Review

I had the pleasure to review the Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens using the Sony Nex-7, and I was presently surprised with the results considering the negative hype surrounding this lens.

The Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens (SEL30M35) is an attractive lens for the Nex system as the only other macro lens available is the  Nanoha Macro Lens 5:1 from Yasuhara. It’s more expensive and a hard core macro only  lens for sure!! I’m currently testing it as I’m writing this review, and I put up a few sample pics so far using the Nex-F3 if you want to check them out. Click Here >>

Sigma also makes a great 30mm f/2.8 prime lens which is faster and lighter than the Sony, but has no macro ability. If your interested I just reviewed the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens over Here >>.

 

Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens (SEL30m35)

Be sure to click the photos for the full res version!!

 Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens for Alpha NEX Cameras

Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens for Alpha NEX Cameras

Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens

Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens – E-Mount Side

 

Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens shown on the Sony Nex-7.

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens - Front

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens – Front

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens - Left Side

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens – Left Side

 

Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Official Specs

Focal Length 30 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/3.5 -f/22
Camera Mount Type Sony (E Mount for NEX)
Format Compatibility DSLR (APS-C Sensor)
Minimum Focus Distance 3.74″ (9.5 cm)
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:1.0
Groups/Elements 6/7
Diaphragm Blades 7
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Filter Thread Front: 49 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.44 x 2.19″ (62 x 55.5 mm)
Weight 4.87 oz (138 g)
 

Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens – Sample Photos

Michele took this shot of my eye for me using the north facing sliding doors as the light source. I was pretty much on the glass and the front of the lens was resting on my nose for this image. That is how close the lens needs to be in order to achieve serious magnification like 1:1. I then took a photo of Michele’s eye which is way more pretty in my opinion!

Be sure to Click All the photos for the full res version!!

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/4, 80sec, ISO 1600

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/4, 80sec, ISO 1600

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/4, 1/250sec, ISO 1600

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/4, 1/250sec, ISO 1600

 

Sadie girl looking for some pets with our living room in the background out of focus :)

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/4sec, ISO 400

 

Some nuts and bolts using a variety of Apertures. Check the Caption below the photo for the Exif info!!

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/4sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/4, 1/4sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/8, 1/4sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/8, 1/4sec, ISO 400

 

Ethernet RJ48 plug set-up to loop back towards the equipment for testing purposes.

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/4, 1/4sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/4, 1/4sec, ISO 400

 

Some circuit cards with tons of tiny fuses fading out. Note the circular specular highlights all over.

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/4, 1/4sec, ISO 400

Same shot pretty much, except using f/16 for the aperture!!

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/16, .8sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/16, .8sec, ISO 400

More chips, capacitors, and a heat sink.

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/5, .4sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/5, .4sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/5, 1/8sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/5, 1/8sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/15sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/10sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/10sec, ISO 400

Same photo using f/8!

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/8, .5sec, ISO 400

Wires and colors.

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/13sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/13sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/13sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/13sec, ISO 400

 

This is a cardboard shoe box with dashed lines:

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/6.3, 3.2sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/6.3, 3.2sec, ISO 400

These are Michele’s incredible meatballs that are now long gone!

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/80sec, ISO 800

Soda can.

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/60sec, ISO 800

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/60sec, ISO 800

Matches stacked up and spread out on the kitchen table

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/20sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 - Sample photos

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/20sec, ISO 400

 

A Lego Romance I happen to witness in the living room.

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 2sec, ISO 100

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 2sec, ISO 100

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 2sec, ISO 100

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 2sec, ISO 100

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 2sec, ISO 100

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 2sec, ISO 100

 

Michele over at my parents house in the natural light un-edited!!

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/80sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/80sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/80sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/80sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/160sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/160sec, ISO 400

 

A few photos taken outside including my highly torqued gate spring for the deck, and an aging caste iron puzzle.

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/250sec, ISO 100

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/3.5, 1/250sec, ISO 100

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/4.5, 1/160sec, ISO 100

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/4.5, 1/160sec, ISO 100

 

Real World Corner Sharpness Test

The corner sharpness of the SEL30M35 is the weakest link of this lens in my opinion, and you can see in the real world sample image below what I mean. I was using the 24mp Nex-7 for these photos, and that extra high resolution is going to show flaws in detail. On the 16mp Nex-5n for example, the corners would not look as soft as the high res images below. Reason being the sample resolution would be less much less, and the 1200px 100% sample crop would take up more of the photo.

Therefore, if you need tack sharp corner sharpness and your using the 24mp Nex-7, simply crop in a little bit and plan for than when you take the photo! Remember, this lens only costs ~$280 US, not $1000 US like the 24mm f/1.8 Zeiss that does have far superior corner sharpness. But it’s more than 3x the price, so you need to keep that in mind when comparing lenses to one another. Especial corner sharpness!!

Additional Note: I had the Sony Nex-7 resting on the floor using the self timer, and eyeballed the focal plane alignment. I was obviously off a bit as the lower right corner is less sharp than the upper left corner.

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/8, 1/3sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/8, 1/3sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/8, 1/3sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/8, 1/3sec, ISO 400 – Top Left

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/8, 1/3sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/8, 1/3sec, ISO 400 – Center Area

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/8, 1/3sec, ISO 400

Nex-7 w/ Sony 30mm Macro Lens @ f/8, 1/3sec, ISO 400 – Bottom Right

 

Build Quality and Overall Thoughts

The Sony 30mm Macro lens for the Nex Camera system goes for ~$280 US. In my opinion that is a great price for what you get with this lens. In fact, every Sony Nex lens I’ve tested so far has be really well made and very good quality. I wish I could say the same for Canon, Tamron or Sigma, but I can not. They all have crappy lenses in their line-up. The Sony E-Mount lens line-up however, with the price factored in, is a killer line-up!  If the lenses were $500 I would still say they were good buy, but at the current price point there a great buy!! Especially the 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens and the 55-210mm OSS Lens.

The Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens when mounted on the Nex-7, is a pretty light combo and looks sharp as well.  I also personally like the 30mm focal length on the APS-C sized sensor which makes it pretty close to 50mm (~48mm in 35mm equivalent). That focal range is short enough that you can get pretty close to your subjects when using it as a portrait style lens. For kids in particular this is useful at times.

For Macro purposes however, I do find the 30mm a bit to short for some things. Especially when trying to achieve 1:1 magnification, because the minimum focus distance is 3.74″ (9.5 cm).   That is fine for some stuff, but for living bugs it can be particularly hard. The perspective distortion is also pretty noticeable when taking photos that close to your subject. More on Lenses Optics, How, and Why over Here >>.

 

Closing Remarks

As you can see in my real world sample photos, the Sony E-mount 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens performs incredible well on the Sony Nex-7 despite the somewhat soft corners. Especially when you factor in the price of this lens at ~$278 US!! The contrast, color, and bokeh are also pretty good. The lens bokeh in particular is not the prettiest I’ve ever seen, but it is nice and smooth which is still very pleasing to the eye.

Based on the price of this lens and the time I had to review it using my now Naked Sony Nex-7 >>, I Highly recommend it. I feel this lens is a solid value for the dollar, and more importantly adds true 1:1 Macro abilities to your Nex Camera system.

Macro Photography is a blast and opens up a whole new genre of things to photograph!! If your needs require super high magnification like 5:1, then check out the Nanoha Macro Lens 5:1!!

Also, if you feel our efforts have helped you out, please consider clicking the product links On SonyAlphaLab.com when you decide to do some shopping. BHPhotoVideo >>, Amazon >>, Adorama >>  This will give us credit for the sale at no additional cost to you, and will result in a few pennies for us. The money goes mostly to server juice, but also keeps the gear coming from our preferred venders. Thanks again for your support, and please consider sharing this article with your friends using the huge assortment of social links below!!

Jay

Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens @ BHPHotoVideo >> – Currently $278 US

 


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Thanks,
Jay

 

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Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!