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08-24-2011, 08:54 PM   #1
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Macro: Viv S1 105 vs Pentax DFA 100 WR

I've been looking through past threads about macro lenses and haven't found any comparisons between these two lenses. I've found comparisons with some of the other macro lenses and the 100 WR, but not with the Viv. The reason I'm asking for those specifically is that I currently own the Viv. It's a great lens and there's nothing wrong with mine. However, I haven't been doing much macro or other manual focus for about a year, and the few things I've done (more close-up stuff than macro) has been with the DA 35 macro. Sunday I went hiking, wearing my old back-up glasses instead of my contacts and had real issues with seeing the focus. Today I went out at lunch with my contacts on and while it was better, I still struggled (note to self - check dioper adjustment tomorrow). I'm thinking that perhaps I've reached an age where all AF lenses might be a necessity (though there are other issues that could have caused my problems, both days I was hand-holding).

I'd like to add the WR, so am not going to consider any of the other excellent macro lenses around 100mm. I've always loved the sharpness and rendering/color of the Viv - is the Pentax about the same? Right after I got the Viv I had the chance to compare it to the non-WR Pentax and found it hard to tell them apart (though I was only shooting in a store, not parts of flowers). I also like the idea of the rounded aperture blades, the Viv can have fairly harsh bokeh sometimes (but then so does the DA 35 macro).

If someone can direct me to a thread that compares these two lenses, or give me their opinion of the two, perhaps some insight into why I should stick with what I have and just practice more. Or additional factors that the Pentax has over the Viv (like being lighter weight) that I haven't considered yet.

08-24-2011, 10:55 PM   #2
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Hi

I can't compare these 2 lenses. I wear glasses and never had a problem with manual focus from a vision point of view with the 100mm WR. I also have the 35 Ltd and the sigma 70mm. the sigma 70 mm macro gets the rave reviews. In my opinion, I prefer the photos taken with the 100mm for my macro work. it seems to work so much better for me. In fact I am in love with my 100mm WR. The focus is really smooth, the lens is light, it feels like a real lens rather than plastic and it feels like a pentax.

if you do buy it, I suggest you keep the lens shade on as the lens. Without the shade it looks very daggy.
08-24-2011, 11:39 PM   #3
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If you want to add WR to your macro lineup, by all means, the DFA100WR is a fantastic lens (Note that it has no aperture ring so if you want to use it on a Film camera you'll need one capable of controlling the aperture). I find however, that AF at close macro range, like 1:1, is painful with this lens. This is something I was warned about before purchasing the lens. It Works, once you get use to it but I wouldn't buy the lens JUST to get AF. If your eyes are giving you trouble with manual focus, Catch In Focus may be your new best friend. If you want a 100mm macro that is about half the size and weight of your Vivitar (I had one too), is WR, then it may be a very nice fit for you. I Particularly like the ease of going from Macro to Telephoto with this lens. It is Silly sharp, even wide open, and I for one Really like the colors produced from it.

Pentax DFA 100mm f2.8 WR - a set on Flickr

08-25-2011, 12:07 AM   #4
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The VS1 is a fine lens, but so is any other modern macro lens. The one thing the VS1 has going for it vs the DFA is the ability to be used on a film camera.

08-25-2011, 12:20 AM   #5
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I recall when the 100WR was brought out, it caused a sensation with the FF die hards as it is also FF compatible. It fed their dreams of a FF pentax for a few days.
08-25-2011, 02:33 AM   #6
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I suspect that the new Pentax macro will have better coatings and less CA. Both are fine lenses.
08-25-2011, 03:55 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
If you want to add WR to your macro lineup, by all means, the DFA100WR is a fantastic lens (Note that it has no aperture ring so if you want to use it on a Film camera you'll need one capable of controlling the aperture). I find however, that AF at close macro range, like 1:1, is painful with this lens. This is something I was warned about before purchasing the lens. It Works, once you get use to it but I wouldn't buy the lens JUST to get AF. If your eyes are giving you trouble with manual focus, Catch In Focus may be your new best friend. If you want a 100mm macro that is about half the size and weight of your Vivitar (I had one too), is WR, then it may be a very nice fit for you. I Particularly like the ease of going from Macro to Telephoto with this lens. It is Silly sharp, even wide open, and I for one Really like the colors produced from it.

Pentax DFA 100mm f2.8 WR - a set on Flickr

I wouldn't get it to get auto focus for macro, but I use the DFA 100 macro WR for many things other than macro and the autofocus works admirably at longer distances.



08-25-2011, 05:05 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtngal Quote
Right after I got the Viv I had the chance to compare it to the non-WR Pentax and found it hard to tell them apart (though I was only shooting in a store, not parts of flowers).
The WR version is essentially the same, maybe slightly better (newer coatings, better manufacturing tolerances, rounded aperture blades) so if you liked the non-WR, you can only be happy with the WR.

QuoteOriginally posted by mtngal Quote
I also like the idea of the rounded aperture blades, the Viv can have fairly harsh bokeh sometimes
The WR gives a bokeh just as smooth and unobtrusive as the FA50 macro, and that's saying something.

QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
I find however, that AF at close macro range, like 1:1, is painful with this lens. This is something I was warned about before purchasing the lens. It Works, once you get use to it but I wouldn't buy the lens JUST to get AF.
In my short time with the DFA WR, I found that using quick-shift then letting the camera fine-tune works very well. The problem is that the DOF is razor-thin at f2,8 (the aperture the camera uses to focus) so ANY movement will influence the AF point.

QuoteOriginally posted by DanielT74 Quote
I suspect that the new Pentax macro will have better coatings and less CA.
Than the Vivitar, probably. But one of the only flaws I've noticed so far with the DFA WR is that it does exhibit some CA. Not much, and only in high contrast situations, but it's there if you look for it. I've never noticed it with the FA50 macro.

08-25-2011, 07:04 AM   #9
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Thanks for the feedback so far - it rather confirms what I was thinking/hoping - that the Pentax WR is as good, possibly slightly better, as the Viv. I just didn't want to sell the Viv and then regret it (I've done that a couple of times). It sounds like I wouldn't regret it at all, though there's no optical reason for switching.

I don't use the Viv for much more than close-up and macro, and I usually use such small apertures that I wasn't aware of much CA or purple fringing (though I did find some yesterday when shooting a high contrast construction site at infinity yesterday). I find it's not as sharp below about f4 or f5.6, but I don't mind as long as its sharp at f14 or f16.

I've been using AF on the DA 35 macro at near 1:1 without too much problem recently - it surprised me because the only other time I tried AF and macro was with an old Phoenix 100 AF and I quickly gave it up for manual focus.

So the advantages of the DFA are the weight, AF, and WR, with the bokeh advantage being the main optical advantage. The advantage to the Viv is that I already own it and the DFA is quite a bit more expensive than what I'd be able to sell it for. The advantages for the Pentax lens are pretty compelling for me personally, though the budget may not allow it. I think I'll practice more with the Viv for the next week, check the dioper adjustment on the camera and see the optometrist tomorrow for an annual appointment, then decide. Unless someone else comes up with a compelling reason to go one way or the other on the issue.

In many ways, this seems to be a win-win situation.
08-25-2011, 09:08 AM   #10
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QuoteQuote:
In my short time with the DFA WR, I found that using quick-shift then letting the camera fine-tune works very well. The problem is that the DOF is razor-thin at f2,8 (the aperture the camera uses to focus) so ANY movement will influence the AF point.
Yes it does work. It's not really a matter of the DOF with me, it's my macro nemesis, the wind. I just find that for me, when doing macro, manual focus and CIF typically gets me the shot without a lot of fuss. Once the DFA loses focus, it will want to run from one extreme to the other again, even with the quick shift method if it takes off in the wrong direction. It's just something I need more practice with most likely. I Do wish the DFA100WR had an AF/MF switch like my star lenses have.

QuoteOriginally posted by mtngal Quote
Thanks for the feedback so far - it rather confirms what I was thinking/hoping - that the Pentax WR is as good, possibly slightly better, as the Viv. I just didn't want to sell the Viv and then regret it (I've done that a couple of times). It sounds like I wouldn't regret it at all, though there's no optical reason for switching.

I don't use the Viv for much more than close-up and macro, and I usually use such small apertures that I wasn't aware of much CA or purple fringing (though I did find some yesterday when shooting a high contrast construction site at infinity yesterday). I find it's not as sharp below about f4 or f5.6, but I don't mind as long as its sharp at f14 or f16.

I've been using AF on the DA 35 macro at near 1:1 without too much problem recently - it surprised me because the only other time I tried AF and macro was with an old Phoenix 100 AF and I quickly gave it up for manual focus.

So the advantages of the DFA are the weight, AF, and WR, with the bokeh advantage being the main optical advantage. The advantage to the Viv is that I already own it and the DFA is quite a bit more expensive than what I'd be able to sell it for. The advantages for the Pentax lens are pretty compelling for me personally, though the budget may not allow it. I think I'll practice more with the Viv for the next week, check the dioper adjustment on the camera and see the optometrist tomorrow for an annual appointment, then decide. Unless someone else comes up with a compelling reason to go one way or the other on the issue.

In many ways, this seems to be a win-win situation.
Depending on the condition of your Vivitar you could realize as much as $350-$400 for it. That of course depends on when you sell it and who wants to buy one. That won't put the DFA100WR in your bag but will get you a lot closer to it than you may have thought. Bottom line is though, if you're happy with the vivitar and money Is an issue, then your best bet is stick with what you have (doesn't cost anything extra). There are also other AF options for 100ish macros that don't cost as much as the Pentax but they aren't WR and I'm not really familiar with their aperture construction.

08-25-2011, 11:18 AM   #11
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owned both

I have owned both. The DFA 100 was a great performer, light and had a lovely bokeh.
Superb hand-held with flower photography.

The Viv is clinically sharp, had lovely neutral colours and good bokeh, oh, and it weighs a ton.

I swapped the Pentax for the Vivitar, and have never regretted the swap.

The Vivitar is a whole street ahead on sharpness, to me the single most important
quality to be looked for in a macro lens.
08-25-2011, 11:27 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtngal Quote
I think I'll practice more with the Viv for the next week, check the dioper adjustment on the camera and see the optometrist tomorrow for an annual appointment, then decide. Unless someone else comes up with a compelling reason to go one way or the other on the issue.

In many ways, this seems to be a win-win situation.
You are impressively rational That's good thinking.

QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
it's my macro nemesis, the wind.
Amen to that.

QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
I Do wish the DFA100WR had an AF/MF switch like my star lenses have.
The MF switch on your camera isn't far from the lens I've never really understood the use of a lens switch myself, but maybe it's because I never used one.
08-25-2011, 11:36 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote

The MF switch on your camera isn't far from the lens I've never really understood the use of a lens switch myself, but maybe it's because I never used one.
I'm well aware of where the camera switch is.... With the AF/MF switch on the lens, one can leave the camera in AF-S, disable AF on the lens, and use Catch In Focus (my macro savior). I don't know if that was then intent of the designers (All my star lenses FA* and DA* have them) but it's a nice added bonus to the equipment. You're right, If you've never had the option, you won't understand the use or desire to have it. It is far more useful IMO than quick shift for instance but, maybe that's just *me*.

08-25-2011, 05:55 PM   #14
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Catch-in focus would be one good reason to do this, I agree.
08-26-2011, 12:31 PM   #15
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The optometrist changed my lens perscription - wouldn't it be just my luck to have that be what's been causing me trouble? Now to spend some time playing with the Viv.
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