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08-03-2017, 05:01 AM   #16
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I have two macro lenses - I started with the SMC A 100mm f4 and it is really a sweetheart of a lens; it's probably a good starting point to see if you are really wanting to get into macro shooting; which then leads to focus-stacking, macro-rails, and on and on and on...


my second lens is the one I always recommend because it is simply so very good: Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 72B, a 90mm f2.8 macro that natively produces 1:1 magnification without tubes or extensions....

08-03-2017, 05:02 AM   #17
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Unless you have pk/a tubes such as these...https://www.pentaxforums.com/accessoryreviews/jessops-auto-extension-tubes-pk.html, you can only use your 50 stopped down because you need an aperture ring.
08-03-2017, 05:02 AM   #18
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Given that you have a 50mm lens, you could start with some tubes. Not the black anodised mount ones though as they will not work on your K70 without a modification to the tubes, get bare metal (silver) ones. See how you go. Green button metering.
A close up "filter" lens can be effective and you retain AF and auto metering on your existing lenses. Getting one for a 49mm filter ring should be inexpensive but a large diameter one can be expensive because you will need a good one with 2 elements for the best performance.
A dedicated macro lens (especially with AF available) is great, if using a tripod, manual focus is great too if you don't mind it. With an "A" lens (or AF) you can use on board flash to a degree on those cloudy days.
Bellows are good too especially with a lens dedicated to bellows, but this can be a tricky option with lighting, soft boxes etc and not much use in your garden unless the flowers are tiny!
I have a Tamron SP90 (Model 52BB) with an "A" adaptall manual lens that will get to 1:2 macro and with a tube or teleconverter 1:1 and an old Sigma 50mm F2.8 (manual and battered) that will do 1:1, both picked up for less than 50 each and are in my opinion my best options for macro. (I have tubes, bellows and close up "filters" too but the lenses are better for me as a novice).
08-03-2017, 05:16 AM   #19
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I picked up a SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro for a good price in the forum's market place It is usable as a short telephoto as well as a 1:1 macro lens

the following info is found in the in depth review of the D FA 100 mm 2.8 Macro WR:

" The optical design is the tried-and-proven formula of the previous generation D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro lens, which in turn had inherited the optical design from the well-respected FA 100mm F2.8 and F 100mm F2.8 macro lenses introduced in 1991 and 1987, respectively. None of these earlier lenses had rounded aperture blades.

Read more at: Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro Review - Specifications | PentaxForums.com Reviews j "

I like it a lot and I have also used it in connection with the HD Pentax-DA 1.4x AW AF Rear Converter


my Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 LD Tele-Macro [1:2] (Model 772D) has a setting for 1:2 macro

the 100 macro has a minimum focusing 30 cm ( 11.8 " ) for 1:1

the Tamron has a minimum focusing . 95 m ( 37. 4 ") for 1:2

remember [ as I understand it ] that the focal length of the lens has an effect on the focusing distance for macro. the shorter the focal length of a prime lens, the closer you have to be to your target.

my 100 mm macro allows me to be further from my target than a 35 mm macro

no problem if I am trying to take macro of a coin but could be problematic if I am trying to take a macro of a bee in the field


Last edited by aslyfox; 08-03-2017 at 05:22 AM.
08-03-2017, 05:16 AM   #20
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If you're doing still life with controlled lighting then tubes will work. If you're running around outdoors chasing critters and photographing whatever you see a true macro lens is what you want. I've been using an FA100 f2.8 for years now, and think it's great. I added a manual Sunpak ring flash last year which has helped with insects.

Be prepared to learn, it will take time to build skills in a new technique. This applies to the lens, camera (focus points, operation, settings) and training your brain to look for what you're after.
08-03-2017, 05:17 AM   #21
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If you want "beginner" get a macro lens or close-up filters. Both a very easy to use. Tubes are harder to use especially if you know you want a certain picture -- your prize rose filling the frame -- and don't want to learn the math involved in magnification, required tube length, and how that works on each of your lenses.

If you want "cheap", get tubes or close-up filters. Just be aware that cheaper tubes may be harder to use and cheaper close-up filters may not be very sharp. (Note: if you like tinkering and are not particular about controlling the exact magnification, another cheap solution is lens reversal.)

If you want "sharp" get a macro lens. Lenses that aren't designed for macro rarely do that well at macro.


As for focal length, that's tricky:

If you are using tubes, then the longer the focal length, the less macro you'll get.

If you are adding close-up filters, then the longer the focal length, the more macro you'll get.

If you are buying a macro-lens, any focal length can work fine because all macro lenses go to a certain level of magnification. Almost all can give you 1:1 which means a 24 mm wide object will fill your APS-C frame (some older ones only go to 1:2 which is only half as much magnification). With a macro lens, your choice for focal length will depend on how close you can get to the subject -- a 100 mm macro lens lets you be about twice as far away as a 50 mm macro lens which can be good both for lighting and skittish creatures. (Note: if you want to push to higher magnifications than 1:1, you'll enter the realm of more technical set-ups although a macro-lens and a set of tubes can usually get you to almost 2:1 on a 100 mm macro lens and more than 2:1 on a 50 mm macro lens.)


Have fun!
08-03-2017, 05:23 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
If you're doing still life with controlled lighting then tubes will work. If you're running around outdoors chasing critters and photographing whatever you see a true macro lens is what you want. I've been using an FA100 f2.8 for years now, and think it's great. I added a manual Sunpak ring flash last year which has helped with insects.

Be prepared to learn, it will take time to build skills in a new technique. This applies to the lens, camera (focus points, operation, settings) and training your brain to look for what you're after.
ya I see myself running around more versus building a softbox and having controlled elements. I think I under estimated the technique behind macro. I just love when you see photos of spiders and there eyes are tack sharp and the spider fills the frame. just looks so dreamy I guess. Something from out of this work.

I think instead of learning tubes and reversing my lense I may just keep my eye open on the market place of gumtree here in the uk for an older 100mm macro specific lens. I don't mind manual focus, and then i can also use it for other stuff.

---------- Post added 08-03-17 at 05:25 AM ----------

This is with a 55-300 in the backyard yesterday. Bit of wind, cloudy sky and hand held.
[IMG][/IMG]

I have done a little with the sigma and focus stacked before on a tripod and the results were much better. I just admire the insect images that are so sureal and wasn't sure if there was an easy tube to buy to play around with super magnification.

I think I may watch the market and gumtree for second hand older macro specific lens. to get me started and I can always sell it if it's not for me.
08-03-2017, 05:50 AM - 2 Likes   #23
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I'd get an autofocus lens. Most of what I do is autofocus, and I maintain it's mostly learning HOW your autofocus works. It's easy enough to switch to manual focus on the fly. Pentax is built for that. Keep an eye on the Marketplace here. Pentax, Tamron, Sigma all have quality macro in the 100mm range. That's a bit tight for some flowers, but you have that 17-50 for wider angle shots, and the marvelous 10-17 for really fun close work in the gardens. I've taken that as my only lens to Japanese gardens, aquariums, and other places.

Macro is technique. It will take time. You can use a flash if you want, most of the time now I'm using these settings: Center-weighted metering. Center focus point. AF.S with continuous drive. f16, 1/180sec, ISO 200, Sunpak ring flash at 1/4 power. In the sun or mild overcast this gets very close to ideal exposure. Occasionally I have to adjust, often I bump contrast in Lightroom. These cameras give you plenty of cropping potential, so don't try to get right on top of the insect. Use that 100mm to your advantage.

08-03-2017, 10:45 AM   #24
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Depends on how close you're going to be getting. If you're getting real close, go with a 50/55mm macro. If you want a little extra room (and if bees are going to included), go with a 100mm macro or Sigma's 70mm macro (Adorama has one used in good condition here: http://bit.ly/2unST7I)
08-03-2017, 11:26 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by following.eric Quote
I think I under estimated the technique behind macro. I just love when you see photos of spiders and there eyes are tack sharp and the spider fills the frame.
Generally those types of shots are focus stacks made up of dozens of images. The DOF with close macro is just very small.
08-03-2017, 11:36 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Generally those types of shots are focus stacks made up of dozens of images. The DOF with close macro is just very small.
are most bug dead in the case, I couldnt imagine image stacking a moving spider lol


Another note I did find a Sigma 105mm for sale at 200
08-03-2017, 11:58 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by following.eric Quote
are most bug dead in the case, I couldnt imagine image stacking a moving spider lol
Not my area of expertise, but shooting early in the morning when things are cool most bugs will not move much if you don't scare them. I just did not want you to expect to be able to shoot that type of image hand held with one shot. Flowers are one thing, bug eyes all in focus is technically demanding.
08-03-2017, 12:21 PM   #28
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Some will sweep bushes, put the critters in a pillowcase, pop it in a cooler, then quickly do their counts and photos once the insects slow down.
I have seen some people do hand-held photo stacks, typically morning when insects are drowsy.
08-03-2017, 12:53 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by following.eric Quote
are most bug dead in the case...
Same answer as with just about any macro technique - it depends. The really high magnification stuff with dozens (or hundreds) of images involved in the stack are almost surely done in a controlled studio and with a dead insect. There are always exceptions, I recall reading about a guy who worked on anesthetizing some teenie flies for some pretty extreme stacks (still in a studio).

Cooling insects, either artificially or via mother nature as mentioned above, can work great for small stacks. Other conditions will immobilize insects for field stacks - in the process of molting or freshly molted, or a freshly eclosed butterfly or moth, or even just a nocturnal moth having a siesta. Most everything has a down time, find out when it is and exploit it.

Probably no one tries to stack an actively moving spider, but it you're patient and can catch it sitting still, firing off a burst with the focus changing around it's eyes (either by turning the focus ring or more likely moving your rig slightly forward and back) can work pretty well. You'd likely want an electronic flash to kill the camera movement in this case, or at least a really high shutter speed. Firing off a burst can be a valid technique for getting the focus where you'd like, whether you're stacking or not.

QuoteOriginally posted by following.eric Quote
Another note I did find a Sigma 105mm for sale at 200
I've never used one, but pretty much all the 100mm macros will deliver. If you can swing the cost, it's a great way to go. Worst case you can always sell it to recoup if you find out macro isn't for you.
08-03-2017, 12:53 PM   #30
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I would echo the sentiment of getting an auto focus dedicated macro lens, preferably in the 90 to 100mm range. There are a bunch of Pentax lenses as well as Tamron and Sigma lenses that would fit the bill. I think you could do that for about 200 and it will be significantly easier to figure out than using extension tubes or reversing lenses. If you catch the macro "bug" then you can start figuring out some of these options to get closer than what you can with your lens.

Macro is tough because of the narrow field of focus you are dealing with. I tend to shoot with a tripod just because I'm not steady enough hand held -- I just move forward and back enough that I miss the eyes.
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