Sony NEX 30mm f/3.5 Macro and 55-210mm Zoom lens reviews - Part 2

Real world with the Sony NEX 30mm f/3.5 Macro and 55-300mm Zoom lens.

SONY NEX 30mm f/3.5 MACRO LENS

Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens

This is a very good lens. Slow at f/3.5, its looking really good for sharpness at f/4 and by f/8 its really impressive. One nice thing is it doesn't hunt for focus as much as other macros I've used. Focus locks on nice and smoothly. I must state that I'm no macro enthusiast or expert, so please bear that in mind. However the close ups I did take with it were top class and were achieved without any problems.

Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens
Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens 1/100th. sec. f/3.5 ISO 100.
Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens
Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens 1/100th. sec. f/3.5 ISO 100

Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens
Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens 1/100th. sec. f/3.5 ISO 100

Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens
Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens 1/60th. sec, f/3.5 ISO 100

Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens
Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens 1/60th. sec. f/4 ISO 160

Using the lens as a non-macro also proved successful. 

Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens
Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens 1/60th. sec. f/4 ISO 100

I've included some shots below with 100% blowups to show how it records detail.
Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens
 Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens 1/500th. sec. f/8 ISO 100

Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens
Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens 1/250th. sec. f/8 ISO 100

Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens
Sony NEX-5n 30mm f/3.5 macro lens 1/250th. sec. f/8 ISO 100

Overall I was very impressed. I do very little macro work so this is mainly going to function as a prime general purpose lens, with the ability to get close when I need it. I have the Alpha mount 30mm f/2.8 for my a77, and that functions much the same way. It is slightly faster, and would work with an adapter on the 5n for manual focus as the current adapter is somewhat inefficient and slow. I've tried it already and its difficult to work with for AF. The new adapter + fixed mirror would work better obviously, but since it looses 1/3 to 1/2 a stop of light, whether its a better option than the e-mount lens remains to be seen. I'll probably do a comparison when the adapter becomes available.

Used as a slightly wider than standard lens the 30mm f/3.5 would function as a nice one lens, light outfit. The speed is somewhat of a handicap, but part of the design brief for e-mount lenses must be to keep them as small as possible, hence the relatively small maximum apertures that all the ones released so far have. When the Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.8 are released, then there will be some faster lenses available. Having said that the low noise performance of the NEX-5n sensor gives a lot more latitude in terms of the ISO settings that can be used.


SONY NEX 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Zoom Lens

Sony NEX-5n 55-200mm zoom lens 
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens


While the 55-210mm zoom is not up to the standard of the 30mm macro, its a decent lens. It has the usual problem of not being great wide open at its longest setting, but overall it produces acceptable results for that, and at its shorter end, stopped down is very good indeed. There is no way, I think, to achieve stellar performance at long telephoto and wide aperture settings without paying a huge price premium and an equally huge size and weight. The 55-210mm is a "walk around" lens, and meant to be light and relatively small.

In performance terms it reminds me very much of the Panasonic 45-175mm X lens I bought and reviewed recently. The results seem very similar.

Here are a few test shots, followed by some with 100% blowups.

Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens 1/400th. sec. f/6.3 ISO 800 210mm

Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens 1/400th. sec. f/6.3 ISO 2000 210mm
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens 1/100th. sec. f/4.5 ISO 125 55mm
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens 1/200th. sec. f/5.6 ISO 640 129mm
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens 1/400th. sec. f/6.3 ISO 1600 210mm
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens 1/320th. sec. f/6.3 ISO 100 149mm
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens 1/160th. sec. f/5.6 ISO 100 55mm
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens
Sony NEX-5n 55-210mm zoom lens 1/500th. sec. f/7.1 ISO 100 210mm
I've yet to discover how slow I can use the lens at with its built in OSS stabilisation sytem.

I enjoyed using both lenses and they are very pleasing to use in practice. The whole outfit with the 5n, viewfinder and these two sleek "metallic" lenses is somewhat different to what I'm used to. I find I'm warming to this modernist look. I must repeat again how well made this all feels. I have written repeatedly about the plastic, lightweight and somewhat fragile feel of Panasonic cameras and lenses. The feel of this NEX system is much closer to the Olympus Pens and the 12mm and 45mm lenses. In fact I like the NEX lenses better. NEX is a very unfussy system, and uncluttered. In use its actually very liberating, providing of course I don't want to change any settings in the menus. 

More Later.