Review / need help with lenses for a6000

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by JMM, Aug 1, 2016.

  1. JMM

    JMM TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 29, 2016
    So, if anyone read my welcome post, you know my background. If not - im microscopist with growing interest in "normal" photography.

    So for me, it's like: Microphotography -> Extreme macro (here is where my knowledge ends)-> Macro -> Wildlife -> Landscapes -> casual snapshots.

    I got a6000 which is great camera for micro / extreme macro (imo best, with possible slight edge for a6300 / a7r2).
    PART 1 (reviev part)
    For microphotography im using Nikon Microphot with DIC and fluorescence, all Nikon CFN Plan Fluorite lenses and some gap-fillers (nikon tend to be quite expensive :) ) from PZO (which are actually extremely cheap and pretty decent lenses - great way to start with micro). Coupled with Metz flash - awesome little thing. No idea why microscope manufacturers dont produce micro-flashes (waaay back ago Leica did that)
    Exaple shots:
    Tradescantia sp. "leaf hairs" in fluorescent light:
    Human cheek cells in fluorescence:
    crystalized sugar in polarized light

    For extreme-macro i've got: own build set-up based on manual focus gear, bellows and low-power micro lens / enlarger enses. Taking photo with this take hours, post-processing take days, and since my HDD died i've got only few shots left :( (not super quality - extracted from my compressed pdf master degree work ).
    Domestic fly head
    Ladybird in fluorescence

    For macro... im new here. Already own extension tubes and SEL30MF3.5
    Dont have any spectacular reasults here (yet! i hope). So i've been shooting various insets and flowers for few months with SEL30M, SEL50 and SEL55210 trying my strenghts on the subject. With this kind of magnifications it's very shallow DOF and i dont own proper setup for field focus stacking (yet!). My thoughts on the subject:

    -Sel30M - forget it. Its great lens, give true 1:1 but lacks proper working distance and OSS (wonderfull little thing if you aint carrying tripod, focus rails and flashes with you). I can recommend it to you if you're interested in shooting coins or stamps etc. But if you're into insects / flowers (deep stacks), forget it. Distort too much for focus stack and insects are too spooky. For casual "snaps" i cant find it anyway superior over SEL1650. Gonna sell it.
    All shots far away from 1:1... impossible to get closer.

    -SEL50F1.8 - amazing glass, totally love it. Had SEL35F1.8 for a bit, but decided to sold it and keep 50 which is a lot cheaper (when using PZ1650 - i've found myself using either 16 or 50, so couldnt justify that extra 35 if results are quite similar with 50 minus two steps). So since i like it so much i've tried it on kenko extension tubes. It goes around 0,5x with them with similar max aperture like SEL30M but much better working distance at that magnification. But it got one problem - focusing only in appropriate distance. You're too close or too far to subject - no luck. Thats really very troublesome with this lens, so i cant recomend it... tho if you got sel50 , you can get reasonably good close-ups for cheap (payed around 28USD for new set with metal mount - avoid plastic one)
    Cetonia aurata
    -SEL55210- now thats GREAT lens. I find myself keeping it on camera for 90% of time. It has reasonable close-up capabilities about 0,3x for itself (good for medium/big butterflies with super comfortable WD of around 1 meter). But real magic is when extension tubes are on. It's now a close-up monster with accesible magnifications (sic!) in range of 0.1x-0,6x with resolution on ok'ish level. Its not super-resolution beast but its very flexible. Simply approach as close as you can, quickly turn the zoom ring to pre-focus and then let the autofocus do the job (great for flying insects). Its super fast and accurate, also super cheape'o! Once had 18-200 something from tamron and was very dissapointed with it, im very happy with sel55210 (overall, not only regarding close-ups)!
    Pluskiwak.jpg Trzmielot.jpg WazkaCzerwona.jpg
    -SEL1650 - last but not least (ok maybe least... but still not too bad) is the power zoom on kenko tubes. It goes almost up to 1,5x! unfortunately its too short, working distance is too painfull to use on macro, but its capable of acceptable close-ups. It resolved the red ant eyes!
    MrowkaWscieklica.jpg ZukLesny-(4).jpg

    Ok, thats the review part, now time for first questions!
    Im very happy with my close-ups abilities so far, but still lacking TRUE MACRO lens. I know there is SEL90G... but i got big plans and tight budget on incoming few months. For the price of SONY lens i can get LA-EA2 and 3x Sigma 105, Minolta/Sony A 100mm Macro... which are outstanding lenses... cant see how Sel90 can be any better...
    I've been able to play with my buddy (he's true macro specialist, got really outstanding photos, but he's Canon user) sigma 105 and sigma 150 2.8 lenses... amazing glasses. 150 is lot more expensive (still fraction of SEL90), but 105 is as good in IQ but lacking a bit in working distance. Around 15 centimeters, wich is still very comfortable for me! So i did extensive research on DXO and few other sites and found couple of options:
    -Minolta/Sony 100mm on la-ea2
    -Canon/Sony Sigma 105 (sony ver lacks OSS due to IBIS, but OSS is great feature - im reluctant to let it go) on la-ea2 or mc-11 (i already own mc-11, but dont get any lenses to test it yet :) , im afraid of autofocus capabilities).
    I can get them all second hand for about 250-300 USD.

    Has any of You used those combinations? I really like OSS and unfortunately wont get it with la-ea2 and sony/minolta (im still considering swaping system to a77mkII for a couple of lenses, but thats later). I also like autofocus - good for flying insects and for casual snapping. I would like to use those lenses as 100 prime, but how good/bad will they perform on mc-11 / la-ea2 and a6000?
    Or finally... can you recomend other TRUE MACRO options for sony E with appropriate focal lengt (100+)?

    Edit: If you are interested, i can post some gear photos. Also if you are interested i got tons of similar crappy close-ups like those aboves.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
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  2. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    Yes, I can see flaws in some of the above images. But if those are all crappy, I think I will just sell my camera/lenses and find another hobby.
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  3. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    I don't understand half of what you just wrote, John. But I think it's all really cool. :)
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  4. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 7, 2011
    Why do you find OSS important? Are you shooting hand held for macros (which would be amazing, btw). Or just to have it for casual shooting?

    There are tons of legacy primes, including macros (legacy = manual focus) that can work just fine for macro on a tripod.
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  5. JMM

    JMM TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 29, 2016
    Yes, all my "macro" shots are handheld. Without OSS i need to keep shutter speed at 160-200 with OSS i can go as low as 40-80 (that give me much greater DOF).

    I use legacy lenses for studio super-macro, they are really fine there. But good legacy macro (90mm + ) cost almost the same as sony/minolta 100mm on 2nd hand maket. And those later can be used as casual shooting 100mm prime. BTW have anyone tried MP-E 65 via an adapter with sony bodies?

    Mucha.jpg osa2.jpg pajak-(1).jpg
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  6. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    These are excellent IMHO! If these are your average shots, I hate to see the good ones! I may have to sell my gear and take up golf. :D

    Nice tip on the extensions with the 55210. I also tried your route with extensions for my SEL5018 (albeit mine are the cheapo plastic version) and ran into similar AF hunt issue and gave up on it. I never thought to try it with the longer zoom. I will have to try that. As hand-held macros are a PITA w/o AF and IS.

    I went the legacy macro route due to cost/value and picked up a Tamron SP 52BB 90mm f/2.5, a set of Canon FD 50mm 100mm 200mm macros, FD extensions, for $300.
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  7. JMM

    JMM TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 29, 2016
    Thank you. FD Macro lenses seems like an quality choice. Tho they cost about 50% of the street price of AF sigma 105 / minolta 100. Im not sure what to pick...

    PART 2 (wildlife)
    I also enjoy shooting nature, which i encounter while walking around. Unfortunately, only choices from E-mount are 200mils which seems to be too short for me. Those are few example shots made with SEL55210:
    Those were photographed an hour before the moon, so on high ISO
    This is prolly my best bird shot with SEL55210, just because sparrows let you approach very close (pine grow about 2 meters from my window)
    And try to get into BIF, but i think its impossible with this lens. You can't get any closer (on boat, middle of river, she literally flied over my head), yet i still had to crop it really heavy.
    MewaLot.jpg MewaLot2.jpg
    So i've did some reasearch and found 3 reasonable (in terms of IQ and price) options:
    -Canon 400 f5.6 via MC-11
    -Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 via MC-11
    -Tamron A-mount 150-600 f5-6.3 via LA-EA2

    According to internet rewievs, canon got slight edge over the zooms in terms of IQ, but lacks OSS. But zooms are much more flexible and bit longer, and waaay shorter if needed. What could be most important factor is their ability to AF on E-mount.
    Did any of you tried any of those on E-mount, best if on a6000? What can you say about auto-focus capabilities? Im seeing very mixed rewievs about mc-11 and sigma. Almost nothing about canon and tamron tho.

    Tamron 150-600 and minolta/sony 100mm macro are the two reasons which makes me think about A77mkII... third and last one is 16-50 2.8 thats an awesome lens.
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  8. Dan Euritt

    Dan Euritt TalkEmount Regular

    Jan 11, 2014
    if you are looking at an laea2, i'd suggest getting an laea4 instead, so that you aren't limited to the crop factor.

    but rather than using either of those, in part because they are based on af technology that's over 6 years old, it might be smarter to put that money towards an a6300, because of the superior af that it has... i don't see the need for an a77 mk2 if you have an a6300, just get an laea3 or the sigma mc11.

    the tamron 150-600 has comparable pq at 400mm to the canon 400/5.6l usm lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens Image Quality

    i don't see any need to get hung up on the minolta/sony 100mm macro, because there are so many good macro lenses out there, and you aren't going to use af with macro.
  9. JMM

    JMM TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 29, 2016
    Just found out that A-Mount Tamron lack stabilisation. So im leaning toward sigma. Can someone confirm mc-11 performance with this lens and a6000? I dont plan to change camera body in near future, will rather invest into lenses.

    Im using AF with macro (mostly DMF, sometimes AF-C). What good macro lenses you got in mind?
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