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07-05-2009, 03:09 AM   #1
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Which Macro with Double Talent?

As macro lenses go they all seem to be very sharp and fit for their primary purpose. I wonder which macro lens excels in another discipline as well, e.g., as a portrait lens.

I'd like to use it for critters too, so I don't think focal lengths <=50mm would work well for this. A magnification of 1:1 would be nice.

The Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP macro seems to be well regarded but does it have another talent besides macro?

Does anyone know the Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro? It may have right focal length to double as a portrait lens (on APS-C). The photozone test rates it sharper than the Tamron and says it's bokeh is "very smooth and buttery". PopPhoto calls it "faultless".

I'm also open to consider old classics, in fact they'd have the charm of (hopefully) being more affordable.

Looking forward to reading your recommendations.


Last edited by Class A; 07-05-2009 at 04:01 AM.
07-05-2009, 03:34 AM   #2
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You'll find users of each lens telling the tale of the double talent.
I don't have either of your mentioned macros, but do have the Pentax FA 100/2.8 macro and cannot speak more highly of it.

Aside from slightly warm images rendered on my K10D/K20D, which is easily fixed with WB adjustments, it is by far my sharpest lens at all apertures. IMO no other lens beats it - even wide open it's tremendously sharp as a portrait lens, and as a macro performs brilliantly in the f/8-22 range. I've taken many shots at f/32 and have found it absolutely stunning even there.

I'm incredibly biased of course, and others will vouch for the crisp and sharp results from the Sigma 70, beating all others, but I've been completely satisfied with my Pentax FA 100, even to the point of calling it my favourite lens.
07-05-2009, 04:44 AM   #3
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I have the Sigma 70 and its a great lens in all respects (well except is heavy and has weird hood) If you want a Macro to serve as a portrait lens you will want one with a Focus limiter like the 70 (I think the tamron has one too). The 70mm focal length is a portrait sweet spot on APS-c. Any longer and you will struggle to get a person in frame indoors. Outdoors focal length is not a problem as long as you can keep walking backwards! The 70mm is starting to get shortish for chasing bugs though.
cheers
07-05-2009, 06:03 AM   #4
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I too have the D-FA 100mm Macro, and it is my all-around favorite lens.

I took it to a Renaissance festival...



...I use it for landscapes...





...it works well for portraits "in the field"...



...longer shots of people...



...street-style shots of people...



...tighter shots of people...



...and even babies.




Whew! You can see all the photos I've taken with this capable lens here, although I must warn you, it is my most-used lens, and most of the photos are of the flora-and-fauna variety

07-05-2009, 06:28 AM   #5
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Sigma 70 user here. I highly recommend it.

Here's some samples:









Outside of the 77ltd, this is the best portrait lens I've ever used:



c[_]
07-05-2009, 07:42 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by K McCall Quote
I too have the D-FA 100mm Macro, and it is my all-around favorite lens.

I took it to a Renaissance festival...

...



I started to look at these shots before I glanced at who posted them, and I was like, "Holy Crap, these are good, who the hell....? Oh. Keitha."

Please post more in this forum at every opportunity, Keitha, it gives the rest of us quite a bit of inspiration!


.
07-05-2009, 07:44 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ll_coffee_lP Quote
Sigma 70 user here. I highly recommend it.

Here's some samples:

c[_]

Coffee, I agree, the Sigma 70 does double duty probably better than any other 1:1 macro, and your excellent shots prove that.
07-05-2009, 08:55 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
I started to look at these shots before I glanced at who posted them, and I was like, "Holy Crap, these are good, who the hell....? Oh. Keitha."

Please post more in this forum at every opportunity, Keitha, it gives the rest of us quite a bit of inspiration!


.
Ha! I had the same response & figured out who it was when I saw Jens (but I suspected earlier I think.) She's superb.

07-05-2009, 10:07 AM   #9
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I agree with everyone so far...? that never happens

Some more Kudos for Keitha... always a treat for the eyes...

ll_coffee_lP nice exaples...

And Jay is spot on.... The 70 has got to be the most usable length for double duty... And a really sharp lens... The DFA 100 pics on this forum lately really have given me a new level of respect for that lens

If you are a bug shooter the Tamron 90 also rocks...

If you are rich get the sigma 70 for double duty and later pick up the 180 macro for real bug shootin'


In other words you cant go wrong with any of these really...
07-05-2009, 10:33 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
. . .
And Jay is spot on.... The 70 has got to be the most usable length for double duty... And a really sharp lens... The DFA 100 pics on this forum lately really have given me a new level of respect for that lens

...
So the 35mm ltd is a paper weight?

I'm not sure if these thread is clearing the path for the OP. There have been some very good cases made for 70 and 100. Its a mater of time before someone makes the case for the Tammy.
07-05-2009, 10:39 AM   #11
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Well I did kinda make the case for the Tammy... It is probably my fave length if close up bugs, plus head and shoulder portraits are the OP's main interests...


The 35 is a great lens, but in no way a biting/stinging bug shooter... I ain't getting that close! So yeah, a paper weight... bwahhhaaahahhhaaa
07-05-2009, 10:52 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
Ha! I had the same response She's superb.
Me third (on that response)!
07-05-2009, 12:51 PM   #13
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Some Tamron 90mm Macro examples

Taken with the DS






Taken with the K10D




NaCl(it's not just for macros anymore!)H2O
07-05-2009, 03:50 PM   #14
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Ahhh, you make me want to trade my D-FA in for a Sigma! I haven't actually used any other macro lenses besides the Pentax ones, but this one would be high on my list. I love the 70mm field of view, and judging by your photos, the lens performs. Of course, the photographer might have something to do with it
07-05-2009, 03:52 PM   #15
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To NaClH2O: I really like the mood in all your shots (it's very similar to how I like to shoot, actually), but the eagle shot with the misty land behind is superb. I'm not a birder by any means, but THIS is a photo that tells a story. Great job!
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