This is a very special lens.

Started May 5, 2013 | User reviews
Leo James Mitchell
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This is a very special lens.
May 5, 2013

I thought I would never trade in or sell my Sigma 105mm Macro lens, but I did for the Pentax D-FA 100mm Macro WR. I was hesitant to do it, but now I am glad that I did.This is a superb piece of glass capable of laser sharp detail, rendering deep and rich colours and producing a magical bokeh. I have used it during a thunder storm with a deluge of rain and in a snowy blizzard...the WR designation is earned. The lens shook off the weather like a champ! As if this wasn't enough, the lens is light but at the same time built to the highest quality standards. It works beautifully in concert with the Pentax 1.7 tele-converter giving an excellent account of the combo set at 150mm.The one and only con I have is the lack of a focus limiter, but having said that, the racking back and forth is not bad relative to other macro lenses I have used. Someone said in an earlier review that this lens should have been designated a Limited Lens. I agree wholeheartedly. It can't get much better than this. Well done Pentax.

Leo

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K-5: Pentax DA* 200mm f2.8, Pentax DA* 55mm f1.4, Pentax DA 35mm f2.8 Limited, Pentax DA14mm f2.8, Pentax DFA 100mm WR Macro , Sigma 17-70mm Zoom, Sigma EX DG f2.8 70mm Macro, Pentax 1.7 lens adapter, Cokin Pro Z Filter System. Benro B-4 Ball-Head, Benro C297-M8 Carbon Fiber Flexpod, Benro Precision HD-38 3-Way Pan-Head
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mitch

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stanic042
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to Leo James Mitchell, May 5, 2013

this lens is really lovely

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Rastislav

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leopold
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to Leo James Mitchell, May 5, 2013

Hi Leo,

i certainly agree with you, i was one of the first to get that lens in Canada and never regretted buying it. I've used it in about every climate condition we can found here (rain, snow, freezing rain and even in muddy pond), a real champion.

It should have been labeled has a limited.

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JeffAHayes
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to leopold, May 5, 2013

YEP. I still keep the issue of Popular Photography that did the review of that lens when it came out (one with Halley Berry on the cover) where I can find it. They gave it a RAVE review, their sole negative comment (and mine), that it has a whiny autofocus that seems to "hunt" a bit too much, but I can live with that for what I get out of this lens.

One other issue I have with the lens, however, is that this is one lens where I could really take advantage of Live View, but Live View is essentially useless with this lens. I can almost never get it to lock focus with Live View. It would come in really handy if it would, since when shooting macros it's quite often a situation where using the EVF is less than practical than usual.

Jeff

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fotobert
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to Leo James Mitchell, May 5, 2013

Hi Leo James,

I just bought a Sigma 70 Macro and would say the same about this lens. As you have both, I'd like to read your thoughts about both.

As I also do some portrait work with my sigma, my choice was fine for me, but maybe I need one more lens?!

Kind regards & have fun with your new toy

Albert

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leopold
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Jeff
In reply to JeffAHayes, May 5, 2013

With my K-01 the DFA 100 Macro WR AF locks better, sure if it miss the first time it tends to hunt but i just adjust focus Manually and then press the button again to acquire AF.

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ozdean
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to JeffAHayes, May 5, 2013

Jeff it is a macro lens with a long focus throw for pin point accuracy so hunting is inevitable unless you have a focus limiter but then that may affect WR. There is not too many wr macros out there.

I hope the do this with the DFA 50!

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Joseph Tainter
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to Leo James Mitchell, May 5, 2013

I believe the DFA is based optically on the old FA 100 F2.8 Macro, which I have. The thing that amazed me about this lens is that you can shoot at F22 and see only a little image deterioration from diffraction. It is tack sharp all the way to F16.

Joe

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JeffAHayes
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to ozdean, May 5, 2013

ozdean wrote:

Jeff it is a macro lens with a long focus throw for pin point accuracy so hunting is inevitable unless you have a focus limiter but then that may affect WR. There is not too many wr macros out there.

I hope the do this with the DFA 50!

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Regards Dean - Capturing Creation
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Thanks for the explanation on that, Dean.

The odd thing to me is that even when I'm focusing with the EVF, I'll sometimes have a really sharp focus, and move to change my point of focus by just a TINY BIT, and it will hunt like crazy again just to change that focal point by a very minor amount.

I guess I should follow Steeve's advice and try doing the manual focus, then seeing if I can get AF to lock on again. At any rate, when I do get the AF to lock on, it's GREAT. All the same, I've NEVER seen any AF lens that's as NOISY as this one is. Were I attempting to shoot macros of some small critter that's easily spooked, the AF would certainly scare it off unless it's stone cold deaf! Thankfully, the sound doesn't seem to bother most insects, or my tadpoles.

Jeff

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A word is worth 1/1000th of a picture... Maybe that's why I use so many words!

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Petroglyph
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Re: Not fair...
In reply to Leo James Mitchell, May 5, 2013

to give me this case of LBA! 

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Dale108
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to Leo James Mitchell, May 6, 2013

Hi Leo:

I agree with your conclusions.  I too just purchased this lens a few months ago and have had the stellar Sigma 105mm for many years.  The IQ is great and I like the smaller size compared to the sigma 105.

Dale

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duncsuss
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to Leo James Mitchell, May 6, 2013

Tempting ... very tempting ...

Perhaps one day we can try it out side-by-side with a couple of my (not weather sealed at all) macro lenses ... I can bring the Tokina 90mm/2.5 and the Lester Dine 105mm/2.8 -- and a Vivitar macro-focusing teleconverter attached to a SuperTak 50mm/1.4 (which is a surprisingly good combination)

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Duncan

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kaedepics
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to Leo James Mitchell, May 6, 2013

I notice from your signature that you have a Sigma 70mm macro.  I vaguely remember reading that the Sigma is also an excellent macro lens so as you have both I would be interested in your thoughts on how they compare.

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Rod McD
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to Leo James Mitchell, May 6, 2013

Hi Leo,

Agreed, I like mine.  I also still have the FA version, which I like too, but it weighs 600gms and is a lot bigger.   The 100 WR lens stays in the bag because of its smaller size and weight and now I simply use it more often.  QS is nice too.  I used to like the 135mm FL on film, and the 100 WR has become my APSC substitute - a general purpose short tele, long portrait and long macro lens combined. It's a sharp all rounder and the bokeh is very smooth.

Someone said they thought the optics are the same as the FA 100mm.  I'm not sure about that.  The optical arrangement is the same.  They both perform similarly in terms of extension, magnification, and object distance.  However, the FA's elements are a little bigger in diameter.  I can't see any difference in IQ between them, but I haven't really tested mine side by side in any critical way.

A number of people have mentioned their lenses hunting.  I'm happy to say that I haven't experienced this as much as others.  I'm generally happy with the 100WR in an AF sense and I usually find it to lock well.  I think a lot of this is about expectations.  I do experience hunting and indecisive AF occasionally, but exactly when one would should predict it.  Ie 1) when you move composition to a different view with nothing even near to being in focus; 2) with complex subjects at macro distances; and 3) in low light.  Then it will hunt and of course, a long helix means a long hunt......  For 1) the solution is to reset the focus manually to approximately the right point if you're changing to a very different focusing distance.  QS makes that easy.  And then it's fast enough for me.  For very close focusing,  I often switch to manual focus - which seems to be most people's practice.

Great lens.  Enjoy it.

Cheers, Rod

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Twong
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to fotobert, May 6, 2013

I have a Sigma 70 macro as well as the DFA 100 (not WR). I am not sure if the optical formulations are the same or not. They both are capable of superb IQ; however, I give Sigma a very slim edge in sharpness. In normal use, I have never observed meaningful differences, especially that they were never used in overlapping conditions.

fotobert wrote:

Hi Leo James,

I just bought a Sigma 70 Macro and would say the same about this lens. As you have both, I'd like to read your thoughts about both.

As I also do some portrait work with my sigma, my choice was fine for me, but maybe I need one more lens?!

Kind regards & have fun with your new toy

Albert

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Leo James Mitchell
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to kaedepics, May 6, 2013

Hmmm! How do they compare? They are both super sharp, they are both excellent macro lenses and also superior general use lenses. But since I got my Pentax 100mm WR lens, I hardly ever reach for the Sigma 70mm glass. Similarly when I had the Sigma 105mm Macro, I reached for it more often than the 70. I think it is just perspective and distance advantage. Even though the 70mm glass is sharp, maybe a smidgin sharper than the 100mm or 105mm lenses, the distance and perspective advantages made me reach for them. Also the Sigma 70mm lens is quite heavy compared to the 100mm WR and even the Sigma 105mm lens. The fact that the Sigma has a focus limiter didn't make any difference to my preference.

One situation where I would reach for the 70 is for shooting portraits. It is equivalent to 105mm in 35mm terms and so is ideal for head and shoulder shots. Having said that, it ruthlessly shows things like acne, wrinkles and other things people don't like to see in their portraits. For shooting children and young people though, it is magic.

Sorry, this is not very well said,but I think you see what I mean.

Cheers

Leo

kaedepics wrote:

I notice from your signature that you have a Sigma 70mm macro.  I vaguely remember reading that the Sigma is also an excellent macro lens so as you have both I would be interested in your thoughts on how they compare.

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Leo James Mitchell
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Duncan
In reply to duncsuss, May 6, 2013

Duncan Suss, you are a devil for bringing up those two lenses. You know I am obsessed with them and especially with the Lester Dine. Bad Duncan!! LOL!

It would be quite a contest, but I think the Pentax 100mm WR would give a good account of itself. Those older glass lenses seem to have some kind of magic in them, so the new whipper snapper Pentax lens would have its hands full so to speak.

Cheers

Leo

duncsuss wrote:

Tempting ... very tempting ...

Perhaps one day we can try it out side-by-side with a couple of my (not weather sealed at all) macro lenses ... I can bring the Tokina 90mm/2.5 and the Lester Dine 105mm/2.8 -- and a Vivitar macro-focusing teleconverter attached to a SuperTak 50mm/1.4 (which is a surprisingly good combination)

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Duncan

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K-5: Pentax DA* 200mm f2.8, Pentax DA* 55mm f1.4, Pentax DA 35mm f2.8 Limited, Pentax DA14mm f2.8, Pentax DFA 100mm WR Macro , Sigma 17-70mm Zoom, Sigma EX DG f2.8 70mm Macro, Pentax 1.7 lens adapter, Cokin Pro Z Filter System. Benro B-4 Ball-Head, Benro C297-M8 Carbon Fiber Flexpod, Benro Precision HD-38 3-Way Pan-Head
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Benoz
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to Leo James Mitchell, May 6, 2013

Now I have to think about replacing my Sigma 105 Macro!

Thanks Leo!

Kind regards,

Ben

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duncsuss
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Re: Duncan
In reply to Leo James Mitchell, May 6, 2013

Sorry Leo, I really didn't mean to stir things up -- just thought it might be fun to play with a whole bunch of macro lenses side by side.

I don't doubt for one minute that the DFA 100mm WR macro is a great lens, I once had the A 50mm macro and it was outstanding. But I also found myself preferring the extra working distance of the longer lenses and didn't use it as often as the 90mm and 105mm, so I sold it on.

Very best --

Duncan

Leo James Mitchell wrote:

Duncan Suss, you are a devil for bringing up those two lenses. You know I am obsessed with them and especially with the Lester Dine. Bad Duncan!! LOL!

It would be quite a contest, but I think the Pentax 100mm WR would give a good account of itself. Those older glass lenses seem to have some kind of magic in them, so the new whipper snapper Pentax lens would have its hands full so to speak.

Cheers

Leo

duncsuss wrote:

Tempting ... very tempting ...

Perhaps one day we can try it out side-by-side with a couple of my (not weather sealed at all) macro lenses ... I can bring the Tokina 90mm/2.5 and the Lester Dine 105mm/2.8 -- and a Vivitar macro-focusing teleconverter attached to a SuperTak 50mm/1.4 (which is a surprisingly good combination)

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Duncan

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K-5: Pentax DA* 200mm f2.8, Pentax DA* 55mm f1.4, Pentax DA 35mm f2.8 Limited, Pentax DA14mm f2.8, Pentax DFA 100mm WR Macro , Sigma 17-70mm Zoom, Sigma EX DG f2.8 70mm Macro, Pentax 1.7 lens adapter, Cokin Pro Z Filter System. Benro B-4 Ball-Head, Benro C297-M8 Carbon Fiber Flexpod, Benro Precision HD-38 3-Way Pan-Head
Shooting photographs since 1948
mitch

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Duncan

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ozdean
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Re: This is a very special lens.
In reply to JeffAHayes, May 6, 2013

Jeff I know this is always a frustrating thing with macro lenses in AF and as you say sometimes a slight change in focus can be the worst; I think this is because when the motor kicks in it goes past the point of perfect focus and gets lost because you dealing with such fine tolerances hence the need for long throws.

When shooting macros you can't beat manual focus and moving in and out.

The longer the macro lens the more hunting seems to happen eg the 50 is better and the 35 is best ( it hardly hunts at all ).

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