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03-25-2012, 02:16 PM   #1
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Which 100mm macro lens?

I am looking for a 100mm macro lens but unsure which one to go for. I have no problem wih manual focus so i have looked at the A100 f2.8. I have also looked at the FA100 f2.8.

03-25-2012, 02:53 PM   #2
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It is helpful if you can be more specific with questions like this.

Do you just want the lens for macro,
or do you want it to double up as a portrait lens
and/or a general telephoto?

What price range are you considering?

How portable should the lens be?
(Studio use, or field use on a long hike?)

How good are your manual focus skills,
e.g. can you also do manual focus with an f/3.5 or f/4 lens
at around 100mm focal length?
03-25-2012, 03:08 PM   #3
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Presuming you are shooting digital, the A100/2.8 isn't a good choice. While the lens is excellent, I have problems with reflections off the back element to to sensor causing ghosting.
I'm looking at purchasing the DFA 100/2.8 macro, on the presumption that since it is designed for digital, it won't have the same rear element reflectivity problem.
03-25-2012, 03:21 PM   #4
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If you don't want to spend piles of cash, see: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/152336-cheap-macro-b...lose-work.html

As lytrytyr mentioned, an appropriate lens depends on factors like budget; weight; whether you'll concentrate on close|macro usage or will multi-task it for headshots and other short-tele work; whether you need edge-to-edge flatfield sharpness; etc. And maybe just plain luck; I got my fine M42 Vivitar-Komine 90/2.8 macro for US$3 as part of a batch of cheap lenses.

Give us some hints and we'll have some better suggestions.

03-25-2012, 04:26 PM   #5
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I'm going through the same conundrum, planning to purchase one in a month or two. Right now, I'm leaning heavily towards the Sigma 70mm f./2.8 for its wicked sharpness and slightly shorter focal length, which I think might be more useful for non-macro applications. The slightly shorter working distance is no worse than what I'm used to with the methods I'm using now (tubes and addon lenses (not at the same time)). This will be the only significant lens purchase of the year for me, and cost is also a consideration.

It's worth noting that the 100mm A lens seems to fetch more used than the current WR variant. I suppose it must be because of the well damped focusing ring and longer throw. For macro work, I focus with my shoulders, so it probably wouldn't be worth it to me (I keep the lens fully focused in all the time).

The Viv S1 and Lester Dine (they're two variants of the same lens) are also worth thinking about. I've also seen some nice shots taken with a Panagor 90mm.

For AF, in addition to the Pentax lineup, there's the Sigma 105mm which seems wonderful, and the Tamron 90mm which is likely just as good, if a little shorter. I'm not really a fan of Tamron, so I won't be going with it, but it's still worth considering if you don't have silly biases like that.

Last edited by Philoslothical; 03-25-2012 at 04:43 PM.
03-25-2012, 04:30 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dazthebald Quote
I am looking for a 100mm macro lens but unsure which one to go for. I have no problem wih manual focus so i have looked at the A100 f2.8. I have also looked at the FA100 f2.8.
Those new enough to autofocust---F, FA, DFA have a longer throw in the focus and will focus down to 1:1. the older models only
would go 1/2:1 so you had to use extension tubes to get to 1:1. Extension tubes are a nuisance. I believe the F, FA and DFA 100 are opticallly similar, and are to be preferred because they will focus more closely---the reason for buying a macro in the first place.
03-25-2012, 04:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
Those new enough to autofocust---F, FA, DFA have a longer throw in the focus and will focus down to 1:1. the older models only
would go 1/2:1 so you had to use extension tubes to get to 1:1.
I stand corrected on the focus throw, must have been thinking of another lens. However, the Pentax A is most certainly a 1:1 macro lens, without adapters or tubes. Several others older MF macro lenses are also 1:1, such as the ones I listed above (Viv S1 / Kiron/Lester Dine, Panagor, etc.)
03-25-2012, 05:06 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I got my fine M42 Vivitar-Komine 90/2.8 macro for US$3 as part of a batch of cheap lenses.
Silly, Disgusting, Sick - I don't know what to call it when you (yes you and not me) get a lens of that caliber for $3, wtf!

QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
The Viv S1 and Lester Dine (they're two variants of the same lens) are also worth thinking about. I've also seen some nice shots taken with a Panagor 90mm.
Those two are worth a lot more than just a look, very few lenses out there perform as exceptional as those.

The A+++ List

- $175 to $200 (unless you are RioRico)
Panagor | Vivitar | Elicar - 90mm 2.8 1:1 Macro

- $250 to $350 (and some higher)
Vivitar S1 | Kiron Lester Dine - 105mm 2.5 1:1 Macro

- $400+
(Legendary "Bokina") Vivitar | Tokina 90mm 2.5 Macro

03-25-2012, 06:10 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by joe.penn Quote
Silly, Disgusting, Sick - I don't know what to call it when you (yes you and not me) get a lens of that caliber for $3, wtf!
One reason is that it looked bad. Not damaged, but the knurled focus-grip rubber was decaying. So I peeled it off and replaced it with... duct tape! Still looks cheezy; works just fine. But also it was part of a batch of nondescript gear. Ya never know what will turn up in one of those smelly old camera bags that were sitting in a garage awhile, eh?
03-27-2012, 01:34 AM   #10
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Sorry I should have been more specific. Ideally I would like it to double up as a general purpose short telephoto lens, but the main use would be for close up work. Price range wise, I have seen the A100 F2.8 for around 1000 USD (around 627) which is about as far as I want to go, preferably a little cheaper. The FA 100mm F2.8 is much cheaper, but if it is worth it I would go for the A100.
03-27-2012, 04:08 AM   #11
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Another Choice?

Hi Daz,
Another option for around $100 USD is the M 100mm f/4.0 macro. In addition to manual focus, you'll need to use the green button for aperture, which isn't a big deal, but does seem to bother some folks.
Anyway, it's 1/2:1, not 1:1, heavy and long, slow focus throw.
That's the downside.
As to the "Pros", it is SHARP!! A 10 for sharpness on the PF lens review and I agree. Good for short tele work, long portraits and just about anything else.
SMC Pentax-M 100mm F4 Macro Reviews - M Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
A quick look at the photos here will give you some idea of the resolution and bokeh. A fine piece of glass.
JMO,
Ron
03-28-2012, 04:35 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Presuming you are shooting digital, the A100/2.8 isn't a good choice. While the lens is excellent, I have problems with reflections off the back element to to sensor causing ghosting.
I'm looking at purchasing the DFA 100/2.8 macro, on the presumption that since it is designed for digital, it won't have the same rear element reflectivity problem.
Interesting Wheatfield,

I have the A 100/2.8 macro as well. I've had some reflection issues from time to time but not often enough for me to consider it a problem with the lens. That said, all things be equal, if I were in the market for a new macro I would probably opt for the newer model to get autofocus.

Tom G
03-28-2012, 06:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Interesting Wheatfield,

I have the A 100/2.8 macro as well. I've had some reflection issues from time to time but not often enough for me to consider it a problem with the lens. That said, all things be equal, if I were in the market for a new macro I would probably opt for the newer model to get autofocus.

Tom G
Yeah, it's not that big a deal, but it pops up just often enough to make the lens a bit of an unreliable performer. I've pretty much got it figured out for what scene types to leave the lens in the bag with. It's too bad because it really is an excellent lens.
03-28-2012, 06:44 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by joe.penn Quote
Those two are worth a lot more than just a look, very few lenses out there perform as exceptional as those. The A+++ List - $175 to $200 (unless you are RioRico) Panagor | Vivitar | Elicar - 90mm 2.8 1:1 Macro - $250 to $350 (and some higher) Vivitar S1 | Kiron Lester Dine - 105mm 2.5 1:1 Macro - $400+ (Legendary "Bokina") Vivitar | Tokina 90mm 2.5 Macro
Where might the various Tamron Adaptall lenses fit on this list - namely the 90mm f2.5 (1:2) and the 90mm f2.8 (1:1)?
03-28-2012, 11:19 PM   #15
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I manged to pick up a FA 100 2.8 Macro on KEH for around $300, and have absolutely no complaints. I picked it thanks to a discussion here, asking about the same question as you. The basic gist I picked up was that there really isn't much of an optical difference between the FA and the newer D FAs, i.e. it is very solid. I also heard that the Tamron 90 is as excellent, as is the Sigma of the same rough size. Basically go for price, availability, and secondary options (such as the FA having a aperture ring, or the the DFA WR having quick shift, etc...). All of them are 1:1, all of them are optically beautiful, and all of them are worthy.

Getting a manual focus macro also isn't a terrible idea, if your not going to be using it for portraits as well. With my FA I don't think I've ever actually popped it into AF, actually, the seek time is ridiculous, and you don't get the fine control you want from a macro lens. I've heard good things about some (and only some) Vivitars, as well as some more exotic lenses, which might be completely impossible to find (I couldn't, at least).

I do recommend getting an A or newer though, especially if your beginning. Having to futz with metering and apertures while shooting macro is a bit of a pain. I at least find I already have too much on my plate when doing macro to have to worry about much more. Obviously, though, this is a matter of personal preference.
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