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04-25-2016, 02:21 PM   #1
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645z with 120 F4 Macro: Manual or Auto Focus?

Hello everyone!

I am considering getting the 120 Macro for my 645z. This will be for mixed use, portraits and occasional jewelry photography (I shoot tethered for objects).

My question to the group is: Would the manual focus variant be too difficult for hand held portraits and or for the occasional tethered focus/image stacking? Or Should I get the Auto Focus version? Assuming that there is no difference in the image quality between them.

Would really appreciate for any advice I can get.

Cheers!

04-25-2016, 02:57 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I would say the FA is at least as good optically as the A. They are both extremely sharp, with that said...

I think your choice should depend on how often you shoot portraits. Unless you primarily plan to use the lens as a macro (in which case the smoother manual focusing from the A version would be better), I would recommend going for the autofocus variant for the added convenience/versatility.

Adam
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04-25-2016, 03:53 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I would say the FA is at least as good optically as the A. They are both extremely sharp, with that said...

I think your choice should depend on how often you shoot portraits. Unless you primarily plan to use the lens as a macro (in which case the smoother manual focusing from the A version would be better), I would recommend going for the autofocus variant for the added convenience/versatility.
i second this opinion. good luck!
04-25-2016, 04:06 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I would say the FA is at least as good optically as the A. They are both extremely sharp, with that said...

I think your choice should depend on how often you shoot portraits. Unless you primarily plan to use the lens as a macro (in which case the smoother manual focusing from the A version would be better), I would recommend going for the autofocus variant for the added convenience/versatility.
Thank you Adam great point!

04-25-2016, 04:08 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by iancx Quote
Thank you Adam great point!
I think that I will opt for the manual focus for now and save some cash and if needs be can always get the auto option.
04-25-2016, 05:42 PM   #6
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the MF version would be extraordinarily hard to use for portraits unless you are on a tripod with live view (in my opinion).
04-25-2016, 07:45 PM   #7
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If you're going to use it primarily for portraits I'd consider the 150mm over the 120mm as the bokeh is known to be a little funky on at least the FA 120 at times. See best lenses for Pentax 645D for a good example of this. Although if you need the macro for jewelry then that might rule out the 150 due to its minimum focus distance.
04-26-2016, 07:49 AM   #8
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Thanks Paulster!

Looks like I may have to get both version. There goes my hope for saving some cash lol.

04-26-2016, 08:38 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by iancx Quote
Looks like I may have to get both version. There goes my hope for saving some cash lol.
Lensrentals stocks both the 120 and the 150. You could consider renting them both on a short rental to see whether you really need both to achieve what you want, or whether one of them would fit all your needs.

One thing I'll add about the 150 is that, although it's a great lens for portraits, it does suffer from fairly significant chromatic aberrations in high contrast situations. Usually quite easily-correctable in Lightroom, but be aware of this if you're going to consider one as it can present a challenge when there is fringing on out-of-focus areas as you may need to select a broad color range which can affect other areas of your image if not masked out, so it can add to post-processing time.

The 90 solves this problem and the minimum focusing distance issue as it's a macro as well, but would completely blow the budget as it's more than both the 120 and 150 together.
04-26-2016, 03:54 PM   #10
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Hey Paulster,

I forgot about the rental option, but I have already placed orders the 120 macro(s) both the A/FA (found an extremely affordable A version). It was a bit more than what I was planning to spend but I think it will be worth it as I do not often use tripods for portraits.

Wish I could get the 90 macro, it would be a dream to own one, but my financial reality will not allow me lol! I will probably rent the 150 f2.8 and perhaps the 200 f4 (getting mixed reviews) as well once I get the macro(s) and then compare the results.
04-26-2016, 06:31 PM   #11
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I have the A and FA 120mm lenses. I'll second Adam's comments: for macro, the long focus throw of the A is better. Optically, I see no difference. For portraits the 150 is a better choice (and that includes the very inexpensive A version).

Tom
04-27-2016, 01:14 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thomas Quote
I have the A and FA 120mm lenses. I'll second Adam's comments: for macro, the long focus throw of the A is better. Optically, I see no difference. For portraits the 150 is a better choice (and that includes the very inexpensive A version).

Tom
Looks like lots of folks like the 150 lens. Would the 150 A be difficult for handheld portraits?
04-27-2016, 07:49 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by iancx Quote
Looks like lots of folks like the 150 lens. Would the 150 A be difficult for handheld portraits?
The A is manual focus, so if you want to rely on AF, yes. It is also slower at f/3.5 vs. f/2.8 for the FA version. That said, if you are comfortable that you can focus the lens and don't need the high speed and limited DOF of the FA, it's a great lens.
04-27-2016, 10:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by iancx Quote
Looks like lots of folks like the 150 lens. Would the 150 A be difficult for handheld portraits?
The depth of field is incredibly shallow on the FA 150 at 2.8, so you may find critical focusing is difficult to achieve with the A version, even at 3.5, when shooting handheld, unless you're not looking to use it wide open.

With a subject at 6ft distance the total in-focus depth is 1.5" from acceptable through sharp focus to acceptable again at f/2.8, so you have a very small window that will be critically focused. It's still less than 2" at f/3.5, so not a lot of margin for error.
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