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10-20-2009, 02:55 AM   #16
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Another vote for the Tamron. Just a brilliant lens.

Handheld & manually focused:


10-20-2009, 11:59 AM   #17
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I own the Sigma EX DG 50/2.8 Macro. In my opinion, it is the value queen of quality macro lenses. That being said, it has one flaw...working distance to the subject. As mentioned in other comments above, a longer focal length is much easier to use. My personal choices if I were in the market and had a little more money to spend:
  • Tamron SP AF 90/2.8 Di -- a legendary lens
  • Sigma EX DG 70/2.8 -- best image quality in the Sigma line, great build
  • Sigma EX DG 105/2.8 -- better working distance, great build, and still relatively compact (not as sharp as the other two)
The Pentax 100/2.8 is a nice lens, but at $200 more than the Tamron with no real advantage in performance or build (www.photozone.de), I would go with one of the others.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-20-2009 at 12:05 PM.
10-20-2009, 04:08 PM   #18
Ash
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The Pentax FA 100 macro has only been given a brief mention so far, but is one of my favourite lenses due to its sharpness and build quality. The results overall aren't bad IMO either, e.g...







10-20-2009, 04:18 PM   #19
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Fast macro is somewhat of an oxymoron, DOF is very shallow with macros even when stopped down. A 'faster' macro is useful when you are going to use it for other shooting, portraits for example.
I have the Sigma 105, I also have a Takumar 50 and I am happy with both but they have differing suitabilities of use. The 'fastest' lens for actual macro would probably be something like the 35 LTD because the shorter the focal length the deeper the DOF should be for any given aperture although that would still be negligible in macro situations.
Of course with a 35mm you have to get that much closer to the action so it might not be practical for flying creatures.


Last edited by Damn Brit; 10-20-2009 at 07:28 PM.
10-20-2009, 04:27 PM   #20
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Voigtlander Macro Apo-Lanthar 125mm f/2.5 SL

...beats the Pentax, Sigma, Tamron, Vivitar, Zeiss or any other macro lens with a Pentax mount. Seriously good if you can find one. Great because it produces images which are extraordinarily sharp and gives very snappy contrast. This lens has no visible distortion, no vignetting, and no chromatic aberration (ie. purple fringing) no doubt due to use of Apochromatic lens elements. The lens is usable right from its maximimum aperture and beats any other macro lens I know, and I've used quite a few. Its 9 aperture blades gives it its characteristic creamy bokeh. Build quality is excellent... no cheap polycarbonate plastic anywhere. Perfection doesn't come cheap.


Last edited by creampuff; 10-20-2009 at 04:34 PM.
10-20-2009, 05:09 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Voigtlander Macro Apo-Lanthar 125mm f/2.5 SL

...beats the Pentax, Sigma, Tamron, Vivitar, Zeiss or any other macro lens with a Pentax mount. Seriously good if you can find one. Great because it produces images which are extraordinarily sharp and gives very snappy contrast. This lens has no visible distortion, no vignetting, and no chromatic aberration (ie. purple fringing) no doubt due to use of Apochromatic lens elements. The lens is usable right from its maximimum aperture and beats any other macro lens I know, and I've used quite a few. Its 9 aperture blades gives it its characteristic creamy bokeh. Build quality is excellent... no cheap polycarbonate plastic anywhere. Perfection doesn't come cheap.
I haven't used it myself Denis but on reputation alone, I would agree with you.

On the other hand though, he might have more luck tracking down a unicorn.
10-20-2009, 07:11 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
I haven't used it myself Denis but on reputation alone, I would agree with you.

On the other hand though, he might have more luck tracking down a unicorn.
Hmm.. a unicorn, eh? I just saw this on the local Craigslist..

viogtlander V125 Macro PK Pentax

10-20-2009, 07:30 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilight_samurai Quote
Hmm.. a unicorn, eh? I just saw this on the local Craigslist..

viogtlander V125 Macro PK Pentax

Well it was obvious that was going to happen as soon as I said it.
How about, there is more chance of making contact with intelligent life from another solar system?

10-20-2009, 07:45 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilight_samurai Quote
Hmm.. a unicorn, eh? I just saw this on the local Craigslist..

viogtlander V125 Macro PK Pentax

Serious Pentax macro shooters should not miss out this lens. It IS really that good.

Better working distance when shooting insects compared to macro lenses in the 90-105mm range, yet much easier to use than longer macro lenses of 180mm to 200mm range... The combination of a very usable f/2.5, slightly longer 125mm, 9 aperture blades, fine focusing and 1:1 magnification means that no other lens can achieve the buttery smooth bokeh when shooting subject isolation macros. Oh man, this lens has such terrific micro contrast and resolution it will astound you. The focal length is superb as a fast telephoto too. Non manual focus shooters need not apply.
10-20-2009, 08:29 PM   #25
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I'm not THAT committed to macro shooting yet so I'm not ready to drop $900 on a lens like that. I've only recently acquired the DA 35 Ltd so am just discovering the joys of 1:1 magnification.. but yes, as mentioned in previous posts by others, it's a tad short for shooting critters that buzz!
10-20-2009, 08:43 PM   #26
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Don't underestimate the oldies

I use an M 100/4 Macro. Although one may think f/4 is slow, the lens works very well, I find. With your Pentax DSLR body, snap-in-focus allows hand held shooting of subjects that, well , Flicker about, like this Least Skipper (at least that's what we think it is).

1/350 @ ISO 100, my notes say f/8. Manual exposure. The skipper is pretty close to 1 inch (2.5 cm) from head to wing tips. Taken on my deck a little over a year ago.

10-20-2009, 09:23 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilight_samurai Quote
Hmm.. a unicorn, eh? I just saw this on the local Craigslist..

viogtlander V125 Macro PK Pentax

I'm surprised this lens hasn't already been snapped up by a lens arbitrageur wielding a craigslist-scraping script. . .

perhaps because the seller didn't spell 'voigtlander'/'voigtländer'/'voigtlaender' correctly?

Regarding the OP's request: I think you would be happy with any of the current Pentax/Tamron/Sigma 100mm-ish macros. Start at f/11-f/16 with a tripod and off-camera flash if at all possible. Longer lenses (180mm-ish) provide more working distance for macro but are less versatile in general.

OTOH, if you just want to drool over hard-to-get lenses, make sure to add the Tokina 90mm macro on your list:
[review] ----- Tokina 90mm f/2.5 Macro [Page 1]: Nikon D90 - D40 / D5000 Forum: Digital Photography Review
10-20-2009, 10:12 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
I use an M 100/4 Macro. Although one may think f/4 is slow, the lens works very well, I find. [/IMG]
A macro lens is rarely set to f/4 shooting a macro shot - DoF would be barely existant! So to me there's no such thing as a 'slow' macro - for macro use, f/8-f/22 would have to be my most important aperture settings.

Although I do double-up my FA 100/2.8 as a portrait/event lens as well, and the f/2.8 does come in handy in those situations.
10-21-2009, 01:07 AM   #29
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Wow...loads of great replies and information there.
I have to admit I am starting to seriously come down on the side of the Pentax 100mm, if I can find one at the right price then I think I'll hand over the cash. I've been buying some Pentax Ltd Primes (FA versions) and I'm more than happy with them, also building a nice collection in the hope that Pentax release a full frame sometime in the next year or two.
I've learnt a lot about Macro shooting just from reading this thread and there's a few lovely photo examples as well...

That Voigtlander Macro lens sounds superb and I love the example shots, $900 would actually be on my horizon (I paid more than that for the last couple of lenses anyway), however, I'm in the UK so I doubt I will ever find one unless I want to pay a hefty carriage charge from another country.

Mark
10-21-2009, 04:39 AM   #30
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I'd give the Sigma 70/2.8 serious consideration. You can shoot critters with it, it does awesome product shots, and it nicely doubles as a portrait lens (personally, I find 100mm or even 90mm too long for this application).

In another thread, I posted some more links to Sigma 70/2.8 shots.

I don't have that lens yet, but I sure will get it in the not too distant future.
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