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03-24-2014, 12:49 AM   #1
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Quick, help me choose a macro lens!

I currently own... 10-17FE, DA21, 40XS, DA70. Plus 18-55WR, 18-135WR, 55-300. And an M50 f1.4.

Today my wife pointed out that if I want to buy a macro lens before our trip on Friday to photograph peach blossoms, I must buy it tomorrow because we are busy the rest of the week. But I am totally undecided which to buy, so I throw myself open to suggestions. What do you recommend, and why? (I am not very interested in ultra-closeups of insects)

03-24-2014, 12:52 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Pentax DFA 100mm WR

Edit: Will get you a 1:1 macro lens, it's WR and a bloody sharp lens.
03-24-2014, 01:04 AM   #3
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Either that or the Tamron 90mm are the most popular choices.

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03-24-2014, 01:16 AM   #4
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If you want to take a close up with higher magnification go for the Tamron 90mm or the DFA 100mm.
If you want the whole branch or tree go for the DA35ltd macro. Or the DFA50. Or the Sigma 50 macro.


03-24-2014, 01:24 AM   #5
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I just recieved a copy of the Pentax DFA 100mm WR last week and now I am blooming. for me, so far, 100mm macro is really a great range.
Also I have used it for others than macro, still sharp
03-24-2014, 01:30 AM   #6
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I say go with some good vintage glass Macro Takumar 50 f4

---------- Post added 24th Mar 2014 at 01:33 ----------

Here's a link to the be the judge of the images:

S-M-C/Super Macro-Takumar 50mm F4 Reviews - M42 Screwmount Normal Primes - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
03-24-2014, 01:42 AM   #7
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Since you need it buy tomorow I'd say go for the D FA100 mm wr but if you had the time I'd say that SMC Pentax-FA 100mm F2.8 Macro is a better choise.
03-24-2014, 02:49 AM   #8
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If you want water restance, buy the Pentax DFA100mm

If you think you might someday want a magnification beyond the 1:1 offered by a dedicated macro, then buy the Tamron 90mm.
The Tamron has an aperture ring, so it will work properly with inexpensive extension tubes and bellows.

The only macro lens I've owned is the Tamron.
Nearly all of the images in this flicker set were taken with my Tamron...

03-24-2014, 03:18 AM   #9
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Here's the somewhat out of left field option: If a close-up, 1:4 ratio will do it for you, you could get one of the remaining (discontinued) 40mm/2.0 CV Ultron SL-II's for Pentax from S. Gandy at Cameraquest (yes, it's "chipped", though manual focus... really smooooth manual focus). Results I have seen online in actual picture taking tests with the included, dedicated close-up attachment lens look pretty darn stellar to me. That would give you other picture taking options for really high quality results that your DA 40mm XS can't really achieve. Personally, I have both and am glad to have the pair (though my own Ultron is Nikon mount, I believe I can adapt it successfully to my new K-3 for use in certain circumstances).

ADDENDUM: See the comments following my post on what some users feel are the advantages of the shorter focal lengths for photographing flowers and other nature subjects. It occurred to me to add that, given the really fine results attainable with the CV 40mm and its simple close-up attachment lens, I might surmise that higher magnification, high quality (I stress!) apochromatic close-up lenses with a 52mm thread from Nikon (the "_T" series),, may just work great, as well, with the Voigtlander 40mm. Remember, there's no sharp f.2.0 aperture available from the 35mm Pentax Limited. Plus, the CV has an aperture ring in both the Pentax and Nikon iterations.

Last edited by Kayaker-J; 03-24-2014 at 11:49 PM. Reason: Addendum
03-24-2014, 04:10 AM   #10
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STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU ORDER FROM B&H FOR A NEW LENS. Their turnaround & delivery is incredibly fast. THINK about use and your preferences: 1) do you need a portrait lens, some distance between yourself and the subject, and/or a short tele? then go for 90~100mm length; 2) do you need/want AF? If NO, many older manual focus macros will serve and will almost certainly be less expensive (check B&H used, or go to KEH, although delivery from the latter is a bit slower). ALMOST ALL MACRO LENSES WILL DELIVER EXCELLENT IQ, so you can generally go by price, BUT if you must have the Pentax name, then go with that. Any of the following macros are very good: current Pentax 35mm, 50mm and 100mm macros; older manual focus Pentax 50mm and 100mm macros (f2.8 versions generally have a better reputation than f4 versions, but the latter are just fine); current Sigma 50mm & 105mm macros; Current AF or older MF Tamron 90mm macros; older MF Tokina 90mm & 105mm macros. "OLDER" here means available only used.

Again, because almost any macro will deliver excellent IQ, so base your decision on:
1) what focal length do I want?
2) do I need or want AF?
3) what do I want to pay?
4) am I absolutely committed to the Pentax brand?

BTW: I started with the original 50mm f4 Takumar PRESET. I own or have had experience with the following macros: Pentax 100mm bellows (preset S-mount and auto diaphragm K-mount); 35mm 2.8 AF; 50mm 2.8 manual focus; Tokina 90mm MF; Voigtlander 125mm MF; Pentax 200mm MF. Notice that only one of the macros is AF, BUT, BUT, if you are using the lens for general photography, perhaps as a short tele, then AF may be your best choice. AND, except for the two bellows lenses, all of these optics have/do deliver excellent IQ.
OOPS. Forgot the Vivitar Series 1 90mm macro - an S-mount lens that was built like like a house jack, easily the most "solid" of these macros.

Last edited by WPRESTO; 03-24-2014 at 05:39 AM.
03-24-2014, 05:06 AM   #11
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I bought the Tamron SP AF 90mm F2.8 Di Macro because I wanted a 1:1 macro and just didn't have the extra $350.00 at the time for the D FA 100 wr for weather resistance and slightly better rated in image quality (not IMO). You would do well with either of these two lenses if you want AF, which for macro is not very usable. Having an aperture ring on the Tamron swayed me to pull the plug and not wait to save up for the Pentax 100mm.. So either of these come highly recommended. I wouldn't trade my Tamron now for anything, you may not want to do super close ups of insects now but it is nice to have that option available. when you do want to do super macro shots then I would suggest getting either a set of bellows or a good focus rail.

In the past I got away with some decent close up macros using a really good set of close up filters & with a focus rail on a couple of my lenses.

Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 03-24-2014 at 08:18 AM.
03-24-2014, 05:37 AM   #12

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For flowers, I find around 50mm a good macro focal length. Longer (I had a Pentax FA100/3.5 2:1 (=rebranded Cosina) and a Tamron SP90/2.8 1:1) didn't really meet my framing requirements. The wider angle of a 50mm (or even a 35mm) allows getting an extreme close-up of a flower while still being able to include some contextual background, which is more difficult at 90mm or 100mm. OTOH 90/100mm is great for close-ups where only the flower is in view. I prefer the prior so I currently use a FA50/2.8 1:1 for flowers and static subjects (and a Sigma EX180/3.5 1:1 for the small animal world).

One thought that might help the choice is flexibility. I.e. what focal length would allow you to have the macro on the camera for general purpose photography and not have to change lenses every time you want a macro shot. When traveling light, this is a consideration that can save weight as well. I find I carry my FA50/2.8 along much more frequently than I used to my Tamron SP90/2.8. If you prefer longer focal lengths OTOH, your preference may be opposite and 90/100mm may be more flexible for you...

hth, Wim

Last edited by Ishpuini; 03-24-2014 at 05:45 AM.
03-24-2014, 06:04 AM   #13
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Since no one else has mentioned it, for a shorter focal length 1:1 macro lens the SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro has great reviews. Here again it doesn't have an aperture ring for use with extension tubes or bellows.
03-24-2014, 06:37 AM   #14
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I have both the Tamron SP AF 90mm f2.8 Di macro and the DA 35mm f2.8 macro ltd, for insects and the miniture world the Tamron is hard to beat being a 1:1 macro with an aperture ring allowing for correct use with tubes and bellows etc. For flowers and general use the DA 35 ltd is in a class of its own, its still a 1:1 macro but the framing on a apsc sensor is in my opinion much better, it is unbelievably sharp and ohh those colours.
03-24-2014, 07:10 AM - 1 Like   #15
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Tamron 90 macro is it for us. Don't listen to the guy who says the 100 beats the tammy for IQ. It's better constructed, it's WR and from what I understand it just feels better, but the IQ on the Tammy is unbeatable. You're not going to lose anything in IQ.

My choice was the Sigma 70 macro... the wife has a Tammy and I didn't want the redundancy, and the Sigma is a very nice lens, I like it for portraits as well as macro. Not WR but very good build quality. I have a 50 and we have the 90, so the 70 seemed a better fit with what we have than the 100 did.

Now with the 1.4 TC the Sigma 70 gives me a very good 98 mm ƒ4 if I want a 100mm macro.

Last edited by normhead; 03-24-2014 at 07:16 AM.

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