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06-30-2012, 07:16 AM   #1
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Macros best

If you were going to choose one macro 1:1 that would not be used for any other purposes, which one and why?
After reading the reviews, it seems like there are some other choices besides Tamron, Sigma, and Pentax

Thanks

Randy

06-30-2012, 07:38 AM   #2
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My advice would be to choose according to the focal length first.
Most people prefer a longer lens and go to a ~100mm. I find it too long to handhold, I have a 35mm Limited and am quite happy with it, but now I'm getting a 50mm for a little extra length.
AFAIK, in these shorter FLs your only options are Pentax.
06-30-2012, 07:45 AM   #3
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It'll help you if you can better define what you mean by best.

Best for insects in the field, like fleas in the forest or for stacked photos of fly's eyes? Best for a poster sized high resolution print or for a 21" LCD display?

The lens set-up for best image quality need not be costly, but may be awkward in use - like an enlarger lens on a simple bellows.

So what do you want to do with your macro capabilities?
06-30-2012, 08:40 AM   #4
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
It'll help you if you can better define what you mean by best.

Best for insects in the field, like fleas in the forest or for stacked photos of fly's eyes? Best for a poster sized high resolution print or for a 21" LCD display?

The lens set-up for best image quality need not be costly, but may be awkward in use - like an enlarger lens on a simple bellows.

So what do you want to do with your macro capabilities?
I was looking for opinions mostly on sharpness and contrast, not that I can afford any of them

thanks

randy

06-30-2012, 10:03 AM   #5
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I don't believe a bad macro has been made, optically. Bargain designs like Promaster and Phoenix use cheap parts to hold excellent glass in place, and more expensive ones use more exotic glass and better barrels.

As Victor noted, focal length is the optimal way to choose. I picked up a Tamron 90 at an amazing price, and it was a great lens.. but at 90mm it competed for camera time with the DA55-300 and Rikenon 70-150, two very good non-macro lenses. I found the Sigma 50mm to be a much better fit for my kit, and my tests showed very little difference in optical quality. But shooting bugs is tougher with 35-50mm macros, that's better with 100-180mm to give them space.

So I would not worry about quality if I were you, but select based what you will shoot at macro range and what fits your kit.
06-30-2012, 10:38 AM   #6
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Some traditional standards are:

Pentax A* and FA* 200mm
Voigtländer 125mm
Kiron / Lester Dine / Vivitar Series 1 105mm
Zeiss 100mm (Although this one only does 1:2, not meeting your requirements)

The DA 35mm Limited is a very good lens, and I have one, but you asked for a choice that would be used for no other purpose, and the 35mm requires a very close working distance to get to 1:1 so it would not be my pick. The various Pentax 100mm's and the Tamron 90mm have ardent supporters as well, not to mention the Sigma 150mm and 180mm options.

As others have said, there really is no bad macro lens.
06-30-2012, 11:49 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by G_Money Quote
Zeiss 100mm (Although this one only does 1:2, not meeting your requirements)
Since the ZK 100/2 has an aperture ring (unlike the current D FA 100/2.8 WR),
there's no problem using it on regular extension tubes:

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