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02-11-2014, 10:04 PM   #1
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Micro MACRO advice/opinion please?

Hello Forum!
Last summer I took a break from purchasing lenses for my K30 with the start of the fall semester. (I was in a large and medium format film class.) At that time I was planning on buying a FA 100mm 2.8 macro next, and KEH had plenty of them with only a couple of D FA 100mm macros. Now that I'm focusing on lenses for my dslr again, KEH has plenty of D FAs and not one FA. Also, from what I can remember, the FAs cost a tad bit more.

So I would like to ask:
1: Is the "older" FA a better lens? (As it seems like people are buying them, while others are selling their "newer" D FAs)
2: Should I wait for a FA?
3: Is there someone with practical knowledge of both these lenses, who can enlighten me?

Thanks in advance!

02-11-2014, 11:43 PM   #2
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Thought the only non-cosmetic difference was the coating and the weather resistance?
02-12-2014, 01:46 AM   #3
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I think the F and FA are better than the original D FA. However, the newer D FA 100 WR is a fantastic overall macro lens. When it came out I forgot all about wanting the FA and got it instead.

As good as macro lenses are as a category, most have their weak points. The D FA 100 WR may not be the ultimate macro lens in any one category, but I can't find any weak points either.


In short, I'd skip the original D FA and hold out for either an F, FA, or D FA WR, with the latter being such a nice choice that you'll probably never look back.



Anyhow, I've given my advice but the most important part is to decide for yourself:

http://pentaxphotogallery.com/photos/gallery/query?camera=&lens=990
http://pentaxphotogallery.com/photos/gallery/query?camera=&lens=1060
http://pentaxphotogallery.com/photos/gallery/query?camera=&lens=130
http://pentaxphotogallery.com/photos/gallery/query?camera=&lens=3830

Last edited by DSims; 02-12-2014 at 02:39 AM.
02-12-2014, 06:14 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Trudger1272 Quote
Hello Forum!
Last summer I took a break from purchasing lenses for my K30 with the start of the fall semester. (I was in a large and medium format film class.) At that time I was planning on buying a FA 100mm 2.8 macro next, and KEH had plenty of them with only a couple of D FA 100mm macros. Now that I'm focusing on lenses for my dslr again, KEH has plenty of D FAs and not one FA. Also, from what I can remember, the FAs cost a tad bit more.

So I would like to ask:
1: Is the "older" FA a better lens? (As it seems like people are buying them, while others are selling their "newer" D FAs)
2: Should I wait for a FA?
3: Is there someone with practical knowledge of both these lenses, who can enlighten me?

Thanks in advance!
i had both the fa and the dfa non WR...the fa felt like a tank compared to the dfa....i had the dfa before the fa and bought the fa because i had read it had better picture quality...i was using it on the k5...the fa had a focus limiter which was a nice feature but not essential if you are doing manual focus...from a picture quality aspect i didn't see a difference so i sold my fa and kept the lighter dfa...my 2 cents for what it is worth..

02-12-2014, 06:23 AM   #5
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I have the FA100 2.8 macro, and it's very well built, from what I can tell. Everything's internal, which seems more rugged - though that's perhaps just impression. I find it a good lens for chasing bees around the neighborhood.

If you're looking at doing some set piece macro, you'll also want a good tripod setup and investigate macro slider rail setup, so you can take multiple images and stack them.
02-12-2014, 08:43 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies!
Being I've finished my film classes and will be starting my first digital class 2/11/14, I'm trying to build a solid but versatile lens set. "My starting line up!" So all advice helps.

Honestly I hadn't given much thought to either the F or D FA WR. So I guess I could start saving for the D FA WR or just grab a F or FA if one becomes available before I reach the mark. There are a few of each on ebay, but I'm too nervous about buying ebay lenses. Especially from overseas!
02-12-2014, 09:50 AM   #7
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Keep an eye on the marketplace here - it's the best place to buy. Enter the keyword 100mm and you'll see the macro lenses pop up via email. You can also enter 90mm since there are a couple nice 90mm macro lenses available, too. This way you're buying from owners who have presumably taken good care of the lenses. IIRC my FA100 was about $350 when I bought it about 4 yrs ago.

These macros are frequently found in the marketplace. You could also enter the term 'macro' but you'll get a lot of irrelevant results. You can also search the marketplace for current listings.
02-12-2014, 11:33 AM   #8
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A few years ago I chose the FA 100mm over the D FA 100mm based on these reviews:

Pentax SMC-FA 100mm f/2.8 macro - Review / Lab Test Report

Pentax SMC-D FA 100mm f/2.8 macro - Review / Test Report

02-12-2014, 12:26 PM   #9
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Thanks TER-OR!

I never heard of a Macro slider rail, so I better get to googling!

Thanks nater!

Reading those reviews helps a lot. Especially seeing the term "Plastic Fantastic!" It makes me cringe, being I have hands like bricks and break things easily, I should probably stick to metal brick like lenses. (FA) Honestly! So far, most SLRs/DSLRs feel sort of dinky to me, but I haven't made it to the PRO Cameras yet.


Thanks again everyone for your input, Chao!
02-12-2014, 02:21 PM   #10
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The fantastic plastic 35mm is not the macro version.

I also have a Sigma 28mm f1.8 macro which is a really nice lens, but not an insect lens. Great close-up, though, and great for still lifes and objects.

Check Amazon for slider rail and be prepared to geek out. Also look for a remote, since that's probably the easiest way to trigger and limit vibrations.
02-12-2014, 04:11 PM   #11
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Took your advice and checked out Amazon, the slider rails seem reasonable enough that I can order one along with the lens and a macro ring Friday.

One more question please: How is the Tamron 90mm macro? (non DI) I've been seeing quite a few.
02-13-2014, 06:28 AM   #12
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The Tamron 90 macros are well regarded. You can probably find some threads in the lens discussion area.
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