Released too late for our major group test of macro lenses in issue 171, Sony’s new offering is now present, and looks very much correct.
It’s a full-frame format E-mount optic that’s ideally suited to the Alpha 7 series of camera bodies, further extending the appeal of Sony’s Alpha E-mount system.
A prime lens in every way, it boasts excellent build quality and a host of high-end features, along with a short telephoto focal length and full 1.0x or 1:1 magnification at its shortest focus setting.
Build & handling
The quality glass includes aspherical, ED and Super ED elements, plus Nano AR coating. There are 15 elements in all, arranged in 11 groups.
Further highlights include DDSSM (Direct Drive Super Sonic-wave Motor) autofocus; an OSS (Optical SteadyShot) stabiliser; a three-position autofocus limiter switch that includes full-, short- and long-range settings; a focus hold button on the side of the lens barrel; and a well-rounded nine-blade diaphragm.
There’s no full-time manual override of autofocus as such. Instead, you can switch between autofocus and manual focus by nudging the focus ring forwards or backwards.
The manual focus ring has a fairly long travel and operates very smoothly, enabling precise adjustments. One downside of the system, however, is that the focus distance scale is inactive during autofocus.
Autofocus is fairly fast, near-silent and, coupled with an A7-series camera, extremely accurate. Sharpness and contrast are very good, even at the widest available aperture of f/2.8, which enables a tight depth of field for portraiture and other short telephoto shots.
As with competing stabilised macro lenses, the effectiveness of the stabiliser is greatly reduced at very short focus distances.
90mm full-frame; 135mm APS-C
Min focus distance
Max magnification factor
Manual focus override
Push-pull focus ring
Focus limit switches
N/A / Yes
Lens caps, hood
Dimensions (D x L)
79 x 131mm
The Sony is equally adept as a close-up macro lens and a short telephoto with attractive bokeh, but UK pricing is high.
Build & Handling: 4.5/5