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01-15-2013, 06:42 PM   #1
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Option for a good macro lens

Even though it is the middle of winter I am looking forward to spring and trying some macro photography of mostly flowers and maybe insects. What is a good macro lens but not too expensive? B & H has a used P-D FA 50 mm f/2.8 Macro for $329, is this a good lens and a good deal?



01-15-2013, 06:51 PM   #2
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I do not believe Pentax ever had a bad macro lens. I have 2 different 100mm ones and a Pentax A 50mm f/2.8. The DA 100mm f/2.8 WR is simply a masterwork.

There is also the DA 35mm f/2.8 macro Limited, I do not have it but it is highly regarded,

Your choice should be based on the focal length you need and the features you need. If you need autofocus or not, if you need auto aperture or not. Some of the older manual lenses are quite good and less expensive but you need to be comfortable using them in all manual mode.

There is also an A*200mm f/4 macro but that goes for well over $1,000 if you can find one.

Here is the link to the FA 50mm f/2.8 https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-FA-50mm-F2.8-Macro-Lens.html
01-15-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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Really, just about any current macro lens is "good". A longer focal length, like 90-105, will give you a bit more working room between you and bugs and butterflies. I've seen nice shots with the Pentax 55-300 and a lens baby attachment. Screw-in close-up filters may be the cheap casual approach, though the image quality will suffer. Extensions and tubes are an option. You should snoop around the macro thread to see what others are using.
01-15-2013, 06:57 PM   #4
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I have DFA 100 macro and I prefer it to shorter focal lengths. I am not as likely to shade my subject, especialy insects. It also works well as mid telephoto as well. IQ is excellent and has an effective lens hood.

01-15-2013, 07:03 PM   #5
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My wife has pretty much taken over our Tamron 90 macro, and I'm thinking adding the Sigma 70 2.8 macro for my own use. We own the FA 50 and Tamron 90 with no primes in between, so the Sigma 70 would fill a nice gap in our prime coverage, and give me a reasonably long macro as well. I got the Tamron 90 second hand for about $250.
01-15-2013, 08:53 PM   #6
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Be aware if you get a macro w/o manual aperture (e.g., 100mm WR) and you really get into macro, you will be limited in ability to use bellows, etc. The other thing is you need to think about whether you plan to use the macro as a standard lens--likely if you go light--or if it complements other lenses. Longer FL is great for the later, not the former.
01-15-2013, 09:43 PM   #7
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There is a tempting Tamron 90 in the marketplace right now, but I already have one :-)
01-15-2013, 09:46 PM   #8
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i would be using the macro lens to compliment my kit lens and 55 - 300. As for the Lens Baby, which one would be used on the 55 - 300 for macro shots?

01-16-2013, 07:14 AM   #9
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Flowers and insects have quite different requirements. For small flowers and for detail closeups 1:1 macro is nice to have, but for a lot of flower shots you don't need that much magnification. For insects, 1:1 is just getting started (except for larger ones such as butterflies and dragonflies). As suggested above, working distance is an issue with insects -- flying insects won't generally sit still while you stick a camera lens an inch away, which is what you need to do for 1:1 macro with a shorter FL lens such as the aforementioned Sigma 70/2.8.

Autofocus is nearly useless for this kind of close-up and macro work. You might want AF anyway if you intend to also use the lens for other subjects. Macro lenses can be pretty good for portraits, for example. But you can save quite a bit of money buying an older manual focus lens.

And there's a range of techniques for getting macro results without a dedicated macro lens; check out https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/152336-cheap-macro-b...ht=cheap+macro if you haven't already.
01-16-2013, 08:28 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kosmoejtg Quote
i would be using the macro lens to compliment my kit lens and 55 - 300. As for the Lens Baby, which one would be used on the 55 - 300 for macro shots?
Not a "Lens Baby", it's a Raynox.

For the 55-300 you would most likely use the 150.

Amazon.com: Raynox DCR-150 Snap-On Macro Lens: Camera & Photo

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/74221-raynox-macro-club.html

Even without the Raynox the 55-300 gives good close-up results...













For 1:1 I use a Sigma A 50mm F2.8 macro. It's manual focus but you don't use AF for macro work anyway. Working distance is short, but it only cost me $100.






Last edited by boriscleto; 01-16-2013 at 12:15 PM.
01-17-2013, 07:55 AM   #11
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I use an FA100 macro, and really like it - I think all the 100mm are probably close to equivalent. Keep an eye on the marketplace, you can enter a keyword like 'macro' or '100mm' and then jump on one when you think the price is good. Lighting is also key, an LED ring light is a good option.

$300 isn't unreasonable, but you'll have to be patient.
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