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01-15-2010, 02:07 PM   #1
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Begginers lense purchase query

I am in the market for an inexpensive second lens to play with and I deciding between a 50mm 1:1 or 1:2..... or something telephoto like an 80-300.

I have a 28-80 promaster currently but it is only 1:3.5 and I would like a little better macro performance, but I also enjoy taking pics from a far such as nature stuff.

So am I better off with the marco 50mm and getting a teleconverter for my 28-80 or get some tubes for my 28-80 and get a telephoto, or get neither and get tubes and a 2x?

01-15-2010, 02:18 PM   #2
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The Macro 50mm should also double (or treble) as a portrait lens and a walkaround prime.

Asking whether you should get a macro or a tele is a bit like asking whether you should eat an apple or an orange. We don't know what sort of photos you want to take.
01-15-2010, 02:22 PM   #3
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Just to be clear, are you after a macro lens, or a lens with a longer range, or both? Auto or manual focus?

You mentioned teleconverters - at this stage, I'd suggest not using them unless you have a fast (large aperture lens) that you can buddy up with it.

As for AF macro lenses, any of the 50mm options are excellent - most are 1:1 and this should be sufficient for you. MF macros are cheaper, well built but some better than others - check out the Pentax Lens review database for more detailed information on them.

If you're after telephoto then you have the option of the Tamron 70-300 Di 'macro' (although it isn't a true macro lens it can extend itself to 1:2). Can do OK in the macro range, but nowhere near the clarity and brilliance of a true macro lens.
01-15-2010, 02:27 PM   #4
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I guess what I am asking is since I feel I want both equally, which is a better mod for my 28-80 1:3.5, tubes for macro or 2x for zoom.

01-15-2010, 02:33 PM   #5
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I think you would be disappointed with either. Tubes will be your absolute cheapest option probably but they are quite limiting from a usage point of view. A decent teleconverter will probably be more expensive than buying another lens.
Seeing as you have the 28-80, the most logical thing to do would be to extend your range and get a tele. It depends how long you want to go. Pentax 50-200 can be had for reasonable prices and isn't a bad lens. you can pick up 135mm primes quite cheaply.
The thing you are going to have to accept is, being on a budget means you will be limited to fairly slow lenses (unless you stumble upon a bargain in a charity shop).
01-15-2010, 02:33 PM   #6
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Tubes for macro shouldn't degrade image quality like a TC can, so the tubes are a 'better' mod, but far from being optimal.

PS. Gary keeps beating me with the responses, so please excuse the repitition.
01-15-2010, 02:37 PM   #7
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if you use teleconverters for zoom, you'd degrade image quality. (with the lens you have)
if you use extension tubes, you'd loose metering capabilities (assuming you're using tubes without electrical contacts) and focussing also becomes an issue using tubes.

as ash suggested, you're better off with a superzoom which could do macro aswell.
01-15-2010, 02:51 PM   #8
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Thank you for the info.

01-15-2010, 02:57 PM   #9
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I think that I may have to play with tubes for now and go telephoto, now to just weed through the cheaps ones on ebay and find a decent one
01-15-2010, 07:28 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikesChevelle Quote
I think that I may have to play with tubes for now and go telephoto, now to just weed through the cheaps ones on ebay and find a decent one
Mike, If you built that car you probably realize that cheap crappy tools cost you more in the long run. Lenses are tools!
Where you can save money and get good quality is if you look at manual focus lenses . Spend some time in the lens reveiws here before you dump good money on junk!
01-15-2010, 07:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by seacapt Quote
Mike, If you built that car you probably realize that cheap crappy tools cost you more in the long run. Lenses are tools!
Where you can save money and get good quality is if you look at manual focus lenses . Spend some time in the lens reveiws here before you dump good money on junk!
I agree!

I have been there and done that, I also have several lenses sitting in my closet because I didn't know better when I first started out.
Take your time and do some investigating, you will be better off having fewer lenses in the long run but using the fewer more often.
01-15-2010, 09:33 PM   #12
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It seems that we have a terminology issue here. The OP is talking about his Promaster zoom being a 1:3.5 like that's a macro magnification ratio. But I believe that's just the aperture (the lens probably has 1:3.5-5.6 written on it somewhere). The only information I can find about that lens indicated that it's got a maximum magnification ratio of 1:8, which is very very low.
01-15-2010, 10:04 PM   #13
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I was thinking the same thing. The maximum magnification ratio is virtully never printed on a lens. Maximum *aperture* is what you usually see printed on a lens.
01-15-2010, 11:12 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikesChevelle Quote
I think that I may have to play with tubes for now and go telephoto, now to just weed through the cheaps ones on ebay and find a decent one
There are a ton of old manual focus zooms out there starting at 70 or 80mm, finishing around 200mm. My three suggestions off the top of my head:

SMC Pentax-A 70-210mm f4: This lens is going to cost around/over $100, but it is worth it. You get a constant aperture, A position, SMC coatings, integral hood, and never have to ask if it's a K mount.

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f3.5: A little trickier to purchase, as there are at least five versions of this lens and you want to avoid all except the first three. The third version might be over your budget. It's the most desirable because some have an A position on the aperture ring. You can save money and time by going all-manual. Read this page for detailed information before bidding: Vivitar 70-210 Series 1 Macro Zoom Lenses - Mark Roberts Photography

Kiron 70-210mm f4 macro "zoomlock": These are harder to find, but can sell for next to nothing because no one is looking for them. There are at least two versions, one with macro focusing rings near the lens mount. It's possible these are related to the Vivitar Series 1, as Kiron made some of those lenses. I have one with an optical defect and it's still very good. If I could remember how to take it apart, I'd clean it and sell it to you. This lens happens to be a rare exception: its maximum magnification ratio (1:4) is printed on the lens.
01-16-2010, 12:20 AM   #15
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Im sure this is gonna go for more than I can spend, but this seems like a very nice one.

Tamron AF 28-200mm f /3.8-5.6 LD Aspherical pentax LENS - eBay (item 160395425976 end time Jan-22-10 15:12:18 PST)
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