Panagor, Panagor-Admiral, Soligor, Rokunar and Vivitar 90 (2.5-2.8 Serial #s 28XXXXXX) 1 to 1s without adapter are all Komine.
Ah - Thanks Phil for correcting me. It is indeed a Komine lens. Seems I am perpetuating bad information... I got into a blue a few years back on the Yahoo Kiron Club forum. I remember someone was stating that ALL Panagor stuff was made by Kiron. Somehow the misinformation stuck. It's a decent guide though, because much of the Panagor stuff it seems is Kino Precision made.

Thank you for setting things straight. I know how frustrating it is when someone on the internet is wrong!

I agree with Phil - Consider the flash as junk. The Komine 90mm macro however, is certainly worth the interest. Highly recommended.
04-25-2011, 10:36 PM   #12
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LOL! YOU are the guy that straightened me out with these Komines a while back. Thank you instead.

They make a great field lens. It would be neat if Komine made an updated version with up to date lenses and coatings, lighter weight and extending to 1.25 like the later Elicars did. In the same non-adapter helicoid style of course. I think they would find a good niche market with the scientific, bug and flower people. No need for AF either.

Last edited by Phil1; 04-25-2011 at 10:52 PM.
04-25-2011, 11:05 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tumbleguts Quote
I don't think the Elicar 90mm 2.5 and the Panagor 90mm are the same lens. The Elicar (which I have - and it's awesome) is made by Komine.
The Panagor should be made by Kino Precision (aka Kiron).
If you follwed the link that I provided, post #3 would have enlightened you as well. That's why I linked it

But they could have been wrong as well But phil confirmed it; where did he get his info from ?
04-26-2011, 01:46 AM   #14
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Vivitar car Telephoto macro 1:2,8 /90 mm - olypedia.de

The above link provides much insight into this lens and it's various incarnations under different brand names.
04-26-2011, 08:57 AM   #15
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Tumbleguts: Outstanding German info link on these lenses. That confirmed Spiratone had them as well. I will add this site to the lens data forum for Panagor.

"But they could have been wrong as well But phil confirmed it; where did he get his info from ? "

I have owned a Panagor (bought new years ago) and I presently have an Elicar 90 in Pentax mounts. They are the same construction with some suttle engraving and minor differances. Tumbleguts gave me a lot of info in the past and I have a few friends that have bought various copies in non-Pentax mounts at bargain prices. I also watch net sales sites. The picture profiles of this Komine is hard to miss with the double helicoid construction and all metal body.

FYI there is also the Komine built 55mm 1 to 1 macro and a rare 135 'close focus" 2 to 1 that are sister lenses to the 90 mm. branded Elicar.

Last edited by Phil1; 04-26-2011 at 09:35 AM.
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