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04-12-2013, 01:35 PM   #1
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D FA Macro 100 / Tamron 90 Macro: Good for events?

There is an event I regularly volunteer for happening at the end of May. Last year I was just a general gopher. This year, instead of doing the usual door watching/people herding, I offered my amateur photography services so I can walk around and mingle with everyone. The organizer gave the thumbs up, so I'm pretty stoked about that.

I have a Tamron 17-50 to use with the walkaround part. However, there is an auditorium where speaking panels will take place, and it's somewhat dimly lit.

I can't afford/do not want a 70-200 2.8 zoom. Would a D FA Macro 100 or a Tamron 90 Macro be good substitutes to use for capturing pictures of the speakers and audience members from the side/back of the seats? I singled out these lenses because they're small and unobtrusive, fairly inexpensive, and will find use after this event as a complimentary prime to my general walkaround kit.

This isn't sports photography, so I don't think the slow focus of these lenses will be a problem. The speakers will be standing mostly in one spot, or even just behind a podium, and of course the audience will just be sitting there. The auditorium itself isn't very big either. It can seat maybe 100-150 people, so I think a 100mm focal length will be good.

Thoughts? My Google-fu was not strong enough to find a definitive answer to this question anywhere.

04-12-2013, 01:58 PM   #2
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I frequently use my DFA100 for that purpose. Hopefully the lighting is decent which would make it easier to use existing light.
04-12-2013, 02:11 PM   #3
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Both of them are excellent primes. You'll be surprised how little distance 100mm gets you though. About 10ft away I can get between a half and full body shot of my infant son(depending on orientation). They are sharp lenses, so you can crop some.
04-12-2013, 02:21 PM - 1 Like   #4
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If you need to shoot in very low light, you may need to shift to MF from time to time. In that case (ie MF operation), the D FA 100mm would be a better choice because of Quickshift. Qucikshift alow you a very easy, painless transtion from AF to MF and back. By comparison, with the Tamron, you need to set the AF selector to MF on the camera and change the clutch on the lens to MF.

For that reason, I would recommend you the Pentax D FA 100mm for your application, although I have myself the Tamron.

Hope that the comment may help.

04-12-2013, 03:00 PM   #5
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I think it's beyond the question of the OP in this post but this is where the DA*50-135 rocks. However, I've gotten very nice results with the DFA 100 in similar settings. Just choose your location wisely and get close if you can.
04-12-2013, 03:22 PM   #6
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Check out focusing over ride of the lenses. Both lenses will have a tendency to hunt which is also noisy. I think only the pentax lens you can manually focus while on autofocus. The pentax does not have a focus limiter. I don't know about the latest tamron.

I love my pentax 100mm macro, but I have never applied it to anything other than wildlife.

Doing speakers can be a real cow. Often they have a black backdrop and these days power dressing for men and women is black. You can have a perfectly exposed face in a vast black space. Will you be using flash?

Also I just got a sigma 17-50 and discovered after the event it had a back focusing problem in dim light. If you can wear an official looking name tag. Wearing a photo jacket works really well. People will more often engage and pose very nicely.

Hope you enjoy yourself.
04-12-2013, 10:13 PM   #7
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The DFA 100mm WR is wonderfully built and a joy to handle. I find the auto focus as fast as my other lenses unless it happens to be at the wrong end of the focusing range (rarely a problem). Quickshift can help there to jump to the other end. I don't find low light focusing to be much different than other lenses either. However, contrast detect AF with live view for this lens can be frustrating when it hunts (often) and I rarely use it. I also had some issues with what I guess was BF, but the in camera adjustment I made seems to have solved it. I still don't trust it entirely and haven't shot enough to completely figure it out.

I bought this lens to compare to my DA* 50-135 with the intention of then selling one of them. It's now 6 or 7 months later and I can't seem to let either one go. It compares really well as a tele to the DA* and I find as time goes by that I can often replicate some of what I find different or missing in post processing (but I still can't decide). It has excellent IQ with good contrast and nice OOF rendering and of course is very sharp.

The focal length should compliment well what you already have and sounds useful for the setting you describe. The sharpness/detail may allow you to crop more than with most lenses for when your reach isn't there. From what I read about the Tamron it may be equal in IQ and should be considered, especially if the price is an issue.
04-13-2013, 01:09 AM   #8
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From Photozone, the Tamron is a bit better



04-13-2013, 08:03 AM   #9
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Not sure if this makes a difference to you, or if it affects the FA the same, but the F100/2.8 macro in low light, can start to hunt, and if it does it can be pretty loud for what would seem like an eternity in a quiet auditorium. As for photo quality, they are great lenses for regular photography and not just macro work.
04-13-2013, 08:05 AM   #10
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I have the dfa100 macro wr and it should work fine with what you want to do. I use it at weddings for portraits, macros of the rings, and depending on the ceremony, some shots during the ceremony. It can be a little loud, so you might just want to keep it in MF.
04-13-2013, 10:32 PM   #11
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I find DFA 100's bokeh much better than tamron's and it's much more compact in both dimensions.

In addition, the macro capability on DFA 100 allows to shoot using built-in or hotshoe-mounted flash in 1:1 mode while Tamron requires the light to come from direction impossible from hot shoe (so you'll need to hold the flash with another hand or something like that), since the tamron's long front lens bezel blocks the light so you see huge area shadowed when shooting 1:1. The similar effect is seen on DFA 100 only when using max magnification with Raynox 150 mounted on lens.
04-13-2013, 11:09 PM   #12
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having tried tamron 90 for events, its not easy... got a few nice shots but my MF skills are just not up there (AF takes too long + too noisy... not to mention even with delimiter if it misses focus it just keeps on going back and forth)

if your confident on your MF skills then go for it, personally i found it too difficult and more of a hassle
04-14-2013, 11:06 AM   #13
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DFA 100 doesn't have quick-shift, only the rather more expensive WR variant. Neither one has a focus limiter. I find the lack of a limiter kills the DFA 100 WR for general purpose use. You will be the least popular guy in the room if you're making a loud "phwz-phwz-phwz" sound for several seconds at a time while someone is trying to speak and others are trying to listen. I used to own the Tamron 90mm and it is, in truth, superior to the DFA 100 (guess which lens I sold to help fund the DFA 100 WR). As it happens, not sure either is the best fit for the stated purpose. DA *50-135mm would be much more versatile (and, helpfully, silent).
04-14-2013, 09:16 PM   #14
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Original Poster
Thanks for the responses everyone. Very much appreciated.

So the general impression I get is that the DFA 100/Tamron 90 CAN work, but will probably be noisy, and thus should be in manual focus probably most of the time.

Which gave me the thought that I might be better off just getting a 100mm+ f2.8 manual focus lens for much cheaper than the AF primes.

But I hate only MF, so I started thinking about other alternatives. There are a couple of 135 f2.8's for sale right now. But going the opposite direction, today I had a great experience using my Tamron 17-50, so much so that I was thinking I might upgrade my F 50 because the Tamron can just about match it (*gasp*!) to something a little longer, like the DA 70 . . .

In short nothing was solved. Thankfully the event is still well over a month and a half away. Also, there is a local camera gear swap happening at the end of this month, so perhaps my decision will be made for me by whatever the vendors have in stock there. If that fails, I'll jump on whatever's in the marketplace at the start of next month.

Thanks again! Always a help.
04-15-2013, 03:27 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
DFA 100 doesn't have quick-shift, only the rather more expensive WR variant. Neither one has a focus limiter. I find the lack of a limiter kills the DFA 100 WR for general purpose use. You will be the least popular guy in the room if you're making a loud "phwz-phwz-phwz" sound for several seconds at a time while someone is trying to speak and others are trying to listen.
Since it has QuickShift, you can manually pre-focus before half-pushing the shutter button, then it won't whiz but will quickly fine-focus and shoot (at least on my camera).
You can't do that with Tamron 90 since you must switch 2 switches to go from AF to MF and back.
Focus limiter won't help much, it will still whiz but not as far as without limiter.
QuoteQuote:
I used to own the Tamron 90mm and it is, in truth, superior to the DFA 100 (guess which lens I sold to help fund the DFA 100 WR). As it happens, not sure either is the best fit for the stated purpose. DA *50-135mm would be much more versatile (and, helpfully, silent).
I also have both lenses, I bought DFA 100 WR recently because I was not satisfied with my Tamron 90. Did not regret that in the slightest, trying to sell Tamron now.
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