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08-09-2019, 11:35 PM   #1
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Which Pentax 100 macro?

Macro photography is one of those territories I have never crossed. Recently I want to find a reasonably priced macro lens to try something new, also I heard that (Pentax) macro lenses are usually very well corrected, therefore can also be used for any other purposes: landscape, portrait.

Since I have quite a few 35mm and 50mm lenses already, with this macro hunting I知 looking for a 100mm. Apparently in this focal length Pentax has a lot of versions, from M to DFA. Are they similar optically?

At the moment I知 seeing an F 100mm 2.8 on sale for under 200, which is much cheaper than a new DFA, so I知 targeting it. But how is it compared to other versions? According to Pentaxforums these 100s are the same optically but why the F and FA are quite a beast meanwhile the newer DFA series are much more compact? I like compact and light lenses.

Thanks for your advice.

08-09-2019, 11:39 PM   #2
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if I remember correctly, from F to the current D FA, the 100mm f2.8 Macro is the same optical formula, so find one in your budget and it'll be as sharp as you'd like....

Pentax did slim the D FA's down, but just the barrel design...
08-10-2019, 01:48 AM   #3
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All of them are excellent according me. Just find good objects !
08-10-2019, 02:14 AM   #4
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Unless you want the compactness and quick shift of the DFA, the F will fulfil your needs perfectly.

08-10-2019, 02:17 AM   #5
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Only the FA and D FA versions have a lens hood.

---------- Post added 10th Aug 2019 at 11:22 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
At the moment I知 seeing an F 100mm 2.8 on sale for under 200, which is much cheaper than a new DFA, so I知 targeting it. But how is it compared to other versions?
According to Pentaxforums these 100s are the same optically but why the F and FA are quite a beast meanwhile the newer DFA series are much more compact?
You can look for the non WR DFA or for the Samsung D-Xenon.

Only the two D FA versions have a lens hood and offering quick shift.
The D FA 100mm is one of the most lightweight 100mm macro lenses of all lens models for full frame. The Canon one weights more than twice than the DFA.
08-10-2019, 02:39 AM   #6
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If you are serious about optical quality, avoid the plastic DFA 50 and DFA 100mm, the optics are OK, but the mechanics are not able to keep the optics proper aligned. If I can find a good FA50 macro, I will toss out the DFA50 macro.
08-10-2019, 04:48 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by glasbak Quote
If you are serious about optical quality, avoid the plastic DFA 50 and DFA 100mm, the optics are OK, but the mechanics are not able to keep the optics proper aligned. If I can find a good FA50 macro, I will toss out the DFA50 macro.


Is the F version also plastic? At least it looks so in my eyes. Also I知 wondering why the F, FA and DFA WR have the same optics, but the latter is much more compact and lighter, yet still offers more features (WR, quickshift, hood)?
08-10-2019, 04:49 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by glasbak Quote
If you are serious about optical quality, avoid the plastic DFA 50 and DFA 100mm, the optics are OK, but the mechanics are not able to keep the optics proper aligned. If I can find a good FA50 macro, I will toss out the DFA50 macro.
Wow. Can you back that up with actual data?

A few years ago I dropped my camera from a 1 metre onto concrete with the DFA100WR mounted. It hit the ground lens first. That lens is still going strong - one of the sharpest I have.

08-10-2019, 05:16 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by glasbak Quote
If you are serious about optical quality, avoid the plastic DFA 50 and DFA 100mm, the optics are OK, but the mechanics are not able to keep the optics proper aligned. If I can find a good FA50 macro, I will toss out the DFA50 macro.


I'll second Sandy's request - my plastic D FA 50 Macro is a razor, at all focus points.....
08-10-2019, 05:32 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
if I remember correctly, from F to the current D FA, the 100mm f2.8 Macro is the same optical formula, so find one in your budget and it'll be as sharp as you'd like....

Pentax did slim the D FA's down, but just the barrel design...
the WR and the shape of the aperture blades are different as I understand it

I am quite pleased with my older D FA

________________

I wonder if the OP has read this In Depth Review

https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/pentax-d-fa-100mm-f28-wr-macro/review.html?src=lrdb

Last edited by aslyfox; 08-10-2019 at 05:37 AM.
08-10-2019, 05:35 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
the only difference is the lens coating, the WR and the shape of the aperture blades as I understand it

I am quite pleased with my older D FA


exactly - why I suggested any of the F through D FA models....
08-10-2019, 05:39 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
exactly - why I suggested any of the F through D FA models....
wise advice as always
08-10-2019, 06:06 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
Is the F version also plastic? At least it looks so in my eyes. Also I知 wondering why the F, FA and DFA WR have the same optics, but the latter is much more compact and lighter, yet still offers more features (WR, quickshift, hood)?
The F and FA are quite metal, and of a very good build quality.
If I remember correctly, the FA 100 and DFA 100 have a different optical formula, the FA 50 and DFA 50 the same.
The DFA 50 and 100mm (the ones with aperture rings), are very plastic and built with double heliocoids, which keeeps the design compact, but as drawback an extra increase in play.

If you notice problems with these plastic lenses will depend on what you use them for.
If you shoot flowers and insects, or have an APSC sensor size, the drop in image quality goes probably unnoticed.
On my K1 and using it for reproduction, it is quite obvious, especially the portret mode shots show the most drop in resolution out of center.
Putting the camera on a reproduction stand, with the lens pointing down, so gravity does not pull the optics out of alignment give the best results.
The problem is not unique to the DFA 50 macro etc. Lots of optics with a lot of play in them suffer from the same problem (remember the DA 16-45 ? Pentax DA 16-45mm 1:4 ED/AL review: Digital Photography Review)
08-10-2019, 06:13 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by glasbak Quote
. . . If I remember correctly, the FA 100 and DFA 100 have a different optical formula,. . . [/url])
I suggest you review the " In Depth Review " I linked to earlier, here is some select quotes:

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.

Rounded blades

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

regarding " wobbling " I haven't notice any but then I use APS-C sensor cameras and I use the lens both for macro - insects, flowers and an excellent short telephoto

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

Construction and Handling

The outer lens barrel and focus ring are made of metal and the design is close to that of the DA Limited lenses. The inner barrel, which extends as you focus closer, is made of plastic, but fits tightly in the outer barrel and, opposed to the earlier D FA model, there is hardly any wobbling of the inner barrel. The lens feels like a precision optical instrument. The lens hood is made of plastic and fastens to the outer lens barrel using a bayonet. When the hood is mounted, the length does not change as you focus closer since the inner barrel extends within the hood. The front element does not rotate when focusing, making use of a polarizing filter convenient.



Read more at: Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro Review - Construction and Handling | PentaxForums.com Reviews
08-10-2019, 06:39 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote

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.
And here they differ (look at the optical diagrams) : Pentax Short Telephoto Prime Lenses | The K-Mount Page
So, who to believe ?

And you are talking about the DFA100 WR, I have no experience with that lens, I did mention clearly the plastic aperture ring versions and never the WR version.

Some other hints for demanding macro photographers :
Avoid lenses with a plastic filter thread (easily damaged when attaching the lens in reverse, or attaching a ring flash)
Avoid lenses without aperture ring if you want to reverse a lens, or use it on bellows, controlling aperture becomes a nightmare.
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