30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77

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jidery
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30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
11 months ago

I decided I want to try out some macro shots, so I am looking at the current Sony offerings.

The 30mm macro looks like the best bang for buck as I plan to stick to crop sensors for now. Obviously, if I ever do move to FF it would be rendered useless. My biggest worry is if that is too short of a working distance. Mind you 45mm equiv isn't that wide, its not all that tight either.

So while I am still considering the 30mm macro (its an amazing price at $150) I am still looking at the 50 and 100mm macro leses. For me the prices are very close, about $100 apart so deciding between them is mostly down to what I want. I do have plenty of experience shooting with my nifty 50 on my 77, so I am leading towards that.

However looking at the 100mm, I figured with its 2.8 aperture, it wouldn't be a bad portrait lens. My biggest worry is a 150mm FOV, which may be a bit too long to work with in most cases, or am I off on that thought?

What do you think?

As for after market, I am fine with tameron, minolta and sigma, but I wold really rather stick with Sony lenses.

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VirtualMirage
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to jidery, 11 months ago

jidery wrote:

I decided I want to try out some macro shots, so I am looking at the current Sony offerings.

The 30mm macro looks like the best bang for buck as I plan to stick to crop sensors for now. Obviously, if I ever do move to FF it would be rendered useless. My biggest worry is if that is too short of a working distance. Mind you 45mm equiv isn't that wide, its not all that tight either.

So while I am still considering the 30mm macro (its an amazing price at $150) I am still looking at the 50 and 100mm macro leses. For me the prices are very close, about $100 apart so deciding between them is mostly down to what I want. I do have plenty of experience shooting with my nifty 50 on my 77, so I am leading towards that.

However looking at the 100mm, I figured with its 2.8 aperture, it wouldn't be a bad portrait lens. My biggest worry is a 150mm FOV, which may be a bit too long to work with in most cases, or am I off on that thought?

What do you think?

As for after market, I am fine with tameron, minolta and sigma, but I wold really rather stick with Sony lenses.

Out of the options you presented, I would recommend the 100mm.  As a macro it gives you more working distance from your subject, especially if you plan to take pictures of bugs that might be skittish.

As a portrait lens, it should work quite well for head shots.  It also gives you a shallower depth of field, separating your subject more from the background.  I have the Tamron 90mm that I use on my A77 and it works great as a macro and for portraits.

But if you are looking at other macro options, I would recommend looking at the newer Tamron 90mm or the newer Sigma 105mm HSM.  Both have built in focusing motors that allow for quiet focus if you want to use it for movies.  Also, both don't change length when they focus.  The Sony 100mm and the older Tamron 90mm do and it can sometimes get in your way when it does.  The Sigma 105mm seems to have gotten some pretty great reviews for its resolution/sharpness.  If I was in the market today for a new macro, I would be strongly considering the Sigma 105mm.

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OldClicker
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to jidery, 11 months ago

For me, doing mostly close up rather than pure 1:1 macro, the longer the better.  You have more working distance and, just as important, it gives you much less background to distract.

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AlphaTikal
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Kiwi comparison with macros and non macros
In reply to jidery, 11 months ago

ohman, I had a long posting. All lost! So this posting is short... sorry for this. In short, I made a small close up comparison of 5 lenses, two of them are macros. I wanted show you, how close you can get with non macros and the two different macros. The 30mm shot could be closer, but I had problems with light source then (that is a practical problem!).

I wrote about the differences in handling and so. 30mm have more depth of field and a completely different point of view, but it is extremely close on 1:1 reproduction. The Tamron have better manual focus. You can use both lenses for different cases too (standard lens or portrait in example). Both have very good image quality. For general macros, I would recommend the 90mm Tamron.

Comparison is done on Sony Alpha 65, tripod, stabilization off, manual focus and remote control. Once in f/8.0 and once with maximum aperture. The pictures are ooc jpegs with f/8.0, have auto balanced in Gimp and slightly increased in sharpness and contrast.

  • MAF3570F4 Minolta 35-70mm f/4.0
  • SAL30M28 Sony 30mm f/2.8 Macro
  • SAL1855 Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
  • TAM9028 Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro
  • TAM70300 Tamron 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 USD

These are 100% crops!!

MAF3570F4 Minolta 35-70mm f/4.0

SAL30M28 Sony 30mm f/2.8 Macro

SAL1855 Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

TAM9028 Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro

TAM70300 Tamron 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 USD

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Draek
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to jidery, 11 months ago

Do consider that with many macro lenses, the effective focal length at high magnifications is somewhat shorter than at infinity or near, due to quirks of Physics. For portraits, 150mm-e is a tad long, certainly, and probably would be unusable indoors, but outdoors the perspective is quite pleasing; and indoors you've got a 50mm already, which should prove more than capable.

Thus, of the three you mentioned I'd probably go for the 100mm, but as VirtualMirage mentioned the Tamron 90/2.8 and Sigma 105/2.8 should be worth a look as well. And, well, if you still fear the ~100mm would be too long there's always the Sigma 70/2.8, whose performance is nigh-legendary at this point and should give you a comfortable 105mm equivalent FOV.

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William Curtindale
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100mm macro
In reply to jidery, 11 months ago

A versatil lens is the 100mm f/2.8 macro (new Sony or legacy Minolta).

I have had my Minolta 100mm f/2.8 macro for 27 years and it works and looks like new.  The point is this lens should be part of your stragety and be around for a ong time (so do it right).

The 100mm f/2.8 macro is also great for portraits or a short low light telephoto.

Good Luck

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justchuck
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to jidery, 11 months ago

I have been using the Minolta Macro 100mm 2.8 on the a700 and I am quite pleased with the results.  I can't imagine wanting a shorter focal length.  I find the lense quite versatile for both macro as well as portraits.

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jidery
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Re: 100mm macro
In reply to William Curtindale, 11 months ago

William Curtindale wrote:

A versatil lens is the 100mm f/2.8 macro (new Sony or legacy Minolta).

I have had my Minolta 100mm f/2.8 macro for 27 years and it works and looks like new. The point is this lens should be part of your stragety and be around for a ong time (so do it right).

The 100mm f/2.8 macro is also great for portraits or a short low light telephoto.

Good Luck

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Is the Sony and the Minolta identical? If so I can just go for the minolta.

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sensibill
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to jidery, 11 months ago

jidery wrote:

So while I am still considering the 30mm macro (its an amazing price at $150) I am still looking at the 50 and 100mm macro leses. For me the prices are very close, about $100 apart so deciding between them is mostly down to what I want. I do have plenty of experience shooting with my nifty 50 on my 77, so I am leading towards that.

The 50mm 2.8 Macro is the sharpest lens I've seen on A mount. While I haven't enjoyed the massive library of some of the fellow Alpha users here, I've had opportunity to compare to the 28-135, 70-210, 50 1.7, 28 2.8, 75-300 New, 24-105, Tamron 70-300, 18-55, 35-80 and a few more. This was handheld leaning into an aquarium - my little Crabby guy. He's been the subject of several cameras, actually.

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brian14478
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to jidery, 11 months ago

If you have a good lens or two to work with you could always get an af extention tube.  This was with a 75-200 and I think around a 12-15mm extention tube.   With a  zoom you can very your distance to your subject a bit.  12mm is  short  but if you pair that with even the 18-50 kit and you can get some very close macros.

This is 100%crop

These were all taken with an auto-focus extention tube and various lenses .a Minolta 35-70 a Minolta 35-105  macro and a sigma 75-200. The kenko af extention I have I bought for about $45 off ebay. It is a way to check out some macro shooting then decide without a big investment.

Between the two I have, for me there isn't a need for a macro lens..If I did a lot of macro shooting there might be? Just an idea. Best of luck,brian

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jidery
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to brian14478, 11 months ago

brian14478 wrote:

If you have a good lens or two to work with you could always get an af extention tube. This was with a 75-200 and I think around a 12-15mm extention tube. With a zoom you can very your distance to your subject a bit. 12mm is short but if you pair that with even the 18-50 kit and you can get some very close macros.

This is 100%crop

These were all taken with an auto-focus extention tube and various lenses .a Minolta 35-70 a Minolta 35-105 macro and a sigma 75-200. The kenko af extention I have I bought for about $45 off ebay. It is a way to check out some macro shooting then decide without a big investment.

Between the two I have, for me there isn't a need for a macro lens..If I did a lot of macro shooting there might be? Just an idea. Best of luck,brian

Interesting! How would this work with my SAL16-50?

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Hetzer
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to jidery, 11 months ago

I tried to shoot some bugs this summer in my back garden.

The crawling species are no problem, but the flying ones - eg. butterflies, dragonflies - tend to fly away if you come close. 100mm would be much better than 30mm here. I gues the 30mm would be nice for indoor use, pictures of food and stuff like that.

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DistantView
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to Hetzer, 11 months ago

The perceived wisdom is that subject to size & weight issues longer is better - but as you say that you are just starting out on macro I'd give the Sony 30/2.8 a try. I have one & it's pretty sharp, very small & light and would give you a good intro the the world of macro.

The big advantage is the cost - if you end up not doing much macro then you haven't spent too much money and if you want to progress you've a much better idea of what you need.

Another minor point is that it doubles as a discrete walk-about lens if you like that sort of thing .

The main disadvantage is the very short working distance, but I haven't found it a big problem & you can often work round the problem.

Happy hunting !

RT

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AlphaTikal
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to DistantView, 11 months ago

I think the 30mm Is the worst for macro beginners, depending on what is the subject. The only thing good for beginners is the price. If you do not much use this for macro, then it could be because its not that fun and easy for some subject. Nobody who makes macros will stick with it. That's why I call a 30mm is bad for macro beginners. I recommend at least 50mm, which I think is ideal For beginners. Some serious macro shooter will upgrade to 90mm or 150mm. But with these, especially over 120mm are big and heavy and have less DOF.
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brian14478
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to jidery, 11 months ago

jidery wrote:

brian14478 wrote:

If you have a good lens or two to work with you could always get an af extention tube. This was with a 75-200 and I think around a 12-15mm extention tube. With a zoom you can very your distance to your subject a bit. 12mm is short but if you pair that with even the 18-50 kit and you can get some very close macros.

This is 100%crop

These were all taken with an auto-focus extention tube and various lenses .a Minolta 35-70 a Minolta 35-105 macro and a sigma 75-200. The kenko af extention I have I bought for about $45 off ebay. It is a way to check out some macro shooting then decide without a big investment.

Between the two I have, for me there isn't a need for a macro lens..If I did a lot of macro shooting there might be? Just an idea. Best of luck,brian

Interesting! How would this work with my SAL16-50?

It should work great.  If it is the 16-50 2.8 I looked it up at dyxxum and the lens length is almost exactly the same as the Minolta 35-105 here

http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/Minolta-AF-35-105-F3.5-4.5_lens44.html

It does depend on minimum focus and lens/element length but it will give you an idea what a 12mm kenko af extention tube should behave like on a 16-50.

These I just took and resized only. At 35mm the distance to subject is between 4/5 inches. At 50mm it is around 10/11 inches. At 105 it is 16 or so but in macro mode it drops to around 8 inches. If you were to use a longer lens a 12 mm unless its a decent macro wouldn't probably give enough of a macro result.

At 18mm you can imagine how close you can be but do not have to be...just pull out to 50mm if it is too close. I have used two stacked together for around 30mm on a 100-300 or a 75-200 and it give reach range and versatility. with a combo like that you can 'keep a decent distance' or get in close depending.  A push pull zoom is great with them because it give more range in distance.  The two flys on the blue flower above were taken with this combo.

If you have the lens/lenses to work with they are a great addition or alternative. you can put one in your pocket and put it on at will..which is nice also. Just remember to get an af one if you try it, another member here had gotten a set and though they worked for macro there were no electronics to stop down the aperature besides manual focusing only.

Hope this explains enough..its not as complicated as I make it out to be. Best of luck,brian

not bad for a multiple use macro attachment for$45 These are sooc jpegs resized

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Michael Fritzen
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to jidery, 11 months ago

Hi,

all the FL for macro lenses have their application and it depends in part of the working distance.

Using a macro lens for portraiture has its caveats because it may be too sharp - but I prefer taming down overly sharp appearance in PP.

A point to consider is the price and here the offerings from Tamron and Sigma mostly have advantages over Minolta / Sony models.

You mentioned specifically the FL of 30, 50 and 100mm. I'd suggest to add the already mentioned Sigma 2,8/70mm which I consider an ideal compromise what concerns working distance for macro work and the FL for the use as a portraiture lens (BTW for both APC and FF).

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Michael Fritzen

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AlphaTikal
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to Michael Fritzen, 11 months ago

Similar the Tamron 60mm f/2.0 is suggested many times too and is the rival for old Tamron 90mm f/2.8. The front tube does not extend on that 60mm and so you get similar distance to object.
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DistantView
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to AlphaTikal, 11 months ago

AlphaTikal wrote:

I think the 30mm Is the worst for macro beginners, depending on what is the subject. The only thing good for beginners is the price. If you do not much use this for macro, then it could be because its not that fun and easy for some subject. Nobody who makes macros will stick with it. That's why I call a 30mm is bad for macro beginners. I recommend at least 50mm, which I think is ideal For beginners. Some serious macro shooter will upgrade to 90mm or 150mm. But with these, especially over 120mm are big and heavy and have less DOF.
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Hi Alpha Tikal - you are possibly correct but your post would have carried more weight if you had offered some objective explanation for your very strongly held view. We don't know whether the OP wants to become a "serious macro shooter" so I still stand by what I've written as it clearly sets out the advantages & disadvantages of the lens.

Lighten up Sir

RT

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AlphaTikal
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Re: 30mm vs 50mm vs 100mm macro on A77
In reply to DistantView, 11 months ago

If you want do real 1:1 macro, you have to come very close to the subject. This is a big challenge, as the light source gets easily blocked and nearly useless for some common cases like insects. Very close to subject can create some problems in terms of the viewpoint.

This is my view and experience, as I started with it too. With 30mm you can have a different view to the subject and more dog. That's why it makes sense to have it in the bag. Its light and small and I can carry it everywhere.

I recommend the 50mm for beginners more than the 30mm. With it, you have more distance to the subject and the view is less problematic. It is not heavy and not that pricy too. I wish I had one and started with.
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William Curtindale
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100mm macro (Go To Lens For Many Things - Samples)
In reply to William Curtindale, 11 months ago

William Curtindale wrote:

A versatil lens is the 100mm f/2.8 macro (new Sony or legacy Minolta).

I have had my Minolta 100mm f/2.8 macro for 27 years and it works and looks like new. The point is this lens should be part of your stragety and be around for a ong time (so do it right).

The 100mm f/2.8 macro is also great for portraits or a short low light telephoto.

Good Luck

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Any time I am putting something on ebay to sell I grab my Minolta 100mm f/2.8 macro and set it to manual focus and go at it.  It's simple to use and gives predictable results.

Below items were sold a couple years ago (shot with Minolta 100mm f/2.8 macro sample images only):

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