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11-07-2011, 10:47 PM   #1
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Cheap macro lens

So I decide to add a macro lens to my arsenal, anyone know any cheapo but goody macro lens (doesn't have to be af)

11-07-2011, 11:47 PM   #2
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You should read this thread:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/152178-draft-article...ml#post1581774

A great read and I hope that it will help.
11-07-2011, 11:47 PM   #3
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Most macro lenses are good. I have a Pentax M 50mm f4 macro and like it. It is fun to use and the image quality is excellent. Only drawbacks are: manual focus, manual aperture, slow but f4 is more than enough for macro, it goes only to 1:2. That said I use it mainly for non-macro shots. Depending on what you want to shoot you might consider a longer phocal length for longer reach.
11-08-2011, 12:49 AM   #4
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Any macro in M42 mount or K mount. AF wont help much here if you want to be serious. AF macros like Tamron90 and sigma105 is very hard to manuel focus. Some less known brands may be as low as 20usd, but that was a deal-of-the-year.

11-08-2011, 04:06 AM   #5
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Instead of the draft, see the finished article: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/152336-cheap-macro-b...lose-work.html

Basic info: A non-reversed lens cannot focus closer than its focal length. Short lenses (under 75mm) allow you to work close; longer lenses (above 75mm) allow/force you to work further from the subject. For studio work, a short flatfield lens like a reversed EL-Nikkor 50/2.8 or the beloved Industar-50/3.5 on M42 macro tubes is fine. For field work (outside, and/or with bugs that will run away from a large lens being poked at them) a lens in the 90-150mm range is great.

AF doesn't help with macro work. Alas, MF (manual focus) macro lenses are nearly as expensive as AF glass that doubles for portraiture, short tele work, etc. But what makes a lens 'macro'? Two qualities: the ability to focus close, like to 1:2 (0.5x) magnification, and edge-to-edge flatfield sharpness. You can spend big money on such tools; or you can go cheap. I prefer enlarger lenses (ELs) on bellows and/or tubes. Lenses over 80mm can focus to infinity on most bellows and so are also useful for general photography. I like a Novoflex 105/3.5 on my Bellowscope -- small, light, sharp. And they cost me ~US$40 together. Many ELs are cheap. Some are literally four for a dime.

Anyway, see the article for many el-cheapo suggestions. Have fun!

Last edited by RioRico; 11-08-2011 at 11:38 PM.
11-08-2011, 08:59 AM   #6
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thanks for the replies, time to start readibng :P
11-08-2011, 10:15 AM - 1 Like   #7
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You will get bleary-eyed and extremely confused after reading all the options available for low cost, high image quality macros; there are simply too many choices that are darned good.

I hope this recommendation may save you some time; If $100 US qualifies as cheap enough, an el-nikkor 50:2.8 on a bellows will give you about the best macro image quality you can get at any price (but it won't focus to infinity). A Pentax M 50:4 macro lens and cheap extension tubes is probably at least as good. These alternatives are based on actual test results.

If focus to infinity is required, the el-nikkor 80:5.6N on a bellows may be as good as the 50:2.8 (but I've not seen any test results.) I don't know if the el-nikkor 75:4N on a bellows will focus to infinity - it is a close call & will depend on bellows details.

The end of the spectrum where easy of use is heavily weighed will be a Raynox DCR 150 close-up lens on a long focal length zoom lens.
11-08-2011, 11:46 AM   #8
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i would start with a pentax M 50 or 100 macro. I don't think you need 1:1 for a first macro and it's easy to resell when you want to move up to a better macro. I kind of wish I would have gotten the 100mm but 1:2 is not an issue for me. I do also have a set of extension tubes.

It is an entirely different world of photography though.

11-08-2011, 08:04 PM   #9
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Thanks for the advices...it is indeed quite a different world, but I can see myself getting immersed in it.

I guess its better to state my priority / budget
My main priority is to get as much magnification with highest IQ possible, I will be using it to take shots of anything from insects to some random object around the house.
Having infinity focus is not necessary. Being able to use it as a portrait lens is a plus but not really a big deal since I already have FA77
My budget is ~$500 including flash (I don't own one yet, I was hoping to get into strobist as well), can anyone recommend a good combo for this ?
11-08-2011, 09:44 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Azzy Quote
Thanks for the advices...it is indeed quite a different world, but I can see myself getting immersed in it.

I guess its better to state my priority / budget
My main priority is to get as much magnification with highest IQ possible, I will be using it to take shots of anything from insects to some random object around the house.
Having infinity focus is not necessary. Being able to use it as a portrait lens is a plus but not really a big deal since I already have FA77
My budget is ~$500 including flash (I don't own one yet, I was hoping to get into strobist as well), can anyone recommend a good combo for this ?
Don't forget to allocate some budget for the software that you'll be using for stacking images.
11-08-2011, 11:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Don't forget to allocate some budget for the software that you'll be using for stacking images.
lol focus stacking is still far in the future, I don't even want to think about using rails yet
11-09-2011, 12:12 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Azzy Quote
My main priority is to get as much magnification with highest IQ possible, I will be using it to take shots of anything from insects to some random object around the house.
Just about all real macro lenses (and enlarger lenses) have good-to-great IQ. (So-called macro-zooms aren't real macro.) Most Pentax compatible macro lenses stop at 1:1 (1x) magnification. For more magnification you need either extension (tubes and/or bellows) or reverse-stacking. I talk a bit about these options in the CHEAP MACRO article.

QuoteQuote:
Having infinity focus is not necessary. Being able to use it as a portrait lens is a plus but not really a big deal since I already have FA77
All real macro lenses reach infinity focus, unless you add extension to them.

QuoteQuote:
My budget is ~$500 including flash (I don't own one yet, I was hoping to get into strobist as well), can anyone recommend a good combo for this ?
A Lester Dine dental-macro lens with a built-in ringflash. Can't be beat!
______________________________________________

Besides budget, the basic decision points are 1) How close do you want to work? and 2) How easy do you want it to be? For easy exposure, especially with flash, you want an A-type or AF lens. For close (studio) work, you want a 35mm or a Fifty; for further (field) work, you want a Hundred or longer.

A great short lens: A50/2.8 macro. A great longer lens: A100/2.8 macro, but that's beyond your budget. Otherwise, a variety of A-type and AF macros in 90-100-105mm are available. Others will push their favorites here; I have no recommendations.

To get more magnification with any of these, add A-type extension. As I mention in the CHEAP MACRO article, the cheapest option is to get a couple (or more) A-type 2X TCs and remove the glass. They will retain complete exposure and aperture control.

Flash is a tricky component and I have no recommendations. Others will push their favorites, which may include customized mounts and light-channels and whatever. I get by with my P-TTL Pentax AF360 and a TTL ringflash.
______________________________________________

So, my recommendations for your desires and budget.

* For maximum magnification: Any affordable(?) 28-35-50-55mm A-type or AF macro lens; 2-4 deglassed 2x TCs.
* For farther work and lotsa mag: Any affordable 90-100-105mm A-type or AF macro lens; 4-6 deglassed 2x TCs.
* Whatever flash is most recommended. I'm agnostic here. And a tripod. Don't forget the tripod. And a funny hat.
11-09-2011, 02:47 PM   #13
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Enlarger Lens

RioRico, most places where enlarger lenses are recommended a bellows is recommended as well. Is there a reason that extension tubes wouldn't work with an enlarger lens? What would the advantage of a bellows vs. extension tubes be when dealing with an enlarger lens?
11-09-2011, 03:08 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Azzy Quote
My budget is ~$500 including flash (I don't own one yet, I was hoping to get into strobist as well), can anyone recommend a good combo for this ?
As Rio mentioned, the Lester Dine 105mm can't be beat and reins supreme over most modern day lenses unless you are spending thousands on Leica or Rollei glass. The Pentax M's are also pretty good and can be had for fairly cheap.

QuoteOriginally posted by Azzy Quote
My main priority is to get as much magnification with highest IQ possible
$500 can go quite far - the Lester Dine's matches what you are looking for, and can be had for about $300 give or take a little (1:1 and "A" contacts with IQ that can't be touched by any other automatic lens within 4 times it's cost). As for a flash, you can get a manual flash for under $100, you can also spend about $20 more and get all kinds of supplies to make/construct flash diffusers.




..
11-09-2011, 04:36 PM   #15
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Why bellows?

QuoteOriginally posted by Enkephalin Quote
RioRico, most places where enlarger lenses are recommended a bellows is recommended as well. Is there a reason that extension tubes wouldn't work with an enlarger lens? What would the advantage of a bellows vs. extension tubes be when dealing with an enlarger lens?
While I'm not RioRico I think I can help & guess he'll agree with me.

Bellows are recommended by me at least because they are easier to use than extension tubes. Changing magnifications with tubes involves putting on tubes & taking tubes off 'til you get it "good enough"; with bellows you just turn the knob.

Plus, when dealing with enlarger lenses you don't have the extension built into camera lenses so extra tubes may be needed.

One can buy a new functional bellows for a Pentax K for about $50 or a set of tubes for about $8 - the extra convenience of the bellows is well worth the $42 price difference.

Plus you'll look like Joe cool Pro to your friends when you whip out the bellows.

Get rails too... they help a lot for high mag work.
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