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Old Dec 3, 2008, 11:34 PM   #1
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I'm getting ready to switch to a Pentax K20d from my Olympus E-500 system. I just can't wait for the midrange Olympus, especially not at $1300 for less resolution and no weathersealing.

I'm pretty well set for what I want for a walkaround lens, but I need to get a macro for fly photos. I'm a freelance writer, and need better image macro image quality and more resolutionthan I can get with the W10 I'm currently using to consistently make photo sales --the mags pay much better when I take the photos than when they have to do it. It looks like there are plenty of new options, but since I'm only going to be using the lens for one purpose, always from a tripod, in good light, I'm very interested in a used "legacy" lens, as it appears there are good deals on ebay.

My problem is I have no idea what I'm looking for. I don't know anything about legacy Pentax lenses: what mounts are better, which lenses are good choices, any adaptors or other adjustments I'd need to make, etc. I'd appreciate any suggestions on which series of lens or even which specific lenses I should be looking at.
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Old Dec 4, 2008, 12:33 AM   #2
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Hi Kesserendrel, welcome to the Friendly Pentax Forum. Here you'll have all and any questions answered by a herd of knowledgeable enthusiasts.

With the Pentax K20D you will be able to use any lens that ever fitted on a Pentax camera, even the medium format lenses 645 and 6X7, and the M42 screw mountwith adaptors. So there are a zillion of options on the used market.

If you go for Pentax branded lenses, I'd recommend you to stick to the A type manual focus lenses, or the F, FA and recent D-FA and DA lenses (all autofocus). With these you can make use of all the metering features the body offers.

For dedicated macro lenses, there seems to be only good ones, also if you go for off-brand lenses like Vivitar or Kiron.

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Old Dec 4, 2008, 3:38 AM   #3
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welcome Kessendral,
Kgellis correct.. stay with the bayonet 'K' mount and you'll be set. any of the macro lenses will work great for you. i say stick to the K mount because you'll be using the lens at f8-16 for macros and after f8 the veiw finder starts getting rather dim.. any of the 2nd and 3rd party macro lenses will do what you want as they were designed for flat field photography..

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Old Dec 4, 2008, 9:05 AM   #4
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I like my Kiron made Vivitar 105mm macro lens. Very sharp and well thought of . Vivitar also made a 90mm macro that does a very good job. You can also pick up a Lester A. dine 105mm or 90mm macro lens also made by Kiron and very well thought of. Then there are the Pentax macros.

1. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...2.8-Macro.html

2. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...2.8-Macro.html


4. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...2.8-Macro.html

5. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...0f4-Macro.html

6. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...0f4-Macro.html

7. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...2.8-Macro.html

8. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...2.8-Macro.html

9. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...2.8-Macro.html

10. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...2.8-Macro.html

11. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...3.5-Macro.html

12. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...0f4-Macro.html

13. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...0f4-Macro.html

14. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...0f4-Macro.html

15. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...0f4-Macro.html

16. http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/prime...0f4-Macro.html

17. equipment for macro photography: http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/misc/macro/index.html

Then there are the screw mount ones found here...http://www.aohc.it/tak03e.htm

1. the Macro Takumar..50mm f/4

2. the Super Macro Takumar.. 50mm f/4

3. the SMC Takumar.. 50mm f/4

4. the SMC Macro Takumar.. 100mm f/4 found here..http://www.aohc.it/tak04e.htm
Hope this helps a little.


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Old Dec 4, 2008, 11:21 AM   #5
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Lots of macro options! I have the older Viv Series One 105mm macro alsoand really like it (a lot of us here have the same lens). I've taken sample shots with both the Viv and the current Pentax 100mm macro lens and didn't see a great deal of difference. The Viv (the Kiron version) is auto exposure/manual focus (an "A" lens).

For a very inexpensive, but optically very good, option, there's a 100mm macro lens that I believe Cosina makes. It's sold under various names - I had the Phoenix version of the lens and thought it was a really good buy. You used to be able to buy new ones for about $100 or so. The optics are excellent but it's made from lightweight plastic, the reason it doesn't cost all that much. It also comes with a matched adaptor for 1:1 (essentially a dioper filter), otherwise it's a 1:2 lens. Since you aren't going to be doing normal walk-around stuff with the lens, putting on and taking off the adaptor won't be a hindrance for you.

From what I've seen here, the currentTamron 90mm macro lens looks like it's a hair better than the Sigma. That might be a good option if you want auto focus, but it doesn't sound like you'll need it (I find AF can be a liability with macro).
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Old Dec 4, 2008, 11:48 AM   #6
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Let me continue by saying something about different mounts. All modern cameras have a bayonet mount, but they differ from brand to brand. The only bayonet type that fits a Pentax camera is the Pentax K-mount (often called just K-mount) used by Pentax and some other now extinct brands like Petri, Chinonand Ricoh. The original K-mount, originally introduced in the mid seventies, has later been modified for electronicaperture adjustmentand autofocus, but always with a "backwards compatibility". That means that any older lens always works with a new body, but newer lenses doesn't always work with an older body. This is also true for other brands using the K-mount. You can put them all on your new Pentax camera.

A warning though! Ricoh modified the original K-mount on some lenses, so they get stuck if put on a Pentax camera. To be on the safe side, avoid lenses marked P-KA/R or clearly branded as Ricoh (there aren't that many, anyway)

There are also the Tamron Adapt-All lenses, which can be used with the proper adapter for each brand.

K-mount lenses can be used on Canon bodies with an adapter. Unfortunately it's not possible to make an adapter for Canon, Konica/Minoltaor Nikon lenses on Pentax bodies. But with 28 million Pentax lenses made, and several millons of other brandswiththe K-mountthere is no risk to stay without lenses for your camera. Just make a search on e-bay for "Pentax lens" to see the abundance.

To read all about it, go to the page BigDawg gave you links to. Bojidar Dimitrovs fantastic complete Pentax K-mount page http://www.bdimitrov.de/kmp/


Edit: I have #13 on BigDawgs list, and it gives me all I want (well, I'd love to have #14 or #15, but they go for around 2000 USD on e-bay).

Sample shot:
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Old Dec 4, 2008, 12:33 PM   #7
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Welcome Kesserendrel,
as you can see there are plenty of good options. Stay with the K-lenses for a start and you should be safe.

Good luck!
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Old Dec 4, 2008, 4:17 PM   #8
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Hi Kesserendrel,

As has been said, just about any dedicated macro will probably be at least pretty good IQ wise, but I'll add my 2ยข, while trying not to be too repetitive of what's already been posted.

When I was looking for a macro lens, I took a lot of things into consideration. I'll try to recreate my thought processes for you. . .

I've seen unbelievable stuff from the Pentax 200mm macros, and wanted one . . . until I saw what they were selling for used. . . in the $2000 USD price range -- well so much for a legendary lens. But the A* and FA* 200 macros are about the best you can get. The Sigma 180 Macro has gotten some good press, but is over $1000 USD IIRC, so this might also not be in the running. All of these are very heavy lenses also.

The longer the FL of a dedicated macro, the longer your working distance from your subject, so for live insects and small animals who aren't very inclined to stand still with a lens stuck in their faces, the @100mm class (90-105) macros are usually the best compromise for cost/usability.

Auto focus, while nice to have, is not really necessary as most macro shooters seem to prefer to approximate the focus, then move the camera physically back and forth to get critical focus.

Auto Exposure is a different thing, IMO. I think that having AE is a significant benefit in working speed. When shooting insects and animals, the fewer steps to make the exposure, the better. I would look for MF lenses with the "A" setting on the aperture ring, or AF lenses only.

You'll see many lenses that have "macro" in the name, but this is sometimes a marketing thing -- especially with zooms, which used to be called "close focusing" and only get magnifications down to about 1:2 (1/2 lifesize on the sensor).

Many of the less expensive dedicated macro lenses are natively 1:2 and need an adaptor (which degrade IQ a bit, and are something else I can lose. . .) to get 1:1. They also often have max apertures of f4. Some will argue that the max aperture isn't that important because most macro shooters will be shooting at f8 or smaller to get greater Depth of Field (DOF).

I think that lens speed is important, so I chose to look at f2.8 max aperture lenses only. Here's why --

1. The faster lens will be easier to focus as it allows twice the amount of light into the viewfinder.
2. It allows the use of a TC if you want more working distance at 1:1 -- a 1.4x TC will cause you to lose one stop of lens speed, so an f2.8 becomes an f4 -- but an f4 with a TC will become an f5.6, and you'll probably find it a bit too dim to focus easily.

I don't have great technique for macros, so I need all the help I can get. An external flash gun is a great help, and I find myself wanting to use one most of the time. The advantages are consistent and controllable lighting, motion freezing ability from the short duration of the flash, and the fact that you want to shoot at small apertures to get greater DOF, so you need lots of light to overcome this.

. . . which brings up the consideration of lens weight. A heavy lens is really not that much of a problem. When you add an external flash, it can make the whole package considerably more cumbersome for hand holding. . . and I'm used to handling big lenses (almost always have a 5 lb 300/2.8 hanging off my camera bodies).

In the end, I chose the Pentax D FA 100 f2.8 Macro. It meets all of my requirements for IQ, and is by quite a margin lighter than most of the competition. I was lucky to be able to get one with a $100 rebate, so even though cost is always a factor, it was a bit less so in this case.

Of course, YMMV, so you'll have to weigh the positives and negatives for your own use.

BTW, welcome to the Forum. I'm sure we all look forward to seeing some of your work, once you get things sorted out. If you need some help or advice, there are some awesome macro shooters that hang out here (not myself!), and I'm sure they will be able to contribute their thoughts.

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Old Dec 5, 2008, 8:55 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies, all. For the moment I decided to go witha new50mm f/2.8 1:1 Sigma as my macro. I'll probably look at the longer, older lenses for use "in the field," but for off the tripod I decided 50mm was enough, and I was very happy with the high-end Sigma I had on my Olympus. Plus, it's just easier getting it, as the whole setup is coming together. Also, a digital specific lens will probably be easier while I'm learning the camera.

Here's an example of the macro shots I'll mostly be doing. A bit prosaic, but I get paid pretty well for the magazine articles (1-3 a year, anyway). This fly is about the size of a pinky nail. No idea what the exposure, etc. were, as it was shot with an Optio W10:

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Old Dec 6, 2008, 6:25 AM   #10
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Hi Kesserendrel,

Exif says 1/500sec @ f7.8 ... Jack
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