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08-03-2017, 03:36 AM   #1
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Beginner Macro lens or tube?

hey guys

What would be the best step to get me started on macro. Just looking to expand on something to shoot. and not sure if finding a good deal on a 100mm macro lens be better or would buying some tubes and attaching that me cheaper and better to get me started.

Kit is k70 10-17mm, Simga 17-50 f2.8, Pentax A-50mm 1.7

Got loads of flowers in the garden and figured its a good cloudy day/rainy day activity.

08-03-2017, 03:44 AM   #2
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You should do very well with a FA100/2.8 (with patience you can pick these up for US$200). Awesome lens, just lacks weather sealing.
08-03-2017, 03:55 AM   #3
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If you can afford it, get a Tamron Adaptall 90mm Macro and the 18F extension tube or 01F 2X Converter to get 1:1 macro. Alternatively a used Tamron 90mm F2.8 or Sigma 105mm will give you autofocus for when you need a normal lens.
08-03-2017, 04:01 AM - 1 Like   #4
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TUBES:
Upside - Can be cheap as all get-out. More expensive brand-name items have aperture coupling and will allow green-button metering for exposure with focusing wide open. Any lens with an aperture ring can become a macro lens.
Downside - Lens needs an aperture ring (OP has one of those already). Simpler tubes force you to stop down, meter, shoot, so this is not good for objects that may move. Greatly diminishes available light, proportional to extension length. Somewhat inflexible (you have the various combinations of tubes 1 and/or 2 and/or 3).
Variations - Teleconverters with A contacts +/- passthrough for screwdrive, with their glass removed (look for ones with haze, fungus, busted glass or older sub-par 3rd-party models). These are inflexible in terms of magnification ratio and focal distance but allow full metering +/- AF depending on the T/C you select, and can be used with DA lenses. A much older deglassed T/C with aperture reporting arm only (pre-A P/K mount) will still allow wide open focus with green button metering.

MACRO LENS:
Upside - flexible, can shoot all the way from minimum focal distance to infinity without fiddling with stuff. Optics are optimised for a flat field if using for copy work, and so edge quality is usually excellent. Can also double as a non-macro at any time.
Downside - generally more expensive compared to non-macro lenses of the same focal length, and usually a stop or two slower, because of the need to not compromise edge performance (e.g. 50mm Pentax/Takumar macros are f/2.8 or f/4 compared to f/1.4 or f/2 for their non-macro cousins). This is relative, as macro lenses are often shot stopped-down for DOF anyway (and sometimes have more stops available at the 'dark' end because of this; e.g. Takumar 50mm macros go to f/22 cf. f/16 and Asahi Pentax to f/32 cf. f/22), and if you are shooting in bright light you don't need f/1.4 for exposure and can get much closer if narrow DOF is what you want.

OTHER:
Raynox and other screw-on front-mounted lenses, filters, etc. can give you instant close focusing capability of varying degrees and keep your lens fully functional with all its benefits, but the better ones can be quite expensive.

If you want to start dirt cheap, OP, get the cheapest set of K-mount tubes you can lay your hands on and give your 50/1.7 A lens a good workout.

08-03-2017, 04:03 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
You should do very well with a FA100/2.8 (with patience you can pick these up for US$200). Awesome lens, just lacks weather sealing.
So tubes alone won't get the job done, more focal Length is needed. I have found sometimes my 55-300 can produce better macro ish photos then the Sigma 17-50, I just dont like shooting with my 55-300, not sharp.

---------- Post added 08-03-17 at 04:03 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by limestonecowboy Quote
If you can afford it, get a Tamron Adaptall 90mm Macro and the 18F extension tube or 01F 2X Converter to get 1:1 macro. Alternatively a used Tamron 90mm F2.8 or Sigma 105mm will give you autofocus for when you need a normal lens.
will look those up. Cheers
08-03-2017, 04:09 AM   #6
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Your 50mm will work well on tubes.

A dedicated 100mm macro will be easier to work with if it's in your budget and you think macro is something you'd enjoy. If you're aiming at flowers, a 50mm macro would also be great.

Another option is one of the raynox close up adapters, they pair nicely with the 55-300mm listed in your signature, see The Raynox Macro club - PentaxForums.com for examples.

Finally, your 10-17mm fisheye has a respectable magnification ratio (especially at 17mm and minimum focus distance). Not quite a macro, but it can give a different perspective of almost being in the flower and will introduce you to the awkward problem of lighting your subject when your camera is absurdly close to it.
08-03-2017, 04:09 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
TUBES:
So if I can find a decent deal of an older vintage lens or a newer macro lens, that would be a better solution than tubes.

Do i need a lens that has that Macro title designation? assuming this means closer focal length? With mt 55-300 at 300mm I have to be a meter and a half away to even focus, but I have to shoot at f13 to get sharp images and that leads to high iso levels and not so macro ish looking shots
08-03-2017, 04:11 AM   #8
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Nobody mentioned macro TCs, unless I missed something, and those are really great for starting out.

1. used with a fast fifty they produce mighty nice results, almost comparable with a dedicated macro lens... most go to 1:1 reproduction AFAIK, and have scales
2. deglassed, they are like a variable length extension tube, with al the convenience this entails.

08-03-2017, 04:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
Your 50mm will work well on tubes.

A dedicated 100mm macro will be easier to work with if it's in your budget and you think macro is something you'd enjoy. If you're aiming at flowers, a 50mm macro would also be great.

Another option is one of the raynox close up adapters, they pair nicely with the 55-300mm listed in your signature, see The Raynox Macro club - PentaxForums.com for examples.

Finally, your 10-17mm fisheye has a respectable magnification ratio (especially at 17mm and minimum focus distance). Not quite a macro, but it can give a different perspective of almost being in the flower and will introduce you to the awkward problem of lighting your subject when your camera is absurdly close to it.
so tube and 50mm might be the cheaper starting point? at what aperture would I need to shoot or depends on how the images are turning out?

I want to avoid my 55-300mm as it's just not that sharp. I have to shoot at f13 to get acceptable sharp images and even yesterday in mid day light with clouds diffusing the light I still need over 1600iso to shoot at 1/400. I think the copy I have just isn't that great.

Ideally I love to be able to shoot at much lower iso so I can get cleaner images or more important more tack sharp images. I'll post a few examples if I get a chance.

---------- Post added 08-03-17 at 04:16 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
Nobody mentioned macro TCs, unless I missed something, and those are really great for starting out.

1. used with a fast fifty they produce mighty nice results, almost comparable with a dedicated macro lens... most go to 1:1 reproduction AFAIK, and have scales
2. deglassed, they are like a variable length extension tube, with al the convenience this entails.
would you have a link to something I am looking for? just so I have an idea.
08-03-2017, 04:17 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by following.eric Quote
So tubes alone won't get the job done, more focal Length is needed. I have found sometimes my 55-300 can produce better macro ish photos then the Sigma 17-50, I just dont like shooting with my 55-300, not sharp.
I have found that the extra focal length is very handy.

Tubes are great and a cheap option. But there is nothing like a dedicated macro lens.
08-03-2017, 04:26 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by following.eric Quote
so tube and 50mm might be the cheaper starting point? at what aperture would I need to shoot or depends on how the images are turning out?
Very cheap, in the $10 range for the cheapest tubes. The aperture will depend on the images and magnification. Stopped down to f/4-f/8 is a good place to start. Higher will lead to diffraction softening things but might be worth it for more DoF (it depends on magnification and your tastes, so experiment!).

A reverse coupling macro ring would probably be the cheapest, these would let you mount your A-50/1.7 backwards onto your DA55-300 or the Sigma 17-50 (I have tried neither of these combos). Some experimentation is required to get a pairing of lenses that works nicely. Coupling rings are a few bucks, but you may need some step-up or step-down rings (also a few bucks each). Working distance (how far the front of your rig is from the subject) is typically close enough to be awkward.

My preference is still for the dedicated macro lens, 100mm being a good option. The 'budget' 100mm macros suggested above will all be terrific.

QuoteOriginally posted by following.eric Quote
I want to avoid my 55-300mm as it's just not that sharp. I have to shoot at f13 to get acceptable sharp images and even yesterday in mid day light with clouds diffusing the light I still need over 1600iso to shoot at 1/400. I think the copy I have just isn't that great.

Ideally I love to be able to shoot at much lower iso so I can get cleaner images or more important more tack sharp images. I'll post a few examples if I get a chance.
Do post examples, and with flowers and other still things you should be using a tripod, mirror lock up etc. As magnification increases, with any method, the challenge of getting sharp and in focus images also increases. Using electronic flashes, tripods, reflectors, diffusers, etc. can all become handy pieces of kit to have available.
08-03-2017, 04:27 AM   #12
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Tubes and your fifty are the dirt-cheapest starting point. Depending on what you find on Amazon/E-bay, you might be in the macro game for under $10, seeing as you already have a suitable 50mm film-era prime. This will give you a taste for it, and let you determine whether shelling out hundreds of dollars for a dedicated macro lens is for you. I bought dedicated macro lenses because I could justify the expense for my lab work; quite often when I shoot macro for fun, it's the extension tubes I reach for first.
08-03-2017, 04:34 AM   #13
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The SMC Pentax-M 100 f4 macro is usually not expensive, and is a good, sharp lens, usable as both a macro and nice portrait lens. Of course it is manual focus, and requires the "green button" technique on digital. The SMC Pentax-A 50 f2.8 macro is also a good general purpose (manual focus) lens that works well on digital, but is more expensive. I've used both on my K-5 quite a bit, and now use them a lot on my A7, where they are much easier to focus and use.
08-03-2017, 04:44 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by following.eric Quote
would you have a link to something I am looking for? just so I have an idea.
1. not my listing
2. NOT FOR PENTAX (this one is for Contax), but it's the same and this listing has good pictures.

Kenko Macro TelePlus MC 7 2.0x Lens For Contax **Excellent+** Condition | eBay
08-03-2017, 04:52 AM   #15
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Hmmm

$$

1) Close focus filters
2) Tele macro converter
3) reversing a lens in front of another
4) Tubes
5) Macro Lens

Lenses -

Generally the 50mm lens is easier to use and produces sharper images ...
100mm lenses are a little more tricky to use ..

There really is no one way to macro .. Just remember to maintain a decent shutter speed and to get enough light on the subject .
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