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The Sony 100mm f/2.8 macro is one of two macro lenses in the current
Sony lineup. The Sony 50mm f/2.8 macro is the other. Both lenses provide
1:1 magnification. The advantage of the 100mm lens is that it provides
more working distance (the distance from the subject to the front of
the lens). On an APS DSLR such as the current Sony Alpha lineup the
100mm gives the same field of view as a 150mm lens on a full frame
camera. On a Sony Alpha A700, (compare prices) (review), at 1x magnification the 100/2.8 macro
will capture an area of 23.5 x 15.6 mm.
The 100/2.8 macro is supplied with a bayonet mounting lens hood.
Though the Sony
100/2.8 macro has a DOF scale, it's not a lot of use. The lens is not
at fault. On a 100mm macro lens there isn't room for useful DOF
markings. As you can see, it has lines only for f/32, and they are so
close together that you really can't tell what the corresponding
shown on the lens barrel for various focus distances. As the lens is
focused closer the barrel extends and more markings are
revealed. There are calibration marks from 1:10 (1/10th life size) to
1:1 (lifesize). The barrel does not rotate during focusing. At 1:1 the
working distance is approximately 6" (15cm).
The Sony 100/2.8
macro has both a focus limiting switch and a focus hold button. The
range limiter can be set so the lens only searches focus in the
closeup range. This can speed focus aquisition by restricting the
range over which the lens searches. The focus lock button can be used
to disable autofocus. Sometimes it's easier to hold focus and move the
camera slightly back and forth to focus in the macro range and the AF
hold button enables this to be done more easily than by switching the
camera from AF to MF.
In AF mode the focusing ring of the Sony 100/2.8 macro does not spin.
Like most macro lenses,
the Sony 100/2.8 macro is very sharp. On the Sony Alpha A700 DSLT
(APS-C format), even wide open the lens is pretty sharp from center to
edge. Distortion is negligible and there's only the slightest hint of
chromatic aberration, even if you look at the edges of the image. At
the left is a 300% enlargement from the edge of the image, and as you
can see there's only the very slightest hint of green/magenta
CA. Sharpness and contrast do increase slightly as you stop down, but
this is a lens that can be used wide open at f/2.8 and still yield good
The Sony 100/2.8 macro uses a 9-blade iris with shaped blades to
provide a near circular aperture. This is designed to give a pleasing
shape to out of focus highlights (good "bokeh").
The other macro lens in the Sony lineup is the
Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro, (compare prices), which is smaller, lighter and
slightly less expensive ($415 vs. $565), but doesn't give as much
working distance. There are also third party macro lenses available
such as the Sigma 50/2.8 macro, the Sigma 105/2.8 macro and the Tamron
90/2.8 macro. All these lenses are sharp and focus down to 1:1
The Sony 100mm f/2.8 macro is a very good lens. It's sharp wide
open and aberrations are well controlled. The 100mm focal length gives
a good working distance for macro work (6" at 1:1) and also makes the
lens quite useful for portrait work.
Where to Buy
You can get this lens from amazon.com.
It's normally in stock and overnight shipping is available.
100/2.8 Macro Specifications
100mm (150mm full frame equivalent when used on