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12-10-2011, 09:37 AM   #1
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Macro Lens for DSLR K-x

Any tips on what would be the best macro lens for a beginner with a low budget? Would like to take photos close up of nature bugs and stuff.

Thanks in advance

Dennis

12-10-2011, 09:56 AM   #2
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Something to read: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/152336-cheap-macro-b...lose-work.html
12-10-2011, 10:25 AM   #3
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Cheapest would be a close up adapter which range from ebay really cheap to Raynox brand which by all reports work fine. But that is not really a lens.

Least expensive real lens would be a screw mount macro in either 50mm or 100mm. The 50mm f/4 can be had for less than $100. Look for the pre-set Takumar version rather than the later Super-Takumar or S.M.C Takumar versions as it goes to 1:1. Of course you need to add the cost of an M42 to k-mount adapter if you go that route.

If you don't need true macro (loosely defined as 1:1 magnification where the image on the sensor is the same size as the subject) then look at the many zoom lenses that have a 'macro' or 'close-up' mode. These are not true macro but can be useful if your needs are not for too high a magnification.

And do read the link above, there are entire books on macro photography but RioRIco has summarized things extremely well.
12-10-2011, 10:28 AM   #4
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I shopped all the good used sites on-line looking for the the FA 100mm 3.5
Pentax-FA 100mm F3.5 Macro Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

This goes for around $150 to $160 used. JUST EDITED TO ADD CORRECTION- 100mm 3.5 is not a 1:1 macro. It is a 1:2.

The 100mm macros are more expensive then the ones with shorter focal lengths, but you can put a little distance between yourself and the subject and that focal length is versatile-you can use it for more than just the macro shots.
It's hard to find. I was outbid for one on e-bay and I finally gave up searching and decided to spring for the FA 100mm 2.8 macro. I don't regret it-it's a really nice lens. Very sharp and well made.

However, a week after I bought it I saw the FA 100mm 3.5 come up on Keh. And one also came up again on e-bay. So they surface.

There is a lot more technique involved in macro photography than I realized, but it's really fun and well worth the investment in a good lens. Also, these F series and FA lenses have a great used market value, if you need to sell them later.

I think the best used sources seem to be:
e-bay
the Pentax Marketplace here
KEH
Adorama
B & H


Last edited by Drom; 12-10-2011 at 09:04 PM.
12-10-2011, 10:46 AM   #5
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I'd recommend one of these manual lenses:
macro Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Adam
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12-10-2011, 10:52 AM   #6
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Some specific budget lenses to look into would be:

Cosina (Phoenix, Promaster, Vivitar) 100mm 1:3.5

Cosina 100mm F1:3,5 MC Makro Lens Reviews - Cosina Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
Promaster 100mm 1:3.5 MC Macro (Spectrum 7) Lens Reviews - Miscellaneous Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
Cosina AF 100mm f/3.5 macro (Pentax) - Review / Lab Test Report


Vivitar (Panagor) 55mm 1:2.8

Vivitar 55mm F2.8 1:1 macro Lens Reviews - Vivitar Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
Panagor 55mm f2.8 Macro PMC Lens Reviews - Miscellaneous Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database


Vivitar (Panagor) 90mm 1:2.8

Vivitar 90mm f2.8 Macro Lens Reviews - Vivitar Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
Panagor 90mm f2.8 Macro PMC Lens Reviews - Miscellaneous Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database


The above would be second hand, of the current offerings the cheapest would be the Tamron 90mm 1:2.8 which enjoys a fine reputation (and could be bought second hand as well as new, of course).
12-10-2011, 12:13 PM   #7
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I cover most of the options in the article sterretje linked to. In brief:

* Close-up adapters. Basic ones are cheap (like under US$15 per set) and the images can be decent, as long as you don't care about image edges. No good for stamps, fine for orchids and beetles. Corrected adapters like those from Raynox can be brilliant -- see the Raynox Club here -- and not too terribly expensive, at around US$65.

* Lens reversal. Macro, enlarger, and reversed lenses all have edge-to-edge flatfield sharpness. Manual-focus prime lenses are best for reversal. A good candidate is the Super-Takumar 55/2 (probably under US$20) mounted on a 49mm-PK mount--reversal ring (about US$5). Your working distance is about 45mm / under 2in. Reversal alone doesn't magnify; for more magnification, add extension. There's also reverse-stacking; see the article.

* Extension (tubes and/or bellows). You can get a cheap set of PK macro tubes (about US$6) and normally mount a lens with an aperture ring. Image edges won't be quite as sharp as with a macro or enlarging or reversed lens, but edges don't always matter. Or you can mount a reversed lens for great sharpness but a close working distance. For more elbow room, mount a non-reversed 100mm lens on a couple sets of macro tubes.

* Enlarger lenses (ELs). Depending on how close you work and the magnification desired, this can be a cheap option. Try a 75mm lens (often around US$5) on one or two sets of macro tubes. You'll also need a cheap wide-flange M42-PK or M39-PK adapter (about US$5) -- or you can get a black PK body cap for a buck, cut a hole in it, screw the EL in, and go!

* Macro lenses. New AF macro lenses aren't cheap, and AF is overkill (or useless) at macro distances, but these can be useful general-purpose lenses also. Macro lenses in the 90-105mm range are popular for closeups, and portraits, and general short-tele shooting. Used manual-focus macro lenses often aren't much cheaper than their AF counterparts. You pay for convenience.

My recommendations: For simplicity and low cost, use a cheap close-up adapter set; for better images at higher cost, use a Raynox. If you have manual primes in the 35-50-100mm range, you can use a cheap mount-reversal adapter and/or cheap macro tubes. If you don't have such lenses, an enlarger lens plus macro tubes setup is cheap and clean. Those are the cheap ways to shoot close. Have fun!

EDIT: I forgot to mention macro-zooms. They usually aren't macro, which is magnification of 1:2 (0.5x) or greater. They usually go no further than 1:4 (0.25x). BUT... you can fake it, cheap! The A35-80/4-5.6 is arguably the worst lens Pentax ever made. But reversed, it provides a nice sharp image. I put mine on a 49mm-PK mount-reversal ring. At 35mm, it gives about 2:1 (2x) magnification at maybe 4cm working distance. At 80mm, it gives about 1:2 (0.5x) magnification at about 15cm working distance, and will also focus past infinity. A real macro zoom! And it can probably be found for about US$15 used. Also get a cheap set of PK macro tubes, and use the tubes as lens hoods.

Last edited by RioRico; 12-10-2011 at 12:21 PM.
12-10-2011, 01:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DennisBhoy Quote
Any tips on what would be the best macro lens for a beginner with a low budget? Would like to take photos close up of nature bugs and stuff.

Thanks in advance

Dennis
What lenses do you now have? That may affect our recommendations.

12-10-2011, 09:13 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote

EDIT: I forgot to mention macro-zooms. They usually aren't macro, which is magnification of 1:2 (0.5x) or greater. They usually go no further than 1:4 (0.25x). BUT... you can fake it, cheap! .
I just noticed this one in the lens reviews-I hadn't seen it before. People seem to like it. It's pretty inexpensive and seems like a versatile lens.
Pentax-F 35-70mm F3.5-4.5 Reviews - F Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
12-11-2011, 12:40 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Drom Quote
I just noticed this one in the lens reviews
Have it, love it. I actually have two right now (long sad ebay story). It seems to have a little less contrast than other lenses, but a little adjustment in PP works fine. Nice and sharp, AF locks very quickly. At the price they are going for and what they weigh everybody should have one as a backup if nothing else.
12-11-2011, 04:11 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Drom Quote
I just noticed this one in the lens reviews-I hadn't seen it before. People seem to like it. It's pretty inexpensive and seems like a versatile lens.
Pentax-F 35-70mm F3.5-4.5 Reviews - F Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Have it, love it, it's like a tiny bundle of primes, and it's the smallest zoom Pentax ever made. It's also not really macro, going to about 1:4 magnification with a close focus of 33cm / 13in. The DA18-55 kit lens focuses closer at 25cm / 10in from its optical center.
12-11-2011, 07:22 AM   #12
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I find the Pentax DA 18-55 kit lens is great for close up work. It's not real macro, but it can get really close. I have a Quantary AF 2x converter that I de-glassed that I'm trying to use to get the real macro stuff.

bluestringer
12-11-2011, 04:58 PM   #13
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Since this question is about lenses and not cameras, it does not belong in the DSLR forum. But since it is a very common beginner's question, asked and answered many times before, I am moving it to the Beginner's forum rather than to the Lens forum.
12-11-2011, 06:33 PM   #14
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One of my favorite lenses

Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

Can usually be had for around $100.
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