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12-05-2009, 10:56 PM   #1
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Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro- Opinions

What do those who own or have used the Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro think of this lens ?

I would like to get more into flower, insect, small animal photography...also use a lens like this for portrait and special interest vintage auto photography...what do you think of this lens ?

Pros and cons would be great.

12-05-2009, 11:37 PM   #2
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I have this lens, and while I love it and use it often (a full 30% of all of my shots), it does have its draw-backs.

To wit:
1) It's sloooow at autofocusing and slow to lock
2) It isn't perfect wide-open
3) It's a little long for standard portraiture

For your needs, you might find it frustrating to use at auto-shows if you want wider shots - the amount of space you'd have to put between you and the car means that someone will most definitely walk into your shot before you have a chance to fire.

I don't have any other macro lens to compare it to in this range, although I do have the DA 35 Macro. I find that one to be sharper, lighter, and quicker - and yet I still prefer the D-FA 100 because the focal length makes it so much easier to work with.

I apologize if anyone on here has seen these before, but I figured I'd post some examples:

Portrait:


Flower:


Insect (kind of - same size, anyway):


Small Animal:


I'm afraid I don't have any vintage auto photos online, sorry!
12-05-2009, 11:38 PM   #3
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This is a coincidence. Just like u, I was thinking of getting a proper macro lens (but for my wife) a couple of weeks ago. Top on my lists is DFA100, Tamron 90 and Sigma 105. I finally did not go with the DFA because of the absence of the focus limiter. The Sigma 105 has the limiter and I think it is a very good lens...though I have no experience with the DFA and Tamron.
12-06-2009, 12:36 AM   #4
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Only had the d fa 100mm a week.. I like the colours from it?

Hoverfly


12-06-2009, 12:52 AM   #5
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I really enjoy this lens - though have only had it for a few months. I only muck about with macro - no tripod or flash - but also use this as a general longer lens (it is my longest focal length). It's true that the focus can hunt a bit - it has a long way to travel and there is no focus limiter, but on the other hand it is well designed for manual focussing/quickshift work. You'll read elsewhere that it is 'plasticy'. I don't really find that, I think it is quite well built while being quite small and very light - important for me using it handheld. There is a real 'velvety' feel to colour transitions that makes this lens pretty special for me.

A sample of different uses:











12-06-2009, 07:00 AM   #6
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Optically the lens ist almost perfect, I would say.
I do not agree that the lens has problems wide open.
At least mine has not. It outresolves the sensor of the K20.
Very good is the Quickshift, which is helpful for macro.

On the negative side is the rather bad build quality.
Some call it "plastic crap".
But, unfortunately, this more and more becomes the norm today, and the DFA100 is not alone.

The DFA100 is one of my most used lenses.

I have uploaded two images to my galery:


Last edited by blende8; 12-06-2009 at 07:12 AM.
12-06-2009, 08:39 AM   #7
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Greetings to you, blende8! You have a splendid football team

I was basing my assessment of the D-FA 100's performance wide-open compared to my other lenses. While it is still very much usable at f/2.8, it's just not quite as good as, say, the 31/1.8 or even the 35/2.8 macro. But make no mistake that I use it without hesitation wide-open all the time.

The tests at photozone.de seem to back this up, as center resolution of the D-FA 100 Macro at f/2.8 is only 1855 in the center (1804 at the borders) and resolution of the DA 35 Macro at f/2.8 is 2029 in the center (but only 1780 at the borders).

Pentax SMC-D FA 100mm f/2.8 macro - Review / Test Report
Pentax SMC DA 35mm f/2.8 Limited macro - Review / Test Report

I do agree with you that the lens seems plasticky, particularly compared to the limiteds, but mine has taken a beating through near-constant use in the field and performs admirably and well every time.
12-06-2009, 12:11 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by K McCall Quote
Greetings to you, blende8! You have a splendid football team
Yes!
Even though they played 0:0 today.

Let's agree that it is definitely worth buying a DFA100.
Whatever one thinks about the f2.8 performance, the TO wants to "get more into flower, insect, small animal photography".
Here f2.8 is normally not used anyway.
Buy the lens and don't look back!



12-06-2009, 02:47 PM   #9
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Plastic is sometimes more user friendly.. eg.. lighter. Will not dent like a metal lens.. Plastic will absorb the shock of bumps better than metal..
12-06-2009, 03:17 PM   #10
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I've had mine about a month now.

For - blisteringly sharp. Beautiful colours. Possibly the best IQ of any of my lenses. Light. Small. Small filters (cheap).

Against - AF can get confused in poor light. (Nothing new there then.)
12-06-2009, 07:08 PM   #11
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I can only compare my recently-acquired D-FA 100 to the Sigma 70 that I just got rid of, so it's not quite apples to apples... In comparing MTF results for the Pentax 100 and Sigma 105 it seems the Pentax is about equal, maybe a little better; IMO the Sigma 70 was a bit sharper than the 100, but according to the MTF results there's not that much difference, especially once you're at f4-5.6 and up.
True there is no focus-limiter, but even with it the Sigma was no speed demon and there were plenty of times when I had to switch to manual anyway and get it "un-stuck". In practice with the Pentax 100, I often AF and then quickly touch it up by using the Quick-Shift feature. The Pentax also features the clamp but I haven't yet used it.
The Sigma seemed about a half-stop brighter visually, than the Pentax when tested doing macro shots under identical conditions, perhaps because of the smaller barrel diameter. (IIRC the Sigma was 62mm vs 49mm for the Pentax- this is actually a benefit for me as filters are cheaper and I can use the same for my FA 35/2 and FA 50/1.4.)
Bokay IMO is better on the Pentax. Again, on identical macro shots and wide open, results were interesting: with the Sigma, there was a very obvious line of definition, crystal clear here, total blur here. With the Pentax there was a nice, gradual fade toward OOF. The Sigma was sharper wide open, but we all know macro is about stopping down.
I like the Pentax better as a general purpose medium telephoto, also. It has a much nicer bayonet-style lens hood, reversible for storage. It has nice color and contrast.
As far as MF, the Sigma seemed to be a little better-damped and smoother feeling, and slightly finer and more precise than the Pentax.
I appreciate the longer working distance vs the Sigma 70, although the Sigma 105 should be similar. The Pentax is definitely lighter and more compact. In fact I purchased it with the goal of an excellent, compact travel kit- the D-FA 100, coupled with a 1.4 TC, and my DA*16-50, should be able to handle a lot of different situations.
The only downside is the slightly higher price of the Pentax. I like it a lot and I've probably used it more in the last few weeks than I ever used the Sigma during the whole last year!
12-06-2009, 07:15 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adrian Owerko Quote
Plastic is sometimes more user friendly.. eg.. lighter. Will not dent like a metal lens.. Plastic will absorb the shock of bumps better than metal..
Sometimes! Although a girl at work dropped her Nikon D300 with kit lens attached, and the plastic lens barrel broke apart where it was mounted to the camera. On the other hand, another person at work recently dropped his Canon 40D with 24-70/2.8 L; we all struggled in vain to get the shattered, severely dented filter off the lens. It's out of service until he can get the filter off, but the lens itself is fine.

I think people need to stop dropping cameras!!!
12-07-2009, 12:04 PM   #13
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I went through the same questioning two months ago. I already own a DA 35 Ltd and absolutly love it. One of the best lens I own. However, like previous members pointed out, the working distance in macro (especially for insects) not always adaquate. Thus, I decided to buy a medium range macro. I looked at the DFA 100 but did not like the feel and the absence of a focus limiting switch. Sigma seemed good, but too expensive compared to the Tamron with actual rebate (399$). So, after readung a lot on this forum, the other forum and on Photozone, I finally pull the trigger for the Tamron 90 and never regreted it. Like the Pentax, It's a little "plasticky", but I love the feel of the focus ring. Since I use almost exclusively manual focus when doing macro work, I very much enjoy playing with it. Hope this helps. Anyways, you can't go wrong with any of these three macro lens (Pentax, Tamron or Sigma).
12-07-2009, 03:42 PM   #14
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Hi Les,

A primary reason I chose the D FA 100 Macro was because of weight. I really didn't see that significant difference in IQ or AF performance, I liked the MF feel, wanted a focus limiter, but I have a number of lenses that will give me good performance at 100mm, so that became less important. . .

I expected to use this lens a lot with external flashes of some sort including the possibility of brackets, and handheld, so weight became the most important factor to me. I do not regret this decision --

. . .also, a $100 rebate at the time did make the decision a bit easier. . .

Scott
12-07-2009, 04:47 PM   #15
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Likes:
Creamy bokeh
Excellent colour and contrast
Compact size, light
49mm filter, shares rubber lens hood and filters with my FA 35 and FA 50mm
Quick-shift focus
Great for head shots
I prefer Pentax lenses

Dislikes:
Hood is freakin huge (I haven't used it since I bought a 50mm rubber hood.
Hunts occasionally (not often)

Both:
Focus clamp is nice feature, except when I forget to release it.

________________________________________________________________________________________

All true macro lenses are sharp, so hardly worth mentioning. I don't complain about the relative softness wide open, because performance at smaller apertures is optimized instead, for macro shooting.

My favourite lens by far for shooting flowers.




Last edited by audiobomber; 12-07-2009 at 04:53 PM.
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