Sony 50mm f/2.8 macro ( SAL-50M28 ) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published August 2008

Special thanks to Konrad Kandler for providing this lens for testing purposes!


The Sony 50mm f/2.8 macro is a further survivor from the Minolta era. Naturally it has been redesigned to match the look and feel of Sony Alpha lens series but under the skin little if anything has changed. It it, obviously, a full format lens which can be used for macro and mainstream applications. Its field-of-view on APS-C DSLRs is equivalent to about 75mm ("f/4"). You may argue that the focal length is ideal for portrait photography but its max. aperture is usually too slow to be something else than a compromise solution here.

The build quality of the Sony lens is good but in relation to its price tag there's too much plastic involved in the construction. The broad rubberized focus-ring operates quite smooth but it's also somewhat wobbly. In AF mode it is decoupled from the focus gear. As you can see in the product images below the lens extends when focusing towards closer distances - this is a quite common characteristic for macro lenses although the more modern Canon and Nikon counterparts manage to keep a constant physical length here.

The AF of the Sony 50mm f/2.8 macro does still rely on the classic focusing system driven by the camera (via a slotted drive screw). The AF speed is pretty decent as long as the camera does not wish to hunt through the whole focus range. If possible you should always take advantage of the focus limiter. The lens does also feature a focus stop button which may come handy at times.

Equiv. focal length75 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction7 elements in 6 groups, floating system
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.2 m (max. magnification ratio 1:1)
Dimensions71 x 60 mm
Weight295 g
Filter size55 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodbarrel-shaped, snap-on, optional
Other featuresfocus stop button, focus limiter

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