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Old May 18, 2007, 11:09 AM   #1
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please don't kill me, but new question:

which lens is good for macro with pentax k100d?

as new lens i was thinking the tamron 90mm 2.8, it has great reviews.

Is there any cheaper worthy solution? i read about close up lens, or a reversing adapter to put a lens in reverse position. Anyone has experience with these solutions?

could be worthy to use my pentax 50mm 2.0 reversed for macro? I don't really want to use my FA 50mm in this way.


last option, i think mentioned recently here, is extension tubes, but from what i read is very important to get the right brand.

So, apart from the new expensive lens, which solution is better?

( bottom line, i have a little money to spend in B&H this summer, or i get a macro lens, or a tamron 28-75, or i get the sigma flash ).
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Old May 18, 2007, 12:09 PM   #2
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It seems to me that just about all of the macro lenses around 100mm have good reviews - you would be happy with any of them.

I couldn't quite afford a 2.8 lens, and since I was planning on using it for macro mostly, I didn't think I needed something that fast (with that focal length I use as small of an aperture as I can get away with, since the DOF is so small). I did a home-made extension tube and played for a bit with my M 50mm 1.7 lens but decided I really wanted a dedicated lens (extension tubes are extra work). You lose light when using an extension tube, too.

Diopers add another layer of glass between the sensor and the subject. While I've seen some wonderful pictures using them, the extra glass can soften the picture more than you would have with a dedicated lens. If I were to choose between diopers and extension tubes, I'd take the extension tubes.

I ended up buying the very inexpensive Phoenix 100mm 3.5 lens. It has excellent optics (most of the flower pictures I post are taken with it) and is light-weight (much lighter than a 2.8 lens). However, that light weight comes with a price - it's made from a light-weight plastic (but it's holding up to rather rough handling). It also comes with a matched adaptor (essentially a dioper lens) - without the adaptor the lens focuses from 1:2 to infinity, with it you lose infinity but it will do 1:1. Mine is the FA version and the weakest part of the lens is its auto focus mechanism. It's rough, sounds loud and often hunts more than any other lens I have. It doesn't have a clutch like the Pentax lenses do, so you can't manually adjust it at all if the camera is set to AF. If I had to do it over again, I'd skip the auto focus and get the manual focus version. It's not as good as the Tamron 90, Sigma or Pentax 100 2.8 by any means, but then it costs about a third of the price. Eventually I'll upgrade to a better macro lens, but only when the Phoenix dies. By that time I will have gotten my money out of it and then some!
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Old May 18, 2007, 3:01 PM   #3
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I went the Extension tube route - got a set of Asahi Pentax tubes from Ebay. Be careful what you look for - make sure it has the aperture lever, otherwise you will be focusing at small apertures - not fun.

I put my M or F 50/1.7 on the end and shoot in M mode, using the DOF preview to meter.

This was a much cheaper solution than a dedicated macro lens, but it does take extra thought and work during shooting - which isn't always a bad thing
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Old May 18, 2007, 3:19 PM   #4
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ccallana wrote:
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I went the Extension tube route - got a set of Asahi Pentax tubes from Ebay. Be careful what you look for - make sure it has the aperture lever, otherwise you will be focusing at small apertures - not fun.

I put my M or F 50/1.7 on the end and shoot in M mode, using the DOF preview to meter.

This was a much cheaper solution than a dedicated macro lens, but it does take extra thought and work during shooting - which isn't always a bad thing
I would look at it from another angle.

For a top notch macro lens, a DFA100mm F2/8 is a great choice together with those of Temron and Sigma. You do not have to deal with the extra hassle with ext tube. Also you have the added bonus of a very powerful mid tele. Add a TC of 1.4 or 1.5 (around $40-50 apiece) it gives you quite a bit of added focal length and I mean useful and powerful optics.

Daniel

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Old May 18, 2007, 5:23 PM   #5
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To add on confusion, this is my experience.

I've got an old Pentax 100 mm f4 Macro, they can be found every now and then on ebay. It's a very good macro lens, but it only goes to 1:2. With extension tubes it can magnify more, but you'll loose speed. Normally I use it with a small tripod or firmly held against some support like a wall or tree trunk.

I have a set of Vivitar ext tubes, they have the aperture lever and work just fine. They are what they are called, tubes, and I can't see how any manufacturer can fail in making them. No optics, no high tech anything. As long as they have the lever (usually called "automatic extension tubes") any brand should do just as well.

Sample pic, with ext tubes

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Old May 18, 2007, 5:52 PM   #6
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danielchtong wrote:
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ccallana wrote:
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This was a much cheaper solution than a dedicated macro lens, but it does take extra thought and work during shooting - which isn't always a bad thing
I would look at it from another angle.

For a top notch macro lens, a DFA100mm F2/8 is a great choice together with those of Temron and Sigma. You do not have to deal with the extra hassle with ext tube. Also you have the added bonus of a very powerful mid tele. Add a TC of 1.4 or 1.5 (around $40-50 apiece) it gives you quite a bit of added focal length and I mean useful and powerful optics.
I would agree that the dedicated macro is the best route - its just a lot more expensive for the most part. If you are doing tons of macro, then sure - spend the money, save the effort. If macro is a small portion of your work, save your money

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Old May 18, 2007, 6:38 PM   #7
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The best solution for you will depend upon the type of photography you do. I do a lot of close-up and macro photography and would not be without the autofocus and shake reduction functions which cannot be gotten conveniently or at allwithout dedicated lenses. If you can do without those functions you can use one of the other options. If you do not need true macro or very close focus (1:1 or 1:2), you can get quality close focus (1:3 to 1:5) on other newer lenses andmay not even need the macro lens. If you need greater magnification -- again depending on what you are photographing-- good quality supplementary lenses used judiciously can give good results on a macro lens. Optically, the Phoenix (same as Promaster and probably also Vivitar andone or twoothers)can quite satisfying, if not as solid feeling as, say, the more pricey Sigma EF DG, but costs only a fraction of that lens. If you need such a lens only occasionally, especially with your limited budget, you could go with the Phoenix, have money left over for another purchase now, and upgrade to a sturdier macro at a later date. If you plan heavy use, orputting a heavy ring light on the lens, then you might want to spring for the more expensive lens now, and put off the other purchase.

Others can tell you what works best for them, but what works well for one person maynot be the best for another. Ultimately, no one else can tell you what is best for you - it is a decision you have to make for yourself, based on your own requirements and your financial resources.
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Old May 19, 2007, 1:19 PM   #8
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since it's just a way to improve my skill and experiment for now, i think i'll go the cheap route, aka extension tubes with the an old 50mm M 2.0, or a 100m macro f/4 if i find it cheap on ebay.

And my next purchase will be the sigma zoom that seems to be more helpful generally.

Thanks for the usual help...


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Old May 19, 2007, 11:59 PM   #9
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Actually if you don't have a lens in the range... BOTH the TAmeron and Sigma 70-300's do quite well and can't pull off 1:1 macro do a very aceptable 1:2

And were as many new and old primes that claim macro are on the order of 1:4
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Old May 30, 2007, 10:47 AM   #10
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i have the sigma 70-300 apo macro super, but it doesn't seem to be 1:2, actually i get better results with a 50mm.

with the 70-300 i have to be very far to focus decently.....



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