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12-15-2013, 09:34 AM   #1
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Thinking about a dedicated macro lens

I am giving serious thought to getting a dedicated macro. I've the 35 mm limited macro, but you have to get awfully close with it. I like to get opinions on the lenses I'm considering.

Sigma 70mm macro - is it still too short?
Tamron 90mm macro -
Pentax 100mm macro - is it worth 350 dollars more than the others?

In the opinion of you guys which of these is the best for macro itself and which would have the best alternative uses?

Any opinions gratefully appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

12-15-2013, 09:45 AM   #2
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I heard great things about the Sigma 70mm. But I couldn't find one for Pentax locally.
I have seen many great photos taken with the Tamron 90mm posted on this forum. Seems to be a great lens at a great price.
I have a DFA 100mm WR, though. You still need to be pretty close to the subject. Only thing I miss on this lens is a focus limiter, especially when its on my K-01. I can say its a great lens, spectacularly sharp with true 1:1 macro. On the other hand, modern dedicated macro primes are all pretty great. If you can, try comparing the lenses at a store, see which one feels good in your hands.
Btw, if you have a WR camera, a WR lens would be a great consideration. Macro photography on overcast, wet mornings is great. Or at the beach, in the tropics..
12-15-2013, 09:54 AM   #3
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macros

I have MF macro lenses tamron adaptall 90mm and an elicar 90mm. I think this focal length is generally considered to be a good one for most macro work, and the tamron is a great starter lens, being readily available and good value (IMO) at around 80 average auction winning bid on ebay UK.

However you still end up close to your subject particularly if you go to 1:1 (with ext tube). Depends a lot on what sort of macro pics you are tinking of taking. I know some people use tp's with good macro capabilities for eg bugs...

Suggest you read up quite a bit more on eg how important (unimportant?) AF is in this form of photography in the opinion of practised users.
12-15-2013, 09:58 AM   #4
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I suggest a 100mm. If you want the Pentax I like the equivalent to the f3.5 FA macro. Actually I have the non AF version made by Cossina (for Pentax as well). It comes in various brand names including Vivitar. It goes to m=0.5, and then to m=1 w/ a matched diopter. (If the FA does not have it you can likely pick one up used later or go to an extension tube.)

But if you are really serious about macro you should not invest a lot of money in a lens that does not have an aperture ring--as w/o it you cannot use extension tubes, teleconverter, reversed lens, or bellows--which you will need for much larger magnification.

BTW I spent $70. from B&H for my used 100mm Vivitar manual focus f3.5 w/ diopter--and that is probably a realistic used price for it..


12-15-2013, 09:59 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Catscradle Quote
I am giving serious thought to getting a dedicated macro. I've the 35 mm limited macro, but you have to get awfully close with it. I like to get opinions on the lenses I'm considering.

Sigma 70mm macro - is it still too short?
Tamron 90mm macro -
Pentax 100mm macro - is it worth 350 dollars more than the others?

In the opinion of you guys which of these is the best for macro itself and which would have the best alternative uses?

Any opinions gratefully appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Macro is a broad item, which part would you like to get into? If it`s bugs and critters a longer lens like the 90mm, 100mm or 105mm are preferred to create some workingdistance (e.g. don`t scare the bugs)
The Tamron 90mm is a great lens, allthough a little plasticy but it has served me wel for over 5 years (second hand). It also does some great portraitwork and telelandscapes
12-15-2013, 10:05 AM   #6
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You couldn't go wrong with any of the three you mentioned, but if you want the Pentax, there are older versions available for around $400. The DFA (non-WR) isn't hard to find, and the FA version is the last one to feature a focus limiter. There's also an F version, but it's hard to find. All are autofocus, and optically identical to the current DFA WR.

Also, if you're on a tight budget, Sigma has a 50mm macro that's cheaper than any other modern 1:1 macro. It's still an excellent lens, though you have to get very close to the subject at 1:1.
12-15-2013, 10:08 AM   #7
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I just noticed the prior post on tamron adaptall 90mm macro. The major potential problem (w/ this lens) is I understand it is subject to a center flare spot--from reflection of the flat rearmost lens back to the sensor.

I have seen excellent results w/ it, and no for macro I believe AF is of no use (but I don't use AF at all for anything so ...).

I also like adaptall lenses/have several but you will need to spend about $75 for a PKA mount adapter (if you want the A setting).
12-15-2013, 10:24 AM   #8
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I would suggest having a look at shots on Flickr of the type you intend to shoot, that'll tell you if 70mm is still too short... and might give you good ideas about which lens to get. You havn't specified what you want to shoot - macro is a very broad term

12-15-2013, 10:40 AM   #9
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I use an old SMC Pentax-M 100mm f/4 macro lens. No AF, No AE, but Pentax makes both these disadvantages easy to overcome. To replace AF we have Catch in Focus which allows the bug to fly into the focus range and then takes the picture while you just hold down the shutter release. To replace AE we have the magic green button that will set your shutter speed for you at a simple press.

To use a manual aperture lens (No A on the aperture ring), you must enable the aperture ring in the menus. The green button will only work in M mode. I use two M series lenses. Because they are not AE, the prices are lower.
12-15-2013, 10:44 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Catscradle Quote
I am giving serious thought to getting a dedicated macro.
Adam did a comparison/review of these. They are all essentially good. You might check out the macro thread for real-world shots.
12-15-2013, 10:58 AM   #11
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sensor reflections with 52B

I've never had a problem with sensor reflections with my tamron 90mm but see piledons review
12-15-2013, 12:10 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
I just noticed the prior post on tamron adaptall 90mm macro. The major potential problem (w/ this lens) is I understand it is subject to a center flare spot--from reflection of the flat rearmost lens back to the sensor.

I have seen excellent results w/ it, and no for macro I believe AF is of no use (but I don't use AF at all for anything so ...).

I also like adaptall lenses/have several but you will need to spend about $75 for a PKA mount adapter (if you want the A setting).
If you are reffering to my post, I wasn`t talking about the Adaptall, but this one: https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/tamron-sp-af-90mm-f2-8-di-macro.html

But you are right, AF is no option for bugs.
12-15-2013, 12:29 PM   #13
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Earlier this week I received a Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG macro lens and so far I've been very impressed with it just taking test shots around the house. It's a true 1:1 lens, pin sharp, has focus limiting and the front element is flat-field so it can be used for thin/flat objects like stamps or coins without distortion in the corners.

I was lucky enough to find it on Ebay as 'new old stock' (NOS) complete with a 7 year Canadian warranty and paid less for it than I've seen some used ones going for recently. Talking of used there is at least one Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG macro currently for sale on the Market Place here and would be a great buy for anyone after one. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/24-photographic-equipment-sale/243291-sal...-dg-macro.html

The lens gets great reviews on all the lens review sites and the PF review can be found here. Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

P.S. the lens has been discontinued in Pentax K mount so you can only find it used now (or NOS if you are very lucky, like me).
12-15-2013, 01:36 PM   #14
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Why doesn't anyone here champion extension tubes?
12-15-2013, 01:48 PM   #15
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I went with the 100mm. The Tamron was a great contender but it wasn't as good in IQ in my opinion. I loved the focus limit switch of the Tamron, but I also loved the WR of the Pentax.

I don't think you'd go wrong with either.
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