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04-30-2008, 01:34 PM   #1
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Macro Lenses- Old vs New

I'm looking at buying a macro lens for my K20D and dont really need autofocus or 1:1 (1:2 w/ my bellows will work). So my question is will a newer version of a maco lens at 2x the price of an older manual focus lens be worth the price?

For example, a 20 year old Tamron 90 2.5 manual focus lens compared to the new Tamron SP AF90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1. ~$200 vs ~$400.

Pete


Last edited by petez; 04-30-2008 at 01:34 PM. Reason: added K20D as the body
04-30-2008, 02:53 PM   #2
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more fun?

QuoteOriginally posted by petez Quote
I'm looking at buying a macro lens for my K20D and dont really need autofocus or 1:1 (1:2 w/ my bellows will work). So my question is will a newer version of a maco lens at 2x the price of an older manual focus lens be worth the price?

For example, a 20 year old Tamron 90 2.5 manual focus lens compared to the new Tamron SP AF90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1. ~$200 vs ~$400.

Pete
This is a good question, I'm thinking about this myself. Recently lost a bidding on a ~25 (?) years old Panagor 90/2.8 macro 1:1 (aka Lester Dine aka Vivitar aka Elicar...if I got it right) and appears to have seen a Pentax F 100/2.8 macro slip through my fingers. Not sure I have the $ right now to go for something new, and in either case it is more fun to look for that old lens. I suppose that's one answer to Petez question, independent of focus method and price, it is a bit more fun to find something old and put it to good use.
04-30-2008, 03:36 PM   #3
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I recently got a Lester A. Dine 105mm 2.8 macro, and I had a Sigma EX DG 50mm 2.8 before, but sold it. I have to say that I haven't missed the newer lens one bit.

I like the solid feel of the Dine, the image quality is amazing, and the focus ring is alot better than the Sigma's.

Many of these old macro lenses produce great images, and if you don't feel the need to have AF capability, the old lenses are a great option. With macro AF is generally unneeded anyway.
04-30-2008, 04:38 PM   #4
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I can't speak directly to the same lens parameters on old and now. For zooms that will work in the macro range I have a Tamron 28-75 mm /2.8 Vivtar Series 1 (v. 3) 70-210mm /2.8-4.0. On the prime end I have two old manual macros: a Takumar SMC 50mm /4 M42 and a Pentax M 100mm /4. All of these lenses give nice sharp pictures and I usually just shot with what I have with me at the time. What's been said about not needing AF is very true. When I'm out with the Tamron (an excellent all around lens for the price by the way) I usually switch to MF anyway. It's just easier than trying to trick the AF to work correctly. Since you're taking that kind of time any setting a manual exposure isn't much of an issue either. So, even using my Tak is just fine.

I guess the short version, for me at least, is that if the lens gives a good picture old really isn't any different than new.

04-30-2008, 08:34 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by tybeck Quote
I can't speak directly to the same lens parameters on old and now. For zooms that will work in the macro range I have a Tamron 28-75 mm /2.8 Vivtar Series 1 (v. 3) 70-210mm /2.8-4.0. On the prime end I have two old manual macros: a Takumar SMC 50mm /4 M42 and a Pentax M 100mm /4. All of these lenses give nice sharp pictures and I usually just shot with what I have with me at the time. What's been said about not needing AF is very true. When I'm out with the Tamron (an excellent all around lens for the price by the way) I usually switch to MF anyway. It's just easier than trying to trick the AF to work correctly. Since you're taking that kind of time any setting a manual exposure isn't much of an issue either. So, even using my Tak is just fine.

I guess the short version, for me at least, is that if the lens gives a good picture old really isn't any different than new.
I am with you on the M 100/4. That is a tack sharp lens. I have seen those versions called the sharpest, but all I know is that it is a great lens. My version is the "dental" but I didn't get the matched extension tube and close up "filter" with it. I know it's dental because of the multiple magnification scales, and the word "Dental" on the front.
04-30-2008, 11:31 PM   #6
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Both are good options....

I have the vivitar series 1 105mm and I feel guilty saying it, but I have the Series 1 90mm with matching macro adaptor. They are works of art IMHO, especially the older 90mm.
From google images


I use the 105mm more because it does not need the macro adaptor. It is a fun lens as my superfly shows...


But even though you may not use AF in macro mode, there is something to be said for the AF in regular use of the Tamron 90mm. It can be a good portrait/90mm prime lens too. The Sigma 70mm is also said to be a great lens although a bit short for my bugs. In a perfect world there would have been a series 1 200mm..... but it would have weighed a ton.

Good luck on what ever you decide. Almost all the macro lenses are good. I picked up the vivitars for 175 and 185 US, so they are out there. The Tamron 90 2.5 is also a very good lens and I have seen them often on craigslist/ebait/ and here in this forum.
But I would still like a tamron 90mm AF...
05-01-2008, 08:13 AM   #7
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I've seen some shoot out's of newer macro lenses, but I havent seen an old vs new macro lens image comparison. I'm wondering if the "Digitally Integrated Design, is a designation Tamron puts on lenses featuring optical systems designed to meet the performance characteristics of digital SLR cameras." is really needed?
05-01-2008, 08:51 AM   #8
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If you just look at resolution, then the new macros wouldn't be any better (if at all) compared to the old one. However, with the new digital coating, you can somewhat enhance the color reproduction, reduce glare and ghosting (due to the reflective sensor surface). These old lenses are also prone to CA.

05-01-2008, 09:04 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by petez Quote
I'm wondering if the "Digitally Integrated Design, is a designation Tamron puts on lenses featuring optical systems designed to meet the performance characteristics of digital SLR cameras." is really needed?

It is if you want to sell any new lenses!

Gotta have some new exiting feature to move product. But I guess as long as it doesn't take IQ a step backwards, it's a good thing.

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