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09-25-2018, 10:42 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Trouble deciding which lens to purchase or, help feed my LBA

For the first time in a long time, I have the opportunity to purchase a new lens. Thank you fantasy football survivor pool and the upsets that help me win in 3 weeks! I'm very excited. The problem is, I've been setting myself up for one lens and now, I can afford another that I was looking to buy down the road. I believe I've come to a decision but, want to run it by you guys first.

First off, let me list what I have so far. Working with a K-3 body, DA 18-135, DA 10-17 fisheye and the DA 35 f2.4 plastic fantastic. I also have the A 50 f2.0 as well but that rarely gets used. The plan up to this point has been to grab the 50-300 WR for just under $300. This would give me focal coverage from 10 to 300mm with a good walk around lens in the 18-135, a fisheye that I've always wanted, a nice modern prime and a usable older manual focus prime.

Now with more money to spend, I've been eyeing the D FA 100 2.8 macro WR for just under $400. Much like with the fisheye, I've always wanted to play around with true macro and from the reviews of this lens, it's a great prime on it's own even without the macro ability.

So, with all that being said, I'm leaning toward the 100 macro. Even though the 50-300 may be a bit more utilitarian, I don't often find myself wishing for more reach. Maybe once in a while but I can't think of a specific time so it can't be too often. With the Macro, I doubt I'll really use it as as a short telephoto prime. It would mainly get used for it's macro purposes. My 18-135 is pretty much glued on the K-3 and the only time it comes off is when I need another lens for a specific purpose. Even so, I think I'd use the macro more than the reach of the zoom.

I often overthink things and feel like it's kind of a no brainer to get the 100 Macro. The opportunity to splurge a little however has me wanting to get other opinions both to make sure I'm getting the right lens and to enhance the excitement a little.

Thoughts?

09-25-2018, 11:10 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Navmaxlp Quote
Thoughts?
I would turn the thinking around and rather than look at the lenses and decide which you want, take a mental note of the times you see an image you can't currently capture and whichever ends up being the biggest hole in your arsenal, get something to fit that. If you are forever seeing insects and details you can't get close enough to, the macro is the obvious choice. Likewise with long shots you can't get close to. Equally it could be something else entirely...a wide panorama that demands a UWA for example.
09-25-2018, 11:23 AM   #3
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Either. You have said macro over reach. The other main aspect is fast af vs fast glass. Since your only fast glass is 35mm I would pick the 100mm. Subject separation and low light shooting seems a better second reason to fast focus but I am going by what you haven't said instead of what may be your case.
09-25-2018, 11:41 AM   #4
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The newer 55-300 plm is selling for around $360 and it can focus to 1:4. It's not true 1:1 macro but for flowers, butterflies and other similar subjects it's plenty close. For macro you wouldn't be shooting wide open and will likely need a tripod, so the smaller max aperture of the zoom isn't an issue.

You could also get a macro filter for higher magnification, until you decide that you need higher technical quality. The plm is pretty great for close-ups, while being more versatile than the 100 for general use. I have both, and I'd buy the plm first.

Edit after reading pathdoc's post below: I'm using both lenses with a k3ii. The 100 wr is ok for af at normal distances (portraits, concert, etc) but at close range, and especially hand held, it's very difficult to autofocus. My guess it's because the dof is very narrow and it's hard to keep up with hand movements, but a tripod and manual focus is a must with this lens at 1:1. The plm for close-ups is much more usable, but still not trivial and I prefer using a tripod


Last edited by aaacb; 09-25-2018 at 12:23 PM.
09-25-2018, 12:12 PM   #5
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I have the macro lens you want. I do not have the K-3 but I do have the K-5, and with both it and the *istDL, the D-FA100 WR had a horrible habit of missing focus at the edge of something and sliding from one end of the zoom range to the other, slowly and noisily. This was a terrible problem at a distance, because the arc of focus-ring travel beyond about a foot is minimal and mistakes are easy to make.

The K-1's focus algorithm has made a new lens of it in my hands and it is now much more reliable in my experience, but I can't speak to the K-3.

I would invite comment from owners of both the K-3 and the K-1 who have this lens before I spent the money on a special-purpose prime instead of a general purpose zoom.

Optically, yes, it's a magnificent beast - but the devil can be in the day to day details. Be aware of what you're getting into.
09-25-2018, 12:35 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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I hqave had the 100 macro WR and the original DA55-300 and currently own the 55-300 PLM. If you buy the 55-300 get the PLM version, the fast silent autofocus is amazing where the original DA 55-300 was slow and noisy, I had to use quick shift to compensate. The macro is a great lens, but it reallly doesnít do that well as a telephoto with such a long focus throw. personally I get way more use out of the 55-300 PLM, but for macro work I have bought a cheap Old Sigma 50/2.8 manual focus macro that serves me well. If Iím doing macro i am going to use a tripod anyway, and with focus peaking and zoom I ca do better than autofocus. So a MF macro is just another option Iíll throw out. You will enjoy whatever you buy, congratulations on your fantasy cash and good luck!
09-25-2018, 01:13 PM - 1 Like   #7
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1. if you decide to get 55-300mm, get the new PLM version in my opinion it's much better lens than he older versions.
2. if you are happy with 18-135mm you would probably be happy with 55-300mm but 100mm WR has special "limited" level build quality and optics. My copy has ok autofocus on K5 and KP but it's certainly not for action.
09-25-2018, 01:38 PM   #8
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I'd go with the 55-300 PLM. The 100 macro is nice but the 55-300 is more versatile.

09-25-2018, 08:34 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I'm pretty sure you can add a Raynox close up lens to the 55-300 to get good closeups. I can test my non-PLM version tomorrow.

Another option is to grab a 100mm f4 manual lens cheap. And then save back up for the 55-300.

&
09-26-2018, 04:01 AM   #10
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Wow, see this is why I open these things up to the community. This is not nearly the response I thought I would get. I honestly thought the majority would recommend the 100.

There is a chance I can get both the 100 WR Macro and the HD 55-300 WR (non PLM) used right now for a good price. I had to ask them to come down a bit since I don't have quite the amount they are looking for but, I've got what I've got. We're only off by $50 but I suspect they were generous to offer them for the price and I did feel guilty asking them to come down the extra amount. I'm at where I'm at though and I do only have so much. All the lenses I own to this point have been gifts or have been the result of saving holiday gift cards for some time in order to make the purchase. I'm not in any dire straights by any means but, as a father, I do not like spending money on myself.

In the event the seller is not able to meet me at the price I can afford, I'm all in for the 55-300 PLM. I watched some videos on the auto focus comparisons and was flabbergasted by the difference. In addition, hearing you all talk about difficulties with focusing the 100, I feel like I need to try out close photography with the 55-300 and see if it's something I want to invest in before making such a specific purchase. Like I said earlier, I won't likely use the 100 for anything other than the macro it provides. I think having the utility of the zoom will be better serving for me. If I'm not going to buy more lenses, I need to make the ones I do purchase count which means each one needs to be as multi-purposed as I can make them.

Thanks all for the advice. I'll let you know how things shake out.
09-26-2018, 05:54 AM   #11
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One last question before making any decisions. I've been thinking of the concept of making my lenses as multi-purposed as I can. Would it perhaps be better to get the 55-300 PLM now and wait on a macro lens. Then, when I'm ready to get the macro, get the D FA 50 f2.8 macro? I don't have a proper 50mm prime at this point and this would give me both a nice usable prime focal length for portraiture etc as well as giving me the use of macro. The other option I have as well is, the seller also has a F 100 2.8 macro which he would sell for less and would fall into what I could spend on both the 100 macro and the HD 55-300 WR. I know the 100 2.8 has an absurd rating in the lens reviews. A lot of the macro I intend to do would be of butterflies for my daughter. Would the 50 macro be ok for that or would I need the reach of the 100? Perhaps I should just suck it up and make a choice but, I hate to make poor decisions without being educated properly.

Thanks for all the help and advice. I truly appreciate it!
09-26-2018, 05:58 AM   #12
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To be fair, macro is an over used term. True macro is 1:1 and I'm unclear if that is your goal. Assuming is a habit we have here... Lol. So before you finalize things, what kinds of subjects and how magnified? Flowers and bugs are different...
09-26-2018, 06:16 AM   #13
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I suppose what I'm really looking for is more close up photography rather than true macro but, man it would be cool to get some of those dew drop on leaf photos I've seen. Not particularly interested in getting ridiculous detail on bug eyes or anything but, internal flower shots and other small things would be really cool. Again, this is not something that I would do all the time but, I'd like to have the option to play with it if I got a hankering.
09-26-2018, 06:24 AM - 1 Like   #14
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my suggestion is to consider one of the other 100mm Macro models instead of the WR one

_____________________

this is from the " In Depth Review " of the current WR model:

The optical design is the tried-and-proven formula of the previous generation D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro lens, which in turn had inherited the optical design from the well-respected FA 100mm F2.8 and F 100mm F2.8 macro lenses introduced in 1991 and 1987, respectively. None of these earlier lenses had rounded aperture blades.

Read more at: Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro Review - Specifications | PentaxForums.com Reviews

____________________________________________________________________

In other words, the earlier models, which may be available at a lower cost, might be enough for you

and with any luck, you might be able to afford the cost of another lens


be sure to look at the forum's market place if you are looking for " experienced " equipment

______________________

the D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro is a very good lens, for macro or as a short telephoto

https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-DFA-100mm-F2.8-Macro-Lens.html

Last edited by aslyfox; 09-26-2018 at 07:22 AM.
09-26-2018, 07:37 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I do a lot of macro but when it comes to butterflies I almost always put on the 55-300 plm. They are flighty. It's hard to get close and if you do you have to be fast. Try to get within an arms reach of a butterfly let alone close enough to stick a camera up close to one.
Better to add a raynox or a flash for butterflies.
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