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03-12-2019, 08:40 AM - 1 Like   #16
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This site will help:

Learn super macro photography cheaply using extension tubes
Using Raynox Adapters For Extreme Macro

It will let you plan focal lengths and magnifications and distance to subject etc.

Ultimately you will need a lot of light. This is where flash helps. You need either a flash you can vary the output from or one that you are able to detach from the camera and move to vary the light. Diffusing the light is often helpful. People build some crazy rigs to make macro flash work for them. A cardboard ring lined with aluminum foil and with a cutout to fit the flash on the side to light the ring up is one solution.

03-12-2019, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ropuchy Quote
I have a set of Hoya diopters (+1, +2, +4), which I've been using to take macro-ish photos. My lenses just don't focus close enough for the things I often like taking photos of.

They've been working pretty alright, but it's a bit of a pain taking them off/on and the image is pretty fuzzy unless I stop down a lot.


Would extension tubes work better for taking macro photos, or should I just keep using my diopters? I'd like to get a macro lens someday, but I don't have a lot of money to spend right now (The D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro looks particularly nice.)


If extension tubes would work better, what ones should I get? I'd like to use my M-series 50mm F2 to keep things light. All of my lenses are manual, so data contacts don't really matter to me.

Thanks for reading!
I'm not a big fan of close up filters. Having said that, I have never tried, or even seen the Raynox ones that everyone waxes on about. I like bellows, in spite of their foibles, but on Pentax in order to use a bellows, you pretty much have to have a set of extension tubes to get the short one that allows the bellows to mount past the prism extension.

For casual up to fairly serious macro work, a macro lens is the ideal choice. Generally speaking, it doesn't matter which one, since they are all pretty good, but I do like a longer one. I find the 50mm ones to be a lot short on 35mm, and somewhat short on APS-C. 100mm is a nice length on both formats, though it can be a bit short on 35mm, and there is a plethora of them to choose from at most any price point.
A word of caution, some macros have a flat rear surface on the rear element. The A100/2.8 Macro is an example of this. It is an excellent lens, but the flat rear element is prone to sensor reflections and hot spots on the image. It's something to be aware of.

The downside of extension tubes used with non macro lenses is their limited magnification ranges. You will have 3 tubes, and will use them either singly or in combination, and will have a very limited magnification range with each, due to the limitations of the short throw focus on the lens.

Most of the time I use a D FA 100/2.8 Macro, but I also have and like very much, an FA200/4 Macro, which is rather an amazing lens. They are quite rare, and consequently expensive though. The working distance for bugs is very nice, and the telephoto makes background control much easier.

I also get a fair bit of use out of a bellows. As I mentioned, in order to mount it cleanly, a #1 extension tube is required. I have a 100mm bellows lens, but most of the time now, I am using enlarging lenses for macro, especially the Fuji or Nikkor 150mm lenses. I am having good success with this combination. Lots of working length and razor sharp optics.

You will find depth of field is a challenge with macro. Even stopping down to minimum aperture can come up short for the required depth of field, and of course, this can also be deleterious to sharpness due to diffraction.
I am finding a good workaround is focus stacking. Obviously, you aren't going to be chasing butterflies and doing focus stacks, but if you are doing still life or cold bugs, then stacking allows you to use the lens at it's best aperture and also have really fine control over depth of field.
03-12-2019, 09:35 AM - 2 Likes   #18
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The best tool for the job depends on what job you're trying to do.

What size subjects are you shooting? Larger insects, for example, might not need as much magnification as smaller ones, unless you're wanting a tight portrait shot.

How close will your subjects allow you to approach? Shorter focal length macro lenses provide less working distance between subject and lens. Note that this is different than minimum focusing distance, which is measured from the sensor or film plane to the subject. The combination of focal length, magnification and proximity to subject will also have an effect on how the subject and background work together in your images. Shorter focal lengths, used closer to your subject will include a wider swath of background than will a longer lens used from a greater distance.

Natural light or flash? I use flash pretty much all the time. If you're using flash, be sure to diffuse it. Changing the quality of light resulted in the biggest improvement in my macro results, cutting down on harsh highlights and opening up shadow areas.

Are you shooting handheld, or on a tripod or monopod? Heavier gear can be harder to use hand held, particularly in the unusual positions and odd angles our subjects often compel us to adopt. Make sure what you get is going to fit with your preferred shooting style.

I find focus peaking very useful in my macro shooting it allows easy visualization and placement of the plane of focus on your subject. With so little DOF, fractions of a millimeter can make or break a photo.



Here are two links, not yet mentioned, which are rich in ideas for further exploration:

CHEAP MACRO -- Buying or exploiting a lens for ultraclose work - PentaxForums.com

Extreme Macro Photography

See what other people are doing to acheive a particular result that interests you and use that as a starting point. Some other threads on the Forum that you might check out for inspiration and information are:

*Macro* lens club

Macro by any means necessary club

But most of all, have fun!
03-12-2019, 10:23 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
This site will help:

Learn super macro photography cheaply using extension tubes
Using Raynox Adapters For Extreme Macro

It will let you plan focal lengths and magnifications and distance to subject etc.

Ultimately you will need a lot of light. This is where flash helps. You need either a flash you can vary the output from or one that you are able to detach from the camera and move to vary the light. Diffusing the light is often helpful. People build some crazy rigs to make macro flash work for them. A cardboard ring lined with aluminum foil and with a cutout to fit the flash on the side to light the ring up is one solution.
Alright, thanks for the links!

---------- Post added 03-12-19 at 10:32 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I'm not a big fan of close up filters. Having said that, I have never tried, or even seen the Raynox ones that everyone waxes on about. I like bellows, in spite of their foibles, but on Pentax in order to use a bellows, you pretty much have to have a set of extension tubes to get the short one that allows the bellows to mount past the prism extension.

For casual up to fairly serious macro work, a macro lens is the ideal choice. Generally speaking, it doesn't matter which one, since they are all pretty good, but I do like a longer one. I find the 50mm ones to be a lot short on 35mm, and somewhat short on APS-C. 100mm is a nice length on both formats, though it can be a bit short on 35mm, and there is a plethora of them to choose from at most any price point.
A word of caution, some macros have a flat rear surface on the rear element. The A100/2.8 Macro is an example of this. It is an excellent lens, but the flat rear element is prone to sensor reflections and hot spots on the image. It's something to be aware of.

The downside of extension tubes used with non macro lenses is their limited magnification ranges. You will have 3 tubes, and will use them either singly or in combination, and will have a very limited magnification range with each, due to the limitations of the short throw focus on the lens.

Most of the time I use a D FA 100/2.8 Macro, but I also have and like very much, an FA200/4 Macro, which is rather an amazing lens. They are quite rare, and consequently expensive though. The working distance for bugs is very nice, and the telephoto makes background control much easier.

I also get a fair bit of use out of a bellows. As I mentioned, in order to mount it cleanly, a #1 extension tube is required. I have a 100mm bellows lens, but most of the time now, I am using enlarging lenses for macro, especially the Fuji or Nikkor 150mm lenses. I am having good success with this combination. Lots of working length and razor sharp optics.

You will find depth of field is a challenge with macro. Even stopping down to minimum aperture can come up short for the required depth of field, and of course, this can also be deleterious to sharpness due to diffraction.
I am finding a good workaround is focus stacking. Obviously, you aren't going to be chasing butterflies and doing focus stacks, but if you are doing still life or cold bugs, then stacking allows you to use the lens at it's best aperture and also have really fine control over depth of field.
Ok, thanks for the advice!
How can I figure out if a lens has a flat rear element? What's the effect of using a lens that has one?

Nice lenses! I think the D FA 100/2.8 Macro would be particularly well-suited for what I'd like to take photos of. Amphibians and whatnot, which usually come out in the rain and can be a bit shy. But it's a little pricey for me right now, unfortunately.

03-12-2019, 10:39 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thagomizer Quote
The best tool for the job depends on what job you're trying to do.

What size subjects are you shooting? Larger insects, for example, might not need as much magnification as smaller ones, unless you're wanting a tight portrait shot.

How close will your subjects allow you to approach? Shorter focal length macro lenses provide less working distance between subject and lens. Note that this is different than minimum focusing distance, which is measured from the sensor or film plane to the subject. The combination of focal length, magnification and proximity to subject will also have an effect on how the subject and background work together in your images. Shorter focal lengths, used closer to your subject will include a wider swath of background than will a longer lens used from a greater distance.

Natural light or flash? I use flash pretty much all the time. If you're using flash, be sure to diffuse it. Changing the quality of light resulted in the biggest improvement in my macro results, cutting down on harsh highlights and opening up shadow areas.

Are you shooting handheld, or on a tripod or monopod? Heavier gear can be harder to use hand held, particularly in the unusual positions and odd angles our subjects often compel us to adopt. Make sure what you get is going to fit with your preferred shooting style.

I find focus peaking very useful in my macro shooting it allows easy visualization and placement of the plane of focus on your subject. With so little DOF, fractions of a millimeter can make or break a photo.



Here are two links, not yet mentioned, which are rich in ideas for further exploration:

CHEAP MACRO -- Buying or exploiting a lens for ultraclose work - PentaxForums.com

Extreme Macro Photography

See what other people are doing to acheive a particular result that interests you and use that as a starting point. Some other threads on the Forum that you might check out for inspiration and information are:

*Macro* lens club

Macro by any means necessary club

But most of all, have fun!
Mostly amphibians, small plants, or flowers.
I've been able to get pretty close to toads before, I'll attach a photo I took with my 35mm and diopters.
I don't have much experience shooting with a flash. I have a Vivitar 560D, but I'm unsure how well it's suited for macro.
I prefer to shoot hand-held because it's more convenient and allows me to get those odd angles a tripod restricts me from doing.


Thanks for the links and advice!
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03-12-2019, 10:58 AM - 1 Like   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ropuchy Quote
Alright, thanks for the links!

---------- Post added 03-12-19 at 10:32 AM ----------


Ok, thanks for the advice!
How can I figure out if a lens has a flat rear element? What's the effect of using a lens that has one?

Nice lenses! I think the D FA 100/2.8 Macro would be particularly well-suited for what I'd like to take photos of. Amphibians and whatnot, which usually come out in the rain and can be a bit shy. But it's a little pricey for me right now, unfortunately.
About the only way to determine is to look at the optical design, and this isn't even a guarantee sometimes. The effect can be to put a hot spot in the middle of the frame. It's really only a problem sometimes if you are using a bright background. It's not something limited to macro lenses, as an aside.
The D FA 100 macro is an excellent choice, well worth saving for.
03-12-2019, 11:09 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
About the only way to determine is to look at the optical design, and this isn't even a guarantee sometimes. The effect can be to put a hot spot in the middle of the frame. It's really only a problem sometimes if you are using a bright background. It's not something limited to macro lenses, as an aside.
The D FA 100 macro is an excellent choice, well worth saving for.
Ah ok, so it's something to look out for. Thanks for the info!

Yeah, I thought it looked really nice for the price and features. Hopefully I can get one sometime. And it works on FF, so that's a plus if I ever upgrade!
03-12-2019, 12:18 PM - 1 Like   #23
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Some m42 Pentax bellows allow you to remove the part that connects to the camera from the bellows with a twist knob. This allows mounting with or without an extension tube easily.

---------- Post added 03-12-19 at 03:20 PM ----------

I was a huge fan of bellows pre digital in my Nikon days. In digital era I have been a macro lens fan and an add on lens fan. I have multiple high end apo macro lens add on lenses. (Nikon, Canon, raynox) all of the APO style multiple lens ones are good.

03-12-2019, 12:33 PM - 1 Like   #24
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Something like that toad is more like 1:2 or 1:3 so I would look for a cheap macro lens. Just saw a 50mm m f4 macro for $50 on ebay. Search Pentax macro and you can find one.
Tubes work best on short focal lengths because you need less. 50mm of tube for a 50mm is like 200mm tube on a 200mm lens. Tubes cost half what an old macro will cost.
You have some good info here from some good people.
My point here is if experimenting and tinkering is the better part do whatever. Tubes can go on all lenses with aperture ring so you can try many combos. If this stuff is more annoying then a cheap macro will bypass this but stick you with a single focal length.
03-12-2019, 01:12 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
Something like that toad is more like 1:2 or 1:3 so I would look for a cheap macro lens. Just saw a 50mm m f4 macro for $50 on ebay. Search Pentax macro and you can find one.
Tubes work best on short focal lengths because you need less. 50mm of tube for a 50mm is like 200mm tube on a 200mm lens. Tubes cost half what an old macro will cost.
You have some good info here from some good people.
My point here is if experimenting and tinkering is the better part do whatever. Tubes can go on all lenses with aperture ring so you can try many combos. If this stuff is more annoying then a cheap macro will bypass this but stick you with a single focal length.
Ok, thanks for the advice.
Looks like I can get an alright macro lens for not a whole lot, so I might end up going that route.
Extension tubes don't cost much, so I can always get those too.

What do you think the effect of using a 50mm extension with the 50mm f4 macro would be?
03-12-2019, 01:42 PM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ropuchy Quote
What do you think the effect of using a 50mm extension with the 50mm f4 macro would be?
It depends on the 50mm macro. Some only go up to 0.5. In which case 50mm extension will give it 1.5 magnification. If the lens natively goes up to 1 then it will go up to 2.
03-12-2019, 03:58 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
It depends on the 50mm macro. Some only go up to 0.5. In which case 50mm extension will give it 1.5 magnification. If the lens natively goes up to 1 then it will go up to 2.
Ah ok, so an extension tube the same length as the lens will add +1 magnification to whatever magnification the lens natively has?
03-12-2019, 04:32 PM - 2 Likes   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ropuchy Quote
Mostly amphibians, small plants, or flowers.
I've been able to get pretty close to toads before, I'll attach a photo I took with my 35mm and diopters.
I don't have much experience shooting with a flash. I have a Vivitar 560D, but I'm unsure how well it's suited for macro.
I prefer to shoot hand-held because it's more convenient and allows me to get those odd angles a tripod restricts me from doing.


Thanks for the links and advice!
You're welcome!

You can use your camera's built in flash. Using your built-in flash helps keep your rig lighter, smaller and easier to handle. An auxiliary flash will be more powerful, but is bigger and heavier. I don't have a shot of my own set-up, but here's a picture that Doundounba posted of a flash diffuser/extender he built that I basically copied. It brings the light out beyond the front of the lens; without the flash extension, the lens with extension tube can block the flash from lighting your subject.

I put my built in flash on manual and adjust flash power until I get the right level for magnification, distance to subject, ISO and aperture.
03-12-2019, 06:32 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thagomizer Quote
You're welcome!

You can use your camera's built in flash. Using your built-in flash helps keep your rig lighter, smaller and easier to handle. An auxiliary flash will be more powerful, but is bigger and heavier. I don't have a shot of my own set-up, but here's a picture that Doundounba posted of a flash diffuser/extender he built that I basically copied. It brings the light out beyond the front of the lens; without the flash extension, the lens with extension tube can block the flash from lighting your subject.

I put my built in flash on manual and adjust flash power until I get the right level for magnification, distance to subject, ISO and aperture.
Ah ok. I had actually just used my built-in flash for the first time a couple days ago, just testing it out.

My photos were pretty much all over-exposed, I had to stop my 50mm down to F22 and ISO to 80 to get it to look ok-ish. Am I missing something? I must be, I just don't know what!

That's quite a neat flash extender thing-a-ma-bob, and a tasteful use of a Pringles tube!
03-12-2019, 06:49 PM - 1 Like   #30
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Not sure your camera but you have 3 ways. Override the flash to what you want in flash settings like on my ks2. Or drop the ev setting. Or put tissue in front of the flash.
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