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10-20-2012, 02:15 PM   #1
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Dedicated macro or tubes?

Hi All
I have been watching and reading with great pleasure on the side line for quite a while now.
I do now find I need a bit of advice...
I have been doing a bit of macro with my M 50 F1.7 attached to some pentax extension tubes and believe I am getting some pretty good results. I do however find it a bit time consuming doing everything manually and am thinking about purchasing a macro lens as fx fa50 f2.8, f100 f2.8 or similar.
I suppose it will be "easier" but what about the end result in terms of IQ?
Best regards, Ryan

10-20-2012, 04:41 PM   #2
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10-20-2012, 04:52 PM   #3
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Macro lenses tend to have other useful characteristics, like a flat focus field, macro focus scales, etc. Macro lenses tend to also be pretty sharp.
You can stlll use extension tubes on a macro lens. Is an upgrade from extension tubes to a macro lens worth it? Completely depends on which lens, your budget, your needs..
I think most people will advise you to get a macro lens, though.
10-20-2012, 05:06 PM   #4
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Macro tends to be time consuming whether with a dedicated macro lens or with reversed lenses, extension, etc. Even with a macro lens you are usually better off focusing manually, and often you will either want to use a tripod or flash. If you are mainly interested in moderate magnification up to 1:1 (1:1 being where the a subject the same size as the sensor fills the image frame), a macro lens is undoubtedly convenient. If you want higher magnification than that, you are looking at extension anyway. Put another way, if you want closeups of small-ish flowers or medium to large insects, a macro lens is very handy. If you want closeups of insect eyes, or other tiny objects, you're into the realm of extreme macro and are better off looking into a bellows or stacked lenses.

10-20-2012, 05:19 PM   #5
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I am not very good at macro yet,i am using vivitar x2 macro converter. but am thinking whether to get a pure macro lens or not.The shots i am getting from the setup seemed very fine to me,that's why i am not sure whether to go for the 100wr or not,being if i solely using it for macro works only.

Here are some sample from my combo,

10-20-2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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Somewhere on this site is an article that Rio Rico left us all about macro on a budget. Worth reading before you decide.

I bought the dfa 100mm wr and think it worth every penny. I use it for a lot more than macro it is simply an excellent lens. You could also look at any of the older 100mm manual macro lenses. As noted above macro is really a manual operation anyway. But the AF comes in handy for non-macro applications.

Bottom line your budget has to decide lots of really good shots with tubes or reversed lens so you do not have to have a macro lens but it does make things easier.
10-20-2012, 08:23 PM   #7
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Macro is slow no matter what you use. I'd say the biggest downside with using tubes is that you are constantly exposing the innards of your camera to potential crud, and if you try and rush things like I often do, the crud will get in there. Up until very recently all I used were tubes. They could be tedious, but I found the bigger challenge was getting the lighting right, unless I was shooting in full daylight and not too high a magnification. After that I found I needed to use the built in flash (since I'm doing it all on the cheap), and then diffusing it was the challenge. Here is a link to a few photos I posted I include it not because I have some great photos, but because you'll see a list of posters at the top who have posted great macro photos.

Fast forward, and a week ago I picked up a Vivitar 90/2.8 1:1 macro lens (which goes by a bunch of other names as well). I'm still getting used to its quirks - especially its odd metering which is not uniform across the aperture range. And I also haven't shot a lot of macro with it yet. But it is great to be able to stick one lens on the camera and go for a walkabout and know that I can shoot both close in and far away and not lose infinity focus. It seems to be sharp when focusing as a portrait lens. Focusing for macro is also good, but here the 990 degree turning range from infinity to 1:1 means that you can twist a long way and still not be close to being in focus when you get to the macro range. I can also see why 135mm was a popular focal length full frame as this 90, which is the equivalent on an APSC camera, is a fun length to play with. Not too close for shooting flowers, but still good for indoor portraits.

That said, I probably spent less than $100 for all the tubes I have (multiple sets) and some of the Takumar lenses I tend to use with them. This macro cost me $200, and it is an m42 lens with all the limitations that brings in terms of metering. So that trade off can't be ignored.
10-21-2012, 02:40 AM   #8
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I just sold a 105 2.8 with the "A" setting. Very nice and a legendary performer.


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