Want a macro, thinking about m42 Takumar 100mm F/4 and adapter.


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Aug 27, 2007
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St. Louis, Missouri, USofA
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Well I have come to the realization that I want a macro lens, Out of all the lenses I currently have my highest magnification is only 1:4.5. I'm going to try my hand at some product photography, just shooting some beverage bottles of a friend of mine who is a local distributor. There is no pressure to get this done, Its mostly just for me to gain some more experience, and I can give my friend some free shots, otherwise he would just take them himself.

Anyway, back story aside, Spending money is not that big of an issue, but I have already spent a fair amount on gear recently, so I'm trying to hold back a bit. I was considering a Takumar 100mm f/4 macro, and a m42 to eos adapter.

I have heard great things about Pentax and other m42 lenses, so I have been wanting to get an M42 adapter anyway, so I can have some fun trying out the vast array of m42 lenses.
Does anybody know of any that ship from the states? it seems all the ones I have found ship from china. I am interested in one with af-confirm.
Can someone please give me some feedback about this lens, or any other macro for that matter.(usayit?)
I don't think you need true macro for the product shots. What about a cheap macro, like the comprable lens to 60mm macro? If failing that, why not invest in a good mid zoom with reasonable macro performance?
I say go for the Takumar. Hard to find an objective comparison to something modern like a Canon 60mm, but I would bet the Takumar is a good deal sharper. Also, manual focus isn't something you need to worry about (if you're the kind of person who does), as it really is more useful for macro work.

As for the focus confirm, I don't know about a Rebel, but on my K100D it was built into the body and worked regardless of lens. My guess is that your camera would be the same, but I would Google it.
I can't comment on the older lenses as I have no understanding or experience of using them - though I will certainly say there are some good older lenses but I have no idea which ones they are

As for general macro advice I have this to say;
If your looking to photograph insects then you want at least 90mm worth of focal length or more in a macro lens to get a good working distance (distance from camera sensor to subject) - going shorter makes things harder since you are closer to the insect and thus have a greater chance of spooking it. Even though you are looking at product I work - and thus are able to use lenses shorter than the insect recomended length - I would encourage you to at least consider the longer focal length options for diversity in use (you never know you might find you like it ;))

After that one has to decide if your going to shoot handheld or from a tripod, tripod macro shooting is best for static and slow subjects where you have time to get into position, for insects early in the morning or late evening are decent times, though during the middle of the day most are too active for tripod shooting. One can use a lure to attract some bugs (like honey on a tree or rotting fruit) and then shoot from a tripod.
Handheld shooting definatly needs a flash nearly all the time (certainly for full magnification) and for moving insects one often has to keep a fast shutter speed, so even on a tripod flash is important - though one can take measure to reduce the glare from a flash.

For canon the macro lens options are:
Canon EFS 60mm macro - good solid lens, its down side is that its only EFS compatable (crop sensor cameras only) and its short focal length.
Canon 100mm macro - very popular choice and a solid performer, it is sold without hood or tripod collar, both of which are important additions. The collar is very important for stable tripod shooting, whilst the hood is - well its a lens hood you should never be without one - though I have read that the hood is not usable when working in macro
Sigma 70mm macro - good solid choice from sigma and one of their sharpest lenses
Sigma 105mm macro - again a good solid choice of lens
Sigma 150mm macro - this and the 180mm macro are sigmas top range macro lenses, both are better builds than the other sigma options; offer HSM focusing motors; teleconverter compatability and are solid performers. The 150mm is light enough to handhold for macro work, whilst the 180mm is generally considered a bit heavy for prolonged macro work
Sigma 180mm macro - often chosen instead of the canon 180mm macro as its optical quality is the same, but its price is much more affordable
Tamron 90mm macro - shortest recomended macro lens for insect shooting. A cheaper but good option

Generally I avoid the 50mm macro options as they are weaker builds than the others - also the canon is not a true 1:1 macro lens unless you combine it with the canon 500D macro filter (its a filter not a camera)

In general all the macro lenses listed are sharp and well built and one would be hardpressed to impossible to tell which was used for a macro shot. Generally macro lenses are poorer AF than nonmacro lenses because of the fact that AF is not used in macro photography (one will set the AF to manual, set the focus to the desired level - often full magnification or 1:2 for larger insects like butterflies - and then focus by moving the camera and lens closer and further away from the subject.

For lighting idealy a ringflash is used, but one can also use speedlites to good effect - and make sure you have some form of diffuser on the flash as well - I use a lumiquest softbox on my 580M2 and it makes a noticable difference. As your doing product shots I would think that some form of light tent would be the ideal setup for you, I have never used a tent setup so can't comment on a good setup for one.
Thanks for the input.

AlexColeman, You right that a dedicated macro is probably not nessisary, but I already have most of the range between 11-200, covered with several zooms and primes, so I think that a dedicated macro would serve me better.
I think I'll go with the Takumar, I believe that the 100mm is only 1:2, but that does not bother me, plus there are hundreds of other m42's out there that I could use, including several other macro lenses.

I'll look into the focus confirmation thing, I beleive on canon at least, there is a little board that jumps one of the electrical connections on the body together, essentialy tricking the camera into thinking that it has a EF lens attatched.

thanks Overread, I'll probably star with my vivitar 285's and shoot through umbrellas, although I may try a tent setup eventualy.

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