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12-09-2009, 05:41 PM   #1
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Best budget macro lens?

I'm sure this has been answered a million times on this forum, but I am curious what one of the best budget macro lenses is. I have a pentax K-x with two kit lenses, but I love insect pictures, and they just can't get it done.

Thanks in advance!

12-09-2009, 05:54 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by raver1414 Quote
I'm sure this has been answered a million times on this forum, but I am curious what one of the best budget macro lenses is. I have a pentax K-x with two kit lenses, but I love insect pictures, and they just can't get it done.

Thanks in advance!
IMHO, Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90/2.5 #52B with either the fitting Extension Tube or the SP 2x Tele-Converter #01F to achieve 1:1. Manual Focus. Very sharp, excellent snap into focus and doubles as a very good portrait lens. You would need the Hood for best contrast.

Usually available in Ex+ condition for around $125 or NIB $175 - lower if cosmetically challenged but excellent glass. The hood is a bit harder to find, but they are available if you look every week.

You would also need the P/KA adaptall mount, around $100, but sometimes you can get the lens and mount together. The TC in great condition goes around $25 with case.
12-09-2009, 05:55 PM   #3
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Or, consider a $40 a Raynox 150 to use with your existing telephoto lens - check out the Raynox club thread in the SLR Lens forum.
12-09-2009, 05:57 PM   #4
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I have just that set up, with all the trimmings including hood. It's super.
The current auto focus Tamron 90 is worthy as well; unless you have patience and luck, the adaptall setup can end up costing as much as one of the AF lenses.

12-09-2009, 06:13 PM   #5
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Best budget macro lens? I can't argue with any of the above comments. I will add:
  • Almost any vintage M42 or K-mount macro lens (Pentax and others)
  • Sigma 50/2.8 EX DG Macro
Care should be taken with the vintage stuff since often times they only offer 1:2 magnification. This may be overcome by use of a short extension tube or dedicated converter. As for the 50mm Sigma...I am quite fond of mine. It was only $236 new, is very well made, and takes very nice pictures. My only complaint is short working distance...an issue common to all short focal length macro lenses.

Steve
12-09-2009, 06:15 PM   #6
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Or, you could buy a set of extension tubes, and a decent 135mm manual lens, and go that route.
12-09-2009, 06:34 PM   #7
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Sometimes you can find the original Marco-Takumar (1:1) for $75-100. It is a superb lens.

If there's any reference to SMC or Super etc, then it isn't 1:1
12-09-2009, 07:20 PM   #8
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I picked up an SMC Takumar 50mm F4 macro and a set of origonal pentax M42 extension tubes all combined for less than $100.

I figure that is budget macro. THe 50mm got my curiosity as a second macro to my SMC-M 100 F4 and extension tubes.

12-09-2009, 07:23 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
I have just that set up, with all the trimmings including hood. It's super.
The current auto focus Tamron 90 is worthy as well; unless you have patience and luck, the adaptall setup can end up costing as much as one of the AF lenses.
Yeah, after I hit Submit I realized the total cost approaches $250 - not really a "budget" lens unless you already have the adapter. He did say "Best" budget macro though.

I like the Raynox idea and Macro Takumars, although they've been bid aggressively lately. Generic non-auto extension tubes and an M50/1.7 might get done under $100.
12-09-2009, 11:01 PM   #10
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Save up, the new Pentax 100mm is only $850.
12-09-2009, 11:12 PM   #11
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i just missed an EX vivitar 105 2.5 for $150 ...
that kinda made my day sucky...
12-10-2009, 10:27 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by miks Quote
i just missed an EX vivitar 105 2.5 for $150 ...
that kinda made my day sucky...
Don't worry. There will be another one. The first rule of buying used equipment:
Don't Become Emotionally Attached To Something You Are Interested In Buying!!!
No matter how good the item. No matter how rare. No matter how good a deal.

Trust me on this

Steve

(Spent twice the actual value on my first used lens...)
12-10-2009, 10:37 AM   #13
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maybe we should change this a little, and offer different solutions, in order of price from lowest to highest. I think they are:

1) reversing ring
2) close up lenses
3) extension tubes
4) used manual focus macro lens with or without extension tubes
5) Bellows with macro lens
6) new AF macro lens.

Maybe someone can put prices against each.
for Item 4 this can be highly variable but about $100 to me seems possible, although someone is sure to raise the $2000 price tag of the SMC 200 F4 macro lens presently on E-Bay
For item 3, I got a set of M42 ones for $6 and paid about $60 a long time ago for K mount auto extension tubes
for Item 2 I can see any where from $20 to $200 depending on quality make etc.
12-10-2009, 11:24 AM   #14
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If I had to do bugs on a tight budget I'd start with a used Cosina/Phoenix/Vivitar 100/3.5 with the matched close-up adapter:

My experience is consistent with the Photozone report:

Cosina AF 100mm f/3.5 macro (Pentax) - Review / Lab Test Report

The only thing I would add to the review is that the autofocus accuracy near infinity isn't so great (at least on my copy).


Works okay at the apertures you should be using for macro (f/8-f/16),
and unlike the K(non-A) and screw-mount options you can still use P-TTL flash.

IMHO 50mm-ish macro lenses are fine as "dual use" lenses (e.g. walkabout and flowers) but when I'm using one for macro work I often find myself wishing for more working distance.

Last edited by troyz; 12-10-2009 at 11:29 AM.
12-10-2009, 11:35 AM   #15
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I feel obligated to add some useful content to this thread, to offset post #10. First, a link to the Raynox Club thread:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/74221-raynox-macro-club.html

The Raynox has a lot going for it. As I understand it, you should be able to use a P-TTL flash with it too. Adding light with other combinations is mostly limited to completely manual operations.

I have tried most of the alternatives to it and they are either a lot more expensive or more difficult. For example, a reversing ring and a 24mm lens gives very high magnification, but using this combination is challenging.
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