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05-21-2011, 08:41 AM   #1
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Best lens for floral work, macro?

I have been honing my floral photography and am not sure if I have the lens I need yet for what I want. The DA 21 takes in too much normally as does the FA 31 but this is close. My FA 77 gives me great isolation but when hand holding a diffuser screen, the camera is at it's extreme minimum focus to make it work. This has my arm almost straight out. I plan to keep playing with what I have but it seems that the minimum focus distance just keeps moving out as the FL increases except for macros. The FA 50 2.8 macro seems like it would give me close focusing and a wide shot at the same time. I am not into bugs and think the 100's are just too tight for what I like. Mostly one or several full blooms or nearly all of one. I like to find my shots in nature rather than setting them up in a studio and I would rather not have to swap lenses relentlessly during a hike. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I sometime do and sometimes don't have a tripod with me and bokeh is very important to me.

Thanks Dave

05-21-2011, 08:43 AM   #2
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You'll probably want the DFA 100 macro unless you just want to document flowers, IMO. The 50 is a bit too short, I'd say.
05-21-2011, 12:03 PM   #3
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I use a Sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro for flowers, it works OK. I think the Pentax 50 is probably better though. Is 50mm too short, or 100mm too long? Only you can say. It is personal preference. Look in Pentax Photo Gallery, and select for FA 50mm f/2.8 to see sample shots. This should help with your decision about bokeh.
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05-21-2011, 01:29 PM   #4
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Sounds like what you need to decide on is the focal length. All macro lenses I tried are very competent. Sigma has a 70mm, if you want a focal length between 70 and 100. Or maybe look at the Tamron 90mm. There's plenty of choices, but which one is best for you, only you can decide.

05-21-2011, 02:13 PM   #5
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This is from the 300 F4

This is the 43 1.9

This is with the 100mm WR macro lens

05-21-2011, 02:52 PM   #6
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dfa 50 if You like 50mm, is sharp, good colors and quickshift and that is important at least to me.
One thing also can be considered, tamron or sigma 70-300 macro. A lot nice shots are done with these two lenses. Dfa 100 wr is great lens and probably best macro around.
05-21-2011, 04:52 PM   #7
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35mm 2.8 macro limited is a staggering lens, know body seems to of mentioned it yet but it would be a great walk about lens, limited quality glass (in a good way). 1:1 macro with great bokeh. Had mine just over a week but just check the reviews on it. stunning
05-21-2011, 05:59 PM   #8
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I use an older (non Di) version of the Tamron 90 f2.8 macro. If you go to my flickr site : Flickr: lkung409's Photostream most of the flower pictures shown on the first 8-9 pages were taken with this lens (see the tags)...and all in the field...I really like this lens for flower macros....(but I've never had any other macro)

05-21-2011, 06:09 PM   #9
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You need to think about 1) how close to you want to shoot and 2) how much magnification you want. These will determine your lens choices. Shorter focal lengths mean working closer. Anything shorter than 50mm is probably best in the studio, not in the wild. At 1:1 for any lens, the distance from the frame (film or sensor) to the subject will be twice the focal length.

Normally I'd recommend enlarger lenses on bellows, but think about this: If you like your FA77 but can't focus close enough, you could buy an AF-type macro tube set -- but it ain't cheap. For much less money, get an A-type macro tube set, or cheaper A-type TC's and remove the glass. You lose AF with the cheaper solutions but retain lighting control.

Last edited by RioRico; 05-21-2011 at 09:13 PM.
05-21-2011, 09:09 PM   #10
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I'd be looking at the Sigma 70 macro, personally, although that's probably tough to justify if you already have the FA77 or DA70.
05-21-2011, 09:36 PM   #11
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I say the DA 35mm f2.8 Macro would be a great choice. Here are some of samples shots I just took from a Flow Sale.

05-21-2011, 09:49 PM   #12
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If you're into flowers and no so much into bugs, and shoot at 1:1 or above, then any 35-70mm dedicated macro lens will suffice for you. Manual focus will save you some money, but AF is more versatile (can double up as a portrait lens for example, where AF is useful).
05-21-2011, 10:12 PM   #13
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I would suggest any moderate zoom (say 28-80) that advertises close focus or macro (say 1:3 maximum). That is plenty good for most flower work. I personally use a mix from my lens bag:
  • Sigma 50/2.8 EX DG Macro: Great for all-round floral photography
  • Tamron 70-150/3.5: This older Adaptall-2 lens focuses to 1:3 and also provides a bit more working distance than the Sigma
  • Any number of 50mm lenses I have on the shelf. I am particularly fond of my Auto-Rikenon 50/1.7 and KMZ Helios-44M 58/2. You don't need close focus to do good flower work.
  • Jupiter-9 85/2: The shallow depth of field of this longer lens in conjunction with excellent bokeh makes for a great flower lens. My avatar photo was taken with the Jupiter-9.
You can view my flower and plant photos taken with these and other lenses on my Flickr flower set: Flora - a set on Flickr. Each photo is tagged with the lens, camera, and optionally film used for the shot.


(...have used everything from a 16mm fisheye up to 200mm tele for flowers...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 05-21-2011 at 10:19 PM.
05-22-2011, 06:52 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
You'll probably want the DFA 100 macro unless you just want to document flowers, IMO. The 50 is a bit too short, I'd say.
Both 50 and 100mm DFA lenses are excellent, but I find myself reaching for my 50 more than the 100. I just don't need the extra reach the 100 gives me unless I'm shooting insects or something that would be spooked by my proximity.

I think it's the 50's compact build and a more "normal" FOV that works best for me.

That said, both Pentax lenses are wonderful. The WR version of the 100 would be really nice!
05-22-2011, 08:07 AM   #15
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Why not own a range of focal lengths (50 - 80 - 105 - 135). Enlarging lenses are cheap (less than $50 a lens).

I like something between 90 and 135 for flowers.

I use the enlarging lenses on a bellows which allows for easy focus and easy control of magnification.

Here is an article on this if there is an interest.

Inexpensive Macro Photography

This was taken with a Fujinon 135 EP enlarging lens on Asahi Pentax M42 Auto Bellows.


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