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05-27-2016, 08:31 AM   #1
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Which lens for Macro pictures

Hello Pentax fellows,

I'd like to invest in a macro lens for my Pentax K-30 but the more I read about the lenses the more confused I get. My budget would be of 300 but I could stretch to 350 if it does make a big difference but I am just an amateur enjoying photography.

In advance many thanks for your help.

Legonet

05-27-2016, 08:37 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Which subjects are you interested in?

Still-life and flowers etc. generally use shorter lenses like 28-35mm.

Insects need a bit more "reach" so you don't scare them. In that case the 100mm Pentax f2.8 lenses and the Tamron 90mm or Sigma 105mm are your best choices. They 're all good, you can look for a bargain. Also remember the used market - the Marketplace here is a great place to look for a bargain.
05-27-2016, 08:41 AM   #3
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The Sigma 105mm Macro is a very good lens.

105 mm
f2.8
1:1 magnification ratio

It has approximate equivalents in Pentax and Tamron which are reputed to be as good if not better.
05-27-2016, 09:05 AM   #4
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You should be able to get a FA 100 macro for your budget. It's not weather-sealed but has a couple of advantages over the DFA version, specifically an aperture ring (useful if you want to combine with extension tubes) and a focus limiter if you're using autofocus. For true macro I'd go manual, but the 100 also makes a really nice short telephoto lens and the limiter is handy in those cases. BTW, it's a very sharp lens and I use it for bugs, flowers, random interesting macro stuff, slap extension tubes on for extreme magnification, short tele, particularly for landscapes (maybe too unflattering for portraits).

05-27-2016, 09:12 AM   #5
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TER-OR ask the best question: what subjects are you after?
05-27-2016, 09:55 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jrpower10 Quote
You should be able to get a FA 100 macro for your budget. It's not weather-sealed but has a couple of advantages over the DFA version, specifically an aperture ring (useful if you want to combine with extension tubes) and a focus limiter if you're using autofocus. For true macro I'd go manual, but the 100 also makes a really nice short telephoto lens and the limiter is handy in those cases. BTW, it's a very sharp lens and I use it for bugs, flowers, random interesting macro stuff, slap extension tubes on for extreme magnification, short tele, particularly for landscapes (maybe too unflattering for portraits).
I own the F and the DFA WR version. The weight difference means I carry the DFA more often than I carried the F 100.

The lack of a focus limiter is a handicap. The aperture ring never bugs me since I use a dslr with controls. I have no need for the ring even if reversed since I can just mount an aperture enabled m43 adapter to the rear of the lens and control the aperture in the lens (continuously variable without aperture markings).
05-27-2016, 10:02 AM - 1 Like   #7
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This is a list of the lenses I can see possibly available for your budget (probably second hand).

>Pentax 35mm f/2.8 ltd
>Pentax 50mm f/2.8 (D FA)
>Sigma 50mm f/2.8
>Sigma 70mm f/2.8
>Tamron 90mm f/2.8
>Pentax 100mm f/2.8 (2 different versions, one weather resistant the other not)
>Sigma 105mm f/2.8

In this list I would say that you have 2 groups : 35 & 50mm that are in my opinion oriented for still subjects that you can picture as close as you want (and macro with a 35mm is really close) and the 70mm and above that are better to take pictures from a distance (insects for example). I do find it more convenient for lighting too as you don't introduce shadows by getting close to your subject. Last thing, the perspectives are different between a 35mm and a 100mm.

If you have a look at my 500px galery you can find some pictures with Pentax 35mm and 50mm macro (the oldest ones I guess) and most of them are with the Sigma 70 and 105mm. I have a personal preference for the 70mm from Sigma because it has something special in the image it delivers (maybe more contrasty than the 105mm) but the best advice I can give you is try to borrow some and test them yourself
05-27-2016, 10:18 AM   #8
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The dfa 100 2.8 is a truely amazing lens. I recently purchased it and love it so much I plan on adding it to my small group of lenses I will take on a 200 mile backpacking trip this summer. I can't say enough good things about this lens. I purchased it for macro, but I actually use it for a lot more than Macro.

I am no macro expert, here is an example of what I was able to get with it with no practice on my first outing.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/319566-nature-desert-flowers.html

05-27-2016, 11:17 AM   #9
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I recommend the DFA 100mm, it is amazing, and can be found for really low prices in the US now. In Europe its a bit more expensive, but I find it to be fairly priced, as its basically a pro lens. Delivers stunning quality photos.
Sigma 105mm is an alternative, as is the Tamron 90mm. Both of these are optically nearly as good as the DFA, all of them are very sharp, biggest difference is in colour, rendering style. Any of these will be a good macro lens.

You can also look at DA 35mm f2.8 limited macro. Comes in SMC (old) and HD (Current) version. Great lens all around, but you have to me very, very close to the subject to take macro photos with this lens. So its not the best choice for skittish or dangerous subjects (snakes, wasps), and can be difficult to set if you want to use it for product photography (since there is almost no space for lights, and the camera itself will cast a shade, because it is so very close)
I think these are your best options. There are some zoom lenses that have the macro label, but those do not have nearly the same magnification ratio as the ones I mentioned here.

Tl;dr: DFA 100mm, or an older Pentax F or FA or previous version of DFA 100mm. Tamron 90mm or Sigma 105mm are alternatives. Check your local markets to see the prices, check the local used market as well, then you can decide more easily. Tamron will probably be most affordable
05-30-2016, 06:19 AM   #10
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Thank you very much for your comments and advices. I still have a lot to study as you have asked questions I haven't even considered at all about macro pictures..
05-30-2016, 06:27 AM   #11
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Remember, macro means Close focus. If you just want to bring far away things close to you (like wild animals, birds), then you need telephoto (like DA 200mm, DA 55-300mm, DFA 150-450mm..). If you want closeup magnification, like of little flowers, bugs, tiny objects.. then you need macro, and you will have to get really close to the subject. Macro lenses just let you focus much, much closer than non-macro lenses. This is the difference between, for example, DA 35mm f2.4 and DA 35mm f2.8 limited macro. They may look similar at first glance, they have same angle of view, but there are big differences when it comes to close focus.
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