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09-09-2009, 02:50 PM   #1
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Pentax 100 vs Sigma 105 Macro

Looks like my next lens purchase will be either the Sigma 105 or the Pentax 100 - both designated (I think) as macro lenses.

Be grateful if anybody has thoughts about one lens or the other. As a mere matter of personal taste, I rather like the superficial qualities of Sigma lenses, like the feel, the build, and I've also had really good luck with the image quality. The reviewers in the forum lens databases surprised me by giving the Sigma slightly higher marks than the Pentax. On Amazon.com, the Pentax gets 5 stars out of the 5, and the Sigma gets only 4. I reckon they're both good lenses. At this length 5mm isn't much but I would rather have the longer lens if it really were as good as the Pentax 100 (or the Pentax 50-135 which I might be using it in place of).

But I have another question. If a lens is designated as "macro," does that mean that it is only good for that use? Or can it be a general purpose telephoto lens as well?

I'm not interested in the macro capabilities at all, or hardly at all. I'm simply looking for a really good prime in this general focal length and these two lenses (plus the Tamron 90) seem to be pretty much all that's available. I would use the lens as a telephoto lens for taking pictures of people, say, children playing in a playground, for making head shots from across a room, and possibly to take photos during a wedding ceremony. Probably would not use for portraits (although I don't know for sure).

Thanks in advance.

Will

09-09-2009, 02:59 PM   #2
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IQ wise you can toss up a coin between those two, they are that close. The colour rendition is tad different, some like Pentax some Sigma. Main difference is in size, with Pentax being smaller, quite a bit actually. I went with Sigma (for my wife) in the end. Main reason? Back then it was 120 cheaper, these days maybe even more.

BR
Peter

edit PS: being macro lenses, the AF will be tad slower. Have you thought about used FA135 or new DA*50-135? I used the sigma exactly in the role you want it, but the DA* is better in the same role...
09-09-2009, 03:22 PM   #3
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They're both more than capable of being general purpose mid-telephoto lenses.
The FA 100/2.8 macro is simply amazing even at infinity.
If you're not keen on macro at all, perhaps do consider the 50-135 instead, or the other 50-150 and 70-200 offerings. They're all very good non-macro lenses.
09-09-2009, 05:50 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Looks like my next lens purchase will be either the Sigma 105 or the Pentax 100 - both designated (I think) as macro lenses.

Be grateful if anybody has thoughts about one lens or the other. As a mere matter of personal taste, I rather like the superficial qualities of Sigma lenses, like the feel, the build, and I've also had really good luck with the image quality. The reviewers in the forum lens databases surprised me by giving the Sigma slightly higher marks than the Pentax. On Amazon.com, the Pentax gets 5 stars out of the 5, and the Sigma gets only 4. I reckon they're both good lenses. At this length 5mm isn't much but I would rather have the longer lens if it really were as good as the Pentax 100 (or the Pentax 50-135 which I might be using it in place of).

But I have another question. If a lens is designated as "macro," does that mean that it is only good for that use? Or can it be a general purpose telephoto lens as well?

I'm not interested in the macro capabilities at all, or hardly at all. I'm simply looking for a really good prime in this general focal length and these two lenses (plus the Tamron 90) seem to be pretty much all that's available. I would use the lens as a telephoto lens for taking pictures of people, say, children playing in a playground, for making head shots from across a room, and possibly to take photos during a wedding ceremony. Probably would not use for portraits (although I don't know for sure).

Thanks in advance.

Will
IMO, the FA-100mm macro's IQ is hard to beat. Manual focusing is nice with the clamp and the build feels like it can withstand it being smashed against a wall (not too hard though, there is glass inside after all) Truly an amazing lens in terms of IQ, but 100mm or 90mm might be hard to deal with if you aren't interested in the macro side. Even AF is speedy, but only when limiter is on. With it off, you tend to ALWAYS be waiting for the damn camera to focus properly. Good thing I tend to use MF with this lens!

*one thing I like to point out though is my copy seems to render slightly "cooler" than my other lenses, although I didn't notice this til fairly recent times and I've had this lens for a year already.*

If you aren't interested in macro, I would consider the 70mm f/2.4LTD, 77mm f/1.8LTD, or 50-135mm f/2.8 lens.

09-09-2009, 06:13 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
IQ wise you can toss up a coin between those two, they are that close. The colour rendition is tad different, some like Pentax some Sigma. Main difference is in size, with Pentax being smaller, quite a bit actually. I went with Sigma (for my wife) in the end. Main reason? Back then it was 120 cheaper, these days maybe even more.
Thanks, Peter. Yes, the Sigma 105 right now at Amazon is about $80 cheaper than the Pentax. That's not critical. I would probably buy the Sigma even if it were $80 more expensive, so long as it's as good as the Pentax. I just like the build of the Sigma lenses.


QuoteQuote:
edit PS: being macro lenses, the AF will be tad slower.
Interesting. Why is autofocus slower on a macro lens?


QuoteQuote:
Have you thought about used FA135 or new DA*50-135? I used the sigma exactly in the role you want it, but the DA* is better in the same role...
I have the DA* 50-135 already. I was actually thinking of replacing it with a couple of primes - perhaps a 70 and a 100/105. You really think the the DA* 50-135 is as good at 105 as the Pentax 100 or Sigma 105 primes? The primes aren't faster - all of them go to f/2.8.

I guess I like the 50-135 pretty well but it's a biggish lens.

Will
09-09-2009, 06:22 PM   #6
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yes, a 70mm LTD would be a great idea. but if you need a lil more distance, I would go for an FA 100/2.8 or FA 135/2.8 , if you could find one. I prefer these two as opposed to the DFA 100. I find the focus limiter of the FA 100/2.8 (absent in the DFA version) a necessity and comes in handy during fast pace photography work.

btw, the FA 100 2.8 is an excellent lens for telephoto use. it's one of the lens that I'll be bringing for a catwalk affair aside from the FA 50 1.7. too bad I can't use my other 2 favorite lenses. so many lenses, so lil time.
09-10-2009, 06:58 AM   #7
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WMBP - auto focus on a macro lens (one without a limiter) is slower because the focus throw is very long to accommodate very subtle focus changes that are needed for macro work.

A lens with a limiter (my Sigma 70 has one) locks down the focus throw so that it is very short which makes AF much quicker (like a normal non macro lens), however it will not focus very close with this in place. A limiter essentially gives a lens a dual purpose - enable limiter should you want to use it as a tele prime, or turn limiter off if you want to focus very close for macro work.

For my Sigma 70 if I put the limiter on with the extender all the way into the lens (i.e. for shooting distances) I focus much quicker, however I can only focus down to about 0.5m (1.5 ft), with the limiter off I can focus down to about 10cm (5 in) from the front of the barrel.

I hope this info's helpful.

c[_]
09-10-2009, 07:16 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Thanks, Peter. Yes, the Sigma 105 right now at Amazon is about $80 cheaper than the Pentax. That's not critical. I would probably buy the Sigma even if it were $80 more expensive, so long as it's as good as the Pentax. I just like the build of the Sigma lenses.
Exact reason why I went with the sigma.... build. Its much better than the pentax's. They both are incredibly sharp wide open and even more so stopped down, so really you can't go wrong with either. In the end for me it came down to price and build in which the sigma won both (its metal).

09-10-2009, 07:22 AM   #9
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I have never tried the Pentax 100mm macro, but have the Sigma 105. This was my macro of choice with 35mm but after moving to a 1.5X DSLR I found the focal length a bit odd, so didn't use the lens much, and bought the 35mm macro limited, which is a bit short for me. However, I have started using the 105 again and have come to like the focal length now that I have worked with it a bit. Here are some recent shots taken with this lens that were posted elsewhere in this forum.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/72599-seeing-red.html

Cheers, Mike.
02-22-2010, 08:07 PM   #10
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2-22-2010 followup

This is an old thread but I thought I'd followup here.

It takes me time to make a decision, but I finally made up my mind and bought the Sigma 105.

I took a few quick photos today, including this one of one of my cats:




Here's the whole album:

Picasa Web Albums - William - 20100222


I just took a couple dozen photos, which is hardly a serious test. Will have to get into a church and do some low-light late afternoon photos so really decide what I think. But so far, the lens seems to meet my expectations. As I said at the start of this thread, I like the feel of Sigma lenses and this one's no exception.

I don't really understand the focus limiter's purpose. Haven't read the documentation that comes with the lens. Manual focus works okay and so does auto. Color rendition seems good.

Will
02-22-2010, 08:44 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
I don't really understand the focus limiter's purpose.

Will
Hi Will. it's purpose is to avoid AF hunting from infinity to MFD and vice versa. it sets the limit on macro focusing distance or telephoto focusing distance, rather than go all the way from MFD to infinity and lose it's way..
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