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08-16-2009, 09:17 AM   #1
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K20D and Macro

Hey everyone, I need some help.

I have a K20D and I want to get a bellows for macro shooting.

1) What would be the best / low cost lens to mount on the bellows? 50mm, 85mm, or 135mm? Will a 28-70mm zoom work?

2) Is there a way to use my 540 flash with this type of shooting? I can set it up to the side and shoot wirelessly, but that seems like it would have shadow issues.

3) If a flash ring is the way to go, any recomendations?

I'm going to get a Pentax Auto Bellows. I need to know which direction to go after that.

Thanks in advance.

08-20-2009, 06:03 PM   #2
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I considered the bellows route also, but decided on a true macro lens, obviously more expensive than the bellows, but probably more useful if you want to do outdoor, hand-held. I have the Tamron 90mm 2.8 macro, and got it about 4 weeks ago and already received my $60 rebate from Tamron.
08-21-2009, 01:16 PM   #3
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oldjohn: I have the Tamron 90mm 2.8 macro
I too went this route for macro with my K20 and am delighted I did. It is a very versatile lens--it will shoot 1 to 1 macro, does great with handheld macro, can even shoot some great landscapes and portraits. And it is fast enough to shoot portraits indoors. And oldjohn is correct, the Tamron rebates beat you home.

Take a look in the "Tammy Club" thread to see some of this lens in action. Whatever route you decide, wish you the best and welcome to the invigorating world of Pentax.
08-21-2009, 01:54 PM   #4
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The first experience I had with macro was with the Raynox DCR-250.
It can attach to any lens and make it into a macro capable lens without the cost of buying a true macro lens.
I'm still using it upto now with great results.
I also have some macro lens but not the dedicated ones. These are good too.
I now also have the macro extension tubes and am happy with them too but is not as fast as a set-up as the Raynox DCR-250 as it just clips on and off any lens.
The macro extension tubes are like the bellows with the only difference that the tubes have 3 extension tubes that you can connect for different magnifications.
With the bellows, it acts like the tubes but has a continous distance and magnification control.
I attach a Pentax-M 50mm on my extension tubes. These are the usual lens that is attached to the bellows too. It can be A Pentax-A too 1.4, 1.7, 2.0, etc.
With the bellows though you have no diaphragm control of the aperture not unless you get the Pentax-A auto bellows which cost a lot these days.

08-21-2009, 01:56 PM   #5
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Make sure you have a very good tripod too as it has to support the camera and the bellows plus the fact that you might have to configure the tripod into different heights and positions.
A very stable tripod is a necessity to get good macro shots.
08-21-2009, 02:10 PM   #6
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You also can use the regular flash you intended but you have to put a diffuser on it so it wouldn't create harsh shadows or intense hot spots.
Reflectors can also be used in lieu of the flash if shooting on a good sunlight and the subject is not a flying or fast moving insect.
You can even provide yourself a blurred (de-focused) printed background of plants or flowers that is large enough to cover your entire shooting frame so you can control your background too.
08-23-2009, 09:02 PM   #7
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I have an old M42 bellows unit. I think bellows are under-rated as a way of producing high quality macro shots with potential for much higher magnification than other methods. They do need a lot of light, though.

So, what is the best lens to put on there? A 50mm lens will usually allow you to get up to 2X life size or more, 100mm about 1-1.3X. I've even used a 135mm on mine for about 1:1. The flatter field the lens in question has, the better - a M 50 f/4 macro would be a good choice. Supposedly the 50/1.7s are better than the 50/1.4s, although I can't verify. I wouldn't use a zoom - it gets tricky, as zooming changes the focus and the magnification.

With a bellows you will definitely want a tripod. Off camera flash is the way to go, There are brackets that hold the flash above the lens pointing down that I would imagine would be ideal.

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