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07-14-2013, 05:20 PM   #1
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35-105mm zooms: Nearest focus distance?

Hey, everyone!

I've been looking, on and off, for an older MF 35-105mm f/3.5 zoom. They are made in many configurations, including Sears, Access (K-mart), Kalimar, and others - and, of course, the fantabulous Pentax-A 35-105!

But I notice that the minimum lens-to-subject focus distance for the Pentax 35-105 is about five feet; is that normal with most 35-105mm zooms?

I have a Vivitar 28-105 f/2.8-3.8, and the minimum focus distance on that lens is about five feet, as well.

Is that the best I can expect from these types of zooms?

Greg

07-14-2013, 05:24 PM   #2
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The Pentax A 35-105 also has a "macro" setting that allows much closer focusing although offhand I can't remember how close - maybe 2ft or so.
07-14-2013, 06:12 PM   #3
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From the front of the lens, the closest focus distance in macro mode with my A 35-105 f3.5 is about 6cm at 35mm, and about 60cm at 105mm. So you can get pretty close.
07-14-2013, 06:23 PM   #4
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My Pentax-f 35-105 has a minimum of just under five feet but it has a macro mode in the long end which gets you closer.

07-14-2013, 06:29 PM   #5
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I have the Pentax-A 35-105, and it is a stellar performer. While you can get reasonably close for flower shots and such, it's nowhere near as "macro" as a real macro lens. If you're planning on shooting insects and things like that, you'd be better off with an actual macro lens. A terrific macro lens that won't cost you an arm & a leg is this 100mm f:3.5 macro lens sold under the Cosina, Promaster, Vivitar, Phoenix, and in the case of the AF version, Pentax names. It's an outstanding performer at a bargain price. Both MF & AF versions are optically the same, but the MF version has a little more solid feel to it.

The old Tamron SP model 23A 60-300 zoom is another excellent performer that's surprisingly true macro with a max. magnification of 1:1.55. Not quite the 1:1 ratio of the 100mm Cosina/Promaster/etc. mentioned above, but pretty close. There is more fringing on the Tamron, though.

Good luck,
Bob :-)
07-14-2013, 06:34 PM   #6
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In standard zoom mode the A35-105/3.5 minimum focusing distance is 1.5 meters.

Last edited by monochrome; 07-15-2013 at 10:02 AM.
07-14-2013, 11:29 PM   #7
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I am at work at this moment so can't test but MFD @35mm is around a feet if I remember correctly, more at longer end.
07-15-2013, 11:35 AM   #8
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Hi again, everyone.

Sorry, I didn't mean to focus the conversation so much on the Pentax 35-105. It's a good lens, but expensive, at least, compared to other 35-105 f/3.5 zooms.

I had read that many of these lesser-name-brand zooms were quite good; mind you, I'm talking only of the constant f/3.5 zooms. Back in that days, lenses for Sears, JC Penney, even Kmart were often made by some pretty good lens manufacturers.

My main question was more along the lines of: Does anyone have any experience with the lens-to-subject (LTS) distance of any of these OTHER 35-105 zooms?

And the reason I asked was: My Vivitar 28-105 doesn't have a very close LTS range, about five feet.

Now, my Vivitar does have a macro mode, but that is only at 105mm.

I wasn't really looking for macro-type capability. I was looking more for a walk-around lens that could take ALSO pictures of subjects that happened to be only three or four feet away.

To do that with my Vivitar, I have to set it to macro mode, and use 105mm, and then I am zoomed too close in to my subject.

I'll try some tests later tonight, to see how far away I have to back away from the subject to take pictures ay 105mm.

The real-world example which triggered this was: I was at a restaurant with some friends, and I tried to take a picture of my plate of food. I couldn't focus on it until I got out of my chair and moved five feet away from it, which of course completely changed the angle I was trying to shoot it at.

Then I realized that I couldn't take a picture of a husband/wife could sitting across the table from me; again, I could not focus on the four-foot distance between me and them. I had to again get out of my seat to move further back and get the shot.

In looking for a 35-105 f/3.5 zoom for these types of situations, I want to make sure that it the LTS focus distance is in the three- to four-foot range, and not in the five- to -six-foot range.

Thanks again, for any info you might have on these types of lenses.

Greg

07-15-2013, 04:37 PM   #9
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Some zooms here go down to close focus but they don't have the long end you mention.
Rikenon P Zoom 1:3.5~4.5 35 ~ 70mm goes down to 350mm through its range.
An old Magnon 35 ~75mm also goes down to about 400mm through its range.

SMC Pentax -M 1:2.8 ~ 4 40 ~ 80mm is 1200mm through its range, when clicked to macro at 80mm its LTS is about 1200mm to 200mm.
07-15-2013, 06:38 PM   #10
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I would suggest you consider following--if you cannot find a suitable 35-105mm zoom with close focusing.

1. get the best zoom (handling/optics) w/o close focusing and get a good 2 element diopter (or a 1 element diopter to see if it works OK for you).

This is an often mentioned very convenient way to do macro with zoom. I sometimes use it when backpacking in winter--as it beats adding extension or changing lens--which is impractical with heavy mittens, etc. Sort of like in the restaurant where it is also impractical.

I like the Nikon 4T (52mm thread size and strength of 2.9--i.e., essentially 3). it also comes in 6T version--identical except it's 62mm thread size. With this the macro will be about m=0.4 at the 135mm end, and about m=0.15 at the 35mm end. Very convenient to use--but it does mean carrying the diopter which is about the size of three filters. Likely can pick up a used one at B&H, KEH, etc. If you are unsure you can pick up a cheap (e.g., Tiffen) single element diopter to see if it works for you--and then go to the 2 element latter. I suggest a 3 power as best for your purposes.

2. Consider getting a 35-80mm or there about. The Tamrom 35mm-80mm f/2.8-3.8 CF macro (SP Adaptall2)--a great regular+macro lens. Less of a Macro (believe about m=0.25 at the 28mm end) is the Vivitar series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-f4? I own both and like them a lot. Although I have several dedicated macros and the dipoter and extension tubes--so I don't use these lenses for macro (I use for theatre photography).
07-15-2013, 06:58 PM   #11
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Minor correction--as the long end is 105mm, the magnification will be about m=0.3, with the diopter power=3. BTW a 2 element diopter should allow a larger aperture w/o as much drop in quality. Any diopter may be OK at f=11 (although will have some field curvature--not a problem for 3-D scene), but at f=5.6 my guess is the 2 element diopter will be noticeably better.
07-15-2013, 08:14 PM   #12
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My apologies for a 3rd post in response to your question. Having reread your questions/discussion:
+3 diopter would have a working distance of 11 inches (from lens objective to subject) at any FL--which is too short for what you want.
+1 diopter has a working distance of 26 inches. Still pretty short.
+1/2 diopter has working distance of 40 inches..
+1/4 diopter has working distance of 52 inches.
07-16-2013, 06:15 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
My apologies for a 3rd post in response to your question. Having reread your questions/discussion:
+3 diopter would have a working distance of 11 inches (from lens objective to subject) at any FL--which is too short for what you want.
+1 diopter has a working distance of 26 inches. Still pretty short.
+1/2 diopter has working distance of 40 inches..
+1/4 diopter has working distance of 52 inches.
DMS: Thanks for the post.

Interesting that you mention the close-up lenses. Like you, I have the Nikon 4T. But, as you mentioned, at 2.9 diopters, it's too small a lens-to-subject distance (11 inches) to be useful in the situations I mentions. (Actually, the Nikon 4T probably could have been be used to take pictures of my dish. But it would not work to take a picture of the couple across the table.)

I would dearly LOVE to find a 0.5 diopter close-up lens, but they are quite hard to come by, and quite expensive. The only 0.5 diopter achromat I have seen is the Tokina 72mm one, and that usually sells for $150.00 or more on eBay.

I've never seen anything less than 0.5 diopters; I'm not sure a 0.25 diopter exists.... But it'd be cool if it did. Imagine slapping that on a Sigma 50-500: 52 inches away, zoomed in to 500mm; that's be a heck of a macro!

I do have an FA 28-80, and IIRC, it can focus in non-macro mode up to about 2.5 or three feet. I was just hoping to get a single-lens solution for these types of situations.

My DA 18-55 focuses VERY close, as does my Sigma 18-250. But both of those lenses are slower; indoors at a restaurant, I'd like to find a constant f/3.5.

Oh, well, the search goes on....

Greg
07-16-2013, 11:13 AM   #14
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My pentax zoom 85~210 mm f/3.5 came with a diopter, as does the slower version. And these I see regularly for $10-20. I just have not had a chance to check, but I believe it is actually < +1/4.
Also Pentax made diopters--look at Welcome to Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Page for a summary of them--and the info allows to calculate the power. Believe one of them has about +1/2 power.
07-16-2013, 12:32 PM   #15
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I believe small + and - powers were used a lot with much older fixed lens cameras--thus likely used will be uncoated, small diameter, and w/o thread. (I am speculating here as I never actually used them.)

"The Manual of close-Up photography" (Lefkowitz 1979) makes mention and he would have indicated if they are not (were not) pretty easily obtained. I also recall many others speak of same: Blaker ("Field Photography"), Ansel Adams, etc. but these are all likely 1960's~1980.
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