Cosina AF 100mm F3.5 MC macro A-mount lens review by Bob Maddison

reviewer#10806 date: Dec-28-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 30mm f2.8 Macro
Minolta 50mm f1.7
Minolta 35-70mm f4 'macro'
price paid:100GBP (new)
Excellent Macro lens
comment:I have the Vivitar version which I have owned for many years.

Much criticised as the "plastic Fantastic" but the plastic construction is little different to the modern Sony lenses. Although AF is slow and noisy, this is an inherent property of a 100mm macro lens with external focusing.

The supplementary lens to take it to 1:1 has also been criticised. What this does is to shorten the effective FL thus reducing the amount of lens extension needed for 1:1 and it does seem to work with minimal effect on IQ. More importantly, by reducing the FL, it has the effect of minimising the loss of light often associated with a macro lens on full extension. I have estimated that the supplementary lens has a power of about 2.4 Dioptre. I have also found it useful to add an additional +1 to allow it to go a little beyond 1:1 as this makes it easier to attain true 1:1 for critical applications.

The fact that this is macro lens sometimes detract from the fact that it is a useful 100mm lens in its own right. Its relatively simple optics guarantee good colour and contrast, something that is missing from its more expensive cousins.

If this lens were available new today, the maker's would be laughing all the way to the bank! Understandably, it seems to be one of the most sought after lenses!

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 63
  • sharpness: 4.63
  • color: 4.48
  • build: 2.78
  • distortion: 4.60
  • flare control: 4.16
  • overall: 4.13 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania