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Vivitar /Pentax / Phoenix 100mm f3.5 macro
Posted By: silverbullet, 07-11-2007, 01:51 PM

As requested in another photo thread, here are some shots from the Vivitar / Phoenix / Pentax f3.5 1:2 macro. When I was going through these shots I noticed that my Vivitar version of this lens actually shows up in Pentax Photo Browser as "Pentax FA 100mm 3.5 macro". Yep, definitely the same lens. Makes a guy wonder why the Pentax version is 2 1/2 times more expensive, without the 1:1 adapter.





I should really do a post on this guy:


It was a struggle, but I did amanage to find a non-macro shot with this lens. It is a mearly OK lens for non-macro shooting. If you were stuck without an alternative it would work. I did not sharpen this photo. It does benefit greatly from some sharpening in PP.


Chris
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07-11-2007, 03:21 PM   #2
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They all look pretty good to me Chris, but I've got to ask.
Which picture(s) are shot using the Phoenix?

I know that they are cheap, but I still don't know if the picture quality is decent.
Is it possible to give us a link to a full sized pic taken with it?

Thanks
07-12-2007, 08:13 AM   #3
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Hi Stu,
All of these were taken with the Vivitar macro, which is the same lens as the Phoenix. For the price I think it is very good. The only real complaints I have with it are build quality (If I looked at one in a store without knowing the reputation for producing excellent pictures I would pass it up just based on this) and the need for the adapter for 1:1 macros. The lens feels cheap, with inexpensive plastics used, and a rather coarse feel to the focus ring. Having said that, I have read posts that indicate that it is surprisingly tough, with people dropping them without any problems.
The requirement to use a macro adapter can be a little bit awkward, as you do lose long focusing ability with the adapter in place. The adapter is quite heavy, presumably a 2 element lens, and seems to produce very nice images. I purchased this lens from Mike Rigel, who used this exclusively before purchasing a Vivitar 2.8 macro. His macro work is exceptional. Here is a link to his Macro gallery, copied from the original For Sale ad:
Macros Photo Gallery by Michael Erard at pbase.com
Hope this helps,
Chris
07-12-2007, 09:39 AM   #4
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Thanks Chris, I would have never known that if you hadn't told me.

It looks like I can own a macro for a lot less than I originally thought.

I'm not overly fond of adapter's, but I can live with them.

07-12-2007, 12:43 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by little laker Quote
I'm not overly fond of adapter's, but I can live with them.
I agree totally Stu. For the cost of the lens, I can live with the adapter. I suspect that at some point I will replace this lens with a true 1:1 macro, but for now the lens is better than the photographer, and the price meant I could have it for THIS summer in the garden. The other thing I forgot to mention is that it is very compact and light. If I were to purchase something like the Kiron/ Lester Dine/ Vivitar 100mm f2.8 lens I would probably keep this as a travel lens, as it adds no weight to a bag, and is less than 4" long. The investment in the lens was small enough that I can probably even afford to do this at some point!
I have noticed that these frequently come up on eBay, but quite often are missing the adapter. I've seen them here as well, as I bought mine of the classifieds on this site. A careful buyer can probably get a good deal on one with the adapter, if you shop carefully.
07-12-2007, 03:21 PM   #6
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Yeah, Chris. That Phoenix takes outstanding macro shots. Your bug shot is wonderful. I almost bought one
but when I saw landscapes shot with it I was disappointed . They looked overly sharp
and kind of garish. Funny that a lens can do so well in one respect and fail in another. It is certainly worth having, though. I'm sticking with my Sigma 50mm 2.8 eX macro lens and I just ordered a da 50-200 that I'm looking forward to putting thru
its paces. Should be a nice adventure. Freddy
07-12-2007, 03:32 PM   #7
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Hi Chris, I see you're putting that lens into good use!
Nice selective focus on the first one, it's almost abstract... I like the dragonfly shot too, it seems like you got pretty close.. nice details in its head!
Thanks for posting!

Mike

07-12-2007, 07:59 PM   #8
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That are some very nice macros Chris and with a little sharpening the flower shot would be just dandy.

The Phoenix I assume is manual focus which is fine, does it have the A setting or is it M type? The adaptor wouldn't bother me, I am using one on the 50-200 now but the results are nowhere as good as I see in your shots here.

Take care, Heinrich
Besides that it is really hard to focus with the adaptor.
07-13-2007, 09:42 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the comments, and thanks Mike for the lens. I did sharpen both the flowers a little bit. I tried more aggressive sharpening of the first one, but the center looked oversharpened to me with anything more than this.

The lens is actually a AF lens (although I use it in MF for macros). The AF is painfully slow, as the focus ring is almost one full turn from closest to farthest focusing, and the lens does not have a focus limiter, nor would I expect one at this price. The adapter does take some getting used to, but since the lens does 1:2 without the adapter, you don't have to use it in every situation.

Chris
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