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03-05-2015, 11:06 AM   #1
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Looking for a new prime lens for table top work

Hi all
My set up is a K3 on which I use a couple of Sigma telephoto lenses however even when using a tripod and remote release the results been far too soft (tried various lengths and apertures).
I tend to take images using studio flash of various household objects for submission to stock libraries.
I have concluded that the lenses just don't have that extra bite that I need.
Can anyone suggest a prime lens either from Pentax or other that would fit my need.....and true macro would be of benefit too.
I know its a broad question, but any answers would be appreciated.

03-05-2015, 11:10 AM   #2

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Telephotos tend not to be the greatest at close-focusing, but any decent 50mm should be plenty sharp for that kind of thing. If you stop down too much with any of them, you're going to get softening from diffraction.
03-05-2015, 11:19 AM   #3
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The stock answer is Pentax D FA 100 ƒ2.8, Sigma 70 macro ƒ2.8 and Tamron 90 macro ƒ2.8. Or an old Sigma 105 ƒ2.8 macro if you can find one. Seeing the results from this three it's hard to argue against any of them. The D FA is water proof, the Tamron is excellent and possibly the sharpest, or very close, the Sigma is the heaviest, most heavily corrected, and I suspect the more pleasing out of focus areas of the three, and IMHO probably the one best suited for studio work.
03-05-2015, 11:20 AM   #4
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I have a Sigma 28mm f1.8 macro which is great for taking pictures of models or other fairly good sized items like food. The other one to check out is the Pentax 35mm macro. You can get close with either, but don't have to stand far away like the 100mm might require for larger objects.

03-05-2015, 11:23 AM   #5
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I don't sell to stock agencies, but for this kind of photography I generally use a FA 50mm f1.7 or a FA 100 macro. I've also used the 43 and 77 limiteds. All work, depending on how wide you need to go and how much working room you have. Might consider the DFA 50 macro also. I hear it's good, not overly expensive, a good focal length and gives you macro as well.
03-05-2015, 11:29 AM   #6
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DA*55/1.4, though not a true macro, also works very well. Seems to be a sweet-spot focal length for me. I'd actually be surprised if you needed true macro capability for table top work.
03-05-2015, 11:29 AM   #7
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Good suggestions already but I'll toss in two more for consideration. I like the DA*55 f1.4 for a lot of reasons and the Voigtlander 58mm Nokton f1.4.
03-05-2015, 11:30 AM   #8
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I do a lot of table top work mostly food. I use a DFA 100mm and the DA 70mm limited.

I also find the F 35-70 to be very useful particularly with it's close focusing mode.

And oddly I find the DA*60-250 to be one of the most used provided you have the room to back up.

I usually stop down to at least f/11 and mostly f/13.

03-05-2015, 11:49 AM   #9
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The 35ltd or 50macro would be first choice, both super sharp. If you want everything in focus then wider has more depth of field. If you want partial focus then a longer macro lens is better. You also could get away with something like the sigma sigma 17-70 which is has a good macro function and more flexibility, although it wont have the same flat field as a true macro which is important for when you want to photograph flat things.
03-05-2015, 12:14 PM   #10
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The most important thing would be to find which focal length you want to use, first. If you need a zoom, that also gives you some info. but i think it would be a huge mistake to just say something like the 35 Macro is a high quality lens, so you should get it.
03-05-2015, 12:21 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The D FA is water proof,
only weather proof, not water proof
03-05-2015, 12:21 PM   #12
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I would probably use the 35 limited macro as my first choice. It does really good macro and for this type of setting should work beautifully, although any macro lens (Pentax has a 50mm and 100mm) would be fine as well. The difference would be in the working distance required for each one (the longer the focal length, the longer the working distance).
03-05-2015, 12:25 PM - 1 Like   #13

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QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
only weather proof, not water proof
Only weather and water resistant and not nothing proof.
03-05-2015, 12:34 PM   #14
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Focal length will depend on the subject and the size of the table top. My 'studio' is 30 x 48 inches. Anything I set up has to look as if that is the whole world.

I find anything less than 50mm starts to include too much background that is not part of my created world. For food with dishes 100mm up to 200mm seems to work for me.
03-05-2015, 04:15 PM   #15
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Good suggestions already made. i would second (or third or fourth) the 35mm f2.8 macro BUT, for table top you certainly do not need AF, so also consider a used manual-focus 50mm f2.8 SMCA macro. I use mine frequently for "studio" photography. The lens can be purchased for very attractive prices. Pentax has always made a good 50mm macro going back to the 50mm f4.0 preset, my first macro lens.

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