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Thread: Macro lenses for A900

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    Member mrtoml's Avatar
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    Macro lenses for A900

    I want to add a longer prime to my Sony 50mm and 28mm lenses for the A900. Around 90mm with macro capability and for portraits.

    I used to have a Tamron 90mm when I had a 5D and thought this an excellent sharp lens (although a little lacking in build quality perhaps). I will probably get one for the A900.

    Before I do does anyone have any thoughts/experience with other options (I am thinking about the Sigma 105mm and the Sony 100mm macro.)

    Thanks.
    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
    Sony A900; Nex 7; Fuji X-100; Ricoh GRD II
    Blogs at: alt-digital.blogspot.com

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    A few months back, there was a thread about this that you may want to find, and, if I remember correctly, the Sony 100mm is very good, although not quite up to Leica and Zeiss standards. You may want to consider a Leica or Zeiss conversion, since 24MP shows a lot more issues with lenses than your 5D did?

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    Member mrtoml's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Thanks. I'll try and find that thread.
    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
    Sony A900; Nex 7; Fuji X-100; Ricoh GRD II
    Blogs at: alt-digital.blogspot.com

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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    I've been curious about the Tamron 180mm macro. Its the only long macro available for the A-mount ASFAIK but haven't really looked into it.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    In the 100 Macro thread, the concensus was the 100 Macro is a fine lens if not used at extreme close to 1:1 magnifications. It has some flaws for sure, especially CA in image borders and LoCA as well. It is very sharp until 1:2 or 1:1.5. I am very happy with it at the moment. It is no match for my Contax Makro-Planar but does the job very well. I will certainly replace it with an eventual ZA version, but so far I am a happy user.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Member mrtoml's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebus View Post
    I've been curious about the Tamron 180mm macro. Its the only long macro available for the A-mount ASFAIK but haven't really looked into it.
    180mm is too long for me at the moment, but the 90mm Tamron I had (Canon fit) was really sharp.
    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
    Sony A900; Nex 7; Fuji X-100; Ricoh GRD II
    Blogs at: alt-digital.blogspot.com

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    Member mrtoml's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    In the 100 Macro thread, the concensus was the 100 Macro is a fine lens if not used at extreme close to 1:1 magnifications. It has some flaws for sure, especially CA in image borders and LoCA as well. It is very sharp until 1:2 or 1:1.5. I am very happy with it at the moment. It is no match for my Contax Makro-Planar but does the job very well. I will certainly replace it with an eventual ZA version, but so far I am a happy user.
    Thanks.

    I read the thread and got thouroughly confused I am still hovering between the two (Tamron/Sony). A couple of reviews suggest that the price difference between the Tamron and Sony is not worth it so I am veering towards the Tamron. OTOH the Tamron is a bit slow to focus and I was wondering about how the Sony performs. I often do child portraits and a faster focusing lens would be better. I also guess the build quality of the Sony might be better.
    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
    Sony A900; Nex 7; Fuji X-100; Ricoh GRD II
    Blogs at: alt-digital.blogspot.com

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    Member mrtoml's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    You may want to consider a Leica or Zeiss conversion, since 24MP shows a lot more issues with lenses than your 5D did?
    Do 24MP cameras really show all these issues? I would have thought so instinctively, but Ctein doesn't. I found this quotation yesterday and thought it was interesting:

    "23 megapixels does not out-resolve any halfway-decent 35mm-format fixed focal length lens, over a wide range of apertures. A top-notch 35mm lens, used at optimum aperture, can deliver twice the resolution of that. So you're really talking about needing 80 megapixels to match the best 35mm lenses."

    Food for thought...

    BTW the quotation is from here (near the bottom):
    http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...ng-200-20.html
    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
    Sony A900; Nex 7; Fuji X-100; Ricoh GRD II
    Blogs at: alt-digital.blogspot.com

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    Thanks.

    I read the thread and got thouroughly confused I am still hovering between the two (Tamron/Sony). A couple of reviews suggest that the price difference between the Tamron and Sony is not worth it so I am veering towards the Tamron. OTOH the Tamron is a bit slow to focus and I was wondering about how the Sony performs. I often do child portraits and a faster focusing lens would be better. I also guess the build quality of the Sony might be better.
    All 100 macros are slow focusing but the Sony seems to be reasonably fast at normal working distances, especially with the focus limiter. I would recommend the Zeiss 85 for child portraits though.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    Thanks.

    I read the thread and got thouroughly confused I am still hovering between the two (Tamron/Sony). A couple of reviews suggest that the price difference between the Tamron and Sony is not worth it so I am veering towards the Tamron. OTOH the Tamron is a bit slow to focus and I was wondering about how the Sony performs. I often do child portraits and a faster focusing lens would be better. I also guess the build quality of the Sony might be better.
    Hi There
    The Sony is a bit slow to focus too (and a bit noisy as well). Still, I think it's a good lens until something splendid comes along.
    Maybe the fact that both are not great at focusing would point you in the direction of the cheaper Tamron (the sony build quality is okay but not stellar).

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member Quentin_Bargate's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    Do 24MP cameras really show all these issues? I would have thought so instinctively, but Ctein doesn't. I found this quotation yesterday and thought it was interesting:

    "23 megapixels does not out-resolve any halfway-decent 35mm-format fixed focal length lens, over a wide range of apertures. A top-notch 35mm lens, used at optimum aperture, can deliver twice the resolution of that. So you're really talking about needing 80 megapixels to match the best 35mm lenses."

    Food for thought...

    BTW the quotation is from here (near the bottom):
    http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...ng-200-20.html
    If you read that quote literally, we could all get away with budget lenses and see no difference, and we all know that is not the case. So the opinion is inaccurate, to use a polite term. Rubbish in, rubbish out, as audiophiles would say. You will easliy see the benefit of superior glass with 24mp, or even less.

    As for macro lenses, the Sony 100mm is adequate, but not great. Get the Tamron.

    Quentin
    Quentin Bargate
    Director of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2012 - 2017, ”leading individual”, Chambers HNW guide, 2017, Photographer

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    Member mrtoml's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin_Bargate View Post
    If you read that quote literally, we could all get away with budget lenses and see no difference, and we all know that is not the case. So the opinion is inaccurate, to use a polite term. Rubbish in, rubbish out, as audiophiles would say. You will easliy see the benefit of superior glass with 24mp, or even less.

    As for macro lenses, the Sony 100mm is adequate, but not great. Get the Tamron.

    Quentin
    Thanks to all. I think I will get the Tamron.

    Regarding the quotation he does imply that he is talking about primes rather than zooms and it is difficult to know what he means by 'half decent'. Many prime lenses that are not that expensive are pretty good MTF wise. This is not the case for zooms. I guess he is implying that we can go even bigger in megapixel terms before the top quality glass will show any problems.

    Cheers.
    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
    Sony A900; Nex 7; Fuji X-100; Ricoh GRD II
    Blogs at: alt-digital.blogspot.com

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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    Thanks to all. I think I will get the Tamron.

    Regarding the quotation he does imply that he is talking about primes rather than zooms and it is difficult to know what he means by 'half decent'. Many prime lenses that are not that expensive are pretty good MTF wise. This is not the case for zooms. I guess he is implying that we can go even bigger in megapixel terms before the top quality glass will show any problems.

    Cheers.
    Well, if that's what he means, he should have said it

    I'm with Quentin on this one. There are so many lenses which simply don't cut it on full frame digital (including some of the Sony/Minolta lenses).

    The truth of this depends also on your needs; a 35mm lens which is soft at the corners may not matter at all if you're using it for weddings, but will be a disaster if you use it for landscapes (for instance).

    I actually find the Sony quite good for my needs (bugs and flowers in the main), but I'd guess the Tamron would have been just as good. Quentin and others have been using them for product shots, which are more critical I guess.

    Just this guy you know

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    Member mrtoml's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Hi

    I'm not saying he is right and he should have been clearer. I just wonder whether anyone has actually done any real tests along these lines. Instinctively to me it sounds wrong that older lenses designed for film cameras, for example, would just work fine on a 24mp sensor. But I am open to the idea if it can be shown. I have a few prime lenses that don't cut it on 35mm film cameras either (Nikon E series for example)

    Cheers.
    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
    Sony A900; Nex 7; Fuji X-100; Ricoh GRD II
    Blogs at: alt-digital.blogspot.com

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I actually find the Sony quite good for my needs (bugs and flowers in the main), but I'd guess the Tamron would have been just as good. Quentin and others have been using them for product shots, which are more critical I guess.
    Welcome back Jono, we've missed you! Hope that you enjoyed your Leica holiday!
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    A Zeiss macro for the A900 would be great. The 100mm Sony macro is just a bit lacking in both refinement and ultimate optical quality. I compare it to the non-AF Mamiya macro lens I use with the Mamiya ZD and its embarrasing, the Mamiya is so much better built. as well as being a tad sharper.

    I have used an older Tamron macro extensively in the past and always thought it produced very pleasing results. I own the Sony macro and I just feel a tad unenthusiatic about it even though it does the job.

    Quentin
    Quentin Bargate
    Director of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2012 - 2017, ”leading individual”, Chambers HNW guide, 2017, Photographer

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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by dhsimmonds View Post
    Welcome back Jono, we've missed you! Hope that you enjoyed your Leica holiday!
    HI Dave - thanks for the kind words.
    I'm back in 'dual' mode again these days!

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Regarding the build quality, while the Sony looks like a toy compared to Zeiss lenses, it has a better build than say the 50mm and 20mm that the OP has already purchased. Similarly to the 50mm, sharpness is no problem, it has plenty of it, but it has some other optical weaknesses that you can read about in the excellent review at kurtmunger.com. The Sony/Zeiss lenses are so good that one tends to become too difficult to satisfy with anything less.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    I researched all the test reports I could find (Google!) and bought the Sigma 70 mm macro. I am very pleased with it - it is a very sharp lens at infinity too. Here is one test with which I agree.

    http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Lens...EX-DG-Macro-AF

  20. #20
    brivimtwi
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne View Post
    I researched all the test reports I could find (Google!) and bought the Sigma 70 mm macro. I am very pleased with it - it is a very sharp lens at infinity too. Here is one test with which I agree.

    http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Lens...EX-DG-Macro-AF
    Great plugin. Simple and clear. Thank you!

  21. #21
    Paolo7780
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    The 200 f4 APO G is for sure the best Macro ever built for A Mount, stunning... For both quality and price

    This is a comparative test on A900 (courtesy of Rokkor from Minoltasonyclub.it)



    Center @f4

    Corner @f4


    As said in the other post about Zeiss lenses hope that Sony will resume this 200mm f4 project...

  22. #22
    vyanush
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    Thanks. I'll try and find that thread.
    Why not to try Sigma EX 150/2.8 DG Macro? I like it very much on Canon 5D2
    though it has HSM AF that is in question for A-mount. IQ is very good and bokeh is pleasing&smooth

    And BTW on A900 i use ZA 135 over TAMRON 90 Macro most of time unless i want to frame 1:2 or tighter

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    Member mrtoml's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    I find 150mm too long for portraits. I prefer something around 100mm. Although reading about the sharpness of the Sigma 70mm has got me thinking about that as well.
    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    The Sigma 2.8/150 APO Macro EX DG would also have been my obvious suggestion, but unfortunately I don't think it comes in Alpha mount. Or am I wrong here ?
    It has a very good reputation.

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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Hi Bondo

    The 150/F2.8 macro Sigma is not available in Sony mount....I just don't know why! However the 180/ F3.5 Ex DG lens is available in the A mount and there are some good reviews over at the Dyxxum site:

    http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/detail.asp?IDLens=206

    The extra focal length would help with any nervous critters but at the cost of a slightly slower lens.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

  26. #26
    vyanush
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Ooopps, sorry for misleading to EX 150, really forgot its lack of A-mount. Hope it is just question to adopt HSM to Sony SSM-standard.
    Rgd EX 70 i looked at it but finally fond too much protruding to my taste. IMHO it is a deal-breaker for insects and even for flowers/small nature sometime. So my strong preference go to "fixed-focus" design like EF-S 60 Macro, EF 100 Macro USM and EX 150/180s. My exception to Mamiya 120/4 Macro though for great IQ as stressed by Quentin.

  27. #27
    vyanush
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    Re: Macro lenses for A900

    Oooppps! Sorry for misleading rgd EX 150 and hope it will come in A-mount ASAP when SIgma adopt it to Sony SSM standard.
    Rgd EX 70 it shows impressive IQ but looked too much "protruding" to my taste. It's a show-stoper for insects and even for flowers/small nature sometime. "Fix-focus" design of EF-S 60, EF 100 USM and Sigma EX 150&180 is more appealing IMHO. My only exception is Mamiya 120/4 Macro, fully second Quentin rgd its IQ excellence.
    As for portraits, again my small preference to ZA 135 over 85 due to MDF advantage and ability to frame very tight when needed. Also ZA prortuding and slow focusing sometime anoying IMHO. To my eye ZA 135 is slightly crisper&better corrected WO

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