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09-09-2013, 05:29 PM   #16
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Yes, there are many styles of shooting macro, many options to sort through, and that can be confusing. You need to answer some questions like:

a) What's my budget? Pretty fundamental. You indicated you don't have a big budget, so that's why some have pointed at the cheap macro article. That is a long read, but if your budget is small (but how small is small? $50? $200? $500?), it is definitely worthwhile.
b) What's your style of "entry" into a field? Incremental steps or whole hog entry? Some people who want to do macro will go straight to a 180mm, $1500 lens! That's not my style, but maybe it's yours.
c) What's your shooting style, lens-wise? The longer the lens, the more "working distance" you'll have. Working distance is the distance between the end of your lens and the thing you are photographing. With a 35mm 1:1 macro, you need to be darn close to take that 1:1 shot. With a 180mm 1:1 macro, you can be a good deal further. So longer lenses tend to make things a little "easier", but also tend to be more expensive, heavier, etc.
d) What's your shooting style, automation-wise? Do you need auto-focus? Auto-aperture? Are you ok with full manual operation?
d) How much macro do you want to start with? Personally, I'd recommend at least 1:2 for insect photos. You *can* get going with a 1:3 lens, but you'll probably have to crop your shots. Then it's also a question of how much you like doing post on your shots...

Finally, I'd say don't sweat it too much. Go with what you feel drawn to. If you like your material (both in the sense of your lenses/cameras and of what you're shooting), you'll explore it and have fun. You might eventually discover limitations and then need to purchase other things. That's OK. As far as I can tell, many macro photographers go through many different setups. Since you can usually resell lenses for close to what you paid for them (if you take good care of your equipment), then making mistakes (or discovering new desires) isn't the end of the world.

So, for example, a Pentax-M 50mm F/4 Macro is a nice, 1:2, inexpensive lens. It's a fine starting point. *But*, it's full manual, and you have to get really close. Lenses in the 90-105mm are "easier" in terms of working distance, but usually cost more. And so on. So just get a rough idea, and from that pick something and try it. If it doesn't work, sell and try again. And it might work for a while, too, but stop working once you find you want more magnification or to keep infinity focus or whatever. And that's fine too. Just make sure, if you're doing this as a hobby, that you're having fun all the time. That's rule number one. In my book anyway. YMMV.

09-11-2013, 07:52 AM   #17
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If you want to see what can be done with a K200D and very inexpensive accessories, this is about as good as it gets.

I saw an exhibit of his work at a local natural history museum a couple of weeks ago and they were playing a video that was very similar to the one I linked. In the video at the exhibit, I think he said he paid $20 for his lens.
09-11-2013, 04:11 PM   #18
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just purchased a second hand Sigma 105mm 1:1 macro yesterday from a local photo and video shop for little under $300, thought it was to good to pass up at that price, would I be better to use it on auto for a start to get use to the camera etc or take a note of the setting on the photos here on this site that people have used, any suggestions would be appreciated thanks guys
09-12-2013, 10:26 AM   #19
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The auto settings might not set the aperture right for close up work. You will want to use something like f8 to f16 when you get down to the minimum focus distance, otherwise your depth of field will be too small. Av mode would allow you to control that. Maybe P mode too, if the e-dial will change aperture for you. If you want to use autofocus, try setting the camera to just use the center point only. It should help the camera decide quicker if it has a lock.

09-12-2013, 11:20 AM   #20
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+1 to what Just1MoreDave said. By all accounts, that lens is a very fine performer. Hope to see your pics on the forum, and have fun!
09-12-2013, 03:14 PM   #21
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Thanks guys
09-12-2013, 04:36 PM   #22
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I looked it up. For the K200D and some other single-dial cameras, you can change a setting in the Custom Setting menu to adjust stuff in Program mode. Pentax calls this Hyper-Program, where yhe camera initially comes up with settings based on its own program, but if you turn the e-dial, the camera jumps into a mode very much like Av or Tv, then back to P if you press the green button. For macro work, you might change the Custom Setting 13 to Av, so you could start in P, then turn the dial to say f11 if you want to override the P suggestions.
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