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12-05-2012, 06:52 PM   #1
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Dream macro lens for bugs/plants?

I got the DA35 Macro but it doesn't really do the job for insects or flower parts. Aside the 100mm WR, what other options are out there?

I own the 50-135 and I've seen it mentioned a few times with an extension tube it can double as a good macro lens for insects and plant parts. If so, which extension tubes would you recommend?

I'm very much a macro noob but have enrolled in a macro class.

12-05-2012, 07:14 PM   #2
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Any 90 or 105mm f2.5/2.8 1:1 macro lens would do. Look for manual focus as they are much cheaper and you normally don't need AF when doing macro.

Have a look at Vivitar/Panagor 90/2.8 macro

https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/panagor-90mm-f2-8-macro-pmc.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/kiron-lester-dine-105mm-f2-8-macro.html
12-05-2012, 07:31 PM   #3
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I have the tamron 90 2.8 and love it. Best AF value IMO.
12-05-2012, 08:07 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by FrancisK7 Quote
I got the DA35 Macro but it doesn't really do the job for insects or flower parts. Aside the 100mm WR, what other options are out there?

I own the 50-135 and I've seen it mentioned a few times with an extension tube it can double as a good macro lens for insects and plant parts. If so, which extension tubes would you recommend?

I'm very much a macro noob but have enrolled in a macro class.
I wouldn't go as far as to say that the DA 35 ltd doesn't do the job for insects. I got a version of this image on the cover of an entomology journal using it.





As far as other options go, the D FA 100 WR is in production, Tamron 90mm, Sigma 70, Pentax D FA 50/2.8 and Sigma 50/2.8. You can get the Sigma 105 EX DG and EX used and they are good lenses. If you have some money you can track down the A* 200 macro or the FA* 200/4 macro. Zeiss has some 0.5 to 1 options available that are in production but uber expensive.

12-05-2012, 09:01 PM   #5
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There's also the older Pentax F & FA 100/2.8 macros, although they're rather bigger & heavier than the original and WR versions of the DFA 100/2.8 macro. For example: SMC Pentax FA 100mm Macro F2 8 Lens Excellent Used Condition 0027075031357 | eBay

According to Photozone tests, the older lens is supposedly sharper at wide apertures and has slightly less vignetting & distortion.


12-05-2012, 09:48 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by FrancisK7 Quote
I own the 50-135 ... which extension tubes would you recommend?
The 50-135 does not have an aperture ring. You need extension tubes with A contacts.

It's probably easier and cheaper to get a 2X teleconverter (with A contacts, of course) and remove the glass (right in the photo below).

12-05-2012, 10:43 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

Five years ago I snagged one of the last two brand new Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar macro lenses CQ had left. A year after that I sold it, at a profit, because I thought I'd never like macro.

I was so stupid.
12-05-2012, 10:53 PM   #8
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Dream and Macro and Bugs sounds like a nightmare.

12-06-2012, 12:23 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Zeiss has some 0.5 to 1 options available that are in production but uber expensive.
There were two Zeiss ZK "Makros" (natively 2:1) for Pentax, but both are discontinued.

The ZK 50/2 was available for less than a grand.
It's both a fast fifty (sharp and useable at f/2) and a macro option.

The ZK 100/2 was less than half the price of its Coastal Optics competitors!
12-06-2012, 12:48 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by FrancisK7 Quote
Five years ago I snagged one of the last two brand new Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar macro lenses CQ had left. A year after that I sold it, at a profit, because I thought I'd never like macro.

I was so stupid.
Don't be too hard on yourself, we all can look back on decisions made in a different time or circumstance and wish we had the knowledge we have now!
In any event, the suggestions you've received so far will all work, and I'll add another. The Pentax M 100mm f/4.0 Macro. Manual focus, manual aperture, 1:2 magnification. I see these from time to time on eBay for $100-$150. This is a good starter Macro lens without a large investment and can yield great results once you learn to use it properly.
There is a learning curve to Macro, and your class will help in that respect. So will a sturdy tripod, cable (or remote) shutter release and split prism viewfinder screen. Relying completely on A/F for Macro is an excercise in frustration, or perhaps it is better to say all A/F systems have limitations which sometimes run counter to the photographer's intentions.
Once you have the equipment ready, I'd suggest going to a site where you can be assured of lots of subject material. The local botanical gardens or large public garden areas would be an example. Be prepared to spend plenty of time there and take dozens, if not hundreds of photos.
At first your "keeper" ratio will be low (if your experience is anything like mine!) but gradually the ratio will improve. The overall ratio may never be as high as it would for scenics or general photography, however, Macro is very demanding. It is also very rewarding!
Good Luck,
Ron
12-06-2012, 06:45 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
The 50-135 does not have an aperture ring. You need extension tubes with A contacts.

It's probably easier and cheaper to get a 2X teleconverter (with A contacts, of course) and remove the glass (right in the photo below).
Or buy less expensive tubes with only the aperture lever and fake all the contacts-
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-field-accessories/113756-pk...ml#post1965512
scroll down a couple posts for photos.

I use my KA-50mm f/1.7 with the Panagor macro-converter semi-regularly on my K-r. The Magictape insulator has yet to be changed. I've successfully tested my kit lens DA L 18-55 (at 50mm) with the converter at 1:1 magnification - I prefer my 50mm prime lens because it is sharper.

Last edited by JimJohnson; 12-06-2012 at 06:57 AM.
12-06-2012, 06:56 PM   #12
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Well I ended up getting the DFA 100mm f/2.8 WR. I reckon I will not regret it.
12-06-2012, 07:25 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by FrancisK7 Quote
Well I ended up getting the DFA 100mm f/2.8 WR. I reckon I will not regret it.
You won't!
12-06-2012, 10:10 PM   #14
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Don't forget the Sigma 105mm 2.8.
12-07-2012, 10:52 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by FrancisK7 Quote
Well I ended up getting the DFA 100mm f/2.8 WR. I reckon I will not regret it.
I love mine that I got this summer. Extension tubes are a PITA imo. Yes they work but they give you a narrow zone that you are in focus and you need to change every time you change the distance to the subject. It's better to get the M50f4 or M100f4 for $75-$150. Or just get the DFA100WR like you did.


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