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10-22-2014, 03:45 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtux Quote
Do you think she will be interested in shooting bugs, insects live creatures? then definitely buy a 90mm or 100mm macro for her. (Tamron 90macro is great, as well as Pentax- DFA100macro)
If you think she will be interested in shooting flowers and things which won't be scared by presence of a person, then the DA35ltd is a fantastic lens, or the DFA50macro

I've had experience with DFA50macro, M100macro (old lens), DFA100macro WR, DA35ltd, and can tell you that all of them are great. but auto focus lenses are better for general purpose shooting, so I think you better buy an auto focus lens for her.
I still have and will keep the DFA100 and DA35ltd, and love them both.
Not so much flowers and bugs no. More so, well a bit of everything I guess, but with more depth of field. I was thinking originally a 35mm (so it would be roughly close to a true 50mm), as I shoot with a similar lens (25mm) on my GH4 and love the shots I get. So basically just to give her a lower aperture than she's getting with the kit lens. Hope that makes sense..!

---------- Post added 10-22-14 at 09:49 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Probably referring to something like this: SMC/S-M-C/Super-/Auto-/Takumar 55mm F1.8 Reviews - M42 Screwmount Normal Primes - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Takumars are manual lenses, meaning you need to not only focus manually but set the aperture manually. They have many devoted fans, but a more modern lens with at least auto aperture will be a lot easier to use - without needing any of the complexities of extension rings, lens reversal and stop-down metering.

If your budget runs to $500 you have a wide choice of recent specialist macro lenses, including the ones mentioned above. I would endorse what others have said that something in the 90mm to 105mm range is best (eg Tamron 90 Pentax 100 or Sigma 105), because it allows more working distance from the subject.

I have the Pentax D FA 100 WR macro and it's just fabulous. Easily my best lens. The autofocus can hunt a lot, but that is a common feature of macro lenses. You often use them in manual focus mode anyway. But it's beautifully built and produces superb images. And WR means you can use it confidently in rain or snow. You would never regret buying one (available for about $500 second hand).
Thanks for linking the Takumar lens - much appreciated. Are there any advantages with using older lenses? Do you get more of a 'vintage' feel/look from them? I've looked at loads of pics around this site and many taken with older lenses that certainly have a different look, but that could just as easily be one of a million other things.

Thanks too for the lens suggestion, I will look into it, and was looking preferably for a WR lens too so that's great.

---------- Post added 10-22-14 at 09:56 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Lots of good advice already given. I've done a great deal of macro work with numerous lenses, Here's my take.

1) What kind of macro is she doing? Is it primarily plants/flowers or does she do, or intend to do insects? If insects are in the mix, go for a longer FL lens, preferably 90-105mm.

2) DOF is extremely shallow in the macro range, so very small apertures are commonly used. Easily 95% of my macros are done at f11 to f16. A macro faster than f2.8 is a waste of $$$$ although the Zeiss 100mm f2 has an outstanding reputation, and price.

3) Much/most macro is done with manual focus, in fact, AF is largely useless. Therefore, older A-series manual lenses are 100% sufficient and available at reasonable cost.

4) Reversing rings, recommended above, are the least expensive way to do macro, but you lose diaphragm control which can make operation both awkward and slow. Also, lens reversing works best at higher macro magnifications, generally life size or more.

5) Lenses I would recommend: Pentax A-series 100 f2.8; Tamron 90mm macro either manual or AF; Sigma 105mm macro either manual or AF. IF NO INSECT PHOTOGRAPHY IS DONE OR ANTICIPATED, the manual or auto focus 50mm to 55mm f2.8 macros from Pentax & Sigma are also good choices. There are some 100mm f4 manual focus macros (Pentax made one in the A-series) but these generally do not have the IQ of the f2.8 lenses so are probably not worth the savings in cost. The current 100 f2.8 AF macro from Pentax has an outstanding reputation, but it will be significantly more expensive than any second hand manual focus lens. If I were pressed to name one best-buy, do-it-all macro, it would probably be the manual focus 90mm Tamron. Never owned one, but have seen many stunning macros taken with this lens.

And BTW: For flowers, but absolutely NOT for insects, the DA35mm f2.8 is excellent. I have one in my collection primarily for use in museums. It provides a fast aperture for flashless indoor work and can take excellent close ups of small artifacts such as coins or jewelry.
Wow, thanks for such a detailed response - seriously that is so helpful, particularly for someone like myself who doesn't shoot on Pentax (would love too but video is my priority)

1) Nope, more likely flowers, so distance to the subject is not a concern.

2) Noted, thanks! The lens I shoot most on (on my GH4) is a 1.4 which is why I was looking for something lower than 2.8, but looking through shots taken with a lot of these lenses that have been suggested and the DOF is pretty stunning.

3) Yep, got no probs with having to MF! Especially with the peaking on the K-50.

4) Thanks for clarifying that - I don't think a reversing ring is ideal as the lens is a gift, and a RR seems a little more like a workaround.

5) You're a legend, thank you. I will look into all of those, but the DA35mm f2.8 sounds particularly great and my gf does a lot of the style of shooting you describe.

Thank you again, seriously!

10-22-2014, 04:00 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by watchingskyfallatm Quote
Not so much flowers and bugs no. More so, well a bit of everything I guess, but with more depth of field. I was thinking originally a 35mm (so it would be roughly close to a true 50mm), as I shoot with a similar lens (25mm) on my GH4 and love the shots I get. So basically just to give her a lower aperture than she's getting with the kit lens. Hope that makes sense..!
OK, Question solved. Either the DA 35mm macro, or if the price is too high, an A-series 50mm f2.8 macro will serve perfectly. I have both, and IQ is excellent with either. The A-series is manual focus and only goes to 1/2 life size, but there are generally several available used at bargain price. There are also several 50~55mm macros with autofocus (Pentax, Sigma, Tamron) all fine lenses if you want AF. BTW: slightly longer focal length macros have some advantages not always foreseen. For example, if photographing flowers in a botanic garden, you can stay back a bit more and not step into the beds. If photographing something close to the ground, from a low angle, you don't need to get quite as low. Also, the more narrow angle means you're taking in less background beyond the subject, which makes it easier to control the background to avoid "hot spots."
ALSO BTW: A feature of the DA35 macro that I really like is the pull-out lens shade. So easy, so enormously more convenient that any bayonet or screw-on hood.
10-22-2014, 04:17 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
OK, Question solved. Either the DA 35mm macro, or if the price is too high, an A-series 50mm f2.8 macro will serve perfectly. I have both, and IQ is excellent with either. The A-series is manual focus and only goes to 1/2 life size, but there are generally several available used at bargain price. There are also several 50~55mm macros with autofocus (Pentax, Sigma, Tamron) all fine lenses if you want AF. BTW: slightly longer focal length macros have some advantages not always foreseen. For example, if photographing flowers in a botanic garden, you can stay back a bit more and not step into the beds. If photographing something close to the ground, from a low angle, you don't need to get quite as low. Also, the more narrow angle means you're taking in less background beyond the subject, which makes it easier to control the background to avoid "hot spots."
ALSO BTW: A feature of the DA35 macro that I really like is the pull-out lens shade. So easy, so enormously more convenient that any bayonet or screw-on hood.
Thanks so much again. So do you mean this lens? This is an old Pentax lens right? So I would need a K-mount? Or do they still manufacture them? Excuse my ignorance!
10-22-2014, 05:27 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by watchingskyfallatm Quote
Thanks so much again. So do you mean this lens? This is an old Pentax lens right? So I would need a K-mount? Or do they still manufacture them? Excuse my ignorance!
The link did take me to the DA35mm macro, but that price is too high. B&H photo (extremely reliable, extremely fast) has the same lens for $100 less. If you check in the "PENTAX ITEMS FOR SALE" here by pulling down the Buy/Sell menu above, you'll find a 35mm macro being offered in USA for $500 (just scan down the items until you come to it). Also, if you go to www.keh.com, search by brand under Pentax, click on lenses, click on macro, you'll find two manual focus SMCA 50mm f2.8 macro lenses for less that $300 in excellent condition. I've bought quite a bit of used equipment from KEH, and they are very honest with their condition grading.

If you want to buy new, I strongly recommend B&H (B&H Photo Video Digital Cameras, Photography, Camcorders - or click the link to B&H here in Pentax Forum). Using menus, go to lenses, then SLR lenses, then select Pentax K mount, then macro lenses and you can see all new macro lenses from all manufacturers currently available for Pentax K-mount. Any lens from Pentax, Tamron or SIgma in the focal length you want (35mm or 50-55mm) will serve you well and all the new lenses will be autofocus.

10-22-2014, 05:47 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
The link did take me to the DA35mm macro, but that price is too high. B&H photo (extremely reliable, extremely fast) has the same lens for $100 less. If you check in the "PENTAX ITEMS FOR SALE" here by pulling down the Buy/Sell menu above, you'll find a 35mm macro being offered in USA for $500 (just scan down the items until you come to it). Also, if you go to www.keh.com, search by brand under Pentax, click on lenses, click on macro, you'll find two manual focus SMCA 50mm f2.8 macro lenses for less that $300 in excellent condition. I've bought quite a bit of used equipment from KEH, and they are very honest with their condition grading.

If you want to buy new, I strongly recommend B&H (B&H Photo Video Digital Cameras, Photography, Camcorders - or click the link to B&H here in Pentax Forum). Using menus, go to lenses, then SLR lenses, then select Pentax K mount, then macro lenses and you can see all new macro lenses from all manufacturers currently available for Pentax K-mount. Any lens from Pentax, Tamron or SIgma in the focal length you want (35mm or 50-55mm) will serve you well and all the new lenses will be autofocus.
That's super helpful. Thanks again.
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