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08-05-2009, 10:23 PM   #1
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Lens hunting...

Hello all, first time posting, lurking for a while, but would like some advice.

I have looked over the lens review database and still can't make up my mind because they all look like so much fun.

I'll give you all some history.

I've recently upgraded this past spring from a K100D I bought back during release year to a K20D, which I love!

My current collection of lenses include:
Pentax DA 18-55mm
Pentax DA 50-200mm
Pentax DA* 16-50mm SDM
Pentax DA 10-17mm Fisheye
Pentax/Asahi M 50mm f/1.7
Pentax F 35-80mm f/4-5.6
Vivitar series 1 70-210mm f/3.5


I use my Fisheye, DA*, and 50mm pretty much all the time. My bag usually contains those three, and trip depending I'll switch the Fish for the 50-200mm.


I shoot in many different scenarios.

Primarily I shoot in low light environments. Usually bars with live bands.

If I'm shooting around home, it's usually my model train layout. I've been using my Fisheye a lot for that... but love how it focuses right up to the fractions of millimeters from the lens itself!

I also shoot all the photos for my employers auto-trader ads and for the dealers website.

For my own personal work, I like to do low light stuff at dusk a lot. Or take portraits of my wife.

So I really am a jack of all trades here, and not really focusing on anything.


I'm trying to decide what I should get next... I suffer from GAS in my other hobbies, and I thought I could keep photography outa the GAS...but I've recently got addicted badly (GAS FYI = Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

I'm thinking I need a Macro lens? Budget is tighter than usual... and I'm a Canadian... so I need to find a hidden jem that might not jump out at me...

I've been looking at the Pentax D FA 50mm f/2.8 Macro and the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG.

However, I'm also curious if Pentax P-DA 40mm would be good enough for my miniature trains that are a 1:160 scale to the real thing... (so details are really really fine)



That was shot with my 50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 400 and 1/60 shutter


Last edited by Wired; 08-07-2009 at 09:42 AM.
08-05-2009, 10:58 PM   #2
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Try finding a tamron sp 90mm 2.5 manual focus macro.This is one sharp lens and you should be able to find one for around $200.00.
08-05-2009, 11:03 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wired Quote
I've been looking at the Pentax D FA 50mm f/2.8 Macro and the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG.
I think you should consider a macro lens with focal length about 100mm. I have 3 macro lenses of different focal lengths: 50, 90, and 135 mm. I use the 90mm the most, then the 135mm. The 90mm also serves as my default portrait lens.

Also, in term of prime, you already have a 50mm, but not something around 100mm.

QuoteOriginally posted by Wired Quote
I've recently got addicted badly (GAS FYI = Gas Acquisition Syndrome)
The "G" is actually for "Gadget."

This is with the Tamron 90mm F/2.8 macro:


Last edited by SOldBear; 08-05-2009 at 11:12 PM.
08-06-2009, 12:29 AM   #4
Damn Brit
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I think you could have fun with a Lensbaby and your model trains. It would also feed your GAS.
Lensbaby

Welcome to the forum.

08-06-2009, 08:55 AM   #5
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The Raynox macro add-on lenses are a very inexpensive macro solution, and would work with your DA 50-200.

The 90-100mm macro lenses already mentioned would give you "working distance" - you could have the camera a little farther away from your trains and still get good magnification. On a budget, a manual-focus macro is a good idea, since AF is not always ideal for macro. One of the cheapest lenses that would work is a 100mm f3.5 macro sold under Pentax, Vivitar, Cosina and Phoenix brands. Some versions are AF, some manual focus. An adapter is available to allow 1:1 lifesize magnification. Build quality is just good enough to work. Price should be around $100. If you want great build quality and don't mind fewer features, the SMC Pentax or Pentax-M 100mm f4 macro is a little more expensive, but excellent.

For macro purposes, these lenses don't really need a large maximum aperture. Shooting at 1 foot/300mm away, the maximum aperture gives you a depth of field in the hundredth of inches/tenths of millimeters. But a faster lens is more useful for non-macro purposes. The Tamron SP previously mentioned opens to f2.5, and it makes the lens more flexible for portraits and larger distances.
08-06-2009, 06:25 PM   #6
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I went out and grabbed a lensbaby today, its the basic model (Muse) and I've been having tons of fun with it so far, stupid ammounts actually.

I was also told by my local shop that I could get a Macro add on filet kit for any of my lenses that would be a good budget friendly alternative for macro photography...

my question in this regard is:
Should I get the kit for my M 50mm f/1.7 or should I get it for my DA 50-200mm zoom?

The threading is 49mm vs 52mm...
08-06-2009, 06:54 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wired Quote
I was also told by my local shop that I could get a Macro add on filet kit for any of my lenses that would be a good budget friendly alternative for macro photography...
Don't get the kit with 3 simple lenses (look like filter). They degrade the IQ greatly.

For not much more money, get the Raynox. I recommend the DCR 150 for ease of use handheld; the DCR 250 is too strong.

The Raynox comes with a universal adapter for lenses from 52mm to 67mm filter thread. Get a 49-to-52 step up ring for lenses with 49mm filter thread (if you try, you can still attach the Raynox universal adapter to a lens with 49mm thread, but you may damage the adapter).
08-06-2009, 08:32 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wired Quote
I went out and grabbed a lensbaby today, its the basic model (Muse) and I've been having tons of fun with it so far, stupid ammounts actually.

I was also told by my local shop that I could get a Macro add on filet kit for any of my lenses that would be a good budget friendly alternative for macro photography...

my question in this regard is:
Should I get the kit for my M 50mm f/1.7 or should I get it for my DA 50-200mm zoom?

The threading is 49mm vs 52mm...
Wouldn't there be more options to use it with the zoom lens? I was looking at the link and it looked like a fun lens.

08-06-2009, 08:55 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
Don't get the kit with 3 simple lenses (look like filter). They degrade the IQ greatly.

For not much more money, get the Raynox. I recommend the DCR 150 for ease of use handheld; the DCR 250 is too strong.

The Raynox comes with a universal adapter for lenses from 52mm to 67mm filter thread. Get a 49-to-52 step up ring for lenses with 49mm filter thread (if you try, you can still attach the Raynox universal adapter to a lens with 49mm thread, but you may damage the adapter).
It degrades the IQ? I was told by someone recently that the Raynox ones were the ones to avoid...
08-06-2009, 11:04 PM   #10
Damn Brit
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
Don't get the kit with 3 simple lenses (look like filter). They degrade the IQ greatly.

For not much more money, get the Raynox. I recommend the DCR 150 for ease of use handheld; the DCR 250 is too strong.

The Raynox comes with a universal adapter for lenses from 52mm to 67mm filter thread. Get a 49-to-52 step up ring for lenses with 49mm filter thread (if you try, you can still attach the Raynox universal adapter to a lens with 49mm thread, but you may damage the adapter).
Alternatively you could get a reversing ring or extension tubes. Not as convenient as a Raynox but infinitely more fun IMO.
08-06-2009, 11:10 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tojax Quote
It degrades the IQ? I was told by someone recently that the Raynox ones were the ones to avoid...
IMHO, avoid Raynox only if you go for a true macro lens.

I have 3 macro lenses of different focal lengths: 55, 90, and 135mm, all F/2.8 (not counting the ones I'm currently selling). But I still keep my Raynox and bring it along when I travel light so that I can use it with my "normal" lenses.
08-07-2009, 08:35 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by tojax Quote
It degrades the IQ? I was told by someone recently that the Raynox ones were the ones to avoid...
I think either you misunderstood, or the person talking to you was misinformed. The Raynox close up lens are multiple element achromatic designs, which automatically makes them *MUCH* better than your basic run of the mill close up lens set. The Raynoxes is are not the *only* multiple-element achromatic closeup lenses out there, and perhaps someone has evidence that one of the others might be slightly better, but slight is all it could be, because the Raynoxes are amazingly good. I suppose one advantage another brand could have is if they are available in different sizes to fit different lenses without requiring adapters and without vignetting on larger lenses. But it seems the other ones achromats that I hear about occasionally (including some made by Canon and Nikon) are out of production, or just very hard to find.

BTW, as for which lens to use - with any closeup lens (including the most likely terrible single-element ones the dealer was trying to sell, or any of the excellent achromats), the longer the focal length, the greater the magnification. The 50-200 is a fantastic match for the Raynox 150 - you get 1:1 magnification and a little more at the long end, or a bit more breathing room int eh image for flowers and so forth at the short end.
08-07-2009, 08:54 AM   #13
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For me the 'G' in GAS was always 'Gear'. I've gotten Gas as well though from time to time. :-)

I don't think the DA40/2.8 is a great choice for this as its max magnification is only 1:7.5 or so. A much better choice would be the DA35/2.8 limited macro or a 50mm macro. Some other decent lowish cost alternatives; M50/4 macro (1:2), A35-70/4 (1:3 at 70mm end which I find a very good focal length on digital for closeups like flowers, not all that different scale-wise from your trains.
08-07-2009, 09:51 AM   #14
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hehehe, oops, didn't notice my typo... Yes, not Gas Acquisition Syndrome, but Gear Acquisition Syndrome... and here I thought it was only a guitar/music gear term. (yes, I have lots of expensive hobbys... I've also been known to tune VW's and Mazdas. :P)


I'm getting pretty confused on all the diff between the Raynox and the Hoya Macro Filter kit.

Is the IQ really that big of a concern?

I'd probably use it on my M 50mm because of the DOF would be bigger since it stops down further compared to my DA 50-200mm. I know the zoom would give me more working distance. But I don't really have a lot of distance to work with in my train room, which is where I do 90% of my close up work.


I'll get my shop to look into the cost of the Raynox kit... But I have overspent a lil this month, so I'll probably just stick with the Macro kit for $45 CAD.

As is I already got 3 new toys for my camera this month! Compared to 3 new lenses in 4 years prior to this month...


P.S. Damn Brit: Thanks SO MUCH for the Lensbaby recomendation, I never would have looked into these before... and it has got to be the most fun I've had with my camera since I first got my Fish Eye!
08-07-2009, 11:05 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I think either you misunderstood, or the person talking to you was misinformed. The Raynox close up lens are multiple element achromatic designs, which automatically makes them *MUCH* better than your basic run of the mill close up lens set. The Raynoxes is are not the *only* multiple-element achromatic closeup lenses out there, and perhaps someone has evidence that one of the others might be slightly better, but slight is all it could be, because the Raynoxes are amazingly good. I suppose one advantage another brand could have is if they are available in different sizes to fit different lenses without requiring adapters and without vignetting on larger lenses. But it seems the other ones achromats that I hear about occasionally (including some made by Canon and Nikon) are out of production, or just very hard to find.

BTW, as for which lens to use - with any closeup lens (including the most likely terrible single-element ones the dealer was trying to sell, or any of the excellent achromats), the longer the focal length, the greater the magnification. The 50-200 is a fantastic match for the Raynox 150 - you get 1:1 magnification and a little more at the long end, or a bit more breathing room int eh image for flowers and so forth at the short end.
There wasn't much to misunderstand. I asked a direct question and was told that the macro filter kits were the ones to get and that the Raynox should not be considered. The main reason seemed to be based on ease of use as opposed to results.
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