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10-28-2009, 09:19 PM   #1
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The Pursuit of Macro Happiness

For the people who often visit the marketplace, you probably have stumbled upon my sorry attempts of getting a trade for a macro lens. Some people have felt sympathetic enough for me by trying to offer me one and other have tried to lowball me. My macro story began way before I even had a camera but for some unknown reason I never had the urge of getting a dedicated macro lens until now.

I've been visiting that thread about the DA 35mm ltd constantly and have grown envy for that lens. More importantly, that thread have kindled the light in me to pursuit the magnifying the small world route. Yes I'm dying to shoot creepy bugs and pretty flowers. Today, I was so desperate with chronic LBA, I went to the financial aid office of my school trying to see if I had some loan money left so I can use it to buy a macro lens. Unfortunately, there was known left. I forgot if I had used it on my DA* 50-135mm.

Oh Mr *135! The greatest weapon in my photography arsenal. The lens that transform every frame that comes out of Ms. Sexy (K-7) into magic. For the short time that I have had him, he made Ms Sexy looks like a queen. See I even tried to shoot macro with him (link). But there are time, when you have to let go of your best to be your happiest.

Well this is it! In the next hours, Mr *135 will be put on the marketplace for a trade. Accompanying him would be Mr. NiftyFifty (FA 50mm) and Ms. Viv (Vivitar 28mm CF). What I'm looking for in return is the smc P-D FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro (or Tamron 90mm Di or Sigma 105) most importantly, Slik Pro 700DX Tripod or equivalent, and a macro ringflash and the DA 35mm if possible. We all knows the current market value for those lenses. So if you are interested, do not try to lowball me or you'll get punch through your lens. The line is currently open for any interested party. I'm also willing to sale instead of trading so I can get my macro fix as soon as possible.

Now for those who get to this point, I would like to ask a few question about the FA 100mm macro and macro in general. How good is it with shooting head shot? Any advice for someone entering the macro world? Is it necessary to buy a macro ring flash?


Last edited by EdMaximus; 10-28-2009 at 09:54 PM. Reason: added Tamron 90mm Di, Sigma 105, Ring flash
10-28-2009, 10:02 PM   #2
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Just out of curiosity, do you study photography in your "school"??? Because for a student you got some amazing gear, I'm a university student and I have to stick to K200D and a bunch of Takumars .
10-28-2009, 10:27 PM   #3
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ring flashes are not necessary unless going for magnification more than 1:1 IMO.

I've never had problems with enough light using my sigma as long as I dont go past 1:1.

With extension tubes, I recently bought a pentax AF 360 flash because sun light is not enough to be able to get a usable DOF. Natural light looks much better though and should be used whenever possible.

Also, a tripod is a big dont for me when it comes to macro. The key is to be able to move and recompose getting interesting angles. Tripods will bog you down and limit your creativity. Practice and practice some more at good hand holding technique.
10-28-2009, 10:38 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by VaSA Quote
Just out of curiosity, do you study photography in your "school"??? Because for a student you got some amazing gear, I'm a university student and I have to stick to K200D and a bunch of Takumars .
I'm actually a mechanical engineering major. I haven't taken any photography classes. I save that money to buy gears instead. Truth be told, the gear doesn't make that much of a difference. I've seen amazing works from people here done with Takumars. I also started with the K100D, kit lens, and takumar. I was doing well until I felt like my skill was being limited by my gears and I caught LBA.

QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
ring flashes are not necessary unless going for magnification more than 1:1 IMO.

I've never had problems with enough light using my sigma as long as I dont go past 1:1.

With extension tubes, I recently bought a pentax AF 360 flash because sun light is not enough to be able to get a usable DOF. Natural light looks much better though and should be used whenever possible.

Also, a tripod is a big dont for me when it comes to macro. The key is to be able to move and recompose getting interesting angles. Tripods will bog you down and limit your creativity. Practice and practice some more at good hand holding technique.
Thanks Yeatzee for the advice. I'll let go the ringflash for now until there's a need for it. I'll still get a tripod since I tend to enjoy taking long exposure at night.

10-28-2009, 10:45 PM   #5
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No problem
10-28-2009, 10:45 PM   #6
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Using the FA 100/2.8 macro, I've been quite amazed at the sharpness and details rendered for portraits and low-light events. It was my go-to lens for these purposes as it was my fastest telephoto for some time. And does it perform... I guess I'm pretty happy with it - but I now have the Tamron 70-200 to do more of the weddings/low-light concert work...





10-28-2009, 11:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Using the FA 100/2.8 macro, I've been quite amazed at the sharpness and details rendered for portraits and low-light events. It was my go-to lens for these purposes as it was my fastest telephoto for some time. And does it perform... I guess I'm pretty happy with it - but I now have the Tamron 70-200 to do more of the weddings/low-light concert work...
Thanks Ash for the example. I think I'm making the right decision. I can definitely use it for some tight crop beauty portrait and a few random events. Eventually I will get the DA*50-135 again or even fill the focal length gap with some other primes.
10-29-2009, 01:31 AM   #8
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You should also remember that the higher the magnification you go, the less AF is gonna matter.

I, too, had a D FA 100/2.8. Then I got my Tammy 90/2.5 (you know that one :-) and a Volna-9 50/2.8, and I found myself not using the Pentax, because AF just don't cut it @ high magnification, and the focus ring on AF lenses suck donkey balls.

Still, the Tammy and the Volna weren't enough to make me let the Pentax go, but then I came into possession of a Voigtländer Macro Apo-Lanthar and *that* made me let the Pentax go. Partly for the money (of course, to purchase the Apo-Lanthar), but mostly because I knew I would never mount it on my K-7. Needless to say, I'm not missing the AF at all using my Voigtländer, which has the longest focus stroke of any of my lenses by far :-)

10-29-2009, 01:59 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by VaSA Quote
Just out of curiosity, do you study photography in your "school"??? Because for a student you got some amazing gear, I'm a university student and I have to stick to K200D and a bunch of Takumars .
Been doing macro for 40 years. Curent kit is Pentax 50mm f2.8 macro, Tamron Di 90mm macro, Pentax Auto Bellows A, full set of extension tubes, Pentax Helical Tube and some ex 2x extenders with the glass removed. I have a ring flash but never use it. Need a good tripod, despite previous post to the contrary (must be doing abstract). I use a set of four clamp type bedside lamps with the new compact flouros at 25 watts (120 in old language) and white styrene sheets for reflectors.

Never forget the reversing adaptor which can give great results with any lens ( usually of shorter focal length, ie 30 to 60 mm).

Two flashes using wireless heads when I have to, but much prefer natural light

For bellows use and lengthy extensions I use the 50mm macro usually at table to setups. For out and about it's the Tamron 90mm and minimum extension.

I tried the Pentax 100mm borrowed from a friend for a while and ended up choosing the Tamron for sharper results and better focus (plus I think better build quality).

Have fun,

David
10-29-2009, 03:33 AM   #10
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I have the SMC PENTAX FA 2.8 Macro and get some great results. Is it the same as discussed here. This one is solid as a rock and very heavy.
John
10-29-2009, 05:26 AM   #11
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You want a cheap and good macro, try the plastic fantastic Vivitar 100mm f/3.5. If you're so tight for cash, why did you even consider buying the DA* 50-135mm when the DA 50-200mm or the DA 55-300mm would have been a more sensible choices price wise.
10-29-2009, 06:16 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RawheaD Quote
You should also remember that the higher the magnification you go, the less AF is gonna matter.

I, too, had a D FA 100/2.8. Then I got my Tammy 90/2.5 (you know that one :-) and a Volna-9 50/2.8, and I found myself not using the Pentax, because AF just don't cut it @ high magnification, and the focus ring on AF lenses suck donkey balls.

Still, the Tammy and the Volna weren't enough to make me let the Pentax go, but then I came into possession of a Voigtländer Macro Apo-Lanthar and *that* made me let the Pentax go. Partly for the money (of course, to purchase the Apo-Lanthar), but mostly because I knew I would never mount it on my K-7. Needless to say, I'm not missing the AF at all using my Voigtländer, which has the longest focus stroke of any of my lenses by far :-)
Thanks for the advice man. I'm not too worried about AF. I find myself manual focusing even the lenses that I have now a lot. I can get use to that as long as the D FA 100 has a focus ring that can turned. I thought about the Voiglander but it's definitely out of my reach now.

QuoteOriginally posted by David Quote
Been doing macro for 40 years. Curent kit is Pentax 50mm f2.8 macro, Tamron Di 90mm macro, Pentax Auto Bellows A, full set of extension tubes, Pentax Helical Tube and some ex 2x extenders with the glass removed. I have a ring flash but never use it. Need a good tripod, despite previous post to the contrary (must be doing abstract). I use a set of four clamp type bedside lamps with the new compact flouros at 25 watts (120 in old language) and white styrene sheets for reflectors.

Never forget the reversing adaptor which can give great results with any lens ( usually of shorter focal length, ie 30 to 60 mm).

Two flashes using wireless heads when I have to, but much prefer natural light

For bellows use and lengthy extensions I use the 50mm macro usually at table to setups. For out and about it's the Tamron 90mm and minimum extension.

I tried the Pentax 100mm borrowed from a friend for a while and ended up choosing the Tamron for sharper results and better focus (plus I think better build quality).

Have fun,

David
Thanks for the great advice. I'm definitely getting the tripod. I have a few old flashes laying around my place. I think I'm gonna just modified them into a DIY macro light instead of worrying about the ring flash. I think I might get the Tamron instead of the Pentax now. It's cheaper to get new and from what I've been hearing and seeing, it's amazing. I wanted to keep all my gears Pentax though but oh well.

QuoteOriginally posted by campdog Quote
I have the SMC PENTAX FA 2.8 Macro and get some great results. Is it the same as discussed here. This one is solid as a rock and very heavy.
John
Thanks for the input John

QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
You want a cheap and good macro, try the plastic fantastic Vivitar 100mm f/3.5. If you're so tight for cash, why did you even consider buying the DA* 50-135mm when the DA 50-200mm or the DA 55-300mm would have been a more sensible choices price wise.
Hey Creampuff, although money can get tight as a college student, I try to not let it impede me from my goals. For a year I was contemplating on getting the DA* 16-50 and the DA* 50-135. I found the opportunity to get them and did. I thought about those 2 other lenses but they would not allow me to achieve the quality and efficiency that I wanted in my work. Same thing for the macro. I thought about a cheap macro but selling the DA* will give me enough money to get a good one where I won't have to worry about upgrading. At the end of the day, I'll be really satisfied with a lens set-up like this: Sigma 10-20, DA*16-50, DA 35ltd, DA*50-135, Long Macro.
10-29-2009, 09:43 AM   #13
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I'm using the D FA 100mm/2.8 macro, it's a bit plastic but has given me the shots that are good enough for me, it's more about the lack of lighting skill that's been bugging me. I use it on outdoor portraits also but mainly for macro and stealth shooting for our cat that hates cameras.

K200d + dfa 100mm/2.8 macro + metz 15 ms-1






10-29-2009, 09:46 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by David Quote
Been doing macro for 40 years. Curent kit is Pentax 50mm f2.8 macro, Tamron Di 90mm macro, Pentax Auto Bellows A, full set of extension tubes, Pentax Helical Tube and some ex 2x extenders with the glass removed. I have a ring flash but never use it. Need a good tripod, despite previous post to the contrary (must be doing abstract). I use a set of four clamp type bedside lamps with the new compact flouros at 25 watts (120 in old language) and white styrene sheets for reflectors.

Never forget the reversing adaptor which can give great results with any lens ( usually of shorter focal length, ie 30 to 60 mm).

Two flashes using wireless heads when I have to, but much prefer natural light

For bellows use and lengthy extensions I use the 50mm macro usually at table to setups. For out and about it's the Tamron 90mm and minimum extension.

I tried the Pentax 100mm borrowed from a friend for a while and ended up choosing the Tamron for sharper results and better focus (plus I think better build quality).

Have fun,

David
I do insect and flower shots. Using a tripod is a nightmare for insects/"creepy crawlies." How the hell are you going to keep up with them using a tripod? For flower shots, a tripod will like I said bog you down and make for less interesting composition. The only reason I see a point to using a tripod for macro is product shooting.
10-29-2009, 09:59 AM   #15
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If you're shooting macros at f/11 or higher w/o a tripod, you're just asking for blurry shots, IMO.
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