Pixels or Glass?

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McGregNi

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:05
Looking for opinions and a vote on it ... what would give more 'bang per buck' - a new lens (or 2), or a K3 camera?

Here's the issue ... taking close-ups of flowers back in spring, I was pleased with the results, but I don't have a macro lens, not even a 1:2 (which would be enough). My telephotos will not focus very closely, leaving my subject occupying only 20-40% of the frame in many cases. Cropping in is very effective, and the K7 performed admirably. But there's a limit ...

Hypothetically this is - say I could spend the money, around 900. I don't know what lenses, but I'm thinking this could buy a couple of much better choices for close-up work (not necessarily true macro, just better close focussing and IQ generally). So any suggestions gladly received.

But the money could buy a K3. Thats an increase from 14.5mp to 24mp, plus other IQ improvements also. Now, limiting it just to image quality for close-up shots (I know the K3 will bring plenty of other benefits as well, but lets discount that for now), where do you think the money would be best spent?

Will I get better images with new, close focussing glass, giving me bigger subjects on the K7 .... or will I be better with the K3, the same lenses keeping the subjects smaller and just crop in with all those 24mp?

Be grateful for your thoughts Don't forget your vote!

Thanks, Nigel
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 30/05/2014 - 22:09

darkskies

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:07
Do you want true macro for insects etc, or just flowers, in which case a different option might be better?
This space deliberately left blank.

McGregNi

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:12
I'm not thinking about 1:1 macro - no giant bugs! Just improved lens IQ and closer focussing for frame-filling flowers and other detail shots. The crop factor I'm using with the K7 is commonly around 1.5, even 2.0. So I'm thinking with a K3 there will be a lot more pixels left standing after that.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 30/05/2014 - 22:15

Stuey

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:15
Hi Nigel

I would say get a k3 then look at the macro options, some as follows

1. Get Sigma 50mm f2.8 mf macro for around 50 then some tubes for around 10

2. Get a Sigma or Tamron 70-300 part macro jobbie for around 50

3. Choose from many sub 200 macros and enjoy

I may well have left some options out

cheers



stu

johnriley

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:18
My favourite lens for flower close ups is the 55-300mm. It enables frame filling close ups even when plants are at the back of large borders. The bokeh is beautiful and the crispness excellent at f/11 or f/16, ideal apertures for flower photography. It goes without saying that for this a tripod and a calm day are both essential.

I would suggest for you a K-5 II or IIs, the 55-300mm Pentax lens and save up any change for your next lens.

This would keep all your accessories and the handling the same as you have now and update your lens selection as well. Your tripod is already a very sound choice.
Best regards, John

dougf8

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:19
K-7 sensor is great in good light and average in poor light.
I found the K-5 a vast improvement in poor light.

I would suggest a K-5II (S or not) [2nd hand] and spend on glass as well.
You will see an improvement over the K-7. I'll probably see what comes after the K-3 or creep up to the K-5IIS.

You can pick up a decent 1:1 macro like the Sigma 105 or Tamron 90 for just about 200. One of the Pentax 100mm will cost more 300+/- and as other have said the 50mm Sigma and Pentax and 70mm Tamron.

Or scour eBay and beyond for the more exotic pleasures of
Sigma 90mm MF,
Kiron 105mm MF,
Vivitar 90mm MF, or Vivitar 55mm MF.

The plastic cream in a yogurt cup, Vivitar/Cosina/Pentax 100mm 3.5 MF or AF.
Lurking is shirking.!
Last Edited by dougf8 on 30/05/2014 - 22:27

davidstorm

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:25
Your post poses a lot of questions Nigel with many different possible answers.

Firstly, if you are simply wanting more magnification and close-up shots, my first suggestion would be extension tubes and a quality 50mm lens, like the Pentax-A 50mm F1.7 for example, which took this image on the end of a full set of tubes:




Secondly, you won't be any better off with a K-3 than with a K-7, unless you have the glass to back it up. My first significant purchase if I were in your position would be to buy a Pentax 100mm F2.8 macro, either the WR or the non WR version (non WR has an aperture ring, the WR doesn't).

Once you have the glass and you've perfected your technique, the K-3 would be a good buy, as would a K-5IIs, both are superb for macro photography.

Hope this helps.

Regards
David
My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com

Flickr

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

davidstorm

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:27
johnriley wrote:
My favourite lens for flower close ups is the 55-300mm. It enables frame filling close ups even when plants are at the back of large borders. The bokeh is beautiful and the crispness excellent at f/11 or f/16, ideal apertures for flower photography. It goes without saying that for this a tripod and a calm day are both essential.

I would suggest for you a K-5 II or IIs, the 55-300mm Pentax lens and save up any change for your next lens.

This would keep all your accessories and the handling the same as you have now and update your lens selection as well. Your tripod is already a very sound choice.

I strongly disagree with this John, there are many better lenses than the 55-300 for flower and insect photography. It simply does not get close enough and the bokeh is messy in comparison to many other lenses. A Sigma 105 macro or a Pentax 100 macro will both be much better for this type of image and both have better bokeh.

Regards
David
My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com

Flickr

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

DrOrloff

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:31
A K55/1.8 is an excellent flower lens and will cost you 30 or so. Using the same glass on a K3 would be fairly pointless.
You can see some of my photos here if you are so inclined
Last Edited by DrOrloff on 30/05/2014 - 22:31

Northgrain

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:32
David's advice seems good. Before splashing big cash, try cheap extension tubes and a 50 mm , or a Raynox lens (which should work well on your existing lenses). You can always sell them on if/ when you decide to invest in more serious macro kit.
Tim

Some of my vaguely better stuff
Last Edited by Northgrain on 30/05/2014 - 22:42

johnriley

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:38
All I can say David is I know what works for me and the 100mm macro lenses may get close, but they can't pull in flowers that are not close. If you can get right up to a flower then a 100mm macro lens is lovely, but when there are large deep herbaceous borders we can't get that close. So a longer lens then come into its own. At the near side of the border, a 100mm macro is perfectly possible, and a very desirable lens.

It all depends on what type of flower photography you do. As regards bokeh, at say 300mm the bokeh of the 55-300mm is actually very smooth.

If something else works for you that's fine, but there is always more than one viable approach.
Best regards, John

davidstorm

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 22:42
We all have differing opinions John, for me the 55-300 is a non-starter for flowers, but I don't tend to take shots from a great distance away. I understand what you are saying, but I do think that most good flower shots are taken from fairly close to the subject.

Regards
David
My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com

Flickr

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

Dodge69

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 23:04
100% agree get some tubes and the 50mm 1.7, and or the 100mm DA macro

Its glass glass glass - the marketing machine makes it hard to resist but try your hardest its all about glass, not MP.

An example, went into the O2 shop yesterday to inspect the new model of my Sony phone, they had boosted it to 20mp and have added a feature called 'Blur Background' or something... basically you select the focus object and it takes 2 shots, one on the subject the other on something else and combines them to give you a 'photo-shopped' DOF BOKEH field. Result = garbage. Better of with a cheap fast fifty off ebay and a real camera. Nothing beats good glass, yet anyway

My fav flower lens is actually a M42 135mm Carl Zeiss Jena I got in a charity shop - tricky to use but tremendous rendering with real character - kinda hard to explain

Gravelrash

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 23:06
It's a statistical blip Nigel. The forum is crawling with bugs. Don't fall for it. Keep the K-7, I love that you still use it and post often.

If you want to play with macro get some decent M, A, FA glass that will still be useful and worth what you paid when the blip is over

BTW I know nothing but I don't allow that to get in the way of a good opinion.
Steve

Sometimes I'm serious and sometimes not, but I consider sarcasm an artform. Which is it today?

davidstorm

Link Posted 30/05/2014 - 23:10
Another lens that's good for flowers is the 135mm SMC Takumar F3.5, it's pretty cheap too. You might need some tubes with this as well to get a bit closer

Cheers
David
My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com

Flickr

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