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04-06-2019, 07:41 PM   #1
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Cheap kit to get started with Macro photography

Dear Pentaxians - Need some advice on a starter kit for Macro photography. I am a hobbyist who is keen to try Macro photography. I donít own currently a macro lens. I did some research and it seems that Pentax (or any 3rd party) does not make tubes with AF. Which is mostly fine as I anyways find auto focus to be quite unreliable for Macro work. But what I do need is an extension which alllows for aperture adjustment as only one lens in my current kit has an aperture ring - the 77 mm ltd, which I donít want to use for Macro work. So it seems that I have 3 options:

1. Get a tube which allows for apperature adjustment
2. Get an old manual lens with an aperture ring and a tube
3. Buy an converter for one my lenses (50 mm 1.8) and a matching tube

Can someone please help me understand pros and cons of each and suggest lens/tube for the preferred option.

04-06-2019, 08:07 PM   #2
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The close up filters may be an option for you. That's what I started with. Inexpensive way to test macro out.
04-06-2019, 08:20 PM - 1 Like   #3
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A Raynox macro adaptor is probably the cheapest option. I am consistently surprised by the quality of the images I see from them.
I have a set of Kenko auto-aperture extension rings. They were cheap, and work well.
For critical macro work, auto focus is quite unnecessary. So an old manual lens is fine.
A reversing adaptor for an old manual 28mm prime is another good option.

But a macro lens is far more versatile. The older (K, M, A) 50mm and 100mm versions can be had quite cheaply (<US$200).
04-06-2019, 08:46 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
. . . But a macro lens is far more versatile. The older (K, M, A) 50mm and 100mm versions can be had quite cheaply (<US$200).
I agree.

most true macro lenses are quite usable for more than macro photography

I would be spending some time checking the market place which can be sorted by country:

The Pentax Marketplace | Buy & Sell Pentax Cameras and Lenses (United States) - PentaxForums.com

if you are willing to take your time, you might find well respected macro lenses: a D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro or FA 100mm F2.8 Macro or F 100mm F2.8 macro within your price range:

'' . . . ..The optical design is the tried-and-proven formula of the previous generation D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro lens, which in turn had inherited the optical design from the well-respected FA 100mm F2.8 and F 100mm F2.8 macro lenses introduced in 1991 and 1987, respectively. None of these earlier lenses had rounded aperture blades. . . . "


Read more at: Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro Review - Specifications | PentaxForums.com Reviews

or a well respected third party maco lens

04-06-2019, 09:14 PM   #5
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I use the Raynox adapters with good results, I have both adapters. The DCR-150 for longer lenses and the DCR-250 for shorter lenses, they work pretty good for macro and are pretty cheap to buy.

The below photo was taken with a 50mm A f2 and DCR-250 @f11



One thing about macro is you need to not use AF. This shot above was MF, and I moved camera in and out until focus was achieved. Most people who shoot macro with AF lenses do this too, but some use AF, even though it changes the view of what they're trying to shoot. Just my opinion and what I've gathered when I've own an AF macro lens, and talked to others who shoot with an AF macro lens, such as our own eaglem who shoots with a Sigma 180 macro AF lens, he shoots MF only.
04-06-2019, 09:20 PM   #6
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You could pick up an older aperture-ring equipped lens in the 28mm to 50mm range which will probably have a filter size of around 49mm. These are very good lenses to have at least one of, and they can be purchased used quite cheaply. Then send away for a simple little item called a lens coupler.
Put your 77mm on the camera and add the lens coupling ring, then reverse mount your shorter lens onto the end of the 77. Voila, lots of magnification for not much money. The shorter your short lens is in comparison to the 77 the more magnification you'll have. The short lens is now a high quality close-up filter. You also now have a nice short fast prime that you can also use with a set of extension tubes or close-up filters sometime in the future.
04-06-2019, 09:24 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Derek Quote
Then send away for a simple little item called a lens coupler.
Isn't that called a reverse lens adapter?
04-06-2019, 09:37 PM   #8
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When I think "reverse lens adapter" I picture something with a K-mount on one end and a reversing male thread on the other. I could well be wrong in my terminology but a lens coupler to me me is similar but not quite the same.
Oh heck, get 'em both! Neither one is terribly pricey.

04-06-2019, 10:00 PM   #9
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The one I bought was called a reverse adapter and had 49mm male threads on one end and 52 female threads on the other end. Maybe I'm thinking of the wrong thing but the ring I got was what I said in the first sentence. It fit between two lenses.
04-06-2019, 11:51 PM   #10
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Yes, there are two types of reversing adaptor. One (the type I have) has a K-mount on one side and a filter thread on the other. One has a filter thread on each side. They both exploit the ability of a reversed wide angle lens to function as a magnifier. Anyone who has ever held a reversed telescope to their eye would understand the converse of the effect.
04-07-2019, 02:00 AM   #11
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CHEAP MACRO -- Buying or exploiting a lens for ultraclose work - PentaxForums.com
04-07-2019, 02:25 AM   #12
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You've had some great advice already.

Should you decide to get a dedicated macro lens, it's worth considering some vintage options. I collect old Soviet lenses, and there are a couple that might suit your needs very well... the Industar-61 L/Z and Volna-9, both 50mm f/2.8, in M42 mount. These are sharp lenses that are capable of very good results indeed. Good examples of either can be bought for under $100 (considerably less if you look around). You'd also need an M42-to-K-mount adapter, but those are cheap enough.

Last edited by BigMackCam; 04-07-2019 at 02:32 AM.
04-07-2019, 02:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Yes, there are two types of reversing adaptor.
Thanks for that Sandy. I thought I was losing my mind cause I would have bet money the adapter I bought said it was a reverse adapter. Makes me feel better now knowing there are two types.
04-07-2019, 03:14 AM   #14
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the OP has come to the right place to get advice

there are a lot of members who are eager to help each other out.

while deciding on how to get started on macro, here is a good article to review:


" . . . If you're a beginner interested in close-up (macro) photography, we recommend that you consider adding a dedicated 1:1 macro lens to your lens collection. Watch the video below to learn about the benefits of a true macro lens:

[ to see video go to article ]

Compared to a zoom, a fixed focal length (prime) macro lens is generally going to be the go-to choice for close-up photography. While many modern zooms claim "macro" capabilities and are good for snapshots, none can deliver life-size (1:1) magnification.Pentax currently offers three autofocus macro lenses: the DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro, D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro, and D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro. Tamron also makes a 90mm F2.8 Macro. Note that the longer the focal length, the farther away you can be while maintaining life-size magnification.

These four lenses happen to be are among the more affordable modern ones out there, . . .


If you're on a tighter budget, extension tubes plus a sharp manual focus lens like the M 50mm F1.7 would deliver comparable optical quality at a fraction of the price.
Macro photography is a complex subject with plenty of advanced tools and techniques that are beyond the scope of this tutorial. If you have any questions about macro or accessories, don't hesitate to post in our macro photography forum!


Read more at: The Advantages of a Dedicated Macro Lens - Tutorial Videos | PentaxForums.com

Last edited by aslyfox; 04-07-2019 at 03:23 AM.
04-07-2019, 03:22 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Roadboat24 Quote
The close up filters may be an option for you. That's what I started with. Inexpensive way to test macro out.
I agree heartily. You really only need one such "filter" (lens) to experiment with. I'd get one with a 2x magnification factor designed to fit on a mild telephoto lens you've already got and try that. Cheapest by far, and the only disadvantage is the sphericity of the lens which gives a bit of a fisheye effect. Meanwhile, save your pennies, and when you're done playing with that, go out and buy the Pentax FA 100mm f/2.8 WR macro.
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