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Kiron / Lester A. Dine 105mm f2.8 Macro Review RSS Feed

Kiron / Lester A. Dine 105mm f2.8 Macro

Sharpness 
 9.9
Aberrations 
 9.2
Bokeh 
 9.5
Handling 
 8.9
Value 
 10.0
Reviews Views Date of last review
25 119,180 Thu September 17, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $214.50 9.76
Kiron / Lester A. Dine 105mm f2.8 Macro

Kiron / Lester A. Dine 105mm f2.8 Macro
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Kiron / Lester A. Dine 105mm f2.8 Macro
supersize
Kiron / Lester A. Dine 105mm f2.8 Macro
supersize

Description:
The lens is made in Japan by a company called "Kino Precision" aka Kiron. I know of the following versions (they are all identical - except for exterior design).

Lester A Dine 105mm Macro f2.8 (marketed as dental lens)
Kiron 105mm Macro f2.8 (Kino Precisions own lens name)
Vivitar Series 1 105mm Macro f2.5
Vivitar 100mm Macro f2.8
Ricoh Rikenon 105mm f2.8

Weight: 23.1 oz. (656g)
Length: 4.04 in. (102.5mm)
Filter Diameter: 52mm
Min. Focus: 1.15 feet (.351 meters)
Max. Magnification: 1:1 (life size)
Diagonal FOV:
Horizontal FOV: 23.2 degrees
Horizontal FOV on Digital:
Min. Aperture: f32
Optical Construction: 6 elements in 6 groups, multicoated.

Mount: can be found as M42, PK, PKA (less common) and other mounts of the era.
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:



Add Review of Kiron / Lester A. Dine 105mm f2.8 Macro
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New Member

Registered: January, 2018
Location: Paris
Posts: 8

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 17, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: A must 100mm in Pentax macro world. Hidden gem
Cons: Somewhat heavy but as others 100mm macro except wr
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K1   

Mint Lester A. Dine 105mm f/2.8 MC 1:1 Dental Macro, PKA
Same as bellow review.
Very sharp 2.8 . Extra Sharp above. Contrast and colors rendering excellent
Pka + such A focus long throw delivering a perfect ease of use in macro
Af no matter (impossible using af in macro 100 1/1 so)

Better performer than Pentax fa 100 considering AC and manual focusing
Using fa 50 2.8 macro plus the 100mm lester. The best combo in Pentax macro world

Nice build but not The dfa wr of course.
Mine as a little noise inside when shaking it ( seems a small bearing is moving inside?! Or maybe a small spring,?)
I do recommend if you find it, but quite difficult
Unknowned Lens ... a pity
   
Otis Memorial Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Posts: 41,116

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 28, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Performance, rendering, build, bokeh
Cons: Weight, purple fringing when strongly provoked
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 5    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-3, various K-mount film cameras   

Version: Lester A. Dine 105mm f/2.8 MC 1:1 Dental Macro, PKA

Serial Number: 18914440

Purchased: June 2019

Description: The Dine Dental 105mm was manufactured by Kiron with several dental-specific features. Missing are the traditional DOF scales and magnification markings. Instead, these are obscured by a pasted-on guide for dental photography with marked positions for "Portrait", "Occlusal", "Anterior", and "Quadrant" in line with the reproduction ratio for each and the recommended f/number and flash for each view. The lens was originally available with a dedicated ring flash and was sold in all the popular lens mounts of the day. Full camera, lens, and flash kits were also available.

Build: As with its Kiron cousin, the Dine Dental features all metal construction with a gloss black lacquer finish. Tolerances are nicely tight with little or no play overall. With the exception of the dental guide, all markings and labels are engraved and paint-filled.* The focus ring is broad with a nicely-serrated rubber grip and distance scales in both meters (white) and feet (turquoise) from infinity to 1.45' at 1:2 (0.5X). The actual MFD is a full revolution of the ring further to attain 1:1 (1.0X) at 13.8" (351mm). Working distance at 1:1 is 5.4" (138mm). At full extension, length is 6.7" (170mm). Since the Dine macro incorporates floating elements and is partially internal focus, the effective focal length at 1:1 is about 176mm rather than the expected 200mm.

Field Report:

Ergonomics
Three characteristics of the lens are readily apparent on first use...
  • Firstly is the 624 gram mass; by comparison my Tamron 90/2.8 (72B) (mixed plastic/metal build) weighs in at 428 grams**
  • Second is the very generous focus throw, a full 720 degrees from infinity to MFD (more below)
  • Third is the smoothness and ease of operating the controls
The weight is more than twice that of the Pentax-M 105/2.8 and only 56 grams less than the Pentax-A 70-210/4 zoom. It is that last point that puts things in perspective. I own the Pentax-A 70-210/4 and regularly shoot it hand-held and on tripod without a special collar. With the Dine, I shoot infinity to about 1:3 hand-held with little trouble and from 1:3 to 1:1, I work on tripod. Handling when used on my K-3 is similar to the 70-210. The same is true for my K-mount film cameras. One might also note that the Dine is only 24 grams heavier than the Pentax-FA 100/2.8.

The focus throw is similarly interesting in that most of the first full rotation is very well-suited to general use as a longish portrait lens with very generous movement to allow fine focus. Many macro lenses near this focal length have very limited rotation beyond about 7' and not much better from 4' to 7'. Moving to the second full rotation and one gets a full 360 degrees of focus movement from 0.5X to 1.0X.

Lack of auto-focus is not an issue for extreme close-up and true macro, but might be a consideration for some users for other uses.
Other Usability Considerations
  • Exposure automation -- my lens has a PKA mount and supports all exposure modes on Pentax dSLRs as well as P-TTL flash.
  • Hood -- The dedicated ring flash is intended to double as a hood. Without the flash, the front element is fairly exposed such that a hood is strongly recommended. I use a generic cylindrical metal hood.
  • With flash -- as noted above, the lens was generally sold as kit with very nice ring flash. Working examples may be found on the used market. Other lighting is also possible, though consideration should be made to account for the extension at close-up and macro distances.

    Note regarding P-TTL: I have not used this lens extensively for closeup work using P-TTL flash, though it should be noted that gross overexposure may result from a combination of close distance, high ISO, and wider apertures when used with PKA mount lenses.
Performance
To be brief, my first foray into the garden for a test session resulted in the shot below being "explored" on Flickr with over 48,440 views at last look. The lens is easy to focus, is sharp, has very nice bokeh, and very pleasing colors. The lens is sharp, has excellent contrast, and is resistant to flare.

NOTE regarding chromatic aberrations and purple fringing:
My initial assessment was that the Dine is very well corrected and free of both LoCA and LaCA. That assessment essentially stands for natural light photography of most subjects; however, I returned to the question of purple fringing (PF) and was able to provoke PF on my K-3 with full sunlight on crumpled aluminum foil at f/5.6 and wider and again overexposed with direct flash. Under similar conditions, mild far LoCA was also noted in OOF areas on sunlit chrome. The most concise characterization I can make is that the greatest risk is with areas of intense (fully clipped) full-spectrum light; attention to lighting details when that is controllable is the remedy.

Pros:
  • Optical performance
  • Build quality
  • Ease of fine focus
  • Long focus throw
  • Usefulness for non-macro tasks
  • Exceptional rendering and bokeh

Cons:
  • Relatively heavy, may be an issue for use, handheld
  • Very long focus throw may be clumsy form some uses
  • Significant purple fringing when provoked, despite excellent LoCA control


* This finding is contrary to some reviews in this section. The variance may be due to fine details associated with branding and/or year of production.

** My measurement w/o caps or hood; for the Tamron the PKA adapter was attached.
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2017
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: January 23, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $98.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image Quality, build and handling
Cons: Loose metrics ring
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Nikon D1H   

Just got mine today from eBay auction - Nikon AI-S mounted Dine edition rather than the PK Vivitar Series 1 or Ricoh branded version that I was hoping for, but I couldn't argue with the price ($98.00 included a "free" Nikon N50 SLR and SunPak thyristor flash). Sharp, well built, and it seems to easily live up to it's reputation for optical excellence. Very pleased with this purchase. My Nikon F>FujiX adapter is MIA, but here's a test shot I took with a battle-scarred Nikon D1H I had on my shelf:

   
New Member

Registered: July, 2016
Location: New York, NY.
Posts: 1

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 13, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $165.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Solid construction, sharpness, bokeh.
Cons: Chromatic aberration.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony a6000 + Zhongyi focal reducer.   

I like its solid construction, sharpness, great bokeh.
Great for macro, wildlife and portraiture.
As downside I could say its CA with open is pretty noticeably in my system, but nothing that post production wouldn't fix.
All the images here shot in RAW and unedited.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Medina, OH
Posts: 6,168

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 19, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $166.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness
Cons: weight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3   

Thanks to ebay seller who accepted my offer of $166 for this macro lens. My copy is #40700538. Weaknesses are weight, which you must get used to, and the not very permanent printing on the body of the lens. You do need a tripod to use the lens, and I have been a miserable failure at hand holding for macro work. If you own this wonderful lens, don't think of it as only a macro. Its sharpness and bokeh make it a great landscape and portrait lens as well.
   
Banned

Registered: March, 2013
Posts: 360

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 4, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, bokeh, colors
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, K-1   

Best 100mm class 1:1 K mount lens ever.
Mounted on K-1 in pixel shift mode beat them all under the same parameters and conditions.
End of review.


Appendix: Top 100mm K mount lenses

1. Kiron 105mm f/2.8
2. Pentax-A 100mm f/2.8
3. Pentax F/FA/D-FA/D-FA WR 100mm f/2.8
4. Everything else

Have a nice day!
   
Senior Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Posts: 177

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 20, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bokeh, sharpness, contrast, bokeh (mentioned again)
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5, K3, K1   

I have had this lens for 3 or 4 years now and have been using it regularly for macro photography. I absolutely love this lens and really can't find anything wrong with it! Having bought my K1 recently, I intend to use it for portraits as well.
Below is an example of this lens - I use focus stacking to shoot this mushroom.https://www.flickr.com/photos/naim-khan/28153455730/in/dateposted-public/
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Poland, Lublin
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 11, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $158.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, colors, building.
Cons: ??? None...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-5 II   

Version : Kiron 105/2,8 PKA.
Very, very sharp. Fantastic for macro. Solid.
No comment...

My first sample:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/133399258@N08/albums/72157656142095134
   
Moderator

Registered: March, 2015
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 3,110

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 6, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp! Great color rendition
Cons: slightly heavy but not enough to be bothersome.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K50   

Yes this baby is a bit on the heavy side, but as others mentioned build like a tank! I was fortunate to come across an absolutely impeccable one, not even a speck of dust visible. Amazing price really considering the condition, very lucky to have come across it. What a beautiful and sharp (!!) image, and the colors are wonderful. Could well become my new favorite macro lens ever.
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: HI
Posts: 168

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 9, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Exceptional image quality, very sharp ad nice contrast
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

I have gone through a collection of vintage macro lens a few year back and this is the one and only lens remains now. I have owned other legendary macro lens including the Vivitar 55 2.8 and Vivitar S1 70-210 v3 which are great lens, but this lens stands out to be the best of all. It is great with macro shot and a very good portrait lens too. Bokeh might look a little busy when use for portrait but it is very smooth when you need to shoot macro. If you see this lens for a bargain price, go grab it.

On another note, this is a well built lens and mean to last. I have the Lester Dine version of this lens which comes with a film camera and a macro flash. It was a nice kit that comes with a carrying case.
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 16

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 4, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: k5-II   

This macro lens allow to do the "Finger Painting" technnique, is extremely sharp, high recommend, sorry for my poor english https://www.flickr.com/photos/cesarchimey/14932029754/
   
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2008
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 34

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 19, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $425.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, long throw focus, contrast, bokeh, 1.1 macro
Cons: None!
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax 5-IIs   

Whilst it has all been said already, it can't be said enough that this is a fantastic lens - by far the best lens I have in my kit! The contrast is to die for, and the bokeh is very smooth, though on rare occasions it can get a bit 'busy' in certain light. I also have the Pentax 100mm f2.8 WR macro, and though a very good lens, for me the Kiron has the edge in contrast and bokeh.

Some have mentioned the weight as being an issue. As a dedicated macro lens, I find that I nearly always use it on a tripod with a wired remote and a 2 sec delay. Works a treat and the weight therefore tends to be a non issue.
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 147

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 31, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Long focus throw, Contrasty colors, Solid build, 1:1 macro
Cons: Heavy?
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I have the Lester A. Dine copy of this beauty, which I purchased from a forum member (Thanks, Dave). After having this lens for about a week I told my wife that I wanted to marry it and have babies with it. That did not go over as well as I'd hoped.

It feels really solid handheld and manual focusing is a pleasure. The focus throw is long enough that getting accurate focus is doable except at the shallowest of DOFs.

I've never tested the sharpness at every aperture but anything past f/3.5 has been great for me. This was my first macro lens so the shallow depth of field did take some time to get used to. A steady tripod is a must if you want to get serious with this baby. I also prefer using a remote to trip the shutter but you could just as well use the self-timer.

To those who say it is too heavy -- that is hogwash. You can still take some excellent shots handheld on a bright day. I took this picture of a dragonfly with no extra equipment (flash or tripod). Of course burst mode helps with these kinds of shots.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/44226066@N05/9674181293/

Overall, great lens. Worth every penny of the $300.
   
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: BC - On the 49th parallel
Posts: 235

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 27, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $123.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Macro ability, colour rendition
Cons: Heavy, a little cumbersome
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

Kiron 105mm Macro f2.8

Bought it in Feb 2007 for $123 at auction...along with a Pentax P3n for that price.

Was bowled over by it's wonderful colour renditioning and sharpness - I find it to be a great portrait lens in addition to it being great for Macro work.

It is naturally a bit heavy, but this is a minor complaint. It did discourage me from taking it on a long trip recently, but when I want a good portrait lens, or do Macro photography this is definitely my go-to lens. I don't think I will let it go as long as I shoot Pentax. It's that good.

Feels like a quality piece as well to me. Definitely worth seeking out.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2009
Location: USA - Delaware
Posts: 435

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 22, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp even wide open, smooth long throw focus ring, heavy quality all metal built
Cons: absolutely none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

Im reviewing the Vivitar Series 1 105mm F2.5 version. One of the best quality lens I've ever used. Focus is precise and the focus ring is a joy to use. Super sharp even at F2.5. Amazing quality built. Some people complain the lens doesn't perform great for portraits. Not in my experience. Bokeh is creamy and it creates nice 3D portraits when shot at F2.5.

The only downside I can think of is that it is quite heavy and long when focused at the minimum focus distance. This can be a problem if you are shooting handheld and holding the camera w one hand and flash gun in the other. However, that will be a problem with any macro lens of this focal length.

Amazing lens. Buy one if you get a chance!
Add Review of Kiron / Lester A. Dine 105mm f2.8 Macro



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