It’s the first dedicated macro lens for Sony’s full- frame E-mount cameras, but just how good is the new Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens? Richard Sibley has a closer look.
Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS review – Build and handling
Once again, Sony has produced what many will think is a fairly large lens for the Alpha 7 cameras. Personally, I don’t see the 79 x 130.5mm dimensions, or 602g weight, being an issue, and I had no problem handling or carrying the camera around with me for a whole day.
Internally, the lens is constructed of 15 elements in 11 groups, with nine rounded aperture blades. To get a 1:1 magnification, the lens needs to be at its minimum focus distance of 28cm, which gives a good working distance between the subject and the end of the lens. It is certainly good enough for photographing live insects.
The body of the lens has a smooth matt metal finish, with a knurled rubber focus ring at the front end of the lens. Interestingly, the lens has a push/pull auto/manual focus switch, making it a quick switch between auto and manual focus. I found this particularly useful for shooting macro images when sometimes only a slight focus shift was needed. Simply pull the lens to switch to manual focus, then a slight turn will instantly switch the viewfinder to magnified view, making very accurate focus selections a speedy process.
The focus-lock switch on the side of the lens helps make focusing even more easy, and is located on the side of the barrel where most photographers rest their thumb. When the lens hits the focus point you want, simply hold this button to lock focus; the lens will then remain locked until you let go of the button. It is useful when shooting in continuous AF mode.
Obviously with such a large focus range it can take some time for the lens to focus from the closest distance to infinity. To reduce this time there are three different focus limiting positions, which you set via a switch on the side of the lens. The full range, 0.5m-infinity and 0.27m-0.5m, are the available options, with the latter obviously restricting the lens to its macro mode. The two restricted modes certainly make autofocusing faster, and I would recommend using these as much as possible depending on what you are shooting.
The AF motors are remarkably quiet. There are, in fact, two lens groups that focus, both being driven with a Direct Drive Super Sonic wave Motor (DDSSM). With no loud whirring you won’t be scaring away any insects because of the sudden noise, and it also makes the lens useful for shooting video.