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  1. #1

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    Pentax K 100mm f4 Macro: comments?

    I'm looking to get a Pentax K 100mm f4 Macro (as per the one in this link:

    http://www.pentaxforums.com/lensrevi...duct=24&cat=26 )

    Does anyone here have some personal experience of this lens and could they make some comments about it, please?

  2. #2

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    I find the 100mm length ideal for use with a butterfly bracket and a flash. I've had the faster Pentax SMC-A 100mm f/2.8 Macro for 20 years, the image is much brighter than the f/4 K version. Still it can be a challenge to focus with the helix racked out at full extension. Mine has the reputation of being better corrected due to the FREE focusing (which stands for Fixed Rear Element Extension, the rear element group moves near maximum extension). It goes to 1:1 without additional extension tubes and IIRC the f/4 PK Macro goes only to 1:2 (half life sized).

    The reputation of the SMC-A f/2.8 lens being legendarily sharp is well deserved, I can't speak to the f/4 PK version. But I can tell you any K version won't work as well with all exposure modes using Pentax bodies more recent than about the LX of 1980, without the lens information contacts or the "A" setting.

    You're rather unlikely to find one for the $100 price mentioned, though. The PK 100 f/4 Macros typically go for twice that, and the f/2.8's for $400-800 depending on condition. Either is rarer than the 50mm f/2.8, also wickedly sharp and contrasty, and which seem to sell for about $250. The 200 f/4' ED's are another matter entirely, there's one at auction right now that'll likely go for close to $2k (It was only about $700 when available new--they were very, very scarce even in 1990).

  3. #3
    Karl K's Avatar
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    Pentax 100mm K mount macro lens

    This is one of the hidden gems in any lens mount, IMHO. I used one 'way back in the 80's? and it was the equal to or better than of any macro I've ever used, including the Leica 100mm Macro-Elmar and the Micro-Nikkors. The contrast was superb. They don't seem to surface very often on the used market.

  4. #4

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    I have the f/4 version: very sharp, an excellent lens. I have been using it the past two weekends to photograph flowers. It is common knowledge that Pentax lenses are underrated; it is the opinion of many photographers that they match the performance of Nikon's and Canon's offerings.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Renato Tonelli View Post
    I have the f/4 version: very sharp, an excellent lens. I have been using it the past two weekends to photograph flowers. It is common knowledge that Pentax lenses are underrated; it is the opinion of many photographers that they match the performance of Nikon's and Canon's offerings.

    Thanks everyone for the positive comments: I will be picking it up this weekend.

    Further observations/samples welcomed!

  6. #6
    Urmas R.'s Avatar
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    Check around on the online auction sites. For Pentax the best macro would probably be the legendary 200mm (very expensive). The best 100mm macros would probably be the Vivitar1, Kiron or Lester Dine 105mm 2.5 or 2.8 lenses (despite the different name, the optics is the same in these). These are among the sharpest macro lenses ever produced for any camera. The trick is in finding them at a reasonable price. As some people are not aware of their reputation, you might be able to get them at a good price sometimes. Last time I bid on one with the K-mount it went for about 220 euros. From Pentax 2.8 lenses the older FA is supposedly optically better (but significantly heavier) than the modern DA version.

    It all comes down to how much macro photography you are planning to do. I think the f4 is a nice lens to start, but you might get the LBA soon for smth. faster. Also consider your shooting style. If you want the whole subject (an insect for instance) in focus you will use it at f11-f16 anyway. On the other hand, I use my macro lenses often wide open (f2.8-3.5) to get selective focus on a small flower for instance.

    Regards,

    Urmas

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Urmas R. View Post
    Check around on the online auction sites. For Pentax the best macro would probably be the legendary 200mm (very expensive). The best 100mm macros would probably be the Vivitar1, Kiron or Lester Dine 105mm 2.5 or 2.8 lenses (despite the different name, the optics is the same in these). These are among the sharpest macro lenses ever produced for any camera. The trick is in finding them at a reasonable price. As some people are not aware of their reputation, you might be able to get them at a good price sometimes. Last time I bid on one with the K-mount it went for about 220 euros. From Pentax 2.8 lenses the older FA is supposedly optically better (but significantly heavier) than the modern DA version.

    It all comes down to how much macro photography you are planning to do. I think the f4 is a nice lens to start, but you might get the LBA soon for smth. faster. Also consider your shooting style. If you want the whole subject (an insect for instance) in focus you will use it at f11-f16 anyway. On the other hand, I use my macro lenses often wide open (f2.8-3.5) to get selective focus on a small flower for instance.

    Regards,

    Urmas
    Thanks for responding with a wealth of information.

    At present, I'm not so much into "Macro" (i.e. 1:1 or greater) as in "close focus" (i.e., up to 1:2). This should be challenge enough for me for a while. Most of my subjects will be much larger than insect size (flowers, leaves, nuts, cones, bark etc.)

    I admire the photographers who produce amazing true Macros ( check out this guy http://2photo.ru/2008/05/20/krupnym_...iwanowicz.html ), but I doubt I would have the required determination to overcome the associated difficulties (exceedingly shallow depth of field especially).
    Last edited by Galah; 04-29-2009 at 07:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #8
    Urmas R.'s Avatar
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    Thanks for the link. I have never seen these photos before and they do look amazing. I enjoy shooting macro, but I do it mostly with digital cameras (K20d). The smaller sensor size helps to get more DOF. I use MF and film for landscapes and staged shots.

    I recently picked up a Zeiss Pancolar 50mm f1.8 lens (got one in mint condition for around 80 euros), which is perfect to get shallow depth of field. I like to use it now for close up shots and play around with the DOF. For true (1:1 magnification) flower and insect macro photos I still prefer a dedicated macro lens.

    Here is an example Zeiss photo. Note how smooth the out of focus area is (shot at around f2.8-f3.5 I think) Please accept my apologies for posting a digital photo to analog forum.

    Regards,

    Urmas




 

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