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09-08-2013, 03:20 PM   #1
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macro lenses

I've been looking at purchasing a macro lense for my k200d and was woundering if for example a 28 - 80 lense would do the same job as a fixed lense at say a 105mm, reason being I'm on a tight budget

09-08-2013, 03:29 PM - 1 Like   #2
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09-08-2013, 03:34 PM   #3
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Macro Zoom?

Hello oldenFJ, Welcome to the Forum!
If you're looking at a 28-80mm zoom with a 'macro function' at the 80mm end, compared to a 105mm true macro lens, there's no comparison; The dedicated macro lens will be better, I mean, WAY better.
However, if you need the zoom function for all-around shooting and just want to try macro, here's a suggestion. The Pentax F 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 with macro function. You can find this little gem for $50 - $75 USD on eBay and other used sites easily. It is a very good short zoom and the close-up function, while not true macro, is handy and works pretty well.
If you want a real macro lens, it won't be a zoom, it will be a 'prime' lens, a single focal length, like 90mm, 100mm or 105mm. Just about all are good, some great. Sigma and Tamron both make macros in Pentax mounts and of course a genuine Pentax macro, either 50mm or 100mm, would be good choices.
Why don't you post the brand and price of the 105 you're looking at and we'll offer more suggestions?
Good Luck!
09-08-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
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Hi Welcome

I think last count I have collected about 6 dedicated macro lenses over the past 40 years including the latest pentax macros. My 7 year old sigma 17-70 does an excellent close up job. It's called macro but gets down to 1:2 not 1:1. I feel very confident using this lens for closeups. From my experience this sigma lens is a genuine close focus lens and is the next best thing to a dedicated macro. The large lens means that the built in flash is useless.

09-08-2013, 04:45 PM   #5
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The M 50mm f/4 sells for cheap and is a great 1:2 macro. Manual focus is almost a must for macro work so you are good.
09-08-2013, 06:22 PM   #6
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Last week I've made some test for macro photo, and I've used most of my lenses, from 28mm F2.8 to telezoom. My Pentax D FA 100 Macro blow away everyone else. Even in autofocus mode. A CPL filter can be usefull for this.

But you must consider that higher the magnification, smaller is DOF.

Last edited by JimmyDranox; 09-09-2013 at 08:50 AM. Reason: Corect the lens name.
09-08-2013, 08:35 PM   #7
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Should say what your intended subject is: bugs and beetles, flowers, stamps and coins, toy soldiers???? It would help to know.
09-08-2013, 10:39 PM   #8
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Gday, yea sorry m8 forgot to add it, small insects, bugs, butterflies etc

09-09-2013, 05:56 AM   #9
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You're going to want a longer lens for insects etc. At least 50mm, preferably 90-100. Manual focus will do, but I really do prefer auto for this role, as I'm chasing bees around...I find I can't keep up via manual focus for the most part. I shoot with an FA100mm macro I bought here used a few years ago. It's not inexpensive, but insect macro is a priority for me.

Keep an eye on the marketplace and budget $300+ if you want one of the more modern Pentax long macros.
09-09-2013, 07:17 AM   #10
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More information in there too. Don't forget to check out the lens pictures samples.
09-09-2013, 09:40 AM   #11
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Don't bother with a 50mm macro, if you can't afford one of the good 100mm macros that actually do 1:1 you might as well come up with another combo yourself. Also I personally hate any combo of parts that disables the A function of the lens because you don't need any more complications when trying to take macro photos, usually the target is uncooperative and timing is fast.
Since I think specific recommendations are better than vague guidelines here is what my poor self uses, I will use links or the pics will hog up about 10 yards of page. I chose this because my first choice the Pentax A100 F2.8 macro costs WAY to much, and I don't like AF especially for macro where depth of field has to be tweaked manually to get exactly what you want in focus since its such a narrow range so the FA version which is much cheaper was also ruled out.

I use this lens: SMC Pentax-A 35-105mm F3.5 Reviews - A Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database it is a super lens to have even when not using it for macro, you can scroll down to my review of it there for a few more things about it. Usually had for $150 on ebay.

With a tele macro widget made by sigma: info on this is super hard to find, but its labeled "Sigma tele-macro multi-coated 2x-1:1 because its a 2x teleconverter with the guts installed, but with a quick finger twist (bayonet mount) the guts come out of it and it becomes an extension tube. It also has all the A lens contacts so any lens you attach meters normally so you can use the front and rear dials on the camera to fiddle with exposure (critical in my opinion) or even use A mode if you are lazy. I believe there is also an earlier M version (no contacts) of this which I wouldn't bother with. This is the only teleconverter I know of that has removable guts without tools or breakage. I don't think many of these were made but the very few I rarely find for sale are always strangely only like $30.

When you combine these two you don't normally use the focus ring on the lens, leave it at infinity as its almost ineffective, you use the zoom ring on it to focus (weird but totally effective) which prevents you from having to physically move yourself to focus like you would with most other combos. This is an advantage of using a parfocal zoom lens with an extension tube rather than a prime or a cheap variable aperture lens. The only time you would use the focus ring is if you want to shift the lens into macro mode (it has macro across its full focus range that you shift into with the zoom ring) and basically macro a macro, but then you need to be really close to the target. I don't normally use anything but natural lighting for macro stuff as flash work is somewhat beyond both my budget and experience, though I do have an off camera flash cord for what I do have.
Macroed macro, this dime is touching the lens, K20D camera:
Uncropped pic of a spider using my K1000 with cheap kodak gold 200 film. I call BS on needing a fancy camera (or film).
US Dollar bill I may have actually used my 50mm with the extension tube for this one but I only recall the edge of the lens was actually sitting on the paper to keep it stable.
09-09-2013, 10:47 AM   #12
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Macro sort of turns the lens data on its head. You might think a Pentax-M 100mm f4 macro would allow a larger image of a subject than a Vivitar 55mm f2.8 macro. That's how it works at 10 feet. Instead, close up, the focal length is not as important as the magnification ratio. The magnification ratio tells you how large the subject will be in the (uncropped) image. The focal length tells you how far away the lens will be when you take the shot. The lens's maximum aperture often doesn't matter, because at close distances, you need depth of field, like f16 or smaller.

The kit lens (DA 18-55) does 1:3 magnification, fairly useful by itself. A lot of the 28-80s won't beat that. You might be able to get better working distance (stand further away) at 80mm but not a bigger image. I would not buy a 28-80 or other zoom without knowing its magnification ratio, and only buy a 1:3 or 1:2 lens for macro purposes. I bought some of these lenses without knowing about magnification and was disappointed.

The fixed lenses are the most expensive in their class because they offer a high magnification ratio, great sharpness even at f22, and sharpness that doesn't vary even at the edges. They will also have AF and other features. If you know what features you can give up, you can do macro images for a lot less.
09-09-2013, 12:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
Should say what your intended subject is: bugs and beetles, flowers, stamps and coins, toy soldiers???? It would help to know.
Quite a mix, stamps for example I would want a shorter focal length than buggs simply because stamps will likely be shot with some form of copy setup, with the stamp on a flat surface and camera above. This would be good for a 50mm but no longer, where as buggs are better with a 100mm lens,

A true macro is important for stamps especially as true macro lenses are flat field lenses, where as normal lenses the plane of "in focus" is actually curved. Flat field lenses are needed for copy work
09-09-2013, 02:15 PM   #14
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As others have mentioned, what you need to look at is a given lens' maximum magnification ratio. To start doing macro, you really want something that will do 1:2 or better. The older macro lenses (like Pentax-M 50mm F/4, 100mm F/4 or the Tamron Adaptall 90mm) do precisely that (1:2). These are a fine entry points into macro, and should give you decent insect shots, at least for relatively large insects. Be aware that for some purists, unless it's 1:1 or better, it's not "true" macro.

I also want to mention that it's quite possible to do insect photography, at pretty good magnification, even with a 50mm. However, it requires a good deal of patience and the ability to observe insects and approach very slowly and deliberately. You need to gauge your own level of patience and dedication.

As I've been exploring macro - and I'm still pretty new at this as well - I've built up three different "rigs":

1) A Tamron Adaptall 35-70mm F/3.5 (17A) with a 2x adapter (01F). I already had the 35-70mm and the P-KA adapter, and only invested in the doubler ($50). This gave me a fairly long lens (140mm) with a 1:1.4 maximum magnification and a decent working distance (ie I didn't have to get super close to bugs). It allows the use of aperture priority mode, but it's a pretty heavy combo. This got me shots like this:

2) Once I decided I liked this type of shooting, I bought a Pentax-M 50mm F/4 ($80, but I think I got a good deal) along with some extension tubes. I recommend tubes that at least have an aperture arm, so that you focus wide-open. In my case, it was a set of Makinon #1 and #2 - a doubler whose (crummy, IMHO) optics can be unscrewed, and a 20mm tube. It looks like this:

Even with a single 20mm tube, the Pentax 50mm F/4 Macro will do almost 1:1 and with both tubes, it goes well beyond. You do need to learn to meter with the green button, and on days with a mix of sun and clouds, that can be irritating. I still shoot with this, and am quite happy with the sharpness of it and the lightness of the whole package with a K-01.

With just a single tube, I get shots like this:

3) Finally, once I decided I *really* like macro, I got myself a "real" 1:1 macro lens. In my case, a Tamron SP Di 90mm F/2.8, used, for a little under $300. It "only" does 1:1 on its own, but it retains infinity focus and has auto-focus too. Auto-focus is pretty much useless for macro, IMHO, but this is very nice to do portraits and other moderate telephoto shots without having to swap lenses. (Say if you spot a nice squirrel while out shooting insects. ) And since it has an aperture ring, I can always add the tubes if I need to, in order to get closer. (I would never buy a macro lens without an aperture ring, personally.)

By itself, this can give results like this:

Finally, be aware that if you start really liking macro, you will eventually start to think about flashes and flash diffusers. Macro shooting requires light, and with long lenses and tubes, the onboard flash won't work. That's where I'm at right now. I've built myself a homemade diffuser for the 50mm+tubes set-up, which allows me to use the onboard flash with that set-up. I'll need a longer one for the 90mm+tubes. It's on the to-do list.

There you go, that's my $0.02 right now. Good luck and have fun!
09-09-2013, 03:29 PM   #15
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Hi Doundounba, thanks for the useful information, nice insects shots that's how I like them, with so much info coming back from other readers as well it gets sooooo confusing and mind boogling at what lense to look for, do you think I should start of with a fixed say 90mm 1:1 plus macro or one with to zoom in and out to 90mm, the other lenses I'm kitted out with are the Super Cosina 100-500mm 1:56-8 MC Macro, Sigma zoom 100-300mm, SMC Pentax DA 18-55mm, Pentax 28-80mm attached to my MZ5, 50mm attached to my Ricoh and the 2X KAX Macro Teleplus MC7 not sure if that can be used on my k200D or to get another one, I would like to get some amazing shots like you have and from others that I have viewed on this Forum., I appreciate all the help you all are giving me., looking forward to your relies, thankyou...Ron

P.S I haven't done any photography for a while and now just recently decided to purchase the K200D, so keen to get back into it again

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