Macro for Pentax K-X - recommendations...


Jaq1967

Link Posted 31/05/2010 - 13:44
Hi,

I'm new to this and am slowly learning photography. I bought the K-X twin lens kit as a good starting DSLR. I am looking for recommendations on additional bits and bobs to get me started. I am looking for value for money and probably good secondhand stuff compatible to get me started - until I feel comfortable and spend big bucks!

I am looking for a macro lens. I am also looking for a flash gun.

Any suggestions welcome on this subject.

Thanks...

Jaq1967

snappychappy

Link Posted 31/05/2010 - 13:57
Don't think you can go far wrong with the Tamron 70-300mm DI lens, had it for a while, it only goes to 2:1 ratio, half life size but its a quality item for the price.

Example.



My piccies.

matwhittington

Link Posted 31/05/2010 - 14:04
Hello Jacques. It depends to a great extent what your budget is I think. A quick look on ebay will reveal that there are hundreds of macro lenses for sale which will fit your k-x; so it comes down to what your requirements are in terms of focal length, auto or manual focus, etc. I suspect that if you buy a pentax lens in decent condition of any era it will give decent results - there are currently listings anywhere from ~25...

What focal length are you looking for? For small insects and things like that you may well be looking at a focal length of ~100mm...very popular amongst members here are the newer crop of macros in that region - the Tamron, Sigma and Pentax in the region 90mm-105mm. These will be more expensive and probably somewhere around 250-400, you can get older versions of them cheaper, and indeed can find almost anything between the 25-400 bracket.

Alternatively you could also look at extension tubes and/or lens reversing rings which will enable a macro capability with 'standard' lenses.

On the flash front it is a similar story I think. Current flashes can be pricey but third party manufacturers (Metz or Sigma) may well be cheaper, ebay may have some bargains and older versions may well be cheaper still...

Not sure whether that is helpful or not - my best suggestion would be to have a browse on ebay...

Regards
Mat W

My Flickr: link

JonSchick

Link Posted 31/05/2010 - 14:22
For macro, you could do a lot worse than either use an extension tube with your existing lenses (which does cut the amount of light entering the camera so will extend shutter speeds), or using a close up filter on the front (I've used Marumi ones, that are relatively cheap in normal filter sizes, and not bad at all). Another option is a reversing ring as suggested by Mat.

The best normal lens I've used that does a pretty good job at close up is the Sigma 17-70, which also happens to be a great upgrade to your 18-55 kit lens. It is, however, bigger and heavier. If you hadn't already got the twin lens kit, then something like the Tamron 70-300 would also be a good cheap way into close up photography, but on the assumption that you already now have the Pentax 55-300, I don't think it is a worthwhile step in your case.

Otherwise, there are a wealth of secondhand macro lenses to look out for. Focal lengths around 90-100mm work well for most people, and Pentax, Tamron and Sigma have all made great lenses between 90-105mm. There are also some legendary Vivitar macro lenses, but you need to choose carefully.

Also look out for some of the older Pentax 1:2 manual lenses that were sold as "macro" - specifically the 50mm and 100mm f4 SMCM lenses. Both are beautifully made, and produce great results.
Jon

Some occasional random stuff at The Photographers Block: link

Anvh

Link Posted 31/05/2010 - 14:45
Like Jon say extension tubes might be the way to go, they go very well with a Pentax 50mm f/1.7 which you can get very cheap from Ebay.

The flash is another thing, you can look up many topics in the flash section of this forum.
If you want a complete pacakge Metz 48 is the best deal but not if you use non-auto lenses.
If you just want a stronger flash the Sigma 530 st (or something like that) is the cheapest flash.
Here is a good guide http://knol.google.com/k/pentax-p-ttl-hot-shoe-flash-comparison
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ

George Lazarette

Link Posted 31/05/2010 - 23:29
Extension rings are a good solution for people on a budget.

Just as good, if not better, is a reversing ring. If you have a lens like the SMCP-M 1:1.7 50mm (or, indeed, any K-mount 50mm), then a reversing ring does as its name suggests and mounts the lens backwards on the camera, giving you a splendid cheap macro.

Old Pentax 50mm lenses (any will do) are cheap as chips on Ebay.

G
Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.
Last Edited by George Lazarette on 31/05/2010 - 23:32

MrCynical

Link Posted 31/05/2010 - 23:43
If you want an autofocus macro lens (1:3 'macro' zooms aren't that great - the Pentax kit lens will do about 1:3 at the long end), then the best option is one of the 100mm-ish macro primes.

The Tamron 90mm, Pentax D-FA 100mm, and Sigma 105mm are all fabulous lenses: I have the Pentax (well, the Samsung version which is optically identical) because of quick shift and because I got it at a good price.

In fact, buying whichever of those three you can find at the best price is not a bad plan at all.
Last Edited by MrCynical on 31/05/2010 - 23:48

smc

Link Posted 01/06/2010 - 08:04
MrCynical wrote:
If you want an autofocus macro lens (1:3 'macro' zooms aren't that great - the Pentax kit lens will do about 1:3 at the long end), then the best option is one of the 100mm-ish macro primes.

The Tamron 90mm, Pentax D-FA 100mm, and Sigma 105mm are all fabulous lenses: I have the Pentax (well, the Samsung version which is optically identical) because of quick shift and because I got it at a good price.

In fact, buying whichever of those three you can find at the best price is not a bad plan at all.

I agree. A manual focus version of any of those lenses would also work well, ideally with a PKA mount, at a good price. Macro and AF usually do not mix.

Jaq1967

Link Posted 01/06/2010 - 11:49
Thanks for your suggestions. Another idea was maybe looking at Macro close up lenses. They seem cheap and not sure if any good as an option to use with my existing 18-55 lens.

On the macro lens front there seems to be a wide range of pentax fit type lens on eBay from Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Vivitar etc... ranging 1:2 to 1:5.1. Some huge looking! Difficult, however, to do a search on many of them for reviews and feedback - I guess too old?

Thanks again...

flossie

Link Posted 03/06/2010 - 08:28
Jaq1967 wrote:
On the macro lens front there seems to be a wide range of pentax fit type lens on eBay from Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Vivitar etc... ranging 1:2 to 1:5.1. Some huge looking! Difficult, however, to do a search on many of them for reviews and feedback - I guess too old?

If you are after user reviews and feedback on just about any Pentax-fit lens ever made, bookmark this.

I'd also second the suggestion of a K/M/A series 50mm lens with some extention tubes - you get both a fantastic little lens to play with, and can do some great close-up work (very, very close though - so unlikely to be good for bugs). For 50-100, you can't really go wrong, and you'll learn so much. Particularly about not enough light!

For a well-written, simple, explanation of extention tubes with example photographs, have a read of this page. And this one compares them to the screw-on close-up lenses.
Still shooting in the dark (literally and metaphorically)...
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