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05-19-2011, 02:21 AM   #1
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About to buy my first non-kit lens :-)

Im all excited..

I was going to buy some manual glass and reverse it for macro, but I have been priced out of 3 auctions now so will just bite the bullet and buy my first lens

Im looking at either the

Sigma MACRO 105mm F2.8 EX DG (AF Lens)


or the

Tamron SP AF 90mm F2.8 Di Macro



Primary use will be macro.

To be honest, I think I will be overjoyed at either lens, and reading the reviews in the Lens database, they both seem to come out even stevens score wise.

For those more experienced than me - are there any issues I should be aware of, does one manufacturer have a better repuation than the other - Id always assumed that Sigma were better than Tamron, but the reviews have made me think again..

Any insights from experience will be welcome

05-19-2011, 02:52 AM   #2
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What are you looking for that your Pentax 100mm doesn't give you already?
05-19-2011, 03:04 AM   #3
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And what makes you think that Sigma macros (or any other lenses) were better than Tamron?

The Tamron 90 is optically a very good lens for a very reasonable price.
The M 100/4 macro is a very decent lens as well - if just for macro, it will do just as good a job as the others you suggest, and you don't really need AF for macro work.
05-19-2011, 03:26 AM   #4
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The M100/4 has a mark on the lens that stops me using it below f8 :-( It is noticable in the pictures..
Also I want 1:1, and the Pentax is 1:2 - I think that is the right way round!

I was looking at reversing a 135mm lens, but the prices I have seen them go for, i might as well stump up a bit extra and go for a proper macro lens

"And what makes you think that Sigma macros (or any other lenses) were better than Tamron?"

Just based on some online comments, nothing else - that is why I asked the question here, as I knew there would be people who knew what they were talking about.

05-19-2011, 09:31 AM   #5
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I love my Tamron 90mm. It also works great for portraits.
05-19-2011, 09:56 AM   #6
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looking through the reviews in the lens database Im seeing comments such as

sigma

For macro use I occasionally switch to MF, but this works very clumsy: you have to set the switch on the camera AND put the focus ring on the lens in the right position. Very solid build.

Tamron

My only criticism of this lens are around the technical switcharoo you have to do when you want to manually focus. Switching the lens to MF is not enough, you also have to switch your body to MF or the focus ring will turn the focus screw, which the instructions say are bad for your AF motor.


Im confused as they both seem to be complaining about the same thing?


Don't you have to switch the camera and lens to MF on any non-pentax lens?
Also- do you have to turn the camera off to switch between MF and AF?

Just trying to get things straight in my head, to be honest there is little to choose between them, (besides FL) they both seem like very good lens and there is only 20 difference between the two with the sigma slightly more..
05-19-2011, 10:56 AM   #7
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I have the Tamron and it is a fantastic lense, however the Sigma 105 or Pentax 100 WR are also fantastic lenses. You really can't go wrong with any of these. See which one saves you the most money locally or on special deals and go for it.

Edit. Just seen the post above.

The Tamron doesn't have a switch per se it has the Tamron equivalent of Pentax's quick shift (you pull the focusing sleeve towards the camera and push it to rengage AF).

A good feature to look out for is the focus Limiter. I guess the Sigma & Pentax have it too - don't know for sure - but it will save you a lot of hassle / time when you miss focus on a tiny subject and without the limiter the lense starts looking for the spider in the next county / state. Same goes when using the lense as a normal lense - you miss focus on a distant object and you don't want the lense searching for someone's face down by your shoes.

Last edited by Frogfish; 05-19-2011 at 11:04 AM.
05-19-2011, 01:00 PM   #8
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Thanks frogfish..
Re switching between AF/MF? Im seeing the following comment on a review at Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 SP Di macro - Review / Test Report

On Minolta and Pentax DSLRs it is a two step process)

I took that to mean switching the lens over and switching to MF on the camera body - is this the case...

05-19-2011, 01:47 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by edgedemon Quote
Thanks frogfish..
Re switching between AF/MF? Im seeing the following comment on a review at Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 SP Di macro - Review / Test Report

On Minolta and Pentax DSLRs it is a two step process)

I took that to mean switching the lens over and switching to MF on the camera body - is this the case...
Yes. that is correct. Pull the sleeve back AND flip the switch on the body. In use though this isn't a hassle because when shooting macro you are usually in one mode or another and NOT e.g. using AF and needing a quick shift MF adjustment !
05-30-2011, 06:36 AM   #10
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Nearly there..
It is payday tomorrow and time to buy..
I had pretty much decided to go for the Sigma 105m macro when I saw the SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro for the same price.
As the sigma isn't a WR lens, Im not losing anything there, and it is a pentax lens which Id prefer..
This is the non WR version, but I believe it is optically similar - is this true???

On the downside, no focus limiter..

Im thinking of maybe getting this instead, but I need to go off and read up on it now..

Any comments on this lens vs the Sigma?

In fairness, Im probably over researching as Im pretty sure I cant go wrong whatever I choose, but this is a big purchase for me and I want to be as positive as I can that Im getting the best I can as after this, it is wedding saving unless I get a cash bonus from somewhere
05-30-2011, 06:51 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by edgedemon Quote
This is the non WR version, but I believe it is optically similar - is this true???
Very similar, but they do differ. I do believe the WR version is somewhat improved overall, and particularly with regard to bokeh (due to the almost circular aperture). The construction is also a little better. I've not used the original, and have only owned my 100 WR for a couple of days now -- but boy am I impressed!! It's a peach of a lens.

For a thorough discussion of the two, read this post.

Last edited by pjthiel; 05-30-2011 at 06:55 AM. Reason: change in phrasing
05-30-2011, 06:56 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by edgedemon Quote
Nearly there..
It is payday tomorrow and time to buy..
I had pretty much decided to go for the Sigma 105m macro when I saw the SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro for the same price.
Two big downsides.

1) As you already mentioned yourself, there is no focus limiter on the Pentax. You mentioned that you will probably use this lens for non-macro work also, in which case not having a focus limiter can be a pain if you initially miss focus and then have to wait for the lens to go through its full focus range.

2) The Pentax only has a 1-year warranty, whereas the Sigma will have a 4-year warranty.

Pentax used to make an "FA" version of this lens, and if I recall correctly it is basically the same optics as the current "D-FA" version. The good thing about the old version is that it had a focus limiter. Why they chose to get rid of the limiter is beyond me, and is the main reason I will forgo the Pentax 100mm macro in favor of the Tamron or Sigma when it comes time for me to buy a macro. And it's a real shame because the 100mm WR version is a sweet lens.

If you search eBay, you should be able to find some of the older Pentax 100mm macro lenses for sale. I just looked at one with a Buy-it-Now price of $359 + $25 shipping.

Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 05-30-2011 at 12:30 PM.
05-30-2011, 07:46 AM   #13
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Thanks for the comments..
That thread was very interesting - I can get the WR version for 359 from amazon.jp - I have a colleague at work who has family out there..

Edgar - thanks for the info - interesting that the older 'F' version is similar optically but the newer discontinued FA version isn't. Off to look at ebay now.

It might be that I end up writing my choices on a bit of paper and picking one at this rate - newbie LBA!!!

edit

There are a few out there..
An FA!
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Pentax-FA-100mm-F-2-8-Macro-Lens-/280685863678?pt=Came...item415a2e62fe
and another
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Pentax-FA-100mm-F-2-8-Macro-Lens-/280659340957?pt=Came...item415899ae9d

Off to read the lens database now..

Last edited by edgedemon; 05-30-2011 at 07:54 AM.
05-30-2011, 07:58 AM   #14
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I may have gotten my model names wrong. I think that the current version is the D FA and the old version is just FA. Anyway, here's a link to a review of the older 100mm f/2.8 macro (with the focus limiter switch) from Photozone.de:

Pentax SMC-FA 100mm f/2.8 macro - Review / Lab Test Report

And here's the short but sweet conclusion from the review:
Verdict

The Pentax SMC-FA 100mm f/2.8 macro is an very good lens without significant weaknesses. The resolution level is very high (although not exceedingly so) from f/2.8 all the way down to f/22 (nominal, the effective aperture is probably larger). Distortions are absent and CAs are not field-relevant. Same goes for vignetting. Thanks to a metal body and tight tolerances the build quality of this old lens is excellent.
05-30-2011, 08:12 AM   #15
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Now Im getting confused!

I was originally looking at this..
Pentax 100mm f2.8 SMC D FA Macro Lens (Used) - Best Price at Bristol Cameras

And wondering if it was the same optically as the WR version.
The post above with the link leads me to believe that it isn't but the differences are minor..

Your post got me looking at the ebay links I posted which I believe are this lens?
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-FA-100mm-F2.8-Macro-Lens.html
which looks very good, but I need to decide whether I can live with the weight as it is a mighty old beast..

If I can get a Pentax lens rather than a sigma, Id prefer it, but Im going to read up and see
I have 4 options

Get the sigma
Get the WR version from Japan

or go for the last generation lens - SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro

or go for an even older lens such as

Pentax FA 100mm F/2.8 Macro Lens

Yay - Sunday afternoon reading, I can feel a comparison spreadsheet coming on...

Last edited by edgedemon; 05-30-2011 at 08:18 AM.
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