For closeup views of small subjects, choose macro lenses. View intricate details through a macro lens—whether water droplets on plants or the movements of a mechanical watch—and you'll be enchanted by a world different from what you usually see.
Macro photography is only one application for these fast prime lenses. You can shoot all kinds of scenes, including beautiful shots with bokeh, portraits, and street photography.
Check the maximum magnification in the lens specifications to know how large you can make your subjects in shots.
The maximum magnification is the magnification at which subjects look their largest, at the minimum focus distance. It's the ratio of the subject size as projected on the image sensor to the actual subject size. Macro lenses are designed to offer a large maximum magnification ratio.
For example, a lens with a maximum magnification of 0.25x presents images with subjects one-fourth their actual size. Sony macro lenses offer maximum magnification of 1x, enabling full-size macro photography.
Maximum magnification relative to size on the image sensor
- 0.25x = 1/4
1 cm objects are projected on the image sensor at a size of 0.25 cm
- Full size = 1/1
1 cm objects are projected on the image sensor at a size of 1 cm
Choosing the right lens for your subject
Working distance and minimum focus distance
The best lens to use depends on the subject and scene you'll shoot. Check the minimum focus distance and working distance of the lenses you are considering.
- A: Working distance: distance between the subject and the front of the lens
- B: Minimum shooting distance: distance from the subject to the image sensor surface)
- C: Mark showing the position of the image sensor surface
For example, SEL30M35 lenses have a minimum focus distance of 9.5 cm and a working distance of about 2 cm. This allows you to shoot at very close range, so it's easy to take pictures of food or small objects on a table in front of you while seated.
SEL90M28G lenses have a minimum focus distance of 28 cm and a working distance of about 13 cm. From a short distance away, you can take closeups of animals or insects that will run away if you get too close.
- Short working distance:
Allows you to get closer to subjects.
- Long working distance:
You can shoot from some distance away.
- If you shoot reflective subjects such as water droplets at close range, you or your camera may appear in the reflections. In this case, try shooting from a different angle.
- Be careful not to get so close to subjects that the lens touches the subject or anything else around it. In viewfinder shooting, also keep your other eye open to check the distance.
Focusing in macro photography
Macro photography requires precise focusing.
For a subject with conspicuous features all around, autofocus may not always focus on your preferred position if you open the aperture to blur the foreground and background and make the depth of field (area in focus) shallow.
If autofocusing (AF) does not focus where you intended, either use direct manual focus (DMF) to fine-tune or manual focus (MF) to adjust the focus yourself.
With DMF, you can fine-tune the focus using the focus ring after the camera focuses with AF. This way, you can quickly focus on the intended position.
Useful focusing features
For more reliable focusing, these supporting features can be used with DMF and MF.
- Focus Magnifier:
- Check the focus by enlarging images before shooting.
- MF Assist:
- Enlarges images automatically to make focusing easier.
- Enhances the edges of image areas in focus with a specified color.
Switching between AF and MF with the SEL90M28G
The focus ring on SEL90M28G lenses is also used to switch between AF and MF. You can quickly switch between these focus modes simply by sliding the ring forward or backward. To use DMF, set it to the AF position.
Scenes for trying out lenses
Your main subject is emphasized by the closeup, and the beautiful background bokeh will make the image look ethereal.
Taking a fresh look at the subtle things our eyes can't catch opens up unseen worlds.
Hydrangeas on a rainy day
Capture the delicate beauty of individual petals or the raindrops on them with closeup shots.
Macro lenses to try
Although a variety of cameras and lenses are available, we're sometimes asked whether NEX-7 or ILCE-6000 lenses can be used with the ILCE-7C or ILCE-7M3.
Both APS-C and full frame cameras and lenses are offered, but as long as the same E-mount is used, compatibility is ensured. See the following page for notes on use.
Are APS-C and full frame cameras and lenses interchangeable? (α E-mount)
FE 50mm F2.8 Macro
A standard full-frame macro lens. Enjoy composing shots with broader-ranging backgrounds than medium-telephoto macro lenses. A versatile choice that can be used in serious macro shooting as well as culinary, landscape, portrait, and everyday photography.
FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS
The first medium-telephoto macro E-mount lens with optical image stabilization. Impressively accurate life-size photography can be achieved in handheld shooting. A balanced approach is taken to correcting spherical aberration and other optical aberrations, resulting in the smooth, beautiful bokeh for which the G Lens series is known.
Being able to shoot from a short distance away makes the lens a good choice for closeups of animals or insects that may run away if photographers get too close. Also useful for closeups of cherry blossoms and autumn leaves overhead.
FE 20mm F1.8 G
This 1:1 macro E-mount lens is easy to carry and weighs only about 138 grams. Shooting subjects from the minimum focus distance of about 9.5 cm makes the lens a good choice for closeups of flowers and other small objects, as well as food on a table in front of you while seated.