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01-25-2014, 06:41 PM   #1
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Just a brief summary of macro lens options

Hi all, during the past few weeks I've been looking over K-mount macro lens options, and have made myself a price list for decision later. I thought some of you may also be looking for the same thing, so I'm posting my notes here just for quick reference. NB: this is not a exhausting list, only a starting point.

What I list is just w/ or w/out aperture ring (because I might want to pair with film body) and price. Also added URL to the forum's user reviews. Cheers!

DA wide limited
SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database $480

DFA - FA - F series with the similar optical design
100mm Basically newer version does not have focus clamp & limiter, older versions have either or both
SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR Reviews - D FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database $650
SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - D FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database (aperture ring) $444
SMC Pentax-FA 100mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database (aperture ring) $411
SMC Pentax-FA 100mm F3.5 Macro Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database (aperture ring) $157
SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - F Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database (aperture ring) $325
50mm
SMC Pentax-D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - D FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database (aperture ring) $319
SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database (aperture ring) $319
SMC Pentax-F 50mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - F Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database (aperture ring) $319

Tamron switching to manual focus is a 2-step annoying method
Tamron SP AF 90mm F2.8 Di Macro Lens Reviews - Tamron Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database (aperture ring) $427 RM1650

Sigma
Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database (aperture ring) $371
Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database $468
Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database (aperture ring) $276


While I'm saving money for one of these options, I'll experiment with my reverse lens stacking method
Link here:
??: An anatomical study of the scarab beetle
Macro setup: reverse lens stacking | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

01-25-2014, 07:55 PM   #2
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Why not broaden your horizons just a little and look at the M100/4 and also the tamron adapt all 90/2.5

Both food and in expensive and MF is more controllable than AF for macro any way
01-25-2014, 08:28 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
M100/4 and also the tamron adapt all 90/2.5
Oh thanks! These options was compiled before I realised macro really doesn't need AF, so all has AF. I'm practicing MF with my reverse lens setup and will hopefully get better.
01-25-2014, 08:49 PM   #4
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Also the Kiron / Lester A. Dine 105mm f2.8 Macro

Kiron / Lester A. Dine 105mm f2.8 Macro Lens Reviews - Miscellaneous Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

01-25-2014, 09:06 PM   #5
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There aren't really any crap macro lenses (that are true macro lenses that go to at least 1:2 ratio), but the most "interesting" of the ones I've used (mostly vintage) are:

Kiron 105/2.8 (available under a variety of names like Vivitar Series 1 105/2.5, Rikenon 105/2.8, Lester Dine 105/2.8, others?) -- available in PK and PKA mount depending on branding. Very sharp, incredibly hyped (probably over-hyped at this point, but it is excellent).

Vivitar Series 1 90/2.5 (w/ separate adapter to get to 1:1) -- the "Bokina" (made by Tokina, PK mount). This lens is a work of art, I like it better than the Kiron. Tokina later came out with their own version in PKA (which I think doesn't need the adapter?).

Tomioka 60/2.8 preset m42 -- this came branded as either Mamiya/Sekor or Yashinon. It has a preset aperture. Love this lens. Pixie dust.

Volna-9 50/2.8 preset m42-- Russian lens, only goes to 1:2. Has "reverse" bokeh (only known lens that does?) which makes it very interesting. (That is, the way bokeh normally appears in the foreground on every other lens [gaussian blur] appears in the background on this lens, so it is very creamy.)

Cosina 100/3.5 (PKA) -- the plastic fantastic, goes to 1:2 with separate screw-on close-up diopter to get to 1:1. Branded as Vivitar, Promaster, even Pentax. Very underrated, this is a terrific lens. (And usually goes for $100 or less, but unfortunately the 1:1 adapter is often missing.) Comes in both AF and MF -- prefer the MF version (build is better). I use this one when I can't possibly bring one more lens in the bag, but I do anyway because it is so lightweight.

Sigma 70/2.8 (PKA) -- autofocus, still being produced. King of them all for resolution I think. Colors also very nice. Still trying to find something that can beat this for sharpness. Total excellence.
01-25-2014, 10:58 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
There aren't really any crap macro lenses (that are true macro lenses that go to at least 1:2 ratio), but the most "interesting" of the ones I've used (mostly vintage) are:
QuoteOriginally posted by geomez Quote
Also the Kiron / Lester A. Dine 105mm f2.8 Macro
Cool guys! I'll definitely consider these suggestions.
01-26-2014, 12:13 AM   #7
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you forgot the Vivitar 55 2.8 macro.. Pk or M42s mount.
02-10-2014, 02:21 PM   #8
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I bought the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens for my K-30 in December and am very impressed with the quality of the photos I have been taking. This lens is highly rated at numerous lens review websites. It's a bit heavy but solidly constructed. Yes, maybe I should have bought the 100mm Pentax Macro but the price was the limiting factor for me. But, having said that, the Sigma is very impressive. I would recommend it to anyone.

02-10-2014, 03:54 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by NorthBob Quote
I bought the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens for my K-30 in December and am very impressed with the quality of the photos I have been taking. This lens is highly rated at numerous lens review websites. It's a bit heavy but solidly constructed. Yes, maybe I should have bought the 100mm Pentax Macro but the price was the limiting factor for me. But, having said that, the Sigma is very impressive. I would recommend it to anyone.
The Sigma can't beat be on IQ, a very solid choice as long as the focal length works for you. Love mine....
02-10-2014, 05:15 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mythguy9 Quote
Oh thanks! These options was compiled before I realised macro really doesn't need AF, so all has AF. I'm practicing MF with my reverse lens setup and will hopefully get better.
You don't need for any photography, but it helps. Also for macro. At least even you progress from flowers to living bugs. The opposite is a myth.
02-10-2014, 05:21 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
There aren't really any crap macro lenses (that are true macro lenses that go to at least 1:2 ratio), but the most "interesting" of the ones I've used (mostly vintage) are:

Kiron 105/2.8 (available under a variety of names like Vivitar Series 1 105/2.5, Rikenon 105/2.8, Lester Dine 105/2.8, others?) -- available in PK and PKA mount depending on branding. Very sharp, incredibly hyped (probably over-hyped at this point, but it is excellent).

Vivitar Series 1 90/2.5 (w/ separate adapter to get to 1:1) -- the "Bokina" (made by Tokina, PK mount). This lens is a work of art, I like it better than the Kiron. Tokina later came out with their own version in PKA (which I think doesn't need the adapter?).

Tomioka 60/2.8 preset m42 -- this came branded as either Mamiya/Sekor or Yashinon. It has a preset aperture. Love this lens. Pixie dust.

Volna-9 50/2.8 preset m42-- Russian lens, only goes to 1:2. Has "reverse" bokeh (only known lens that does?) which makes it very interesting. (That is, the way bokeh normally appears in the foreground on every other lens [gaussian blur] appears in the background on this lens, so it is very creamy.)

Cosina 100/3.5 (PKA) -- the plastic fantastic, goes to 1:2 with separate screw-on close-up diopter to get to 1:1. Branded as Vivitar, Promaster, even Pentax. Very underrated, this is a terrific lens. (And usually goes for $100 or less, but unfortunately the 1:1 adapter is often missing.) Comes in both AF and MF -- prefer the MF version (build is better). I use this one when I can't possibly bring one more lens in the bag, but I do anyway because it is so lightweight.

Sigma 70/2.8 (PKA) -- autofocus, still being produced. King of them all for resolution I think. Colors also very nice. Still trying to find something that can beat this for sharpness. Total excellence.
For Vintage macro lenses, add the various Tamron Adaptall 2 lenses to that list in addition to the various Takumar macro lenses. There are also the uber expensive Voightlanders and Zeiss macro lenses as well.

Edit: How could I forget the Holy Grails, A* 200/4 Macro and FA* 200/4 Macro.
02-10-2014, 06:00 PM   #12
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Here's something to keep in mind. If you want more magnification that 1:1, than you'll probably want a lens with an aperture ring. I really like the DFA 100mm, but i dont need to go bigger than 1:1and it is not as flexible due to lack of aperture ring.
02-10-2014, 06:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
Here's something to keep in mind. If you want more magnification that 1:1, than you'll probably want a lens with an aperture ring. I really like the DFA 100mm, but i dont need to go bigger than 1:1and it is not as flexible due to lack of aperture ring.
When I first got the D FA WR, I missed the ring as well but adapted to using the dials on the body to control the aperture. If I were to use it on my MZ-3, it would be a different story.
02-10-2014, 07:42 PM   #14
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Macro is a broad field and much depends on the kinds of subjects and shooting situations you're most interested in. Factors to consider are magnification, working distance, ruggedness, convenience/handling, and of course cost. Hard to beat a weather-sealed dedicated macro lens for ruggedness, convenience, and handling. That the Pentax 100WR doesn't have an aperture ring is a drawback, but a small one in my opinion, because there's not much reason to reverse a 100mm lens, while normal extension is still possible with A-type tubes. Coupled with a Raynox for extra magnification and you have a versatile macro rig.

I say this having never used the 100WR or a Raynox. I have macro lenses ranging from 50mm to 100mm plus an assortment of tubes, bellows, reversing rings, etc. My choice of gear for a particular session depends on the factors I listed above, and I find it useful to have a range of options.
02-10-2014, 08:06 PM   #15
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New option to consider soon (and to me a 'game changer' if Pentax gets it right)
The yet to be released Pentax Q tele macro.
This is perhaps my most anticipated item from Pentax for the first half of this year.
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