Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Review

August 17, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS is a new macro prime lens for the Sony A7 full-frame E-mount compact system camera. It features 15 elements in 11 groups including aspherical, ED and Super ED Elements, offers built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, and has a minimum focusing distance of 28cm with a maximum magnification of 1x. It has a near-circular 9 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas of the image, while an internal focusing mechanism means the lens barrel doesn’t move, and it’s also dust and moisture resistant. The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens is available for £999 / $1099 in the UK and the US, respectively.

This lens was supplied for review by our friends at Hireacamera - they’re definitely worth checking out if you want to hire or rent camera kit in the UK.

Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Weighing in at 602g, the aluminium alloy bodied Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS is about average for an f/2.8 full-frame macro lens. It's overall size complements a body like the Sony A7R II body that we tested it with, as shown in the photos below.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSThe Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSThe Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSThe Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Build quality is excellent, a relief given the price-tag. The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS has a sealed dust and moisture resistant design which makes it well-suited to life in both the field and the studio.

The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens has a metal lens mount. It accepts 62mm filters via metal threads.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSSide of the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSSide of the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens

The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS has a round Focus Hold Button which keeps the lens locked to the current focusing distance, useful if you're auto-focusing and don't want the lens to try and find focus again. The preview function can also be assigned to this button through the camera's custom settings.

The Focus Range Limiter switch prevents the lens from hunting through the entire focusing range. There are three options - Full, infinity to 0.5m, and 05.m to 0.28m.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSFront of the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSRear of the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens

The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS has a generously wide and ridged focus ring. Manual focusing is possible by using the sliding focus rin to toggle between AF and MF. The lens utilizes linear motors to produce quiet and smooth focusing, making it well-suited to shooting video, with the overall lens length remaining constant during focusing.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSFront of the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSRear of the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens

The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS features optical image stabilisation, which together with the A7R II's own built-in stabilisation mean that we could sucessfully hand-hold the camera up to 4-4.5 stops slower than with a lens with no OIS.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSThe Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens in-hand

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSThe Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens is commendably supplied with both a soft case and a fairly good quality plastic round lens hood.

Focal Range

At the 90mm focal length the angle of view is 27 degrees.

 Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSField of view at 90mm

Focusing

The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens has quite a wide focus ring. There are no hard stops at either end of the range, making it a little more difficult to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 62mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS zoom is a quiet and fairly quick performer on the Sony A7R II that we tested it with, taking about 0.25 seconds to lock onto the subject.

We didn't experience much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time, and it's also a quiet performer thanks to the linear motor driven internal focusing, making it ideal for movie shooting.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, were not very apparent in our test shots, only appearing in very high contrast areas.

Light Fall-off and Distortion

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/2.8, there is some light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 1 f-stop to prevent it.

There's some very slight barrel distortion evident at 90mm in the RAW files - the Sony A7/A7R II automatically and successfully apply corrections to the JPG files.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS

Macro

The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS offers a minimum focusing distance of 28cm with a maximum magnification of 1x. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash memory card.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSSClose-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS lens, Sony employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in very appealing bokeh. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several 100% crops for your perusal.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS
   
Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

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