Best Macro Lens

Started Feb 22, 2020 | Questions
YellowbaltD Junior Member • Posts: 31
Best Macro Lens

Hi Guys

Good day. Just wanted to ask suggestions if I get only one Macro Lens to keep for my A7r2 which one to get?

Thanks for looking.

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Danny

 YellowbaltD's gear list:YellowbaltD's gear list
Sony a7R II Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Sigma 24-70 F2.8 DG DN
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QuietOC
QuietOC Veteran Member • Posts: 4,494
Re: Best Macro Lens
7

There's no real AF competition for the Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS.

There's the budget Sony FE 50mm F2.8 Macro with a slow DC motor. And the borrowed SLR designs Sigma 70mm F2.8 DG Macro Art and Tokina FiRIN 100mm F2.8 Macro. Tamron just released three native primes that can do half size and also have DC motors (OSD): 20mm F2.8, 24mm F2.8 and 35mm F2.8.

Adapting an EF or A-mount macro lens with a distance encoder gets full 5-axis stabilization if you use a smart adapter. The Sony A-mount macro lenses also get Lens Compensation support in A7 and A9 bodies.

The Sony A-mount 50mm F2.8 Macro and 100mm F2.8 Macros are old Minolta designs. The earlier Minolta D versions get the same support (despite Sony's website saying they don't). The pre-D Minolta versions have the same optics but lack distance encoders and don't get Lens Compensation support in camera. None of these has an in-lens AF motor. The Sony DT 30mm F2.8 Macro SAM has a slow DC motor, and although it is an APS-C lens it does cover full-frame.

Voigtländer 110mm F2.5 Macro Apo-Lanthar -- excellent optics, manual focus, does 1:1 life size, has electric contacts and a focus encoder for 5-axis stabilization and MF Assist

Voigtländer 65mm F2 Macro Apo-Lanthar -- excellent optics, manual focus, only does half size, has electric contacts and a focus encoder for 5-axis stabilization and MF Assist

There are a few manual macro lenses without contacts that lose x- and y-axis stabilization.

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OP YellowbaltD Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Best Macro Lens

QuietOC wrote:

There's no real AF competition for the Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS.

There's the budget Sony FE 50mm F2.8 Macro with a slow DC motor. And the borrowed SLR designs Sigma 70mm F2.8 DG Macro Art and Tokina FiRIN 100mm F2.8 Macro. Tamron just released three native primes that can do half size and also have DC motors (OSD): 20mm F2.8, 24mm F2.8 and 35mm F2.8.

Adapting an EF or A-mount macro lens with a distance encoder gets full 5-axis stabilization if you use a smart adapter. The Sony A-mount macro lenses also get Lens Compensation support in A7 and A9 bodies.

The Sony A-mount 50mm F2.8 Macro and 100mm F2.8 Macros are old Minolta designs. The earlier Minolta D versions get the same support (despite Sony's website saying they don't). The pre-D Minolta versions have the same optics but lack distance encoders and don't get Lens Compensation support in camera. None of these has an in-lens AF motor. The Sony DT 30mm F2.8 Macro SAM has a slow DC motor, and although it is an APS-C lens it does cover full-frame.

Voigtländer 110mm F2.5 Macro Apo-Lanthar -- excellent optics, manual focus, does 1:1 life size, has electric contacts and a focus encoder for 5-axis stabilization and MF Assist

Voigtländer 65mm F2 Macro Apo-Lanthar -- excellent optics, manual focus, only does half size, has electric contacts and a focus encoder for 5-axis stabilization and MF Assist

There are a few manual macro lenses without contacts that lose x- and y-axis stabilization.

Thank you so much for very comprehensive response. Based on your statement, sounds like it's the Sony 90 is the top on the list.

Have a great weekend

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Danny

 YellowbaltD's gear list:YellowbaltD's gear list
Sony a7R II Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Sigma 24-70 F2.8 DG DN
Becksvart Contributing Member • Posts: 716
Re: Best Macro Lens

That's indeed a very helpful reply OC.

Do you know whether Canon EF 100 2,8 USM (non L, IS) has a distance encoder? Haven't been able to look that up. And if it doesn't, that means 3 axis stabilization, correct?

QuietOC
QuietOC Veteran Member • Posts: 4,494
Re: Best Macro Lens
1

Becksvart wrote:

That's indeed a very helpful reply OC.

Do you know whether Canon EF 100 2,8 USM (non L, IS) has a distance encoder? Haven't been able to look that up. And if it doesn't, that means 3 axis stabilization, correct?

Yes, according to this list at Bob Atkins:

http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/eosfaq/ettl2.html

Several Sigma A-mount lenses I have had that are supposed to have distance encoders give very inaccurate/useless data. I learned this because current A-mount cameras can display focus distances live. I wouldn't trust third-party lenses until proven. The third-party EF adapters need to pass that data on accurately too.

Sony stores the focus distance as a magnification factor in the EXIF.

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richj20 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,303
Re: Best Macro Lens
3

If size/weight is important, consider Sony's FE 2.8/50 Macro.

I hike a lot with this lens, so I'm happy for its relatively small size and weight.

A few examples:

Another plus is that being 50mm, it is like a "normal" lens, for other than close up. For many botany projects, it is the only lens I carry.

- Richard

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Clix Pix
Clix Pix Regular Member • Posts: 455
Re: Best Macro Lens
1

For over a year and a half I had been weighing my options, knowing that I was ready for new gear but was still trying to figure out the best way to go.  One thing which was a constant throughout this journey was that no matter where I went, at least one macro lens was going to be part of the package.  In November 2019 I finally made the decision which had been tickling at me for a long time -- to just stop waffling and just go with Sony and one reason was that wonderful 90mm Sony f/2.8 lens.  I had long lusted after that lens, even though at the time I still had a bunch of Nikon and third-party macro lenses right here at home.  Everything I read about that 90mm f/2.8 macro  said it was stellar, every image I saw coming from it sure seemed to bear that out, too.  I wanted one.

So the day I went to the camera shop and made my big switch, I announced right off the bat (after saying which camera body, the A7R IV,  I was interested in) that I wanted that 90mm f/2.8 macro.  I also got the 50mm that day, as there are times when one needs and wants a lighter-weight, easier-to-move-around-with kind of macro.....

That was in November.  Now, this is February and although I have not been keeping count, I can easily assure you that the number one lens in my household, the one I've been using the most, time after time, is that 90mm macro.  I love the thing, it is just right for me and the way I like to shoot and what I like to shoot, and it's just a natural process: I slip the lens on the camera and we do our thing.  We have experimented together: the camera, the lens and me, trying interesting new ideas, seeing what works and what doesn't,  and happily have come up with a few amazing results as well.  I. Love. This. Lens.    Get it.  you won't be sorry, I promise you!

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A-Marc
A-Marc Contributing Member • Posts: 717
Re: Best Macro Lens

i would put my hand on the Voigtländer APO lenses. the image quality is breath taking and they are amazingly well constructed full metal beauties. Color rendering is superb and next to no CA.

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Scrollop Contributing Member • Posts: 813
Re: Best Macro Lens

What about the

1) Rokinon/Samyang 100mm - Review - 3.4 stars £350

and

2) Meike 85mmReview - 4.5 stars £262

macro lenses?

I'm looking for an affordable macro lens to digitize photographs (and though the Sony 90mm looks spectacular, it's not cheap).

AZheaven Senior Member • Posts: 1,575
Re: Best Macro Lens
1

I've researched macros since I made the switch from Nikon to Sony. The Sony 90mm f2.8 is expensive, yes. But worth it imho. It doesn't extend like the other 3rd party lenses do. I've looked at the Voigtlander macros and they are all manual focus from what I've read. Venus Optics was another affordable option, and they are 2 X's magnification not 1:1, but again, manual focus only.

I would go with the Sony. At least you have the auto focus option when needed.

Becksvart Contributing Member • Posts: 716
Re: Best Macro Lens

AZheaven wrote:

I've researched macros since I made the switch from Nikon to Sony. The Sony 90mm f2.8 is expensive, yes. But worth it imho. It doesn't extend like the other 3rd party lenses do. I've looked at the Voigtlander macros and they are all manual focus from what I've read. Venus Optics was another affordable option, and they are 2 X's magnification not 1:1, but again, manual focus only.

I would go with the Sony. At least you have the auto focus option when needed.

If no other lens at around 90mm and ok with super sharpness and f/2,8 for portraits then af might be a boon. Can't remember the last time I used af for macro. Internal focusing is nice, agreed. 'The best' is a bit vague but for me the FE 85 1,8 is great for portraits and I'll most likely get the Canon USM 100 2,8 for macro.

PhotoW Regular Member • Posts: 114
Re: Best Macro Lens
1

Scrollop wrote:

What about the

1) Rokinon/Samyang 100mm - Review - 3.4 stars£350

and

2) Meike 85mm - Review - 4.5 stars£262

macro lenses?

I'm looking for an affordable macro lens to digitize photographs (and though the Sony 90mm looks spectacular, it's not cheap).

I've heard the Rokinon has hood image quality, but I don't know about any elctronic contacts. Stay away from Meike - it's a horrible lens from the results I've seen.

Just got the 90mm Macro from Sony. There are so many macro options, but, if you want any AF at all, there's only really one lens to rule them all.

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Sony a7 III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 III +1 more
AZheaven Senior Member • Posts: 1,575
Re: Best Macro Lens

Becksvart wrote:

AZheaven wrote:

I've researched macros since I made the switch from Nikon to Sony. The Sony 90mm f2.8 is expensive, yes. But worth it imho. It doesn't extend like the other 3rd party lenses do. I've looked at the Voigtlander macros and they are all manual focus from what I've read. Venus Optics was another affordable option, and they are 2 X's magnification not 1:1, but again, manual focus only.

I would go with the Sony. At least you have the auto focus option when needed.

If no other lens at around 90mm and ok with super sharpness and f/2,8 for portraits then af might be a boon. Can't remember the last time I used af for macro. Internal focusing is nice, agreed. 'The best' is a bit vague but for me the FE 85 1,8 is great for portraits and I'll most likely get the Canon USM 100 2,8 for macro.

I admit I need practice with manual focusing. But my eyes are not what they used to be. And even with Sony's focus peaking I still can't get it right. But AF on a macro is still useful. I got a "macro" shot with my 24-105 f4 of a bee.

RaymondR
RaymondR Senior Member • Posts: 2,489
Re: Best Macro Lens

The Sony 90mm, as you have already heard from other posters, is very likely the "best." I won't quibble with that -- the images I have seen online from it are outstanding and I have held the lens and its very well constructed.  But after recently looking hard at it and all of the options discussed in the other posts, I opted for the Sigma 70mm 2.8 Art and so far I am very happy with the choice.  Excellent sharpness (no surprise for any decent macro), very pleasing color rendering on my Sony A7ii and the bokeh is good too.  I went for the Sigma because I already have a longer focal length macro (efov 120mm) in another format and I was looking for something meaningfully shorter.  That drove my decision but it also helped that the Sigma was half the price of he Sony 90, a bit lighter and a bit smaller in all dimensions.  But I would have gone with the Sony but for already having a longer macro.  So I guess my advice is consider carefully the focal length you want/need for the imaging you plan to do with yours.

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RaymondR

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