Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 G OSS macro ( SEL90M28G ) - Full Format Review / Lens Test
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published April 2016

Introduction

Sony's ramp up of their full format E-mount lineup is in rapid progress. This time we'll have a look at their first macro lens - the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 G OSS macro. Like most modern macro lenses it is capable of focusing down to an object magnification of 1:1 although it also works perfectly fine as a general purpose tele lens, of course. It is a designated G-series lens. Back in the Minolta days, G stood for "Gold" but you don't hear/read that anymore. However, Sony is continuing to use the G label for high performance lenses. Besides consumer lenses, they also introduced GM (G "Master") lenses as a further class above the G series. So similar to Olympus, Sony has 3 natives quality grades now (plus Zeiss) - just to give you an idea of the different classifications.

The 1000 US$/EUR price tag of the FE 90mm f/2.8 G OSS macro may be a shock for some. However, while you can indeed find many comparable DSLR macro lenses for much lens, this is actually just a bit more expensive than the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM L IS. That being said it confirms once more that you have to pay a little extra for the privilege of entering this system. The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 G OSS macro is also a (further) counter argument for the frequently mentioned statement that mirrorless lenses are generally more light-weight/compact. The weight and size dimensions are pretty much identical to the mentioned Canon lens. Compared to DSLR systems, you can primarily shrink the camera, less so the lenses. Of course, there's nothing wrong about this but it's just worth to mention once more.

The build quality of the Sony lens is very good indeed. We aren't totally sure whether the lens barrel is made of (thin) metal or plastics but either way we don't see a reason for complaining here. The weather sealing also shows that Sony has been putting some serious efforts into the construction to make to suitable for professional use. The physical length remains constant throughout the focus range. The lens features a focus clutch mechanism so you can switch between auto- and manual-focus by pushing/pulling the broad focus ring. A focus-stop button as well as a focus limiter (macro <-> 0.5m <-> infinity) is also implemented. Sony claims that the optical image stabilizer offers a gain equivalent to 4-4.5 stops. While we can confirm that the OSS action is indeed very efficient, this is probably stretching things a little in the real life (as always). Sony's new Nano AR coating is meant to improve the flare resistance and we tend to agree here. A barrel-shaped, plastic lens hood is also part of the package.

Sony uses its Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF Motor (DDSSM) which is reasonably fast and essentially noiseless. Typical for E-mount lenses, focusing works "by-wire" although it tries to mimic mechanical focusing by offering a focus scale. Manual focus precision is Okay albeit to perfect. We are heavily relying manual focusing during the lab testing - just like many macro photographers - and it felt a bit coarse regarding the focus action.

Specifications
Optical construction15 elements in 11 groups inc. 1x Super-ED, 1x ED and 1x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades9 (circular)
min. focus distance0.28m (1:1)
Dimensions79x130.5mm
Weight602g
Filter size62mm
Hoodsupplied, barrel-style, bayonet mount
Other featuresFocus Hold Button, Sliding Focus Ring, Weather Sealing, Nano AR Coating, Floating System, Focus Range Limiter