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10-09-2008, 10:01 PM   #1
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need to fill a hole in my AF focal range - old Pentax FA 100 or new Tamron SP 90???

I've just decided to defer the stealthy 70 or 77 primes (since I have the Tamron 28-75mm ... ok, big, not stealthy) and get a 90mm or 100mm f/2.8 AF lens; the macro ability an added (+). For the Pentax one I'm thinking of looking for on eBay is one of the older steel body ones. The Tammi, I'd probably get new.

I know they're going to be close, and both brutally sharp. Based on Photozone tests I think the Pentax may be slightly better wide open. And they both have focus limiters... big (+). But aside from sharpness, what about some of the other aspects that really make a photo pop... the contrast & color & quality of bokeh?

I thank all for your informed replies...

10-09-2008, 10:33 PM   #2
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I thing Tamron macro lens is just as good as Pentax. Wide open performance from Photozone tests are similar, but Tamron has 9 aperture blades for better bokeh and it costs less than Pentax FA lens.
I'd go for Tamron and buy some beers for the rest of the money
10-09-2008, 11:35 PM   #3
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If you like to use a macro lens without AF, you should go for Tamron 90 macro. Its AF is dodgy but its optical rendering is impecable. The bokeh is mostly pleasant with sharp image wide open.

Fa 100mm macro is somewhat quoted so much sharper than D-FA version even though they share the same optical formula. I have a high suspicious that the lens is not designed to be f2.8 but 3.5 to start with. For the marketing reason, wider aperture f2.8 is needed to compete with others with mediocre performance regarding sharpness and contrast. The bokeh between f2.8 and f4 is just bad. This is probably one of the few lenses that is prone to clipping in the out of focus rendering. Fa 100 macro is heavy as well.


If you are not using it for macro, I would go for tamron 90
10-10-2008, 01:33 AM   #4
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I can't really offer an opinion on either but opted for the Sigma 105mm which I really like. The only drawback on any of these macros is slightly slower AF when used as a tele lens. Otherwise they are all stellar performers.

10-10-2008, 09:17 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by skaktuss Quote
I thing Tamron macro lens is just as good as Pentax. Wide open performance from Photozone tests are similar, but Tamron has 9 aperture blades for better bokeh and it costs less than Pentax FA lens.
I'd go for Tamron and buy some beers for the rest of the money
More beer money is always good. I have the Tamron 90mm myself and it's a great lens.
10-10-2008, 09:18 AM   #6
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Have the best of both worlds by picking up a Sigma 70mm Macro. The lens is incredible and functions perfectly on a K10. It has a limiter, awesome bokeh, quick and accurate focusing (for a macro lens), and meters extremely well.

c[_]
10-10-2008, 09:21 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
I've just decided to defer the stealthy 70 or 77 primes (since I have the Tamron 28-75mm ... ok, big, not stealthy) and get a 90mm or 100mm f/2.8 AF lens; the macro ability an added (+). For the Pentax one I'm thinking of looking for on eBay is one of the older steel body ones. The Tammi, I'd probably get new.

I know they're going to be close, and both brutally sharp. Based on Photozone tests I think the Pentax may be slightly better wide open. And they both have focus limiters... big (+). But aside from sharpness, what about some of the other aspects that really make a photo pop... the contrast & color & quality of bokeh?

I thank all for your informed replies...
I just prefer the colour rendering of Pentax glass. The FA has a focus limit switch, the D-FA does not, so the FA is by far the better of these two. Without the focus limit AF can be really slow.
10-10-2008, 09:28 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ll_coffee_lP Quote
Have the best of both worlds by picking up a Sigma 70mm Macro. The lens is incredible and functions perfectly on a K10. It has a limiter, awesome bokeh, quick and accurate focusing (for a macro lens), and meters extremely well.

c[_]

2nd this. And it really does meter well for whatever reason, I've noticed I use minimal effort to get exposure spot-on with this lens.

So sharp it makes your eyes bleed, though, so watch out.

The Tammy 90 & Pentax 100's (both FA and D-FA) are also both excellent. Fun choices here.



.

10-10-2008, 10:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Fa 100mm macro is somewhat quoted so much sharper than D-FA version even though they share the same optical formula. I have a high suspicious that the lens is not designed to be f2.8 but 3.5 to start with. For the marketing reason, wider aperture f2.8 is needed to compete with others with mediocre performance regarding sharpness and contrast. The bokeh between f2.8 and f4 is just bad. This is probably one of the few lenses that is prone to clipping in the out of focus rendering. Fa 100 macro is heavy as well.
I'm not certain whether these comments are directed towards the FA, the D-FA, or both. However--I don't think it is fair to say that bokeh is absolutely superior because a lens offers 9 aperture blades. Not only is 'good bokeh' very subjective to begin with, it is highly variable even within a single lens depending on lighting, distances, amount & type of detail, etc. I am not aware of any common 'net wisdom that says that the D-FA has 'just bad' bokeh.

As you mentioned, some tests have shown the D-FA to be a bit lack-luster wide open--not so much in an absolute sense, but when compared to direct 90-105mm f/2.8 macro competitors which may be priced slightly lower. And the lack of a focus limiter is unfortunate as it makes a rather slow-focusing long-focus-path lens even slower compared to lenses that do offer it (though these are still fairly slow). I think it is fair to say that these are not real issues when it comes to use as a macro lens, when it is usually necessary to stop down from full aperture, and manual focus is more likely to be used. Its advantages should not be ignored--it is by a significant amount the smallest and lightest of the 70-105mm f/2.8 macro lenses, even if it isn't perhaps the first choice for AF telephoto shooting wide open. Some don't like the Tamron AF either. The buyer is best off trying both.

I'm not expecting it but wouldn't mind seeing Pentax update this lens with a weather-sealed, SDM-capable edition with a limiter and improved performance. I'd think more than a few people would be willing to pay an additional premium.
10-10-2008, 10:47 AM   #10
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I have had both. I now use the Pentax, but the Tamron is probably one of the best Macro lenses out there.

Ben
10-10-2008, 08:59 PM   #11
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I thank everyone for you input. I'd also like to apologize for not doing a search first, as there's this fairly recent thread covering a similar subject [ https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/37279-macro-pe...-dg-105mm.html ] and many more beyond that. Thanx to all for your patience & restraint in not blasting me for not using search 1st.

That Sigma is certainly another great option. I hadn't realize that would make for a very good, nay, great choice too. I believe out of all 3 of these exceptional lenses, I'd want to go for the one that's fastest focusing. ... meaning, focus limiter a must I guess. Reasons being, when I do Macro, I'm happy to use my Voigtlander 125mm/2.5. I'm sure I might reconsider that once I have one of these, but Macro ability is only a plus, and definitely secondary in my reason for wanting that focal range.

What I want that focal range for is to shoot things like this in my back yard...:


...to practice, and get good at it... Horrible photo, I know... that's the point (ignoring the shutter speed was way too low, which AF won't help... DFU error). While I've had some success w/the running dogs & manual focus, feeling like a superstar when it's successful, Hit count is really low and effort really high. I really can't get good @ my panning with manual and expect a reasonable keeper rate.

Now in that regards, the focus speed is mentioned as an issue with all. I assume that's even given the ones with the focus limiter, or is focus actually reasonably quick w/the focus limiter? ...ssssooooo.... if what I want this for isn't macro but mid-range action, should I maybe just wait for the 60-250/4 even given the loss of one stop & 2x - 3x higher price?

I will mention, in that thread I linked to in the 1st paragraph, I was very dismayed to read Peter's mention of how his Tammi 28-75 recently "crumbled to dust" (figuratively speaking). As much as I love my 28-75mm, I can't help but be cautious buying another of similar construction.

Last edited by m8o; 10-10-2008 at 09:06 PM.
10-11-2008, 08:59 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
I thank everyone for you input. I'd also like to apologize for not doing a search first, as there's this fairly recent thread covering a similar subject [ https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/37279-macro-pe...-dg-105mm.html ] and many more beyond that. Thanx to all for your patience & restraint in not blasting me for not using search 1st.

That Sigma is certainly another great option. I hadn't realize that would make for a very good, nay, great choice too. I believe out of all 3 of these exceptional lenses, I'd want to go for the one that's fastest focusing. ... meaning, focus limiter a must I guess. Reasons being, when I do Macro, I'm happy to use my Voigtlander 125mm/2.5. I'm sure I might reconsider that once I have one of these, but Macro ability is only a plus, and definitely secondary in my reason for wanting that focal range.

What I want that focal range for is to shoot things like this in my back yard...:


...to practice, and get good at it... Horrible photo, I know... that's the point (ignoring the shutter speed was way too low, which AF won't help... DFU error). While I've had some success w/the running dogs & manual focus, feeling like a superstar when it's successful, Hit count is really low and effort really high. I really can't get good @ my panning with manual and expect a reasonable keeper rate.

Now in that regards, the focus speed is mentioned as an issue with all. I assume that's even given the ones with the focus limiter, or is focus actually reasonably quick w/the focus limiter? ...ssssooooo.... if what I want this for isn't macro but mid-range action, should I maybe just wait for the 60-250/4 even given the loss of one stop & 2x - 3x higher price?

I will mention, in that thread I linked to in the 1st paragraph, I was very dismayed to read Peter's mention of how his Tammi 28-75 recently "crumbled to dust" (figuratively speaking). As much as I love my 28-75mm, I can't help but be cautious buying another of similar construction.
for what you want it for, i am surprised you have not considered a 50-135/2.8, it may not be the fastest lens out there when it comes to focusing, but it covers your range, is 2.8, versatile and sharp even wide open, just getting better towards 5.6, and should focus faster than a macto lens. my ideal lens for this range would be a zipping quick focusing lens like my 40/2.8 was....but in 100mm.
10-11-2008, 01:55 PM   #13
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I love my Tamron 90mm Di Macro lens ... it is sharp as ... and a beautiful long portraiture lens as well. It gets more use than I first realised it would get. I love it.
10-11-2008, 08:10 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by morfic Quote
for what you want it for, i am surprised you have not considered a 50-135/2.8, it may not be the fastest lens out there when it comes to focusing, but it covers your range, is 2.8, versatile and sharp even wide open, just getting better towards 5.6, and should focus faster than a macto lens. my ideal lens for this range would be a zipping quick focusing lens like my 40/2.8 was....but in 100mm.
You know, I'm surprised as well. Nope, definitely hadn't considered it. I guess all those problems w/its earlier little sibling scared me away.

I just made the mistake of looking @ the "why the 50-135 doesn't suk" thread and I see what you mean. And it definitely fits my style. Ugh... Ya, I don't know now.
-steve
10-11-2008, 10:47 PM   #15
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Ive gone the same route suggested by morfic. I am actually just prepping to sell my Tamron 90mm to help pay for a DA* 50-135 i just ordered.
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