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

reviewer#10817 date: Jan-5-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
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:Minolta MD 50 f2 (manual focus) with reversing ring. (tested on film, Minolta XD7).
As above on macro bellows.
Minolta AF 50 1.7 (on film, Minolta 7000i and Dynax 7) and borrowed Vivitar AF extension ring.
Tamron SP 90mm macro and dedicated converter (first MF version used with film XD7, lens on loan from a friend.)

Canon FD 50mm f3.5 Macro (MF, with film on Canon T70).

All the above (save the canon) used (without much success) on A100 and film (7000i and Dynax 7) using a Kenko MD/MAF converter.
price paid:£90.00 (used).
positive:Sharp, good colour rendition. Light
negative:"Wobbly". Rattles.
No "red spot" on barrel. (awkward when changing lenses - especially if you haven't got your glasses on!).
comment:I joined this forum a few weeks ago, having purchased an A77 to replace my lost/stolen A100. This is my first lens review. The scores I've given are subjective and not based on any technical data.

I've had this lens for years (long before moving to digital) and I love it. I think I may have paid over the odds at the time but I don't regret it. Mine is labelled "Vivitar". The bottom line is, If you don't have a dedicated macro lens and you see one of these for sale used buy it. You will not regret it if it's in good condition (check the going rate first of course!). I wasn't aware of the 1:1 adaptor - I'll be keeping an eye out for one of those from now on (see earlier reviews).

Despite what the the other reviews say above, it really isn't that noisy, but it will hunt in low light. (I worked in photo retail 30 years ago, and I remember what the early AF lenses sounded like! The Maxxum/Dynax lenses were a revelation when they first appeared!) The lens has a metal mount, and three concentric barrels, the outer of which is metal - or at least has a foil coating. The lens rattles if you shake it - so don't shake it. I thoroughly recommend you don't drop any lens you own.

It has a flat front element, giving low distortion and good edge to edge sharpness, an 8 element iris which in theory should mean nice out of focus highlights. The front element is well recessed. I haven't noticed any particular problem with flare. I've never put a hood on it.

Best used with a slow focus option if your camera has it, or manual focus for macro. I haven't really used it much for portraits but planning to invest in studio flash and will be testing this lens out for portraiture if/when that becomes available. I suspect I might find it too long in focal length on APS C. Would love to try it out on full frame digital.

I gave a high score for construction to reflect the relatively low original retail price of this lens. The designers clearly put their main effort into the optical quality rather than construction.

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