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04-03-2015, 11:37 AM   #1
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43mm or 50mm macro for product shooting? (studio/scenes)

Hi, I want to find a lens that could be a workhorse for product shooting (small subjects less than 6 inches) and also for scene shooting for personal use. Would 43mm serve best or 50mm Macro would be better? I really like 43mm rendition but not sure about its semi-macro capability for product shots. Can someone recommend? Thank you!

04-03-2015, 11:46 AM   #2
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Close focus with 43mm is 45cm. Is that close enough for what you want to shoot? I do a lot of product shots and often use F 50mm macro, very nice lens.
04-03-2015, 11:54 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Close focus with 43mm is 45cm. Is that close enough for what you want to shoot? I do a lot of product shots and often use F 50mm macro, very nice lens.
Thanks for your comment. Do F50 and FA50 f2.8 share the same optics? It looks like FA 50 is cheaper. Do you think it's better than DA 50 macro for pentax K-3?
04-03-2015, 12:45 PM   #4
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the 50mm macro is 1:1 magnification. The 43mm is something like 1:8.3

I'm probably doing the math wrong, but I think that translates to something like "at minimum focus distance, something that's roughly 5 by 8 inches will fill the frame" vs with the 50mm, something like 2/3 by 1 inch will fill the frame.

There would also be differences in distortion amounts, etc.

04-03-2015, 12:57 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ychousa Quote
Do F50 and FA50 f2.8 share the same optics? It looks like FA 50 is cheaper. Do you think it's better than DA 50 macro for pentax K-3?
Not sure about F/FA optics but all of the Pentax macro lenses are good. Any differences are just nit picking. Get whichever one you find at good price.

You should determine what focal length you want though. 50mm is relatively short, I often use 100mm or even the DA*60-250 for product shots to get the correct view. Depends on how large the item is. And the purpose. For high end magazine or advertising get the best lens you can, for ebay the kit lens is already too good. Take your zoom lenses and snap some shots of the items, determine what focal length is best using the zoom then invest in the prime that works best for that.

Do you need macro? How close do you need to be to fill the frame? That is what you need to decide.
04-03-2015, 01:14 PM   #6
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The SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2.8 Macro can be picked up quite reasonably secondhand and is a stunning wee lens.
04-03-2015, 01:19 PM   #7
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DA 35mm Macro is your best bet. For 4 reasons.
1. 35mm focal length (Wide)
2. Its a macro lens (1:1 mag)
3. 14mm MFD
4. 45 degree FOV

With 14mm MFD (Minimum focusing distance) and 45degree FOV (Field of View) your 6 inch subject will most likely fill the frame nicely at or close to MFD.
Also the wider focal length will give you a lot more forgiving DOF (Depth of Field). The longer (tele) you go the more unforgiving the DOF gets (D-FA 50 or D-FA 100) unless you go f8+
04-03-2015, 01:45 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by shardulm Quote
DA 35mm Macro is your best bet. For 4 reasons.
1. 35mm focal length (Wide)
2. Its a macro lens (1:1 mag)
3. 14mm MFD
4. 45 degree FOV

With 14mm MFD (Minimum focusing distance) and 45degree FOV (Field of View) your 6 inch subject will most likely fill the frame nicely at or close to MFD.
Also the wider focal length will give you a lot more forgiving DOF (Depth of Field). The longer (tele) you go the more unforgiving the DOF gets (D-FA 50 or D-FA 100) unless you go f8+
Hmm.. this is a fresh concept to me. When it comes to product shooting, I found people suggest some longer lenses such as Tamron 90mm or Pentax 100mm. etc.. so I thought 50mm might be a bit short. I might have to get too close to the subject though? I also have a DA 35mm, so that's why I also considered 50mm instead. Also, the review here in pentaxforum was not very favorable to the 35mm macro, if I'm not wrong. Anyways, I'll definitely consider that option-in that case sell off my excellent DA 35mm, maybe..

04-03-2015, 01:59 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ychousa Quote
so I thought 50mm might be a bit short. I might have to get too close to the subject though?
You can get much closer to your product than, say, a bug.

The only issue is if it blocks your lighting, a crucial part of product photography.
04-03-2015, 02:01 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ychousa Quote
Also, the review here in pentaxforum was not very favorable to the 35mm macro, if I'm not wrong.
You are wrong: SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

I have the 35mm macro and it is about as good as it goods, superb lens. Well I had it until my wife borrowed it. Now it is 'her' lens But good as it is I do not like it for product shots it is too short, but that is personal preference. If you like the 35mm FOV you won't find a better lens.
04-03-2015, 02:04 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
You can get much closer to your product than, say, a bug.

The only issue is if it blocks your lighting, a crucial part of product photography.
Yes, exactly that was what I concerned-the lighting condition. Also the ergonomics when you get very close to subject for hours.
04-03-2015, 02:08 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ychousa Quote
Also the ergonomics when you get very close to subject for hours.
???

Tripod, surely! :-)
04-03-2015, 02:17 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
???

Tripod, surely! :-)
but you still need to bend to get real close LOL
04-03-2015, 02:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ychousa Quote
but you still need to bend to get real close LOL
I'm reporting you to the Occupational Health and Safety officer!

If you're shooting on a bench, why would you need to bend at all? :-)

Last edited by clackers; 04-04-2015 at 05:43 PM.
04-03-2015, 03:25 PM   #15
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macro lenses are generally chosen for product photography because they have a flat field of focus, very sharp optics, you don't have to worry about focusing, and the photos have no "character" (they look like "a document" rather than "a photograph"). In studio, the product is lit up anyway, so relatively slow aperture of macro lenses is not a problem. Though, these days macro lenses are f2.8, which is pretty fast.
DA 35mm macro might be interesting as well, but since it has such a short working distance, it can cast a shadow on the product or a reflection on it.

With product photography, things like background, lighting, placement and processing are almost more important than the lens. I think some people even do it with older f4 1:2 macro lenses without problem
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