The Sony 50 mm macro comes from the Minolta unit: the lens design is from Minolta, but the jacket is from Sony. On a camera with an APS-C sensor, the focal length of this Sony macro lens corresponds to a 75 mm lens on a camera with a full-frame.
Construction and autofocus
The lens is tested on a Sony A-77, a camera with an APS-C sensor, where the camera was set to automatically adjusting of any vignetting, distortion and chromatic aberration. A focal length of 75 mm (@ full-frame) is actually just too short for making portraits. The portrayed runs the risk of being portrayed with a long nose.
Focusing with the Sony 50 mm macro is quick and quiet on a Sony A77, but not silent. The new Sony 16-50 mm 2.8 zoom lens, which we recently tested, is quieter. Of searching in low light is little evidence.
Vignetting is sometimes visible at full aperture, like shown in a practical example on the right. From aperture 4, the vignetting is negligible.
Move your mouse over the image to view the Imatest results for vignetting.
The distortion of the Sony 50 mm 2.8 macro is low. This is not due to in-camera correction, because the non-corrected RAW file exhibited just as little distortion. A good lens design thus.
Assess the bokeh of the Sony 50 mm macro at 2.8 for yourself at 100% size, by clicking on the image on the right.
The Sony 50 mm macro 2.8 is not bothered much by flare, like most lenses with a fixed focal length. In direct and bright sunlight, a bit of flare is visible, such as the practice shots on the right show. You rarely encounter such extreme situations in practice.
We have not tested this lens as macro lens, where the subject is very close to the lens, but in the same manner as the regular lenses. The Sony 50 mm macro is also a very good lens in daily practice. The resolution of the Sony 50 mm 2.8 lens is very high.
Move your mouse over the image for a 100% image cropping on the place of the red rectangle.
Interestingly, the resolution in the corners is already just as high as the resolution in the center at aperture 2.8. From aperture 6, the resolution decreases slightly due to diffraction. But at aperture 16, the resolution of jpg files is still around 2000 LW / PH. That is still very good.
In practice, you will not encounter visible chromatic aberration when using the Sony 50 mm macro. The chromatic aberration is measured by Imatest and averaged under the 0.05%. In the worst case, the chromatic aberration can be 0.1%.
WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens when you store the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
high optical quality: resolution, distortion, chromatic aberration, and insensitivity to flare are all perfectly fine
vignetting at full aperture
A focal length of 75 mm may be (converted to full-frame) a less widely used fixed focal length, but this lens deserves to be in a camera bag of any quality-conscious photographer (with a camera with an APS-C sensor). For a macro lens is the apparent extension of the focal length also only beneficial, because you less likely disturb your subject because of that.
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.