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03-27-2019, 12:42 AM   #1
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Upgrade from my D-FA 100mm macro for insect photography

So, I have a 100mm D-FA macro f2.8. When I first got it, it suffered badly from sticky aperture blades, I got excellent advice here on the forums, apparently it is a known problem with this lens, and I sent it in for service. Since then it does stop down to some degree, but not fully - past f7.1 or so pictures tend to be overexposed, and the problem is worse if it has been sitting in my camera bag for a while. I guess the aperture blades are still not as freely moving as they should be.

In any case I often tend to use my DA* 300mm for insects, particularly flying ones, because a 100mm just requires you to get closer than insects generally want you to get.

So I looked around for alternatives, something with a bit longer reach, fast AF and the ability to stop down and give me the depth of field I need! Preferably 200mm or so. I searched the lens databases and the forums, but I can't seem to find anything that looks like a real upgrade. I would really appreciate advice - thanks!

03-27-2019, 02:30 AM   #2
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There are really no new alternatives available.The FA200 macro and the Sigma EX180 macro exist used. They are expensive, especially the Pentax since it's so uncommon.

I have the Sigma, more often I use the M100/4 macro or my F35-135 because they are lighter.
But if you are used to the DA*300 then the weight is no issue.


Get the Sigma if you can find one, or try a teleconverter (not optimal I know).

Seb

(typo corrected, no DA200macro exist as we all know)

Last edited by bassek; 04-01-2019 at 12:43 AM. Reason: typo
03-27-2019, 02:50 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bassek Quote
There are really no new alternatives available.The DA200 macro and the Sigma EX180 macro exist used. They are expensive, especially the Pentax since it's so uncommon.

I have the Sigma, more often I use the M100/4 macro or my F35-135 because they are lighter.
But if you are used to the DA*300 then the weight is no issue.


Get the Sigma if you can find one, or try a teleconverter (not optimal I know).

Seb
There is no DA 200 macro. You must be talking about the SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F4 Macro ED [IF].
It's expensive and hard to come by. A Canon 180/3.5 L macro and appropriate camera could end up costing the same and are readily available, plus it's a half stop faster.
A 1.7x AF adapter combined with the DFA 100 macro lens after a thorough disassembly and CLA could be an intermediate, and way less expensive solution.

Last edited by torashi; 03-27-2019 at 02:57 AM.
03-27-2019, 03:27 AM   #4
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I think all your options in terms of lenses are mentioned above. There are no other AF macro lenses for pentax (with more the 100 mm).
The only other option is to use a good AF lens and an achromatic close up lens like the Canon 500 D. Funny, on search for a adequate pentax prime you will find your DA 400 might be the best bet. Not so funny, the 77 mm Canon 500 D is in the range of $ 150.

Edit: The 500 D will bring you up to a distance of 500 mm to your subject.
Edit: The EX 180 has a closest focus distance of 460 mm.


Last edited by Papa_Joe; 03-27-2019 at 03:40 AM.
03-27-2019, 04:03 AM   #5
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Irix has recently announced a 150mm f/2.8 macro lens. It goes up to 1:1 magnification and is available in K mount.

Irix Lens 150mm Macro 1:1 f/2,8 Dragonfly für Pentax


Not cheap and manual focus AFAIK, but it is available right now.
03-27-2019, 04:04 AM   #6
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Thank you, bassek, torashi and Papa_joe. Not the most encouraging replies, but sort of what I suspected.

I guess I will try to learn to love my 100mm at least for this field season - and as a longer term strategy keep an eye out for the SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F4 Macro ED. Wow that looks good! Why did they stop making that one...

And you are right about the "hard to come by" bit. A quick look around - didn't find a single one for sale. But now at least I have something to look for, in case a good offer pops up!

---------- Post added 03-27-19 at 04:05 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
Irix has recently announced a 150mm f/2.8 macro lens. It goes up to 1:1 magnification and is available in K mount.


Irix Lens 150mm Macro 1:1 f/2,8 Dragonfly für Pentax
Wow - thanks! Interesting! I will keep an eye on that one - great!
03-27-2019, 04:10 AM   #7
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The problem with the sticky aperture on the 100mm is actually not the blades but oil on the ring that moves them. It’s a pretty easy fix that I have done myself twice on my lens and it stopped being an issue since I stored it front down in my bag/shelf. Here’s the thread on how to fix it: Pentax DFA 100mm Macro WR sticky blades? - PentaxForums.com
03-27-2019, 04:20 AM   #8
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There is one copy of the Sigma 180 available in the german bay for EUR 1.120 .

I guess that is more then its official retail price.

03-27-2019, 04:24 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I was considering the 55-300mm PLM with an achromatic lens for light travel use, when I don't bring a separate macro lens. As we're talking about closed-down apertures anyway, this may even be a decent option in general, if autofocus is a priority. I currently only have an old/cheap Kenko No. 2 (focal measured to be 50cm, so a 2 dpt lens) close-up at hand. That results ~3cm field of view on APS-C at the 300mm setting. Most achromatic macro add-on lenses seem to be optimized for shorter base lenses, I'm afraid they may not work so well with telephoto designs in general, but I'll keep looking for a used Marumi 330 or such and share the experience.

I did try the DFA100WR macro with a Kenko 1.4x Teleconverter. At f/8 and the lens at 1:1.4 setting, quality looks OK to me, sharpness is good and chromatic abberations still in the same league as the DFA100 alone. Contrast is slightly reduced, especially wide open, which makes focusing by moving back and forth less easy. Things don't snap into focus as with the DFA100 alone. Subject distance for an effective 1:1 ratio increases by 3cm, from 12cm to 15cm in front of the hood.
03-27-2019, 04:47 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MetteHHH Quote
So, I have a 100mm D-FA macro f2.8. When I first got it, it suffered badly from sticky aperture blades, I got excellent advice here on the forums, apparently it is a known problem with this lens, and I sent it in for service. Since then it does stop down to some degree, but not fully - past f7.1 or so pictures tend to be overexposed, and the problem is worse if it has been sitting in my camera bag for a while. I guess the aperture blades are still not as freely moving as they should be.

In any case I often tend to use my DA* 300mm for insects, particularly flying ones, because a 100mm just requires you to get closer than insects generally want you to get.

So I looked around for alternatives, something with a bit longer reach, fast AF and the ability to stop down and give me the depth of field I need! Preferably 200mm or so. I searched the lens databases and the forums, but I can't seem to find anything that looks like a real upgrade. I would really appreciate advice - thanks!
Do all four of the 100mm f2.8 autofocus macro models have this sticky aperture blades problem, the F, FA, and two DFA models (WR and non WR)? My understanding is that the optics are the same in all 4. I've been considering purchasing one, possibly an F, and would like to avoid sticky aperture blades if possible.
03-27-2019, 04:51 AM   #11
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the OP, and others, might want to look at the submissions to this thread:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/26-mini-challenges-games-photo-stories/3...ml#post3788074

and look at what equipment was used by the photographers to help narrow down what lenses might be useful

warning: there are a lot photos to look at


__________

QuoteOriginally posted by MetteHHH Quote
So, I have a 100mm D-FA macro f2.8. When I first got it, it suffered badly from sticky aperture blades, I got excellent advice here on the forums, apparently it is a known problem with this lens, and I sent it in for service. Since then it does stop down to some degree, but not fully - past f7.1 or so pictures tend to be overexposed, and the problem is worse if it has been sitting in my camera bag for a while. I guess the aperture blades are still not as freely moving as they should be. . . .
first of my question - where and when did you send it in for repair?


second why not send it back and ask them why the repairs did not solve the problem if the problem became apparent shortly after it was return to you ?


I have had zero problem ( knock on wood ) with my copy of the DFA 100mm F2.8 Macro and other than the usual " operator error " all of my equipment suffers from, I am quite please with the results. it has an excellent reputation.

_______________________________________


Originally posted by wanderer2 :

" Do all four of the 100mm f2.8 autofocus macro models have this sticky aperture blades problem, the F, FA, and two DFA models (WR and non WR)? My understanding is that the optics are the same in all 4. I've been considering purchasing one, possibly an F, and would like to avoid sticky aperture blades if possible. "

the optics are shared with the following versions of the Pentax 100mms according to this In Depth Review


" Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro Review
Specifications

The lens covers the full 24x36mm format, not just APS-C. The aperture blades are rounded, delivering a smoother bokeh which is important for a macro lens. However, unlike its predecessor, it has no aperture ring.

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

____________________

" sticky aperture blades " is something that can commonly occur with older lenses as far as I know.

Sticky aperture blades?

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/58-troubleshooting-beginner-help/232275-...ml#post2459384


I have had no problems with any of my vintage lenses.

Last edited by aslyfox; 03-27-2019 at 05:13 AM.
03-27-2019, 05:05 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by wanderer2 Quote
Do all four of the 100mm f2.8 autofocus macro models have this sticky aperture blades problem, the F, FA, and two DFA models (WR and non WR)? My understanding is that the optics are the same in all 4. I've been considering purchasing one, possibly an F, and would like to avoid sticky aperture blades if possible.
I suppose it’s a problem that is specific to the D-FA 100mm WR. It’s not the classic sticky blades problem that some vintage lenses suffer from. It’s rather oil on the aperture control ring that is not supposed to be there. It creates too much friction leading to overexposure that gets worse the more you stop down. I don’t know where the oil is coming from but my guess is that it’s a manufacturing error and they used too much oil on any of the mechanisms inside.
03-27-2019, 05:11 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by alpheios Quote
I suppose it’s a problem that is specific to the D-FA 100mm WR. It’s not the classic sticky blades problem that some vintage lenses suffer from. It’s rather oil on the aperture control ring that is not supposed to be there. It creates too much friction leading to overexposure that gets worse the more you stop down. I don’t know where the oil is coming from but my guess is that it’s a manufacturing error and they used too much oil on any of the mechanisms inside.
the OP said the lens was the DFA 100mm F2.8 macro

not the DFA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR
03-27-2019, 05:25 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
the OP said the lens was the DFA 100mm F2.8 macro

not the DFA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR
Yes you’re right but I suppose the OP is talking about the WR because sticky aperture is only a „known problem“ on the WR version.
03-27-2019, 05:33 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by alpheios Quote
Yes you’re right but I suppose the OP is talking about the WR because sticky aperture is only a „known problem“ on the WR version.
don't know about that

I'm happy with the older DFA 100mm F2.8 Macro version, never tried the WR one
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