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04-19-2012, 11:59 PM   #1
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da*55 and extension tubes

Does anyone tried extension tubes with da*55?
can anyone recommend length of tubes for work with DA*55?
I got ring flash sigma 140 and is working very nicely with 55 and is much more convenient combination than with DFA macros because da55 not extending and sigmas mount ring can be screwed directly on 58mm thread not like DFAs which require step up ring form 49mm.

04-20-2012, 12:09 AM   #2
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It has no aperture ring, so your selection of possible tubes is extremely limited if you really want to use this lens for that. You will need a set that has the aperture contacts, like the Vivitar AT-23 tubes. Lenses without aperture rings really aren't well suited for extension, the tubes they're compatible with are rare and expensive.
04-20-2012, 12:13 AM   #3
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I'm aware of this, but maybe I can got A extension tubes but don't want to spend money for nothing so ask for someones experience.
04-20-2012, 12:20 AM   #4
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Oh OK. I can't speak from experience with this lens, but there's no reason it wouldn't work very well. One set of tubes (speaking of the Vivitar ones here, others vary slightly) is 68mm combined, which will get you past 1:1. Fully focused in, you should get something like 1.4:1 at most. That's a nice max magnification for most things, imo. Much beyond that and DoF is so thin that you need to focus stack anything that isn't extremely flat.

If you can get ahold of the right kind of tubes, I'd say go for it. The tubes certainly aren't going to lose value, if anything they'll slowly appreciate due to their rarity.

04-20-2012, 03:21 AM   #5
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I got a Kenko Pz-AF extension tube that works with SDM and I've tried it successfully with the DA*50-135 - good results for close-up. I do not have access to the DA*55 but I've tried with the other specialized portrait beast, the FA*85. The results were disappointing. Not that it would not work, but it was clearly inferior to a specialized macro lens.
I suggest you to look for DFA50/2.8 instead, a great short macro with stunning sharpness and contrast on any reasonable aperture setting.
04-20-2012, 03:36 AM   #6
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I have dfa50 and is optically perfect but just iz not suitable for sigma ringflash that is to heavy for fully extended lens, and if i mount ring flash on hood(with ducktape) than I lose working distance 1:1
04-20-2012, 04:23 AM   #7
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Probably less expensive than A-type (and DEFINITELY cheaper than AF-type) macro tube sets are deglassed TCs. My 2x TCs (which cost an average of US$15) are each about 26mm thick. Two 2x TCs with the glass removed will bring your DA*55 virtually to 1:1 magnification. Advantage: they're fairly cheap and readily available. Disadvantage: you don't get to fine-tune the magnification as you would with tube sets of varied sized. With one, you go to ~1:1.5; with both, you go to ~1:1. Nothing in-between.

Then there are results. Macro lenses are designed for edge-to-edge flatfield sharpness; other lenses just aren't. If you shoot flattened subjects where edges matter intensely, like postage stamps or microcircuitry or butterfly wings, then you NEED flatfield sharpness. If you're sniping flowers and bugs and other stuff where the center matters but the edges don't, then a camera lens like the DA*55 is fine.

And in either case, AF is not your friend. You can do excellent close and macro work with manual lenses, or with enlarger lenses on extension. An AF system focuses where it wants, not necessarily where YOU want. If you want to work close and keep all your lens automation functions, just mount a Raynox or similar adapter on your camera lens. See the RAYNOX CLUB here for brilliant examples.

Search here for my CHEAP MACRO article for more possibilities. Cheers!
04-20-2012, 06:45 AM   #8
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good info there by Rio.
Here is a flat plane by the SMC Pentax 1:2 55mm wide open
( a non macro lens)
on the Auto bellows M at exactly 2X (124mm)

https://www.box.com/s/02a1db89273d92d6a6c2
(it is a 2.5 MB camera jpg)

Focussed on the "32" as best as possible with the Magnifier M
Clearly showing the edge distortion on the aps-c size.

04-20-2012, 06:50 AM   #9
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in meantime I just find a way to mount sigma em140 ringflash to hood of DFA50 macro so inner , extending, tube of lens is not anymore loaded with heavy ringflash head and because of that no need for mounting flash and extension tubes on DA*55
tnx all for responses
04-20-2012, 07:13 AM   #10
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Barbarosa,
Something like this on a flash grip?
But it is then angled light.
Actually I am thinking to make a bracket out to the front so the lens aims through the flash

https://www.box.com/s/afeb02665731a33c79c3
04-20-2012, 07:42 AM   #11
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Not like that, I just put flashead with ducktape on front of the dfa50 hood so front element of lens and inner barrel freely travel back or forth inside hood when focusing.
04-20-2012, 08:11 AM   #12
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I see what you mean. Pentax AF160 ring flash mounts nicely instead of the hood. I would not like to mount too much weigth on the front thread of DFA50. But especially if you have the DFA50, you are likely to be disappointed with macro performance of a portrait lens with extension tube.
If you want more working distance, why don't you use a TC with the DFA50? Works well for me.
04-20-2012, 09:25 AM   #13
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Is ok now with flash on hood.
04-20-2012, 10:00 AM   #14
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Prospec, vivitar, etc sold 3x vari focus A type TC's and constant version A type TC's; either can be modified by removing the lens element resulting in a do-it-all extension tube (no autofocus - with later TCs you might get autofocus too). I payed about $30 for such a TC and wound up with a 56mm long A-type extension tube. (1:1+ with the 55mm lens.)

Tubes made from 2X TCs are often about 20-25 mm long & 1.5x is a little shorter IIRC.

Removing the lens is not usually difficult.

At the present time keh.com lists an 2x type A for $10 and a 3X type A for $13. I'd get'em both
http://www.keh.com/Camera/format-35mm/system-Pentax-Manual-Focus/category-Le...c=79074&r=WG&f.

Last edited by newarts; 04-20-2012 at 10:11 AM.
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