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Sony FE 50mm f2.8 vs Canon EFs 60mm f2.8 vs Zeiss FE 55mm f1.8


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I have seen some people sharing some experiences on this forum regarding a shorter focal length macro option to use in addition to the excellent 90mm on Sony full frame.  I was missing a bit of an overview and direct comparison of the available options so here is a thread to start that.

 

I received the canon lens today so I now own 3 candidate options which I can test in the next couple of weeks. Waiting for the water to warm up locally so dry testing for now and real world testing later.

 

These candidates are left to right :

 

Sony Zeiss FE 55mm f1.8 + 26mm extension tube

Not a macro lens but an excellent lens topside which many sony shooters probably own already. Gets somewhat into macro range by adding the extension tubes so might be a cheap addition for many

 

Sony FE 50mm f2.8 Macro fully extended

Excellent lens optically but infamous for being very slow and loud to Autofocus. Does come with a focus limiting switch and is very compact

 

Canon EFS 60 mm f2.8 Macro + metabones adapter

Canon option initially built for APS-C but is reported to also work well on full frame at higher magnifications and stopped down

 

image.jpeg

 

 

First takeaways are that all 3 options are similarly sized and fit in my nauticam housing using :

N100 flat port 32 + 40mm extension

N100 flat port 45 + 30mm extension

 

The Zeiss and the canon initially seems to focus noticeably faster than the Sony with the Canon being more prone to hunting. I will try to conduct a more objective test for this.

 

 

To compare the lenses FOV on land I made a test setup shown bellow taking a picture at f13 with my 42MP a7Riii on the minimum focus distance for all the lenses.

image.jpeg

First pictures are uncropped but resized for web in Lightroom as only edit.

Zeiss:

55mm_1-1_nocrop.jpg

Sony:
50mm_1-1_nocrop.jpg

Canon:

60mm_1-1_nocrop.jpg

 

 

And a 1200x1200 crop in the same order:
55mm_100percentcrop.jpg

50mm_100percentcrop.jpg

60mm_100percentcrop.jpg

 

 

The Zeiss unsurprisingly loses out on magnification, contrast and sharpness being not a macro lens. It is an accessible option though so I am curious to how it performs underwater in the real world and wether it will produce usable images after some processing.

 

The canon seems well suited in this quick MF test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Robin.snapshots
text did not upload initially
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In addition to those, you could consider:

 

1. Zeiss Touit 50mm macro. It's APS-C but can be used on FF if you can be bothered. Vignetting is reduced to small corners if you change from 3:2 format to 4:3 on your FF cam. However I suspect doing this affects the OIS system if that bothers you.

 

In any case, it's still a great option shooting as a crop lens on FF. It's compact, superb optically, and has internal focus. Updating firmware to V2 is essential.

 

2. Zeiss 40mm CF. FF lens which focuses to 1:3.3. Also internal focus. Gets a bad rap in the (land) reviews for some weird behaviour up close, but it is also superb optically. Updating firmware to V2 helps.

 

It's currently my go to lens for shooting everything while doing surveys, or anytime I'm unlikely to encounter big stuff. Even then, if big stuff is about, concentrating on head or other detailed pics is always an option.

 

It has one problem - it will tell you things are in focus when you are closer than the minimum distance... when you review the image you see that wasn't so. Solution: familiarity with the lens (back off!).

 

3. There are a couple of 35mm lenses which go to 1:2. eg Canon; also Tamron. But the Tamron gets universal criticism for poor AF, so that's a deal-breaker for me.

 

The point about these shorter focal length lenses is that with say 60 megapixels, substantial cropping is fine. I can shoot a 25mm goby with my Zeiss 40 and the result is acceptable for publication / ID purposes.

 

If there was a decent 1:2 35mm option for Sony I'd buy it in a heartbeat, as then I could use it with a 140 dome.

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Interesting comparison. Nice work. One thing to note is that it appears that the APS-C crop mode was turned on for the Canon 60mm shot (I think the default setting is for it to turn on automatically when you mount an APS-C lens). Both the Canon 60mm and Sony 50mm are 1:1 macros and will have the same magnification at minimum focus distance.

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48 minutes ago, Isaac Szabo said:

Interesting comparison. Nice work. One thing to note is that it appears that the APS-C crop mode was turned on for the Canon 60mm shot (I think the default setting is for it to turn on automatically when you mount an APS-C lens). Both the Canon 60mm and Sony 50mm are 1:1 macros and will have the same magnification at minimum focus distance.

Thanks for letting me know, Its been a while since I had an aps-c lens on I completely forgot this was a thing.  The 1200px crops are still fine (there the magnification is also similar) but I would need to check the canon again for vignetting in that case.

I did a quick AF test yesterday and I have to say that the Sony performs much much better when the subject is not centred in the frame. The sony can have focus points in the corners of the frame where the canon really struggles.

During that test I also noticed that the lack of contrast of the Zeiss was partly caused by some internal reflections on the extension tubes. After flocking one I got much cleaner results but also some vignetting because the material I had is a bit thick. I ordered different extension tubes with a wider opening and will repeat the test with those.

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Posted (edited)

 

 

Here is an example illustrating the difference with tracking AF in a handheld scenario on my a7 iv.
As said in the previous post, the AF seems to work much nicer outside of the center with the Sony.

 

 

Here the vignetting of the canon can also be seen initially but disappearing at closer focus.

 

Edited by Robin.snapshots
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i am also looking to add a 50-60 mm marco lens...

 

from a youtube channel, much has been said that the sony 50mm is slow... and the better lens is the canon 60mm from EOS.

 

what is your thought so far on these 3 lens?

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13 hours ago, hellhole said:

i am also looking to add a 50-60 mm marco lens...

 

from a youtube channel, much has been said that the sony 50mm is slow... and the better lens is the canon 60mm from EOS.

 

what is your thought so far on these 3 lens?

I have used the Canon 60mm and the Sony 50 macro. I found the Sony a good travel lens (every ounce helps!) and, true, it's slow to focus and loud, but when paired with newer Sony bodies, focus tracking makes all the difference. 

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On 4/18/2024 at 11:11 PM, Robin.snapshots said:

I did a quick AF test yesterday and I have to say that the Sony performs much much better when the subject is not centred in the frame. The sony can have focus points in the corners of the frame where the canon really struggles.

Was the Metabones adapter in green or advanced mode? Their documentation says that the advanced mode is limited to a 'small central PDAF area', whereas green mode uses the 'full PDAF area of the sensor'.

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