This lens has been around for a long time and is an older Sony lens. It comes with a simple plastic lens cap on the front which looks and feels high quality. The front element is quite small at just over 1cm in overall diameter. The lens body itself is silver and is the only color it is sold in. If we look around the lens, it has the Sony logo and has a minimum focusing distance of 9.5cm and 1:1 magnification.
One thing that might surprise you about the Sony SEL30M35 30mm e-mount Macro Fixed Lens is how lightweight it feels when you take it out of the packaging and handle it for the first time. It only weighs in at 4.8oz. This lens does have autofocus. When we look at the focus ring, it’s quite smooth but is a bit on the stiff side to turn but does work well when taking shots with manual focus.
This lens is intended to give you 1:1 magnification meaning that you can get really, really close to whatever it is you’re taking a picture of. The neat thing about using this lens is that you can push the lens hood and balance it onto whatever subject you are trying to photograph. If you do a lot of macro photography and shoot things like bugs, insects, flowers, food, or anything that you need to get pretty close to, this is a great lens to consider. As we said before, the Sony SEL30M35 30mm f/3.5 e-mount Macro Fixed Lens has been around for a while and has a great reputation.
Performance And functionality
In general, I love the lightweight this is. It focuses fast and close and takes fabulous photos, for a great price.
The main difference with this macro lens compared to others, is that you can get extremely close to your subject. Typically, without it you’ll be 6-8inches away from whatever you are shooting. If you are someone who loves getting close to the action, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with this.The only downside with this way of shooting (especially if you are taking images of insects), is that the subject might get spooked and move. If you are photographing stationary subjects like flowers then this is a brilliant option.
We have seen other competing macro lenses include LED lights to remove shadows that are cast from such close up shots. It would be nice to see Sony embrace this new type of technology in its macro lenses.
The autofocus functionality is fast and silent. It’s internal focusing so the barrel doesn’t move in and out which is extremely convenient when shooting images up close.
Another important note to make about the focus feature is that it focuses from the image sensor, not the front of the lens.
The auto focus function does tend to focus on whatever is closest to the camera. For example, if you are trying to take a photo of someone’s eye, then you might find that it will focus on the eyelashes first which can be a slight hindrance but easily fixed.
So if you are having difficulty with this autofocus function, don’t worry, you can just switch to the manual focus function. The focusing ring does have a nice mechanical feel to it even though it’s not.
You do have to spin the focus ring quite a bit to get whatever it is you are photographing, sharp. Which is a good thing, so you’re not going to keep going back and forth and miss the perfect shot.
Bokeh refers to the quality of the out-of-focus area when taking a photo. On this lens, it’s good. If you want to blur the background as much as possible, shoot with a wide lens and get as close as possible to the subject.
Flare ; Ghosts
As this lens has a very simple optical design, there are few air-to-glass surfaces which give reflections that cause flare and ghosts. This is a very flare-resistant lens.
Lateral Color Fringes
There are no lateral color fringes as taken on Sony cameras which are usually corrected. This performance is excellent.
This lens is very sharp throughout most of the image, even in the wide open f/3.5. This lens has the edge over other standard lenses not made for close work. However, no matter how hard you stop it down, it doesn’t achieve tack-sharp results and there is room for improvement.When the lens is wide open at f/3.5, the central region is sharp with only slightly soft corners. The sweet spot seems to be at f/5.6, where the corners are slightly tamed, and the center still holds its sharpness.
These are very subtle differences. But if you are someone who appreciates the little details, then you might notice the differences here.
These are the rays of light that come off the sun or other bright lights when taking a photo. On this lens they look pretty good and you don’t have to worry about them reudcing the quality of your photo.
Stabilization is very useful for a macro lens because when you are shooting so close to an object, hand-shaking is quite common when working at close distances. However, this does not have optic stabilization built in.
This means that you will have to have steady hands. If your camera is shaking, it will create a blurry photograph, even if your subject is in focus.
Keep in mind that this macro lens is not ideal for shooting in low lighting. It’s great for shooting in bright light.
Field of focus
The field of focus is sharpest in the center and the resolution is softer toward the outer edges of the image.
There seems to be a little more chromatic aberration in images than we would like. It seems to be more present in the extreme corners and is less so as you move to the center area of the image.
With the Sony SEL30M35 30mm f/3.5 e-mount Macro Fixed Lens, you might notice a small hint of shading or vignetting at f/3.5, but the corners are just a touch darker than the middle area of the image. All in all, it’s likely you won’t really notice it.
This lens does a brilliant job of limiting the amount of distortion, despite it being a wide-angle macro lens. The outer edges of the images should see a slight trace amount of barrel distortion.
This is the hallmark of the 30-mm f/3.5 lens offering 1:1 magnification when using it at it’s close-focusing distance of 9.5cm (about 3 ¾”). If we take into account the size of the lens and how far the sensor from the mount, this means that the close-focusing distance is about one inch from the element of the lens. In addition to the slight impact of distortion being this close, a common concern will be getting enough light to hit your subject.
User Interface And Control System
With this Sony Macro Lens, there are no control features other than the focusing ring. Everything else is controlled in the main camera body. The focusing ring is composed of metal ribs and you can turn it in either direction endlessly.
Build Quality And Design
This is a very clean and small design. Sony uses a little higher aluminum quality so this does not scratch as easily. The outer barrel is finished in silver and covered in lightweight metal material. The focus ring is comfortable to grip and turn.
It comes with a lens hood. The intended purpose of the hood is to knock down the glare of the lens. The lens comes with a small lens hood, which ultimately adds an extra quarter inch to the shroud covering the front element. From what we can gather, Sony isn’t overly concerned that flare will be an issue for this lens. Filters can be easily attached directly to the hood.
- Measures: 2.2 x 2.44 x 2.44 inches
- E-Mount Lens/APS-C Format
- Aperture Range: f/3.5 to f/22
- One ED and Three Aspherical Elements
- Weight: 4.9 ounces or 138 grams
- Required batteries: 1 Lithium ion battery
- Customer reviews: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars
- Focus type: Stepper motor / internal focus
- 7 aperture blades
- Minimum Focus Distance: = 3.74″ / 9.5 cm
- Filter thread: 49mm
- Lens type: Macro
- It’s lightweight and compact
- It’s extremely affordable
- Great quality images
- Easily cast shadows when taking up-close shots of subjects
- The corners of images are soft
- Not the best option for low-lighting situations and no stabilization
When you’re looking to blur the background when taking a photo with the macro lens, the light sources look blurred. The great thing about this lens is that it uses round blades instead of the conventional aperture.
The traditional blades have flatter sides which creates unappealing blurred light in the image. With this lens, it isn’t a problem.
Extra-low Dispersion Glass
Lenses designed with traditional optical glass have challenges with chromatic aberration, and as a result, images suffer from lower than normal contrast, less color quality, and reduced image resolution
What’s great about ED glass, is it lowers chromatic aberration and gives better contrast across the image as a whole. ED glass gives better compensation for chromatic aberration.
Aspherical Lens lements
Aspherical lens design dramatically reduces spherical aberration. At the same time, it reduces the weight and lens size. This is basically a small misalignment of the light rays which is then projected onto the image.
This is caused by differences in refraction at different points on conventional spherical lenses which reduce the quality of the image in large-aperture lenses. Specially shaped aspherical elements near the diaphragm restore alignment of light rays at the image plane, maintaining high sharpness and contrast even at max aperture.
High-quality aspherical elements can reduce the total number of elements required in the lens, which means that naturally it will weigh less and be smaller in size.
Aspherical elements have a really high thickness ratio between the middle and outer edges, which means they are quite hard to produce without the latest and most advanced technology to continually and accuratly achieve the outline and surface accuracy. This results in consierably improved image quality and accuracy.
The Sony Macro-30mm f/3.5 Lens is a solid option. It’s budget-friendly, lightweight, and one of the lowest-cost lenses available for Sony cameras.
What we love about this lens is that it:
- Focuses closely
- Gives you 1:1, real-life magnification
- Is very affordable to bring your macro photography to the next level
This lens is great if you’re into wildlife, treat photography as a hobby or take up close images of products. It’s a good starting point, given the price and the results it produces. It’s extremely sharp in macro mode, especially towards the center of the image and softer towards the corners.
With good results for sharpness, corner shading, and distortion, the only concern might be higher-than-normal results for chromatic aberration, but even that is treatable with post-processing. You can also double the lens as an equivalent 45mm normal lens. Even though it does tend to autofocus on the closest object, you can easily swap over to manual mode to get focused shots.
What would make this camera even better is if I had an LED light to offset shadows and if it was splashproof. Apart from not being amazing in dim light, this lens captures impressive, up close and sharp images. This is a very portable macro experience and offers great bang for your buck.