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08-04-2011, 11:52 AM   #1
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What Focal Length for first macro??

I'm planning to get a macro lens for shooting flowers and bugs.......I probably won't use it a lot, but when I want to capture a flower image, I'd like a decent lens................ what focal length is best?

Dave

08-04-2011, 12:14 PM   #2
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I am looking at getting this one:

Sigma 50mm f2.8 EX DG Macro

Said to be up to the task, will only know for sure once I've tried it out.

B
08-04-2011, 12:23 PM   #3
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90mm to 105mm gives you some working room so you don't have to get quite so close the the subject as with a 50mm.

You could look in the macro lens thread for sample shots.
08-04-2011, 12:25 PM   #4
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If you're after insects, at least 50mm if not 100mm. Most don't like you getting all that close, and the 100mm FA and DFA macros are nice telephotos. The drawback is for flowers you'll need to stand a bit farther back sometimes.

08-04-2011, 12:38 PM   #5
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For bugs I find a little longer FL more useful. For macro work manual focus is no disadvantage (in my opinion at least). Therefore don't hesitate to go for an old manual lens. This can safe you a lot of many with excellent image quality. Something like this for example Panagor 90mm f2.8 Macro PMC Lens Reviews - Prime Lenses - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database - that's what I am using. But you can find several reviews of other great macro lenses in this forum.
08-04-2011, 12:44 PM   #6
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As a Mayan huipil vendor in Antigua Guatemala asked me, HOW MUCH YOU WANNA SPEND?

AF 'macro' lenses ain't cheap. And AF isn't useful when shooting 1:2 or 1:1 macro. But AF macro lenses in the 90-105mm range double nicely for portraits and general short-tele work. If you want that flexibility around 100mm, any of the offerings are good. The DFA100WR macro will let you crawl around in the mud shooting salamanders with your K5 if you wish. But it ain't cheap. For rather less (but without WR), the Tamron and Panagor 90mm macros get good reviews.

Now, if you actually want to shoot MACRO and you're on a budget, see this: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/152336-cheap-macro-b...lose-work.html -- I like shooting with cheap enlarger lenses on cheap bellows. But I'm a cheap bastard.

Keep in mind that no unreversed lens can focus closer than its focal length, which is also where the macro magnification is greatest. A 28mm or 35mm macro puts you within 1.5in of your subject for 1:1 shots -- best for studio work. I love my M42 Macro-Takumar 50/4 (1:1) but not for bug hunts. A ~100mm lens keeps you at least 4in away from targets. The 90-105-150-200mm macros are preferred for field work, so the bugs aren't scared away when you get too close. But 200mm macro entails a rig ~400mm long for 1:1, and that generally requires a tripod. This may be overkill for you.

So, your decision points: How much money? Field or studio work? Wet or dry work? And other factors addressed in the linked article. Good luck!

Last edited by RioRico; 08-04-2011 at 01:18 PM.
08-04-2011, 12:47 PM   #7
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I have a Tamron 90 Di so I can shoot bugs, I also have a Raynox 150 I can attach if I want to get closer than 1:1 works great. A little bit of PF though otherwise it is fantastic, even for a long portrait lens
08-04-2011, 01:02 PM   #8
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Thanks to all...............sounds like 90 to 100 mm is the ball park.....I'll look at old manuals also, since this may not be my everyday lens.....

08-04-2011, 01:26 PM   #9
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An excellent 100:2.5 manual focus 1:1 macro lens with ring light is listed in the marketplace now:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographic-equipment-sale/153995-sale-p...ml#post1600074

I recommend a $70 Raynox DCR 150 close-up lens. It is a superb attachment for your DA 55-300. It will give a wide range of magnifications up to about 2:1. All your camera's automatic functions will work properly including flash (an important feature for macro work.) The working distance is a reasonable 8"...the same as a 100mm macro lens.

It is small, lightweight, and clips onto your zoom lens easily - carry it with you" just in case."

I have good macro lenses but use my raynox most often.

See: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/74221-raynox-macro-club.htmlht...acro-club.html for examples
08-04-2011, 03:00 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by GDRoth Quote
Thanks to all...............sounds like 90 to 100 mm is the ball park.....I'll look at old manuals also, since this may not be my everyday lens.....
I have the DFA 100mm WR and although it's an AF lens, I primarily use MF. There is no focus limiter, so it can hunt forever with AF. Nevertheless, I love this lens and should use it more often.
08-04-2011, 04:09 PM   #11
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I've got a 1:1 60mm lens made by Tomioka under the Mamiya Sekor name, it is great, but would love some more working distance, a 90mm or 100mm would be much nicer.
08-04-2011, 05:06 PM   #12
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You want longer working distances for insects, so 105, 100, or 90 are the best choices - these are the longest at still decent prices. Longer than that will be more expensive. And shorter won't be less expensive. So, from both usability and price, that's what you should get.
08-04-2011, 05:15 PM   #13
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Seems like you want an all-rounder type macro lens. The best is probably the DA 35mm f2.8 Macro. Very versatile and well rounded. As long as you're not taking macro shots of incests (since the min focal distance is so short, you might scare them off), this lens would be wonderful. Beautiful lens for flowers btw.

otherwise, if you want a pure macro lens, the DFA 100mm f2.8 WR is stellar.
08-04-2011, 06:34 PM   #14
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I just tried to get a good macro shot of a spider with my 60mm, first attempt at doing any kind of bug photography. I learned a few things:

1: It is really hard to do well
2: Spiders can be extremely lazy and no amount of prodding will make him move into a better position
3: Masking taping a flash to the wall is not a good idea
4: The spider that has been living in my shower for the past few weeks is not as boring looking as I thought

I wasn't approaching anywhere near 1:1


Here is a crop:


I have a little more practice with coral:

Here is a crop:


I know they could use some tweaking, they're just straight JPG out of my K100D.

Last edited by elliott; 08-04-2011 at 06:42 PM.
08-04-2011, 08:11 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eagle_Friends Quote
As long as you're not taking macro shots of incests ...
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