FE90 Macro On The Way

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Jefenator, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    I resisted this lens for a long time because my vintage Leitz macros have been so nice to work with.
    On the other hand, I do more product shooting for the ETSY store than all other types of shooting combined. It's the only photo work that currently brings me in any money. So, I suppose I ought to go ahead and see what the modern dedicated lens can do for my shooting (and hopefully processing) flow.
    I do have reservations about a few things, like the way the camera plus lens will handle on the tripod. Also, the way it will (or won't) render sun stars.
    Hopefully the benefits of AF, stabilization, EXIF data, internal focusing and the modern optics will be dramatic and the few anticipated drawbacks will prove trivial. I'll be reporting back soon. :2thumbs:
    flickr-1.
    Last hurrah for the Leitz Macro-Elmar 100mm?
     
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  2. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    :popcorm2:
     
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  3. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    That's a beautiful shot.

    The 90mm seems like a superb all purpose lens with Macro ability.

    Sent from my SM-N920P using TalkEmount mobile app
     
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  4. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    I really enjoy your product photos Jeff. I love the sun stars you are able to create with your previous lenses so hopefully the fe90 will produce the same !

    Congrats on the purchase ;)
     
  5. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I'd expect these aspects aren't relevant for the (lovely) product shots you're showing us regularly. I do sort of product shots too and I couldn't care less about the things you mention for those; completely different story when I'm going out to shoot. Very curious to learn why you'd prefer the Sony 90mm over an excellent legacy lens for product photography.

    Edit: I'd gladly relieve you of your Leica 100mm lens if I weren't using a bellows for my shoots :).
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
  6. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul TalkEmount Veteran

    343
    Feb 14, 2016
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    Paul
    The 90mm is meant to be a great lens optically, it's a lens I'd like but not one I'll probably get.

    Looking forward to seeing your photos.

    Paul
     
  7. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Not necessarily crucial to the final result but if the AF can speed things up a bit between shots, that could be a significant time saver. (With my current setup, I often have to recompose and manually refocus a couple of times to dial in the exact frame I want. Doesn't sound like a huge deal but for a dozen shots of a dozen items it adds up.)
    If the stabilization gets me an extra 2 stops of latitude, I'll definitely take that! Using a higher percentage of handheld shots could be a huge deal.
    The ability to get in to 1:1 without an extension tube will be most welcome. The Leitz only does 1:4 which isn't enough to get the composition I want with my smaller items.
    In terms of differences that are actually visible, I'm hoping for better flare resistance on the intensely backlit shots and nicer colors.
    There's a lot of unknowns and at a certain point there's nothing for it but to roll up my sleeves and try it! :)
     
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  8. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Day 1 findings:
    • Weight and balance on tripod not a big deal.
    • Stabilization is nice to have for what I do. (Static subject, handheld.) Really, really nice.
    • AF is useful sometimes. Mostly for handheld shallow focus shots.
    • MF is always handy with a tug of the focus ring and unlike any other Sony E-mount lens I'm aware of, it is linked to the distance scale. The action seemed a bit coarse at first (infinity to 1:1 in less than 180º - the old Leica goes from infinity to just 1:4 in well over 270º). But that lets one get around more quickly and once you're in close, it's fairly easy to give the focus a tiny electronic nudge.
    • Sun stars are lousy. But the colors seem to have more "pop" with natural contrast and flare resistance which I like.
    A few old vs new comparisons:
    sunstar.
    flare.
    One thing the newer lens is definitely better for is super close-ups like this:
    band-1.
    I'm still getting used to it but it looks like I'll probably be keeping it.
     
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  9. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    A few days in, my impressions are refined somewhat.
    The bulk is kind of a bummer. I would love to see a smaller f/4 version of this lens. Shooting my vases and paperweights at home, the maximum 2.8 aperture is absolutely irrelevant. On the other hand, so is the bulk.
    rteles-1.
    Weights of my tele primes (plus adapters) are 384g, 600g, 670g and 618g respectively.
    I was a bit surprised and disappointed to realize the Sony actually weighs more than the beefy old Micro-Nikkor 105/2.8. (It doesn't feel that heavy in the hand - especially when I'm used to that solid brass Macro-Elmar-R.)
    Fortunately, it's not just dead space and weight. Optically speaking, the Sony is kicking major butt. Here's some 100% center crops shot wide open with the above picture lenses:
    rtele-centers.
    Definitely some visible differences - and these are just the centers. Check out the corners!
    rcorners.
    The Minolta actually cleans up pretty well when stopped down. The Micro-Nikkor not as much and it was the touchiest to focus. Though the Sony has by far the narrowest focus ring sweep, it seems to be consistently the easiest for really nailing focus. (Go figure...) Both of the legacy telephoto macros are really not very fun to try and use at moderate distances. (So much so that I was compelled to invest in a non-macro 85mm.)
    The Sony almost flunked my "fit in the holster bag I originally bought for the smaller NEX-7" test but it did just barely squeak in. And when I did take it out, I was pleased to find that it seems to work pretty well for action shots of my colleagues. Here I actually have a use for f/2.8 and I actually really appreciate the awesome job it does, rendering at that setting.
    randy-1.
    randy100.
    The autofocus makes this lens quite usable indeed (at least in this light). The stabilization was also a huge deal. (I forgot to switch it on for the first group of shots and noticed a huge difference in the keeper rate.) This is obviously not the ideal lens for this application but with acceptable AF performance, more than acceptable wide open rendering, stabilization and nice BOKEH, I'm going to have a hard time justifying ever spending another $1000+ to get the Batis 85/1.8. (I might hang on to the old Minolta, though - it seems to be punching well above its weight and it juggles much better with my other small prime lenses when I go hiking.)
    I would have liked more justification to have returned this bulky new Sony and gotten my $1000 back, but at this point I really can't. It's rocking my world too hard with the things it does well.
    I'm going to go ahead and get that next size bigger holster bag. (Truth be told, the A7 with an "L" bracket was already kind of a tight fit. ;))
     
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  10. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Just for giggles, here's the lenses at their minimum focus distance. The Sony is at 1:1. The Micro-Nikkor would need an extension tube to get that close. The Macro-Elmar-R would need one just to get to 1:2! (Suddenly, the Sony doesn't seem quite so bulky...)
    rtelesx-1.
     
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  11. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Wow! Seeing those 100% crops makes this kind of a no-brainer, doesn't it? :D
     
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  12. aliengrove

    aliengrove TalkEmount Rookie

    18
    Apr 20, 2016
    Lancashire
    Jon Bowles
    I bought one of these mainly for the 90mm and f2.8. It works great as a portrait lens, is incredibly sharp, and has reasonable bokeh (I prefer the bokeh from my Tamron Adaptall 90mm f2.5). Recently I've been playing with the macro and it works very well on the A7s; The ability to ramp up the ISO makes to use small apertures and fast shutter speeds makes handheld macro more practical.
     
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  13. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    It's a no-brainer for me [over the Batis 85mm] with my steady stream of product to shoot. It's definitely a pleasant surprise to see how well it holds up all-round.
    Speaking of which, it's also pretty sharp near infinity - another thing many vintage macros do not do well at all IME. o_O
    rinf.
     
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  14. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

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  15. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Thanks for sharing! My eyes have been telling me that CA performance is swell. Haven't gotten around to a focus shift test yet and now you've saved me the trouble. :D
    (I usually focus stopped down nowadays, as does the AF system, which BTW seems to work pretty well for certain shallow focus applications. f/22 not so much...)
    Kind of ironic how the lenses that often do get focused wide open on their native systems have more shift issues. (I've found that in previous tests.)
     
  16. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    A few months in, I'm still in the honeymoon phase. My appreciation for the AF/MF implementation has grown over time and the OSS has greatly reduced my need to use the tripod (thus increasing output and saving precious time).
    Here's a somewhat contrived cellphone shot of the workhorse combo in action (I'd normally have my eye up to the viewfinder).
    fe90-1.
    And some favorite recent examples of handheld product shots:
    fe90vase-1.
    fe90silh-1.
    fe90ppw-1.
     
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  17. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Very nice

    Sent from my GT-N5110 using TalkEmount app