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07-15-2011, 10:35 PM   #1
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Macro Lense Recommendations, less than $200

I am looking for recommendations for a macro lens thats close to 1:1 and hopefully under $200 or so. Is this even possible. Iam open to ideas!

07-16-2011, 12:53 AM   #2
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Well, I did find a Kiron 105mm 2.8 that went 1:1, and was $199. It was in poor cosmetic condition, didn't have the A-setting on the aperture ring, but the optics and aperture function were OK. This was in a small local camera shop.

So, it's certainly possible, you just need to be patient, and hunt around.
07-16-2011, 01:00 AM   #3
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Welcome!

A budgget macro lens would be the Cosina 100mm 1:3.5. This has been sold as Phoenix, Promaster, Vivitar and even Pentax too. The mechanical quality of this is rather plasticky, but optically it is pretty good:

Cosina AF 100mm f/3.5 macro (Pentax) - Review / Lab Test Report

Cosina 100mm F1:3,5 MC Makro Lens Reviews - Fixed Focal Lengths - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

This comes with an achromat allowing 1:1 with surprisingly good quality, on itself it can manage 1:2. Another second-hand lens in the same price bracket (~$100-150) would be the Pentax M 100 1:4. The latter is MF only while the Cosina (& other brands for the same) have both AF and MF versions.

For actual macro MF is not much of a limitation though, having AF makes the lens a general purpose one as well though. The 100mm ish FL is pretty nice as far the working distance goes and this doubles as a portrait lens too. Having ~30 cm working distance for 1:1 is convenient as the gear/operator are not likely to cast a shadow on the subject. Also a live subject, such as a bug, is not likely to mind as much.
07-16-2011, 05:13 AM   #4
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I got a Quantaray 28-90 AF Macro on eBay that was BNIB and I paid $30 + Shipping. Its a rebagged Sigma and gets really high marks in the reviews, with one member as an exception. Its about 1:2 but I have had fun with it and butterflies as well as a few less mobile macro shots.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/804899-post24.html

and

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/805868-post26.html

and

Quantaray 28-90mm f3.5-5.6 version 5 Lens Reviews - Zoom Lenses - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database


Last edited by Docrwm; 07-16-2011 at 05:19 AM.
07-16-2011, 05:20 AM   #5
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If you can manage MF and manual exposure any k mount or M42 pentax macro plus extension tube should be possible for about $100
07-16-2011, 06:00 AM   #6
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Volna-9 M42 mount russian 50mm macro is reported to be VERY sharp, but obviously its MF and M42 and preset aperture and may be prone to lens flare but it should be pretty cheap
07-16-2011, 06:14 AM   #7
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If you want something cheap that gives great results try reversed lenses:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/135727-reversed-lens.html

2 months ago I was the one asking the same questions; now I love it
07-16-2011, 07:42 AM   #8
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It all depends on what you mean by 'macro' and 'lens'. Reaching 1:1 isn't hard and needn't be expensive. The lens options:

1) New or used AF macro lens -- not cheap, and you don't really need or want AF for macro work, but good for portrait and short-tele work as well as macro.
2) Used A-type MF macro lens -- still not cheap, but you can easily use flash.
3) Anything else -- can be cheap, even VERY cheap, but flash is tricky. EXCEPT...
4) Closeup adapters -- very-to-fairly cheap, and you keep full AF and aperture control.

For (1) and (2), the 'dedicated' macro lenses with auto-aperture control, you gotta pay. Others here will suggest various lenses. With (4), simple uncorrected meniscus +dioptre closeup adapters are cheap but not real good; but corrected adapters can give brilliant results. The Raynox DCR-250 (about US$60) reaches 1:1 on a lens at about 200mm IIRC.

That leaves (3) everything else. Using flash is tricky without an AF or other A-type (auto aperture) lens. One cheap option is to use A-type macro tubes on your AF lens. Those may be hard to find, and not cheap. But A-type teleconverters ARE fairly cheap, and their glass can be removed, and you retain aperture automation and thus flash support. These are usually about 25mm thick, so two of them on a 50mm AF lens puts you at 1:1. This is probably the cheapest way to do clean macro.

If you don't need flash, you can buy a non-A-type MF macro lens. Still not cheap. Or you can use simple cheap extension (tubes and/or bellows). You can reverse a lens -- but reversal just brings you close (working distance about 45mm); you still need some extension to gain magnification. You can reverse-stack lenses and gain great magnification. But reversing or stacking primes ALWAYS puts you at that same close working distance. Good for studio work; not so good for the field.

You can reverse a zoom. DA lenses lack aperture rings, won't do. But any FA or F or MF zoom can be reversed, with a working distance somewhere around 1.3-2x the focal length. Even a lousy zoom, reversed, can give good results. Be sure to make a hood for any reversed lens. Macro tube sections work welll as hoods.

You can put a prime on extension. An Industar-50/3.5 on 50mm of cheap M42 tubes with a safe cheap flanged M42-PK adapter puts you at 1:1 for under US$50. For not much more, is my favorite: cheap bellows and tubes mounting cheap enlarger lenses. Use a 50mm EL for close studio work; 75mm for slight further macro work, and portraits; 90-110mm for portraits, and ahort-tele and moderate macro work; and 140-200mm for even more distance. I buy such EL's for under US$10 usually, sometime four for a dime, maybe as much as US$20 for a Leitz or Nikkor. EL's have edge-to-edge flatfield sharpness; they need hoods to avoid flare; they are FUN!

Feel free to ask for details.
________________________________________

EDIT: I am rewriting this as an article on CHEAP MACRO. Corrections are welcome.


Last edited by RioRico; 07-16-2011 at 09:31 AM.
07-16-2011, 08:32 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
...
The Raynox DCR-250 (about US$60) reaches 1:1 on a lens at about 200mm IIRC.
...
I think the DCR-150 (4.8 d) does that (250 is 8.0 d).
07-16-2011, 08:46 AM   #10
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Ive written a short series on my blog on the various ways to get macro shots

Start Here with lenses and work your way through teleconverters, extension tubes, reverse lenses and close up filters

i have used macro with flash using non A tubes/teleconverters and lenses quite successfully. once you get the exposure dialed in it becomes quite easy.
07-16-2011, 08:51 AM   #11
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I think the Raynox DCR-150 is something every photographer should include in his kit. It's so convenient and easy to use and has good image quality, though not as bitingly sharp as a true macro lens. But for $50, it's a true bargain.

Here's a pic of a ceiling spider (body is less than 1" long) with the DCR-150 attached to a Tamron 70-300 @ 300mm:

Last edited by luftfluss; 06-08-2016 at 08:25 AM.
07-16-2011, 05:38 PM   #12
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When I am looking for the Raynox DCR-150 on ebay I assume i have to find one thats stated to go on a Pentax? The two lenses I currently own are just the 18-55mm and the 50-200mm lenses that came in my original kit. Do you have a recommendation as to where I might find the right raynox to fit my lenses?
07-16-2011, 05:57 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by grimmy2016 Quote
When I am looking for the Raynox DCR-150 on ebay I assume i have to find one thats stated to go on a Pentax? The two lenses I currently own are just the 18-55mm and the 50-200mm lenses that came in my original kit. Do you have a recommendation as to where I might find the right raynox to fit my lenses?
Amazon.com

Raynox 150 works on most any lens; it'll be great on your 50-200mm zoom.
07-16-2011, 06:03 PM   #14
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The Vivitar 55mm 2.8 and Tamron 90mm 2.5 are probably two of the best macro lenses ever made.

The Viv can be had for well under $200, especially if you are patient - i got my copy with a K1000 and user manuals for $38.50 + $12 shipping off of Ebay from a listing that had a very poor decription and only a single picture... expect to pay more around $80-$120 for one.

The Tammy usually goes for a bit more, but it can usually be had for under $200.
07-16-2011, 06:47 PM   #15
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Tamron Adaptall 2 90mm f2.5

does 1:2 without the 01f 2X converter and 1:1 w/ the converter and I like it. It is not an autofocus lens so some people don't like that but the argument comes up that you don't want autofocus for macro work so why does it matter. These are not hard to find and KEH usually has mounts if you buy one from somebody who used it on a different brand of camera.

The other thing you might want to consider if nobody else has mentioned it is your macro set-up. You need a tripod to keep things steady a good head for framing the shot and I also think you need some type of macro rails for small incremental movement forward and backward to get the area in focus you want to. It seems to me that the focal plane at 1:1 is very narrow and just trying to move the tripod can be frustrating. Some of your $200.00 you may want to put in some of these areas.

Last edited by littledrawe; 07-16-2011 at 06:55 PM.
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