The team, that are four gearheads: Bastian, Jannik and Phillip from Germany as well as David from Australia. All like to use manual lenses and have a passion for the outdoors. None the less they are specialized in different areas so they can provide you with a wider perspective.
The FE 24mm 1.4 GM – also known as the first Sony lens I (Bastian) ever preordered. At Photokina some of us had a look at this lens and Jannik, Bastian and David all decided to buy it. As Bastian and Jannik have now received theirs, we are starting our rolling-review that will be steadily updated as we get to know the lens better.
10/17/18: Rolling-Review started by Bastian 10/19/18: Janniks lens arrived, Aperture series, bokeh, flare, samples and CA updated 10/20/18: Vignetting and close up updated
10/29/18: David’s copy arrived and partly tested. Discussion of comparison with Batis 25 added. Flare with bright sun in frame test on A7rIII added..
In this Guide to Macro lenses David and Phillip give you all the relevant information you need to find the right macro lens for your Sony Alpha 7/9 series camera. No matter if you are just an occasional macro shooter or pretty serious about macro.
Macro lenses allow you to capture much smaller objects so you can reach outside of our normal human perception. They can be found in many camera bags because they do not only excel in capturing tiny insects but they also perform quite well in other roles like portrait and landscape photography. You couldn’t buy a more universal prime.
So which one is right for you? At first you should decide for yourself where you want to put your focus. Do you want to capture nothing but tiny insects? Or do you want to use the lens for other purposes most of the time and only capture occasional macro images?
Choose the right lens for your Sony Alpha with the help of our independent knowledge gained by writing many in-depth reviews.
We are a team of four photographers who all use the FE system and this blog is focused on lens reviews. So we have an in-depth knowledge of these lenses not only because we use them all the time but also because we have reviewed most of them in detail. We are also independent from any lens manufacturer and when you check our reviews you will see that we do not hesitate to name any shortcomings of a lens.
In this article we only list lenses which have electronic contacts to communicate aperture and focal length to the camera. There are also quite a few lenses which have an E-mount but no electronic contacts. Most of these are SLR-lenses with a modified mount and we decided against covering these because we think that most of them are not very attractive lenses. We do however cover the Laowa 2/15 and Mitakon 0.95/50 because those are attractive lenses for some photographers.
All native full frame lenses for the Sony FE mount (as of March 2018)
Voigtländer 5.6/10 (manual focus)
Widest lens available
Good sunstars and flare resistance
Corner sharpness not great
Recommendation: if you want the widest rectilinear lens available this is it.
Lens design, like clothing, is subject to the whims of fashion. These fashions dictate what tradeoffs the designers make. Every lens is a trade-off between many characteristics. The more important ones are in our eyes: speed, sharpness, price, size, weight, bokeh, chromatic aberration, distortion and vignetting.
The currently fashionable tradeoff that Sony and most others adopt emphasises performance and bokeh at the expense of the size of lenses. The Sony FE 1.4/50 ZA or 2.8/24-70 are good examples of that. These lenses are certainly good tools for some applications where only their excellent image quality matters and their significant size and weight does not. Our point is that a great lens does little good if it is so heavy that you leave it at home because of its weight. So we would argue that probably most photographers would get better results with lenses which are a little slower or a little less perfect but in their bag and not left at home.
Manufacturers focus their resources on faster, bigger and better lenses, which of course makes perfect commercial sense. The pity of it is that this comes at the cost of less fashionable lenses which many of us would probably enjoy more. This article is about kinds of (older) lenses that we see as inspiration for lenses we would love to see made in E-mount but with the best technology available today. By accepting a few minor tradeoffs, rather than just trying to give the photographer performance and speed bragging rights, lenses can be significantly smaller. Sometimes that tradeoff might be speed only, sometimes a little peripheral performance at wide apertures might be traded off for handling.
Before we go any further: we are not talking about simply copying old ‘classic’ lenses (maybe with minor improvements) and launching them on kickstarter. We want as good performance as possible within the constraints of a reasonable budget and size. We are talking about types of lenses which aren’t now being made in E-mount, and which—with the benefit of modern design, materials and electronic contacts —could be a huge asset to our photography. Comfort certainly plays a role as well: Not having to think about an adapter and having exif simply makes life easier.
We’ll start by giving some examples where we think makers have found a good balance between handling and performance. Then we’ll get down to business: we’ll discuss the older lenses that have no modern equivalent, and should have.