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12-07-2008, 11:36 AM   #1
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Prime Macro Lens

I'm looking into purchasing a prime macro lens....but I have no idea which one......so....of course, this is the place to turn to!

Prime macro lens.....why? I dunno....just because I want one.....

What length? Here's where I am stumped. I have absolutely no idea.

So....which prime do you recommend based on value and quality?

Thanks!

12-07-2008, 12:04 PM   #2
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The DA35
12-07-2008, 12:06 PM   #3
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i don't think there are any bad macro lenses out there right now
if you want a walk around lens w/ macro capability, the DA35 is good
if you want to take photos of inanimate objects a 50mm macro like the D FA 50mm / Sigma 50mm / 70mm Macro
If you're doing stuff like bugs, then there's the Sigma 105, Tamron 90, D FA 100mm. best to check out the different lenses to see which you like best
12-07-2008, 12:30 PM   #4
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What do you have right now? A lot of folks prefer a longer lens for serious macro work, but if you don't have something in the 35mm range then the DA35 makes a very nice general-purpose prime.

The advantages of the longer lens are that it has a longer working distance (ie, you don't have to stick the lens right into a flower in order to get a good bug shot) and that it's narrower field of view means it's easier to pick a shooting angle that eliminates distractions from the background.

Note that for macro work there really isn't any difference in depth of field between the various focal lengths. This is because the shallower depth of field of a longer lens is offset by taking the picture from further away in order to keep the subject the same size in the frame.

12-07-2008, 01:09 PM   #5
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As far as new AF lenses, DA 35mm ltd, D FA 100mm macro, Sigma 105mm macro, Sigma 70mm macro or the Tamron 90mm macro. There is also the Pentax D FA 50mm macro Pentax and Sigma 50mm macro as well. However, if you are on a tight budget, the Sigma 50mm macro is a good alternative and I think there is one in the marketplace right now at a good price.

The 35 is versatile and very good but has an extremely close working distance.

The 50mm focal length is close as well but both come with a good price point

The 70mm is liked by some but is too in between for other people.

The 90-105 focal length is usable on things like insects. I think the 105 is better for things that are skittish.

If money is no object, there is the Sigma 180mm macro that offers a nice working distance but is a heavy beast and runs around $720-850 depending on where you get it new.

Of course there are several manual focus options new and used in the above focal lengths.

On my digital bodies, I personally use the DA 35 and Sigma 105. I like the 105 because it provides great images and has a dual focus system that allows it to be used easily in the mf mode as well as AF.
12-07-2008, 01:59 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
What do you have right now?
I don't have one.

I thought I wanted a prime, but searching the net, maybe I want a zoom macro. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.......
12-07-2008, 02:21 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by poochie99 Quote
I don't have one.

I thought I wanted a prime, but searching the net, maybe I want a zoom macro. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.......
Take a look at the Tamron 70-300mm with 1:2 macro.
12-07-2008, 02:50 PM   #8
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If you want something shorter than the 70-300, the Sigma 17-70 would be a good choice, as it's macro ratio is 1:2.3.

At any rate, if you get one of these and play around with it for a while, figure out what subjects you like shooting best closeup (small critters or flowers), and decide that you would really like something that could get closer than 1:2 (half life-size) or 1:2.3, then you'll have a better idea of which 1:1 FL lens to get.

Another even less expensive option would be to see about getting a Raynox macro attachment to attach on to one of your existing lenses (DCR250 Raynox DCR-250, Macro-Scan 2.5x Super Macro Conversion Lens, with Snap-on Universal Mount for 52mm to 67mm Filter Diameters.). I've never used one, but plenty of other people around here have, with impressive results.

HTH,
Heather

12-07-2008, 03:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
What do you have right now?
QuoteOriginally posted by poochie99 Quote
I don't have one.
Actually I meant "what do you have in terms of other, non-macro lenses". For example, if you already have a lens that covers the 35mm range, then the DA35 Macro may not be that interesting for you.
12-07-2008, 03:51 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote

If money is no object, there is the Sigma 180mm macro that offers a nice working distance but is a heavy beast and runs around $720-850 depending on where you get it new.

.

I have the above mentioned lens and find it the best lens I own, for a variety of purposes. It does do a good job in the Macro application, like getting shots of insects, etc. without having to get so close you spook them. It also does a fine job as a medium telephoto, if that interests you. And it's the sharpest lens of all I own, much sharper than any zoom, especially when zoomed out any amount.

Yes, it is heavy and does cost more than some others recommended. As often said, you pays your money and takes your choice.

Olin McDaniel
12-07-2008, 04:05 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
Actually I meant "what do you have in terms of other, non-macro lenses". For example, if you already have a lens that covers the 35mm range, then the DA35 Macro may not be that interesting for you.
Oh....LOL...well I don't have much there either....I'm a new photography enthusiast...I have the standard kit lens 18-55 and a DA 50-200......
12-07-2008, 05:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by poochie99 Quote
I don't have one.

I thought I wanted a prime, but searching the net, maybe I want a zoom macro. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.......
If you want macro go for prime...

QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Take a look at the Tamron 70-300mm with 1:2 macro.
IMHO not the best for macro. It's 1:2 capability is great, and as a general purpose long end zoom it's a great lens, but even in non-macro situation it easily gets beaten by f.e. Sigma 105 (of course when shot at similar focal lengths).

My advice is, go for 100ish f2.8. There are 3 great choices: Pentax DFA 100 f2.8, Tamron Di 90 f2.8 and Sigma EX 105 f2.8. All of these have great following, and honestly I think you can't go wrong with any of these three...
I have the Sigma, and it's trully stunning lens...
BR
12-07-2008, 05:35 PM   #13
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Loving all the help I'm getting here....thanks!
12-07-2008, 05:55 PM   #14
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Since you have a good range covered with your zooms, and if you don't take bug pics, I would say the DA35mm.
1. It can be used as a normal for a walk around lens with macro.
2. Very easy to use compared to a long macro, especially for those with limited macro experience.
3. I prefer the wider field of view, you see the surroundings.
You do have to be more careful of the background.
Ryan
12-07-2008, 07:46 PM   #15
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There are no zooms that are real macro lenses. The close-focus zooms that are labelled "macro" by Sigma and Tamron would not be labelled macro by Pentax.

I have another suggestion for you. It's rather inexpensive but quite effective. Get a Raynox DCR-150 to mount on the DA 50-200mm. It will give you true 1:1 macro and for $50 you can see whether the investment in a macro prime would be worthwhile. I have a D FA 100mm but I would never get rid of my Raynox, because it's so easy to carry and pops on and off without a lens change. Very handy.
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