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02-24-2008, 04:00 PM   #1
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macro help

I am looking at getting a macro lens to finish of my LBA and the decision has come down to the following the following three lenses 1) pentax f-da100 2)tamron SP 90mm di 3)sigma 105 ex "DG" . I was wondering if anyone had knowledge of any of these lenses and experience with any or them? Any help or other recommendations would be appreciated

02-24-2008, 04:59 PM   #2
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Here is my take on it:

All three are fantastic lenses for your purpose! I own DFA 100mm, and it is more than capable lens for macro work. Great colors, nice manual focus override if you do use AF. What I don't like about it - no limit lock for AF, not that big of a deal, but it would be nice to have the ability to limit the range.


On the other hand, two other lenses are fantastic quality as well, many shoot with Sigma, sharp, fast, great lens. There are many who religiously use Tamron and will swear by it, and is considered by many as one of the finest macro lenses alternative manufacturers.

You may want to take a peak at photo galleries at pbase to see if you like results better from one or the other, but aside from the hard core precision tests in the lab, real world application would show no significant difference between these three.

Regards,
D
02-24-2008, 05:21 PM   #3
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Out of those 3, I would suggest you go with the Tamron. It is well regarded in the macro department at this focal (AF or manual) across brands. The Sigma doesn't get that much rave. The Pentax is very well-regarded among Pentax users. I personally used the Tamron 90

However, if you only want the Macro feature, I would suggest going with manual macro: Kiron/Dine/Vivitar S1 105 or Tokina/Vivitar S1 90 or old Tamron 90. The 105 variant would do 1:1 without extension tube. These manual will cost you much less compared to the AF variant (especially if you carefully monitor eBay).

I know other would suggest Voigtlander 125 (discontinued and no stock-high price on eBay), 50 macro variant (limited use with 1:1 but wonderful for less magnificantion), DA 35 macro (I've changed my opinion about this lens, but I still think longer FL macro would be more useful). The Sigma 180 macro is not a bad lens either, and it would provide amble distance for your subject. It's just that the Tamron 180 macro is much better, but not available for Pentax (shame on Tamron).

Generally speaking, 100ish macro is a good compromise between working distance and weight.
02-24-2008, 05:39 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by aegisphan Quote

However, if you only want the Macro feature, I would suggest going with manual macro: Kiron/Dine/Vivitar S1 105 or Tokina/Vivitar S1 90 or old Tamron 90. The 105 variant would do 1:1 without extension tube. These manual will cost you much less compared to the AF variant (especially if you carefully monitor eBay).

I own the Vivitar Series 1 105mm 1:1 macro (made by Kiron). Outstanding sharpness. If it's just going to be used for macro, I agree, AF isn't needed and doesn't add anything, so you can save some money by going manual. I think you can find the Viv 105 on ebay occasionally for $175 - $350, depending on who's bidding and the level of Viv Series-1 fever they have that week. But they seem to be getting much more rare lately.

The Voigtlander 125 is supposed to rival the Viv S1, but seems to go for $600 - $1000 if you can even find one.


.

02-24-2008, 05:44 PM   #5
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I'm not really sure there is value in an AF macro.

I know allthe new lenses are really good, and the abiliuty to go to 1:1 without extension tubes is also good, but generally yoou will find that the AF is never where your venter of focus is,

I have not bought an AF macro simply because my SMC 100mm F4 MFD macro suites me just fine.
02-24-2008, 05:52 PM   #6
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I am leaning towards one with autofocus since i am hoping to also use it as a short telephoto prime as well if that makes any sense
02-24-2008, 08:35 PM   #7
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Own the DFA 100 and tried out the Tamron 90 and the Sigma 105.

The DFA is better stopped down as it is a little soft wide open. Frankly, I think this Pentax macro isn't as good as compared to the 100/105mm macros from Canon/Nikon or KM/Sony. I believe the bigger and heavier FA version is better optically. The DFA barrel construction is plastic and is overall quite light. AF can have difficulty locking in focus at higher magnifications. Quick shift is useful and can be faster than focusing manually.

The Tamron is an update of an old tested design. It performs better at the wider apertures, which isn't so ideal for macros DOF wise, but good for portraits. Focusing is slow and macro is best performed manually. Probably the cheapest of the three.

The Sigma is good optically but its weakness is in its bokeh (subjective) but it has the best build quality. It is also the priciest (at least where I am). Also 105mm vs 90mm/100mm does give a little more subject isolation.

Tokina also has a 100mm macro but unfortunately it is not available in Pentax mount. Optically it is pretty good.

BTW I have a Sigma 90mm f/2.8 Macro in PK-A mount. A very compact and lightweight manual focus 1:2 macro. Optically it is very good, even better than the DFA wide open. This is a good lens to look out for if you're OK with manual focus. I rate this lens highly.

Last edited by creampuff; 02-24-2008 at 08:44 PM. Reason: spelling
02-24-2008, 11:59 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I'm not really sure there is value in an AF macro.
how about when you use the lens to do non-macro work?

02-25-2008, 04:44 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
how about when you use the lens to do non-macro work?
Of course it is possible to shoot macro using AF. And used as a tele, AF definitely allows for faster focusing. All one needs to do is change the focus point for the AF based on where your subject is in the viewfinder by means of the direction keys, and in the case of the Pentax DFA macro lenses, it is easy to tweak focus manually with Ouick Shift.

I have 4 macro lenses and, my DFA 100mm with AF & Quick Shift can focus faster than the manual focus Voigtlander Apo Macro Lanthar 125mm.


K100D DFA 100mm f/2.8 Macro

Last edited by creampuff; 02-25-2008 at 04:50 AM.
02-25-2008, 09:24 AM   #10
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Tamron SP 90/2.5 model 52B. Sharp even wide open (and that's no exaggeration), with amazing bokeh although subjective

The focus ring moves maybe a 1/4" between 15ft and infinity, so this lens really doesnt need to be focused further out lol...those with a Zenitar know what I mean
02-27-2008, 05:41 AM   #11
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The MF Tamron 90 was great, I would assume the new one to be at least as good as the old one.
02-27-2008, 05:47 AM   #12
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there is a sigma 105 on the forum that i am thinking about picking up and the above reviews says its well constrsucted so am hoping that its a good lens.
02-27-2008, 06:23 AM   #13
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I would put a strong vote in for the Sigma. A very well built lens and great IQ, even wide open. I've used it and the Tamron and frankly the differences are too small to measure. I liked the Sigma more just because the extra 15mm gives you more distance to the subject when getting down to 1:1. The focus ring is smooth with just the right amount of dampening IMO as well. A bit heavy but that's to be expected with a metal body lens.
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