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02-06-2009, 08:23 PM   #31
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Hey Tanner,

"When you say quickshift focus, are you refering to the ability to use auto focus, and manually adjust the focus to exactly where you want? If so, that would be useful feature indeed."

Yep, that's exactly right. I was hoping someone might have an answer for the other 2 lenses, but when I went for the D-FA, that was the main item I looked for.

Good luck,
MPOC

02-06-2009, 09:23 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote

-TBH I'm skeptical of having a full plastic lens (the tamron)......but It does come with a 6 year waranty.

-The Pentax is good from what I've read, but there is better according to all of its reviews I've personally seen.

I believe that the Pentax is also almost all plastic. Hard to say what the Sigma is made out of. All I can say is that if the construction is similar to my Sigma 50/2.8 Macro, it is probably some sort of polycarbonate with some metal components. It almost certainly is not all metal.

Edit:
Peter Zack reviewed the Sigma 105 and stated that the build is all-metal. Peter usually knows what he is talking about, so I may be mistaken regarding the materials of the EX lenses. (If mine is metal, it lacks the familiar cold, hard feel...)
End edit

For what it is worth...if money was not any object, I would buy the Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100/2 (cuz its there...). Since money is a consideration, I would buy any of the Tamron 90/2.8, Sigma 70/2.8, or Sigma 105/2.8 with the edge being to either the Tamron (best price/performance) or the Sigma 70 (best performance).

As noted in a few of the above posts, you really should consider a used lens. This is particularly true if you are new to macro photography. There are additional hidden costs beyond the lens (things like tripods, focusing rails, lighting...). The suggested models (Vivitar, Lester Dine, Pentax-M, Takumar, and others) are excellent lenses. Don't be put off by the lack of auto-focus. You won't ever use the auto-focus for macro shots.

And while we are looking at the low end, price-wise; it might be useful to take a look at the Raynox DCR-150 or DCR-250 auxiliary lenses in combination with a near-macro zoom. Some pretty striking images on this site have been taken with this low-priced tool. Want to go lower price-wise? Think extension tubes or reversing rings. All are capable of great results with the main trade-off being convenience.

Question...What does stevebrot use? Well, I have the Sigma 50/2.8 macro that I use for flower close-ups and such. It works pretty well on digital, but really shines with 35mm film. It is convenient and handy, but the image quality is not as good as my "real" macro setup...



Yep, bellows with a decent prime up front (either forwards or reversed). Cumbersome, but elegant...it does the job in a precision fashion. To 1:1 and beyond!!!

Steve

(thinking one of these days the dedicated Pentax 100/4 Bellows lens might be nice...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 02-06-2009 at 11:52 PM.
02-06-2009, 09:52 PM   #33
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There really is no way I will be buying anything under 90mm because I do need that extra working distance so the sigma 70mm is out of the question.

Yes money is a factor being only 15, but I am willing to spend $400 (about the price for any of the three lenses +/- $10) for quality glass.

Quick question, why would the sigma 70mm have better performance than the 105mm? Either way If i go the sigma route its going to be with the 105mm.

If anyone has a picture with the sigma 105mm on their pentax camera please post.
02-06-2009, 11:00 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
There really is no way I will be buying anything under 90mm because I do need that extra working distance so the sigma 70mm is out of the question.

Yes money is a factor being only 15, but I am willing to spend $400 (about the price for any of the three lenses +/- $10) for quality glass.

Quick question, why would the sigma 70mm have better performance than the 105mm? Either way If i go the sigma route its going to be with the 105mm.

If anyone has a picture with the sigma 105mm on their pentax camera please post.
The MTF figures on the Sigma Web site are not as good for the 105 as for the 70 or the 50. This is born out with other tests and user feedback at photodo.com. I guess there is a reason for the extra money for the 70mm. As for working distance...The minimum focus distance for the 70 is 10.1" vs. 12.3" for the 105 and 11.4" for the Tamron 90. Is 2.2" significant? It is hard to tell. I guess it depends on your subject.

Edit:
I was poking around the Sigma Web site and noticed that the 70mm lacks an aperture ring. This would affect compatibility with most K-mount film cameras. (Should that be an issue)End edit...

It might help if I mention that I was evaluating the same lenses before I eventually bought the Sigma 50. During the shopping process, I acquired the bellows and thought better about springing $400+ dollars on a macro lens given the great results I got from the bellows. I did buy the Sigma for close work where 1:1 was not the object. It does that job well at a $236 price point but the working distance at 1:1 is a pain (7.4").

If I decide I need a solution with better working distance, a Raynox to fit my Tamron zoom might fit the ticket. Check out some of igilligan's posts to see what the Raynox is capable of.

Having said all this, if I didn't have the bellows, had about $400, and was dead-set on buying a moderate tele macro lens, I would buy the Tamron over the Sigma 105 and use the $50 saved to apply towards a strobe or a split-image focus screen. (Yes, macro focusing with the stock Pentax screen is no fun.)

In any case, I am sure that you will have fun shooting macro.

Steve

(Sure you don't want to try the cheap route first? Macro is tough and an expensive lens only makes it marginally easier...)


Last edited by stevebrot; 02-06-2009 at 11:46 PM. Reason: Additional info on Sigma 70
02-06-2009, 11:15 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
...The minimum focus distance for the 70 is 10.1" vs. 12.3" for the 105 and 11.4" for the Tamron 90. Is 2.2" significant? It is hard to tell. I guess it depends on your subject...
I forgot to mention that the minimum focus distances on the lens specifications are the distance from the focal plane, not the distance to the front element. At maximum magnification/extension, the front edge filter ring on my Sigma 50mm is only about 1.3" from the subject!! Before you make a purchase decision based on minimum focus distance, you might want to find out what the extension is at that magnification!


Apologies to photozone.de for lifting their image...

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 02-06-2009 at 11:25 PM.
02-06-2009, 11:32 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Having said all this, if I didn't have the bellows, had about $400, and was dead-set on buying a moderate tele macro lens, I would buy the Tamron over the Sigma 105 and use the $50 saved to apply towards a strobe or a split-image focus screen. (Yes, macro focusing with the stock Pentax screen is no fun.)

In any case, I am sure that you will have fun shooting macro.

Steve

(Sure you don't want to try the cheap route first...macro is tough and an expensive lens only makes it marginally easier...)
I kind of agree with Steve about the cheap route option. Every macro shooting skill you learn with a 50 dollar raynox lens stuck
on the end of your Kit or your Zoom, will be the same skills you will need with a 400 dollar macro that you could get later.

Here are some shots with the raynox on a couple of lenses...

50mm with raynox 250 cropped. the spider body is about half the size of a dime...


85mm with raynox 250 cropped



And a quick test with a 50mm and the raynox and a crop of that shot





You dont have to spend a ton of money to get decent results or to learn how to shoot macro. A macro adaptor lens like the raynox or
some extension tubes can be a lot of fun for a very reasonable cash outlay...
As Steve said, all macro can be tough shooting.

Having said that if the first prime lens you get is a sigma 70 or 105, or my choice the tamron 90... you will be happy with any of them...
they are all nice pieces of glass
02-06-2009, 11:42 PM   #37
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I also have a question regarding the macro lenses. I have the raynox and while it is wonderful (snap on, snap off, fully compatible with da 50-200), focusing is fixed at around 11cm. Does macro lens behave the same way or can it focus from infinity to really close?
02-06-2009, 11:48 PM   #38
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One question I have to ask, I notice lovely photos of bees and other insects, what's the trick with getting your pictures before the little buggers do a runner on you? I was trying to get some bees to co-operate with a macro shoot yesterday and every time I finally tracked the little sods they went and did a runner on me. I was also trying to get some pics of a couple of bugs inside a morning glory flower and the same deal, I get them nicely focussed and off the little sods go and I'm back to square one again. BTW I'm using macro rings with a Rikenoh 135mm f2.8 lens which does get the magnification up quite nicely.

02-06-2009, 11:51 PM   #39
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I also have a question regarding the macro lenses. I have the raynox and while it is wonderful (snap on, snap off, fully compatible with da 50-200), focusing is fixed at around 11cm. Does macro lens behave the same way or can it focus from infinity to really close?

A macro lens can focus from really close to infinity... that is why a lens like the 70/90/105mm macro is good for macros or really nice for portraits too... IMO the sig 70mm would be the best compromise for macro and portrait work, but I have got some nice portraits with my Vivitar 105mm.

But that clip-on feature is why I like the raynox over ext. tubes... If I am out and shooting a bug and a bird lands on the feeder, I can just clip off the raynox and have my 50-200 or whatever to shoot the bird with...
02-06-2009, 11:55 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by xjjohnno Quote
One question I have to ask, I notice lovely photos of bees and other insects, what's the trick with getting your pictures before the little buggers do a runner on you? I was trying to get some bees to co-operate with a macro shoot yesterday and every time I finally tracked the little sods they went and did a runner on me. I was also trying to get some pics of a couple of bugs inside a morning glory flower and the same deal, I get them nicely focussed and off the little sods go and I'm back to square one again. BTW I'm using macro rings with a Rikenoh 135mm f2.8 lens which does get the magnification up quite nicely.
Shoot 50 times... get one pic!

With bees, they bounce from flower to flower on a plant, so just bee patient. Focus, set exposure on one and wait until they land on it... Or shoot 50... get one!
02-07-2009, 12:44 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The MTF figures on the Sigma Web site are not as good for the 105 as for the 70 or the 50. This is born out with other tests and user feedback at photodo.com. I guess there is a reason for the extra money for the 70mm. As for working distance...The minimum focus distance for the 70 is 10.1" vs. 12.3" for the 105 and 11.4" for the Tamron 90. Is 2.2" significant? It is hard to tell. I guess it depends on your subject.

Edit:
I was poking around the Sigma Web site and noticed that the 70mm lacks an aperture ring. This would affect compatibility with most K-mount film cameras. (Should that be an issue)End edit...

It might help if I mention that I was evaluating the same lenses before I eventually bought the Sigma 50. During the shopping process, I acquired the bellows and thought better about springing $400+ dollars on a macro lens given the great results I got from the bellows. I did buy the Sigma for close work where 1:1 was not the object. It does that job well at a $236 price point but the working distance at 1:1 is a pain (7.4").

If I decide I need a solution with better working distance, a Raynox to fit my Tamron zoom might fit the ticket. Check out some of igilligan's posts to see what the Raynox is capable of.

Having said all this, if I didn't have the bellows, had about $400, and was dead-set on buying a moderate tele macro lens, I would buy the Tamron over the Sigma 105 and use the $50 saved to apply towards a strobe or a split-image focus screen. (Yes, macro focusing with the stock Pentax screen is no fun.)

In any case, I am sure that you will have fun shooting macro.

Steve

(Sure you don't want to try the cheap route first? Macro is tough and an expensive lens only makes it marginally easier...)
Where could I buy the tamron and save that $50? With the rebate on amazon it is only a little cheaper than the pentax and sigma 105mm.

I only own the kit lens for my K200d, so I really want a macro lens for macro, but also as a good medium telephoto.

I personally don't feal like getting a $50 raynox just to prepare for a macro lens. Waste of $50 IMO
even though it does take nice photos as seen by ur pics...

To me it seems like I might aswell get a macro lens while i have the money and get better and better with it as time goes on.

As for which one, man now Im even more confused than before! Tamron, pentax or Sigma?!?!?

Last edited by yeatzee; 02-07-2009 at 02:09 AM.
02-07-2009, 02:06 AM   #42
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You missed my point I guess...

The advantage of the raynox is that it works with almost any lens that you might have in your bag... and at some point you will have a bag full of lenses and you will be heading out and having to choose a few to take with you. The raynox can easily get put in a side pocket, just in case the beautiful bug lands on your car.
It is seldom now I take the Vivitar Series 1 105 macro out unless it is specifically to shoot macro.

I was not saying you had to get the raynox to learn, just that anything you learn about macro with a cheap raynox is the same stuff you will need to learn with a 400 dollar lens. Macro skill set is the same...

In the end... just get what makes you happy, anything less makes you less happy. And as I said you can't go wrong with any of them. I would love to get my hands on the sig 70 or tamy 90...

And please post some pics from your macro lens when you get it...
As I always love seeing how those expensive lenses put these silly raynox adaptors to shame...

Last edited by Igilligan; 02-07-2009 at 02:14 AM.
02-07-2009, 03:15 AM   #43
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Gus,

I was tempted to suggest the Raynox to the OP but since he mentioned the need for a working distance "getting the shot without scaring them" I thought it is out of the question.


QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
As I always love seeing how those expensive lenses put these silly raynox adaptors to shame...
Nice one.
Based on your shots I ordered a Raynox a while ago (in a different country, family will take it with them on a visit). Can't wait to try it.
02-07-2009, 05:54 AM   #44
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Between the current offerings from Pentax, Sigma and Tamron, and all of those good older macro lenses, choosing a macro in the Pentax mount can be pretty daunting. For now, I went with the Raynox 150, which I received a couple of weeks ago ($43 shipped from tristatecamera). As Igilligan has said, the Raynox is a pretty cool contraption, and a good way to learn a bit about macro, while retaining a place in your kit even if you do get a dedicated macro lens. It works well with my 50-200, which frankly hadn't been seeing much use anyway.

Good luck with your search.
02-07-2009, 08:38 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I was tempted to suggest the Raynox to the OP but since he mentioned the need for a working distance "getting the shot without scaring them" I thought it is out of the question.
Just for the record, a Raynox 150 puts the lens at 210mm from the subject with the main lens focussed to infinity. That's a notably longer working distance than a 90/100/105mm macro. It's a shame the Raynox 250 gets all the press, because the 150 is a much nicer piece to work with and still provides 1:1 macro at about 200mm focal length.

Last edited by audiobomber; 02-07-2009 at 09:48 AM.
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