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08-03-2009, 03:44 PM   #1
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a macro lens?

It seems like i could need a macro lens, so what shall i try to find?
A new AF from Pentax, from an independent maker (sigma / tamron / voigtländer), some old Asahi Takumar or what?
Great color rendetion,
also working in B/W,
great contrast,
is there any macro lens that works great for portraits (w/o showing every blemish on skin)
What should i try to find or am i just asking for too much?
Going down to 1/1 would be fabolous w/o going too close, maybe something in 75-100mm range?

Ps, i have no experience in macro lenses, just close-focusing lenses like Nikkor Ai-s 28/2.8 and Leica 50DR and similar.

08-03-2009, 03:53 PM   #2
Damn Brit

What do you want to take macros of? If you want to do flowers, 35mm or 50mm would be good. If you want to do insects, 70mm or above, most go for 100mm.

70 or above macros are often great for portraits. They won't show every blemish any more than other portrait lens. Unless you take the portrait from about six inches away. But then it wouldn't be a portrait then, it would be a macro.
08-03-2009, 04:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
What do you want to take macros of? If you want to do flowers, 35mm or 50mm would be good. If you want to do insects, 70mm or above, most go for 100mm.
Mostly the idea is of my work surroundings ( i work in the maritime industry ). My idea is that it would be great to have both a sharp macro lens and an well behaving portrait lens (working distance 1-5m).
08-03-2009, 04:46 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jah3 Quote
is there any macro lens that works great for portraits (w/o showing every blemish on skin)
If it wasn't sharp enough to show blemishes on skin, it wouldn't be of much use as a macro lens. Better to have a lens that is great for macro but "too sharp" for portraits - you can soften things with a filter or in PP - then on that's appropriately soft for portraits but never quite gets you there for macro.

Sigma makes a 70mm macro a lot of people like. There are also 50 and 100 macros if you prefer your portrait lenses shorter or longer, but in your shoes, I'd be going for that 70.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 08-04-2009 at 10:00 PM.
08-04-2009, 01:00 AM   #5
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I Love my sigma 70 macro, its fantastic performer in every way! Sigma have been really on the ball with their recent lenses! It also has a limiter on it which is good for non macro work. There is always make up for models if your worried about blemishes
08-04-2009, 04:40 AM   #6
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For a portrait macro, the 70 or 100mm offerings probably suit best - I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. They're all quite sharp with good colour and contrast rendition.
08-05-2009, 01:41 AM   #7
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Tamron 90mm DI Macro. Check the Photozone test report Welcome to Photozone!

08-05-2009, 07:20 AM   #8
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hi... how about this...Pentax Lens Review Database - 100mm F3.5 Macro
i've got one, the build is marginal at best, sounds like an i.e.d. ready to explode...
with as a 1:2 macro.... the results are pretty darn good....
also, promaster/cosina and others are pretty much the same as this, but lack the pentax coatings.... these do come with a 1:1 diopter which works well...........
there are many fine macros, sigma, tamron, et al... but the price curve usually goes straight up...
best of luck, dave m

08-06-2009, 04:35 AM   #9
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My experience with macro is the lens can never be long enough. I have the same problem with telephoto lenses. I started with a M 50/4 macro. This was OK for flowers etc. but was only 1/2 life reproduction. It was very slow at f 4 although very sharp. It was also a very good portrait lens. The biggest downside with a 50mm macro is you have to get too close to the subject and this often scares away little critters etc. However, if you are looking for a bargain macro and don’t mind manual focusing in digital, the M 50/4 is a good starting point. I still have mine but don’t use it much.

The next stop in my macro journey was the Pentax A 100/2.8 macro. This was a big improvement as it was faster, gave me a 1 to 1 reproduction ratio but cost a lot more. This lens is also very good as a portrait lens. Even the 100mm macro has its limits. There isn't enough room for complex lighting etc. between you and your subject. That being said the 100mm macro is probably the most versatile of the macro focal lengths.

For me the ideal macro would be one in the 200mm range. Pentax makes one of the very best the A* 200/4 macro. It gives lots of room between you and the subject and is renowned for its image quality. It is also insanely expensive and rare. I suppose you could use it portraits but many prefer the flattering effects of a lens in the 85 to 100mm range.

The best compromise for all the things on your wish list would probably be the 100mm macro. There are many good macro lenses out there by various manufacturers. Pentax, Tamron, Vivitar and Voigtlander came to mind. You will find reviews of all of these in the lenses review database. Which ever macro you eventually purchase will almost certainly be the sharpest lens in you collection. Enjoy it.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 08-06-2009 at 04:37 AM. Reason: typo
08-06-2009, 12:00 PM   #10
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jah3: is there any macro lens that works great for portraits (w/o showing every blemish on skin)
You can always unsharpen any shot you choose. I like my Tammy 90 macro for portraits--indoor and out. I'm sure many macro lenses perform great as portraits.

Here are a few, for example:

Last edited by Jewelltrail; 09-25-2009 at 09:12 AM.
08-06-2009, 12:39 PM   #11
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I have the Sigma 180mm f/3.5 and it is AWESOME. It is the only macro lens I have. I bought it because I wanted a telephoto lens and a macro lens and I could not affrd both. So I got the next best thing...

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