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12-16-2008, 10:26 PM   #1
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Best macro lens to start with?

I have not done macro work before. Any suggestions on the best macro lens (most versitle) to start working with and learning some macro photography? I know in the marketplace their is a 35mm DA 2.8 Limited that is tempting but want a bit of input first.

I do not know the benefits when doing macro work to a 35 vs. 100.

Thanks for any input,

Jeremy

12-16-2008, 11:50 PM   #2
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jeremy:

I think 90-105mm is a great range at which to learn Macro. And there are a lot of excellent lenses available between thiese focal lengths, all of which are excellent. Pentax, Sigma and Tamron all make very nice macros in this range.

I would read a bit on them if I were you, then make a decision. best of luck--Macro is awesome.
12-17-2008, 12:00 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Jeremy,

there are some options for starting you macro:
-Tamron 90 Di
-Sigma 105 macro
-Pentax 100 macro
-pentax 35 ltd

it depends on how much you want to spend, if you just wanted a budget lens to start with, find some 2nd hand of those above.

I started with a Tammy 90 Di and really happy with it, although the AF is abit silly , my pentax 35 ltd is coming tomorow and i will tell you how good it is
12-17-2008, 01:09 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeremy_c Quote
I do not know the benefits when doing macro work to a 35 vs. 100.
In terms of depth of field there is no real difference between a 35mm and 100mm lens. In macro work you will move the camera so that the subject fills the frame, and moving closer to the subject so that it fills the frame with a shorter lens offsets it's greater depth of field.

If you want to take pictures of very small objects (insects that fill the frame, for example), you'll find that you have to get so close with the DA35 that the lens itself will tend to interfere with the subject. A longer lens will give you a greater working distance which is very nice to have if you're shooting very small objects.

The longer lens also has the advantage that it's narrower field of view makes it easier to eliminate unwanted objects from the background of the shot.

While the DA35 is an excellent macro lens, it's biggest strength IMHO is that it also works very well as a "normal" lens for non-macro shots. It's the lens which is on my camera most of the time, and because it's a macro I never have to worry about not being able to get close enough to a subject.

12-17-2008, 04:23 AM   #5
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While there is no real difference in depth of field between different focal lengths (in terms of equivalent magnification), the kinds of out of focus detail varies a lot. Longer lenses will completely obliterate the background, while short focal lengths will leave some hint of the background and thus context for your subject. Both approaches can have merit. Desired working distance is another consideration. Don't feel you have to stop at 100 mm. 300-600 mm can be very useful for shy subjects.
Jeremy, as you already have a number of lenses, you might like to try using macro extension tubes to experiment with different focal lengths at macro distances. As most of your lenses have no aperture ring you will need to try and get tubes with lens data contacts so as the camera can still set the aperture. I am not aware of any in production but there were auto types from Kenko, Glanz (Gunz), and Vivitar. The FA 50 should work in manual mode with any that have the diaphram levers (Pentax, Kenlock and others). Some very cheap tubes don't even have these and you have to compose the shot at your working aperture.
12-17-2008, 05:39 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeremy_c Quote
I have not done macro work before. Any suggestions on the best macro lens (most versitle) to start working with and learning some macro photography?
I like the 100mm range for macro because of the longer working distance, especially for insect macros. I tried a 35mm macro on a coin and by the time I got to maximum magnification the lens was actually touching the rim.

Another possibility would be to buy a Raynox diopter to use with your 50-200mm. I have honestly never noticed any deterioration due to this particular diopter. Do a search on Raynox for some sample photos. Most people have the DCR-250, which allows greater magnification (1.8:1 with a 200mm lens), but the 4" working distance is a real limitation. The DCR-150 would still give you 1.1:1 macro, with about double the working distance. For $50 it's worthwhile having, even if buy a true macro later because it's so easy mount, dismount and carry.
12-17-2008, 06:52 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeremy_c Quote
I have not done macro work before. Any suggestions on the best macro lens (most versitle) to start working with and learning some macro photography? I know in the marketplace their is a 35mm DA 2.8 Limited that is tempting but want a bit of input first.

I do not know the benefits when doing macro work to a 35 vs. 100.

Thanks for any input,

Jeremy
I still prefer longer focal lengths for macro, so still prefer the 100mm. I have an A100/2.8 which is one of the "legendary quality" lenses. I have noticed from time to time that I get reflections off the sensor to the rear element and back to the sensor with this lens though, so it is not as legendary on digital as it is on film.
If I was buying another Macro, I'd be looking seriously at the DA100 Macro, which seems to be an excellent lens.
12-17-2008, 09:59 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I like the 100mm range for macro because of the longer working distance, especially for insect macros. I tried a 35mm macro on a coin and by the time I got to maximum magnification the lens was actually touching the rim.
Right. It is important to keep in mind that the only thing that makes a lens of a given focal length "macro" in terms of magnification is that it can focus closer than another lens of the same focal length. So if you want a closeup picture with a 35mm lens, you have to get *really* close. A 100mm lens will take the same basic picture in terms of magnification at a much greater distance. Of course, we're still talking inches, not feet, but a couple of inches can make all the difference.

I'd also consider which would make a more useful lens for you in general. If you already have an FA35, or DA40, or FA31, or anything else in that general focal length range, but don't have anything good in the 100mm range, that would be another vote in favor of the 100mm. But if you don't have a good prime around 35mm, that's probably something you really want.

QuoteQuote:
Another possibility would be to buy a Raynox diopter to use with your 50-200mm.
I second this as a cheap and effective way to at explore the idea before deciding to spring several hundred dollars on a macro lens.

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