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07-08-2019, 05:50 PM   #1
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Macro lens suggestions?

Hey everyone!

Hope all of you out there are enjoying an awesome summer behind and maybe in front of the camera!

So umm, last year I got me a budget Oshiro 60mm 2:1 macro lens. It was cheap and I figured why not learn what I can before investing in a solid, better quality macro lens. I am currently rocking a K-70 and am digging it so far. Coming up to a year in the fall with that beast.

Anyways, fast forward to now and I am looking at getting myself a sharp and wonderful macro lens. Iíd like to stick to a Pentax lens but am open to suggestions. Trying to stay within a $500-1000 budget.

Iíve read the reviews on that 100mm D-FA thatís all weather sealed an such. Anyone have any experience with it or with a favourite macro lens?

Any advice is good advice.
Thanks!

07-08-2019, 06:27 PM   #2
dms
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If you are looking to do macro in a serious way you likely will later want extension rings, bellows, TC, etc., and the WP version of that lens has no aperture ring. That limits what is available. I suggest you figure out what you plan to mostly photograph, what possible double duty you want of the lens: in studio or in the field, general purpose or telephoto, extreme close-up, do you want/need AF, etc. Also for moderate close-up in the field a zoom w/ macro ability may be a more convenient option as it is [much!] easier to change the degree of enlargement w/o moving a tripod (not really feasible for even moderate close-up work) or buying a slide camera mount. Actually a book on macro and the various options may be profitable reading. I used The Manual of Close-Up Photography [1979] by Lefkowitz. He covers the various options [although not the advantages of the zoom]. More recent reading material can likely be found.

BTW the Oshiro 60mm 2:1 macro lens looks pretty good, and already a rather specialized (true) macro lens. What is it that you find limiting? Knowing what was not okay would help in suggesting another lens.

Last edited by dms; 07-08-2019 at 06:48 PM.
07-08-2019, 08:49 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
If you are looking to do macro in a serious way you likely will later want extension rings, bellows, TC, etc., and the WP version of that lens has no aperture ring. That limits what is available. I suggest you figure out what you plan to mostly photograph, what possible double duty you want of the lens: in studio or in the field, general purpose or telephoto, extreme close-up, do you want/need AF, etc. Also for moderate close-up in the field a zoom w/ macro ability may be a more convenient option as it is [much!] easier to change the degree of enlargement w/o moving a tripod (not really feasible for even moderate close-up work) or buying a slide camera mount. Actually a book on macro and the various options may be profitable reading. I used The Manual of Close-Up Photography [1979] by Lefkowitz. He covers the various options [although not the advantages of the zoom]. More recent reading material can likely be found.

BTW the Oshiro 60mm 2:1 macro lens looks pretty good, and already a rather specialized (true) macro lens. What is it that you find limiting? Knowing what was not okay would help in suggesting another lens.
You’ve definitely given me some food for thought here. ☺️ Maybe I just need to practice more with the Oshiro before going for an upgrade of sorts. It has been a good lens to learn. The book recommendation certainly sounds doable. Hopefully I can find it on Amazon or something. Thanks!
07-09-2019, 01:06 AM   #4
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DMS is spot on with the observation that you will bump into some limitations if you acquire a lens without an aperture ring. For that reason, I have the older, non-WR version of the Pentax D-FA 100mm macro. It is really sharp, the longer working distance is very useful in the field, and the focal length works really well for portraits too.

Another option would be to look at the Irix 150mm, reviewed on this forum: Irix 150mm F2.8 Macro 1:1 Lens Reviews - Miscellaneous Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

This is a manual focus lens, but has some really ardent admirers.

You will also get some very good pointers from the Macro Lens thread on this forum.

07-09-2019, 03:18 AM   #5
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I suggest you take a careful look at each of the following threads: "the puddin's in the eatin'."

The Macro Flower Club - PentaxForums.com

Pentax-D FA 100mm f/2.8 WR Macro - PentaxForums.com

Insects - PentaxForums.com

Show me your insects - PentaxForums.com
07-09-2019, 04:42 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sinzen Quote
Anyways, fast forward to now and I am looking at getting myself a sharp and wonderful macro lens. I’d like to stick to a Pentax lens but am open to suggestions. Trying to stay within a $500-1000 budget.

I’ve read the reviews on that 100mm D-FA that’s all weather sealed an such. Anyone have any experience with it or with a favourite macro lens?
While thinking about bellows and such is sound advice, on the other hand these things can only be bought second-hand and this limits their availability. Plus while they are indeed nice tools, they are far from being required to do macro photography.

Having use the FA 50mm macro, DA 35mm macro Limited and DFA 100 macro WR, the latter is by far my favourite. Its build quality, small size, IQ are superb (mostly similar to the IQ of the FA 77mm, that's saying something). It can double as a short tele/portrait lens and is WR, something not to be dismissed.

35mm didn't work all that well for me as a macro, you're simply too close to your subjects. 50 was comfortable and maybe easier to master, and that lens was superbly sharp, but the 100 is the better all-around lens in my eyes.

Many brands do not even have the possibility of using bellows, so I wouldn't base my choice only on this. The 100 macro is perfectly within your budget.

The Irix 150mm macro seems like a nice lens, I haven't tested it, and it lacks AF (not required for macro, useful as a tele lens). It's another kind of lens entirely.
07-09-2019, 05:58 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Depends on what you're trying to do.
Insects will benefit from a bit of distance, so the 100mm range is best. There are a lot of choices in this range. Sigma and Tamron both offer well-respected units.

I shoot in the field now with two cameras. My FA100 f2.8 on the K3II and the DA300 on the K5. At 4 feet, the DA300 is essentially a macro lens...

I dispute the notion that autofocus is useless on a macro. I'm nowhere near as fast as the autofocus on the K3II and FA100. I would miss far too many shots chasing insects without it. You just need to learn how to use it. I will agree that the older bodies are much slower with screw-drive and the K3II is leagues ahead of the K5 in this regard.

Were Pentax to release a version of the 100mm with the new motorized focus system like on the DA300 or 18-135 I would consider buying it.
07-09-2019, 06:11 AM   #8
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I have true macro lenses at 35, 50, 55, 60, 70, 90, and 100mm - and all are better at some projects than others...

35 is far too short to shoot most live subjects, simply because you have to get so close... but the rest are quite capable....

07-09-2019, 06:16 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Shedking Quote
DMS is spot on with the observation that you will bump into some limitations if you acquire a lens without an aperture ring. For that reason, I have the older, non-WR version of the Pentax D-FA 100mm macro. It is really sharp, the longer working distance is very useful in the field, and the focal length works really well for portraits too. . . . You will also get some very good pointers from the Macro Lens thread on this forum.
another vote for the D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro Lens

note that the optics in the D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro and the F 100mm F2.8 Macro, FA 100mm F2.8 Macro and D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR
are the same

I would advise you to look at:

Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR Reviews - D FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - D FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

SMC Pentax-FA 100mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - F Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

_________________________

As I understand it,

most if not all macro lenses are sharp and can be used for photography other than just macro

the longer the focal length, the more " working distance " between the lens [ at 1:1 ] and your target

another thread to consider posting in [ although you don't need to use a macro lens ] would be:

Pollinators in action - Page 42 - PentaxForums.com
07-09-2019, 07:12 AM   #10
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35mm being too wide for a macro makes me wonder what it was like for serious macro shooters using 50mm macro's on film. I agree that 35mm on a crop body seems pretty wide. I really like my Kino Precision built 105mm macro on my K-5 II. Mine is the Ricoh branded flavor. Another macro I own is the original 90mm f2.5 Tamron Adaptall Macro and it's great on film although can be problematic on digital and I wouldn't recommend it there due to sensor reflection issues.

I thought I read on here that the Irix 150mm macro wasn't that hot wide open and clearly shown up by the D-FA and previous versions of the Pentax 100mm f2.8 macro's.
07-09-2019, 07:15 AM   #11
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I have a Sigma 28mm f1.8 macro. Nice lens. Big lens. It's brilliant when using flash, no speck of dust or cat hair can hide from its infernal vision! For Still Life photos, the range from f1.8 to f22 (IIRC) give astonishing flexibility if you can manage your light. It's a great pairing with the FA100, which of course would need to stand across the room to get the same framing.

Again, it all depends on what task you're trying to accomplish. Chasing bees? I'll take my 100mm, thanks.
07-09-2019, 07:31 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I thought the Sigma 28mm EX DG had a pretty weak magnification ratio for a macro lens and was really just a good close focusing lens.
07-09-2019, 08:02 AM   #13
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My 2 macro workhorses are the DA 35 LTD macro and the DFA 100 WR. When the WR came out, I replaced my Sigma 105 macro which in its own right was a very good macro lens. I don't consider the 35 too wide either. Plus it can be used more like a closeup lens as well as macro.
07-09-2019, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #14
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Thanks everyone! I really appreciate your feedback and suggestions on this. Looks like I have me some reading and researching to do. Chances are I’ll be hoping to capture some sweet flowers/plants and insects, with odd indoor projects such as frozen ice water, bubbles etc...
07-09-2019, 10:07 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
35mm being too wide for a macro makes me wonder what it was like for serious macro shooters using 50mm macro's on film.
The difference is the working distance, whether you are on APS-C or FF, the working distance is the same, and it's longer for 50mm than for 35mm.
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