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12-31-2013, 04:35 PM   #1
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Full kit: Macro 50's 100's and (not) 135

Thinking of the macro for flowers - not bugs. Bugs don't anything for me....more like they do something TO me. So not going there. So the 50mm might work??? As I have a 70mm, the next logical telephoto might be 135. Looks like you can find A 50mm 2.8 and F 135mm for less than the DFA 100mm and - if the ratings are believed - IQ is "better", Focusing "better" (even if manual). But then might skip the 135 anyway and rely on the 50 to 200mm kit zoom for now (already in hand).

Curious what folks think. Are the 50's "better" for this than one of the 100mm macros? If you NEED a 100mm, could then opt either for the kit zoom or later add a 135mm.

12-31-2013, 04:42 PM   #2
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Have you also considered the 35mm limited?
12-31-2013, 04:45 PM   #3
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A 50mm f/2.8 is a very nice lens and quite adequate for flowers unless you are trying to get super closeups of the centers. Then you start to get too close and cutting off the light causes issues. But nothing wrong with DFA 100mm for flowers either, you just stand further back.

F 135mm is a good lens but usually very expensive. If you can find one for much less than the DFA 100mm grab it. They usually go for $500 plus depending on condition. A Pentax-A 135mm f/2.8 is also nice though manual focus, and it is often found for not much over $100

Last edited by jatrax; 12-31-2013 at 05:37 PM.
12-31-2013, 05:10 PM   #4
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A 50 2.8 is great for flowers, as is the DA35 Ltd. I have the 50, and it's excellent. I also have the DFA 100 WR, a great lens, but I think the shorter focal length works better for flowers.

The focusing is definitely nicer on the older A lens, and manual focus is typically a must for macro anyway. I'd recommend starting with the 50, and if you need more reach, grab a 100.

12-31-2013, 07:09 PM   #5
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The 35 is very nice all rounder and head and shoulders above any other lens I've ever used. I find you only need about 1:2 macro or less for flowers. The 35 can be easily hand held at that magnification. It can then double up to shoot landscapes, portraits or the tree on which the flowers were growing. 35 also lets you have some background included - it doesn't make 'black backgrounds' like a telephoto macro. You can merrily use it from f/2.8 right to f/22. You pick the aperture for depth of field, rather than sharpness on this little beauty.
12-31-2013, 08:12 PM   #6
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From what I've seen online the Sigma 105mm Macro takes some excellent flowers shots and I managed to pick up a NOS (new old stock) one as a Xmas present to myself. Test photos so far have impressed me but as we are in the depths of winter up here I haven't had a chance to try it on flowers yet.

It has been discontinued in K-mount for a couple of years so I was really lucky to find my NOS one but there was one for sale on the market place here recently and may still be up for sale. It is also a true 1:1 macro with a flat-field front element so it stays sharp right out to the corners.

Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

Flickr Search: Sigma 105mm ex dg Macro
01-02-2014, 12:33 AM   #7
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I'm nearing the end of a sizeable project capturing images of indigenous (to where I live) plants. I've found that the DFA100/2.8 macro is a very suitable lens for showing the fine detail of plant parts, while the DA35/2.8Ltd macro is useful for images of the whole plant.

The main trick is keeping focus. Breezes are not your friend.

Oh yes, a decent circular polarising filter can be of great benefit. I use this one.
01-02-2014, 09:57 AM   #8
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All: Thanks! Getting closer to pulling the trigger - somewhere. Coming down off the 50mm since it's 1:2 and looking more at the 1:1 lenses. Pentax DFA 100 2.8 WR is the lens to beat there... but still waffling.

Tako Kichi: Did you compare the Sigma 70mm Macro to the 105 before pulling the trigger? Only odd comment on the 105mm is the "not sharp on higher res Pentax cameras"... to which, having a K-5, I am left saying, "Hmmmmm". Same guy clearly didn't DIS the 70mm... maybe because it's below the radar screen. Similar lenses... compromise between a 50mm Macro and 100mm range macro... but still 1:1. Heavier by far. Curious if you thought of this one? Price is better on the legacy 105.

01-02-2014, 10:14 AM   #9
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I'm hoping to get my Rokunar V-HQ 90mm F/2.5 macro today (provided the mailman doesn't die from exposure or slide off the road).

I probably paid too much ($176), but if it's good enough I'll sell my Sigma A 50mm F/2.8 macro.
01-03-2014, 08:36 AM   #10
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Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

My decision has much to do with my own trail of tears here, what I already have in my bag and what seems like a place to fill... than necessarily, as it differs from what works for others, a reflection that anyone else's decision or input wasn't helpful. This was a very hard decision full of much agonizing because... seems there's something everyone dislikes (and strongly dislikes) about each of the lenses that ended up in my final running.

Because I already have a 35mm, a 50mm and a 70mm, I really didn't want to duplicate an existing focal length. For me, this cut out the Sigma 70mm Macro which by all accounts would otherwise be one of the most desirable out there. I also perversely found myself drawn to wanting to go with as many primes in my bag with the same 49mm filter size. Call me lazy, but it was something I looked at. Next I thought of weight, and lighter as better. Finally, I focused on opinions regarding sharpness and over-all score. Frankly, over-all isn't quite as important as the other IQ ratings... but a lot of folks don't actually fill those out. And as I said, seems the Sigma 105, the Tamron 90 and Pentax DFA 100 WR all had crummy handling issues... or some annoying feature.

Increasingly, I'm shooting hyper-manual mode on my K-5, so I decided even the focus thing was livable - especially in macro. I do like AF, so I want it available, but if it ain't, I can live with it. My decision to get back into this DSLR game... after getting burned on a Leica digital rangefinder long ago... was that IQ basically had made it to a level consistent with film at a price where you didn't have to be a king in order to play. I'm okay with not being Mr. Automatic. Think that's really the norm here for everyone... only it's "nice" to have the focus ring move by a button, rather than lose time focusing. At worst, reversion is awkward or less than optimal... if other camera options don't have to deal with it... but not a deal breaker if it's only one lens that can't find it's way out of a paper bag.

So that's the thinking that led me here, and led me to seek out the best deal I could find on a used Pentax 100mm DFA WR on ebay. Will know whether I managed that or not when I see it in a week or two. But for now, thanks to everyone's help, I think I've got (or should have) the 100mm-and-under focal lengths covered. I'm reading about the long end, but for now, sticking with my 50mm-200mm kit zoom seems good enough to end LBA until a wildlife trip prospect emerges... which I'd hope for in a year or two. In that regard, the 300mm range seems a real additive... but maybe it's rentable as a 1st try.

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