Sony FE 50mm F2.8 Macro E-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#44530 date: May-30-2020
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
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:Opteka 15 F4 Macro
Tamron 20 F2.8 OSD M1:2
Tamron 24 F2.8 OSD M1:2
Sony DT 30 F2.8 Macro SAM
Tamron 35 F2.8 OSD M1:2
Sigma 45 F2.8 DG DN C
Sony A 50mm F2.8 Macro
Minolta AF 50 F2.8 Macro RS
Minolta AF 50 F3.5 Macro
Minolta MD 50 F3.5 Macro
Tamron SP 60 F2 Macro
Sigma EX 70 F2.8 DG Macro
Tamron SP 90 F2.5 Macro
Minolta AF 100 F2.8 Macro D
Minolta AF 100 F2.8 Macro RS
Vivitar 135 F2.8 Close Focusing
price paid:376 USD (used)
positive:Size and weight
Good sharpness and contrast
Flat field
Three position range limiter
Focus distance encoder
Lens Compensation
Durable anodized finish
20 FPS support
55mm filter
negative:Chromatic aberrations
Minor pincushion distortion
Manual focus-by-wire
Slow, noisy DC motor
Extending/unit focusing
f/16 minimum aperture
More like 40 mm at minimum focus
Less magnification than other 1:1 lenses
Redundant MF switch
comment:I've been using A-mount 50mm macro lenses for product photography but wanted native autofocus. I had upgraded to the Sony A-mount macro a year ago for the distance encoder that my previous Minolta RS version lacked. The FE macro is currently listed for $50 less than the A-mount lens this is after Sony raised the price of the FE lens $50 late last year (2019). It was once on sale in 2017 for $350 and had a few sales of $400 and was often on sale for $450. I made three unsuccessful Greentoe offers for this lens, before winning this used copy on eBay. "Made in CHINA"

This lens extends less than the Minolta/Sony A-mount macro lenses. Its angle-of-view is wider than the A-mount 50mm. It's front element is less recessed. The focusing distance is 4 cm shorter at the same magnification, but the working distance is similar. In the plane of focus it is optically very similar to the older lens with more lateral CA.

The autofocus is similar to the FE 50mm F1.8 and Tamron SP 60mm F2. The Tamron OSD primes are quieter and focus a bit faster. Like the FE 50 F1.8 this lens supports 20 FPS tracking AF on the A9 models.

The f/16 minimum aperture is a problem for a dedicated life-size macro lens. The cheaper FE 50 F1.8 can stop down to f/22. The A-mount macros stop down to f/32.

This lens continues the Minolta tradition from 1961 of a 55 mm filter thread diameter on macro lenses.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 5
  • sharpness: 4.90
  • color: 4.60
  • build: 4.00
  • distortion: 4.80
  • flare control: 5.00
  • overall: 4.66 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania