budget macro lens


Link Posted 14/05/2012 - 22:09
can anyone recommend a budget/cheapish macro lens for a K-R. i have a tamron 70 - 300 which has a macro facility, but would prefer a proper macro.
is there such a thing for around the 50 quid mark, or if not what price am i looking at. the only ones i can find are a few hundred quid, which is a definate no no.
i would prefer used, just to keep costs down.


Link Posted 14/05/2012 - 22:12
Your best bet at that kind of budget is something like an M 50/1.7 with a reversing ring (I don't know how much reversing rings cost these days). It reverses the lens (obvious really) which gives you much greater magnification, although you loose lens automation.
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Link Posted 14/05/2012 - 22:25
You might be able to find a Pentax-A 50mm f2.8 macro for around 100. This has a recessed front element so probably no need for a lens hood in most situations.

Last Edited by Rowdy on 14/05/2012 - 22:25


Link Posted 14/05/2012 - 22:28
A decent M 50mm 1.7 and a 50mm extension tube (or a set) will cost around the 50 mark. Perhaps not quite as easy to use as a proper macro lens, but certainly capable of decent results. All the macros on my portfolio are with a 50mm 1,7 and tubes. I'd prefer a proper macro lens obviously, but for the budget i doubt it could be beaten. Bonus is the 50mm is a great lens for normal photography as well, especially in low light.
Last Edited by milamber on 14/05/2012 - 22:40


Link Posted 14/05/2012 - 22:37
I think you could do no better for 100 than to buy Charlotte's Sigma 50mm F 2.8 Macro (manual focus) lens. A superb lens that is also great for portraits and tight landscape shots. It is 1:1 true macro and also works well with a 2x teleconverter if you have good light and want more working distance.


Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs


Link Posted 15/05/2012 - 10:14
Hi, I have a Sigma 28-80 with macro (1:2) at 80mm. This is really a good lens with a decent range. If you are looking for a fixed range, then David's suggestion is good. You can get the 28-80 for a very good price. I got one from one of our members here and I am really happy with its performance. Look for one in Ebay.


K-5, K-7 and K10D, Pentax 18-135 WR,18-55 WR,Pentax 28-105,Sigma 28-300, Sigma 28-80 (Macro) and Pentax 50-200 WR.


Link Posted 15/05/2012 - 20:45
After extensive and ongoing research ....

There are a few 1:1 lenses you might get for under 100. Mostly manual focus and some no automatic aperture. But for under 50 you'd be lucky. As above, you might have to use extension tubes and a prime lens. Or reversing as above. OR that nice 50mm Sigma from Charlotte.

Don't be afraid of manual focus as you'll probably get better results with it and live view.

Cosina/Vivitar/Pentax 100mm f3.5, the yogurt pot/plastic fantastic. 1:2 with a 1:1 lifesize adapter. 100 Mint, they go for a lot less and AF doesn't seem much more expensive than MF. They feel very flimsy. If you get lucky you could land a MF for 60 or so.

Vivitar 90mm MF (1:1), completely manual and the big brother to the 55mm Vivitar (1:1, inlc pixie dust), the glass is top quality and not far behind the modern macros costing 250-300. Lovely manual lenses.

Sigma 90mm MF, with A aperture setting. Again one with a 1:1 life size filter. Rare but sub 100 on ebay. Mine was quite easy on focus but results were great.

Tamron 90mm f2.5 MF, should dip under 100. not had one (yet!)

Double check they are 1:1 life size. Check they include the life size 1:1 filter.

However, your Tamron with 1:2 and a decent focal length will be hard to beat for 50, personally I'd keep saving. When I had the 70-300mm it was just a bit too far focusing leaving me prone to camera shake (is it macro at 180mm?), OK with a tripod though.

Check out Charlotte and Nass ( link Wow!!).

I'm just experimenting with a Vivitar 135mm Close Focus 1:2 lens and an extension tube and achromatic +5 filter (once I get the reducing filter ring)
Lurking is shirking.!
Last Edited by dougf8 on 15/05/2012 - 21:06


Link Posted 15/05/2012 - 23:08
thanks to all of you for the replies, and wow dougf8, youve really done some research there.
i may keep an eye out for a m50/1.7, though i will probably hang on a few weeks and see if i can afford a bit more, something like charlotte`s sigma.
i will keep an eye on the classifieds on here and see if anything comes up, maybe about 100.
thanks again for the replies, and though i dont post much, i have learned so much from this forum.
keep up the good work.


Link Posted 16/05/2012 - 11:18
For ages I used the Tamron 70-300 as felt that its performace as a macro lens out did its performance as a telephoto lens! Then I purchased the 100mm WR macro and haven't looked back.

I would personally wait for more funds. Remember the longer the focal length of the macro lens, the greater the working distance, I find the working distance of the 100mm to be just right for me as I like to photograph insects and spiders so I don't want to get in too close and scare off my subject!
Bodies: K5IIs, K7, MZ5n, LX, MV
Lenses: DA*16-50, DA18-55WR, DA18-135, DAL35, M50 F2, A50 f1.4, FA50 f1.4, DA*50-135, DA55-300, Tamron 70-300, DFA 100 WR Macro, M135 f3.5, Sigma 120-400 APO DG HSM, Tokina 500 f8.0
Flash: Metz 58, Metz 48
Accessories: BG4, Pentax right angle finder, Pentax mirror adaptor lens, O-ME53 Viewfinder Loupe
Auto 110 System: Auto 110, Winder, 18mm, 24mm, 50mm, 70mm, 20-40mm, AF100P, 1.7x telecon


Link Posted 16/05/2012 - 12:01

Macro covers all manners of sins from a closeup to extreme macro. Can I make a suggestion, go to flickr and choose 25 shots you really like and you envisage yourself doing. Then look through the exif data and see what they've used, then work from that to find a used or cheaper alternative that'll do the same (ish) for you. Don't forget the humble Raynox-like closeup lens, although there's a not inconsiderable snobbery towards these they produce cracking results with the benefit of being able to still control your settings through the camera!

... just another middle-aged guy with a hobby. I have an extreme macro learning site at extreme-macro.co.uk - Pentax-centric, your feedback and comments would be appreciated!


Link Posted 16/05/2012 - 12:03
I would endorse the comments made above but question what your ideas on macro are.

For insects and such getting too close could be a problem so a higher focal length is an advantage.

For static items (coins, stamps and the like) 50mm + extension tubes/bellows should be fine.

On a really tight budget it might be worth considering M42 lenses plus M42-PK adapter.
M42 extension rings and bellows are considerably cheaper than PK versions

Downside - everything is then manual, but this may not matter too much (see previous comments).
Upside - these lenses are much cheaper and with the right use can be just as good.


Edit. No ones mentioned lighting, so maybe a perusal of some of Charlottes threads might give you some ideas of lighting close oblects
Last Edited by Frogherder on 16/05/2012 - 12:05


Link Posted 21/05/2012 - 18:23
Hi there,
I suspect I am just jumping in here and about to put foot in mouth.
I have only just joined and I am a complete beginner so please feel free to point out any dopey comments I make.
I too was drawn by the macro and looked at lenses, and have looked for old ones that might give the same result but it just appears they need to be expensive to be worth it.
(I am on a budget of about 0)
I ended up trying out the Raynox 250.
It doesnt get you very far away, but it is great fun for a low price.
(Apologies for just butting in, but I thought it might just be worth a mention)
K100D, No PP, no cropping (Mainly because I haven't learnt how yet), mostly all manual.


Link Posted 21/05/2012 - 18:33
I'm really really surprised no-one has yet mentioned the Raynox 150 and 250 macro clip-on attachments (fit on virtually any lens you already have, to turn them into a macro lens).

I have both and they are phenomenal. Superb IQ and just amazing value for money and IQ. Google them or go to the Raynox website. Either will cost you around 50. The 150 is better for flowers etc. and the 250 for insects and the like. Or both together for 'super-macro'
http://frogfish.smugmug.com/ Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0


Link Posted 21/05/2012 - 18:34
I suppose it's subjective depending on what you consider to be 'expensive'...

I recently picked up the Samsung version of the DFA100macro(nonWR) for 200... A price I consider to be a steal for that particular lens...

I have a 'fisheye/macro attachment lens' in a 58mm thread which I never had much luck with, the Raynox is supposedly pretty good in comparison and if you search around you'll find great results from it...

If you're patient M-version 100mm macro lenses do turn up on ebay for reasonable prices...

I'd trade my D-Xenon100macro for a Pentax-FA100macro in a heartbeat!
The images from the FA (in my opinion) look sharper and show less CA...
Pentax K5- Vivitar 19mm 3.8; FA35mm f2; D-Xenon 100mm macro f2.8; DA50-200mm WR...
Yongnuo YN-560; Vivitar 285HV; Cactus V4 triggers...
Pentax-MX & M50mm f1.4; Spottie & 55mm f1.8; MG & M40mm 2.8...



Link Posted 21/05/2012 - 18:52
Yes, I agree it depends what one sees as budget, which is why I thought I would mention it.
Personally, my budget is next to non existent and I want to have a play with things to find out what I would like first being new to photography.

Boy I drool at the quality of some of the lenses in some of these discussions, I would love to play with them. Maybe for Christmas??????

In the meantime:

You can put them both together???????
I can't believe I hadn't thought of that.

I am off bug hunting, thanks.
K100D, No PP, no cropping (Mainly because I haven't learnt how yet), mostly all manual.
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