I have not posted a blog for a while but have been busy at least taking pictures. My father just gave a number of his old Pentax mount lenses to keep or sell and I though I put some to the test in case I wanted to keep them before listing them on eBay. I am glad I did.
One gem of a lens in this collection was the Kiron 105mm f2.8 macro. Although heavy for the m4/3 system it is also constructed from quality materials. I believe in some countries this lens is branded as a Vivitar lens but it is essentially the same lens. The m4/3 system is nicely suited for macro because of the increased depth of field the sensor provides. Coupled with the fact that the 105mm is essentially equivalent to a 210mm field of view you can see how this lens is very attractive as it allows you to stay far away from your subject without spooking it. The f2.8 also is a very welcome addition allowing enough light to enter the sensor for higher shutter speeds and lower ISO settings.
When I was first handed this lens I actually mounted it on my fathers Pentax film SLR and just looking through the viewfinder I knew this lens was going to be special. Unfortunately, I don't have the negatives scanned yet but I was able to mount the camera to my EM5 II with a simple adapter and went hunting for subjects. I tried some portraits of my family and there were things that I immediately noticed.
The first thing that came to mind was how pure the greens were rendered to create an impression of real life which is especially desirable when shooting macro of wildlife. A slight pastel feel to the whole image is reminiscent of film which I like a lot. I am no dedicated macro shooter but I like my macro lenses for many uses and a long lens like this can be useful for those longer shots as well.
I had a great opportunity to shoot in a butterfly house and I thought this lens was the right tool for the job. Despite shooting with an m4/3 sensor camera that should theoretically double my depth of field, I found it somewhat challenging shooting at f4 so as to get a fast enough shutter speed and a low enough ISO. I suggest if you have the luxury to shoot at f8-f11. F2.8 is too thin to be used for macro unless your subject is a considerable distance away. I wanted to fill the whole frame though so I was somewhat close to my subjects.
The lens is very sharp for its age and although the depth of field with this focal length is narrow the heft of the lens lets you balance it nicely on your hand for those sharp images you seek when shooting macro. Overall I am very pleased with the results and the manual focus is very smooth and long allowing for easy micro adjustments. Although not the cheapest film lens out there if you can find one at a bargain it might be worth for what it delivers, especially if you are doing hand-held macro shooting were autofocus would not be an advantage with live macro subjects. At high prices I could not recommend this lens as a modern Tamron with autofocus and VC would serve you better and provide better image quality. If you are a collector then this is a good gem to have and very enjoyable shooting with. One word of advice is that due to the age of the lens some contrast and clarity need to be added in Lightroom for extra definition (not much). I hope this helps. See you in the next one.