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Old Oct 18, 2007, 3:25 PM   #1
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Hello Everyone,

I have a K10D and I am looking into getting a macro lens.

Can someone help me out? I don't know anything about macro photography.

Is it better to have a 50mm or a 100mm macro lens?

How do I compair these....

Pentax Normal smc P-D FA 50mm f/2.8 Macro Autofocus Lens

Pentax Telephoto smc P-D FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro Autofocus Lens

Sigma Normal 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF

Sigma Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF SLR


What am I looking for?

I would like to photograph animals, insects, flowers very close up.

Thank you all.

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Old Oct 18, 2007, 4:11 PM   #2
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Your true macro lenses are those where the image recorded by the sensor is the same size (1:1 relationship) as the actual thing being photographed. There are a lot of zoom lenses that have a macro setting but none of the ones available for Pentax, at least that I know of, get to 1:1. Some go as close as 1:2 but you will see lenses claiming "macro" capabilities that only go 1:4 or 1:5. Now, even with a macro lens, you may not always want to focus all the way in to 1:1, but it is nice to have that ability on your lens. I don't believe the 28-300mm is going to be the lens you want for true macro work.

The 50mm and 100mm Pentax 2.8 macro lenses both go to 1:1. One of the main differences is that you will have more distance between the front of the lens and the item you are photographing at 1:1 with the 100mm lens. Basically, the 100mm will make it easier to photograph insects or other things that move as you have more working distance.

There are lots of good current production macros. I have a Kiron/Vivitar Series 1 105mm manual focus that takes excellent shots, a number of others here have that same lens. I have heard only good things about the 100mm Pentax. Sigma and (I think) Tamron make current production Pentax mount macros in the 90-105mm range and there are lots of used lenses on the market too.

I hope that helps answer your question and does not confuse you further. Oh, and welcome to the forum.


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Old Oct 18, 2007, 10:40 PM   #3
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All of the macros in the 90-105 range seem to be really sharp.

A couple of things to think about when you are talking about "macro" - as Tim mentioned, a 100mm lens is longer (more telephoto) so you can stand back a bit from your subject. That might or might not be important to you.

As far as the 100 (ish)mm macro lenses - it seems like all of them are really sharp. I initially bought the very inexpensive Phoenix 100mm macro lens - excellent optics in a lightweight plastic lens (reason for it being cheap). The same lens is sold under a couple of different names by the way. If you are on a budget, you might want to look around for one of these. It's not as fast as the 2.8 lenses, but that's not that important with macros where your more likely to use f18 or something as small as possible to get enough DOF - definitely important when you are using a 100mm lens.

Both the Tamon 90mm and Sigma 100mm are good - from the samples I've seen I think the Tamron has a very slight edge over the Sigma, but I've never used either one. I recently bought the Vivitar Series One 105mm lens (same as the one Tim mentioned) and love it. Its manual focus but that's OK too - AF is a liability when it comes to macro (lean slightly in or out to focus).

I'd be leery of the Sigma 28-300 lens - the only couple of examples I've seen weren't promising. In general, a lens with that big of a zoom range makes too many compromises and doesn't do anything very well.

What other lenses do you have? Depending on what else you have, you mightwant to consider either extension tubes or dioper filters. There are disadvantages to them but they can be significantly cheaper than a dedicated macro lens (other than the Phoenix orperhaps a used lens from ebay).
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Old Oct 19, 2007, 2:24 AM   #4
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For plants, 50mm will do, but for insects, especially the ones that can sting, the 100mm-ish range is a lot better.

Plus a fast (f2.8 or faster) macro lens in that range will serve as an excellent portrait lens, so you kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

I can also recommend the Kiron/Vivitar/Phoenix/Ricoh 105mm f2.8 macro lens. A very versatile, high quality lens.

Of course the Pentax macro's will be good too, but they tend to get pricey

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Old Oct 19, 2007, 8:22 AM   #5
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I just pulled the trigger on a used AFPhoenix. I picked mine up for $25including shipping. If you can find one for sale used, they are really cheap (Due to the build-quality), but from the text shots I have seen, this is a GREAT starter lens for macros, especially for that price!

Will post update when the lens arrives...

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Old Oct 19, 2007, 8:39 AM   #6
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good steal!! $25 doesn't even hurt.. update us when you get it.

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Old Oct 19, 2007, 10:30 AM   #7
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Same here Inn... Love to see those when you get it as well as a photo or two of the lens....For me the Vivitar 105mm f/2.5 macro is the one...I really like the construction and quality of this lens for macro work. Very fine focus movement for serious macro use. Some of the Zoom lens do a decent job but the manual focus is the way to go and the Vivitar 105's very fine focus movement makes a world of difference. Going price for a used one can be from $150-$300 US on Ebay...Just according to how much you want it and how much your wallet can stand. Serious here now Get a good solid Tripod before getting the lenses...I own a Bogen-Manfrotto but The Amvona brand sold on Ebay is a cheaper and nearly as good choice. The steady heavy tripod will take the shake out of those close macros and deliver quality sharp photos....

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Old Oct 19, 2007, 12:04 PM   #8
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Lots of good advice in this thread - there is no substitute for the image quality of afixed focal lengthmacro lens, and for live insects, certainly a 90/100/105 is the minimum focal length that is practical. Depending on your objectives in making these photographs, these lensesdo havelimitations, however, because you cannot always get as close as you would like without your subject fleeing, so do not sell the macro zooms short for use at distancesbeyondwhichyour subject would be too small for a decent crop with the regularmacro. Consider also thatwith the 100 +/- macroyou can be too close to get a larger object in the frame without backing up, which in close quarters is not always practical. For my objectives, I would find myself handicapped withous both kinds of lenses.
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Old Oct 19, 2007, 12:25 PM   #9
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Almost forgot... when it comes to close ups of stinging insects and other potentially dangerous subjects, I prefer my Sigma APO DG 70-300mm Macro... it only does 1:2 macro at the 300mm end, but that's far close enough to those not-so-friendly subjects. It also doubles as a nice telephoto zoom.
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Old Oct 19, 2007, 3:09 PM   #10
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WOW, $25 for the AF version, nice! I have the manual focus and paid much for it new, however, I think it takes great pictures for the price.
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