Macro photography with the Sony NEX 7 system camera

Sony macro lens with E-mount
Sony macro lens with E-mount

A very good solution for macro shots is the inexpensive Sony SEL30M35 lens (Photo: Sony).

Immediately after purchasing the Sony NEX 7 (more here) became a big fan of this system camera. It is very handy, fast and takes nice photos in 24 MP resolution. Only one thing I've been missing so far and that is the ability to take macro shots with the camera. Unfortunately, the wide angle that I use does not offer the opportunity to get close to the object and so I usually have nothing else to do than take the photos from further away and then crop them - not a good solution if you have a high resolution would like to have.

Now I have browsed the Internet for a few hours and found various ways of doing macro photography with the NEX 7. I would like to briefly introduce the different paths here, but for me the journey is clearly towards an independent lens.

The cheapest solution: intermediate rings

An inexpensive solution for people who may not yet know whether [macro photography-> macro photography] is for them are intermediate rings that are screwed between the lens and the camera. Due to the increased distance, you can get closer to the object and thus also take macro shots. Unfortunately, the image quality is not as convincing as you get when you use a real macro lens. Nevertheless, I would like to link a set with extension rings here, as you can get a taste of the macro area for less than 20 EUR.

Macro extension ring set for Sony NEX models
The intermediate rings with E-mount can be found in the set in sizes 7, 14 and 28 mm. It is important for photographers to know that no autofocus or automatic aperture setting works with these extension rings. This must be set manually.

On the front: Close-up lens set for common Sony NEX lenses

The second solution to get a little closer to the subject is to use close-up lenses. These are screwed onto the filter thread of the lens at the front. A set with different lenses usually has different magnification scales, which are measured in diopters. A small close-up part of close-up lenses is that they swallow light and produce blurring in the image towards the edge. Nevertheless, I would like to mention it as an inexpensive alternative to the macro lens. The following set is for 49mm internal thread, as offered by the Sony 18-55mm f3,5 - 5,6, which is usually bought with the Sony NEX 7.

Set of 5 close-up lenses for 49 mm filter thread
12 Reviews
Set of 5 close-up lenses for 49 mm filter thread
This five-piece close-up lens set is suitable for lenses with a 49 mm filter thread and offers 1, 2, 4, 8 and 10 diopters.

If you want to buy a close-up lens set for the Sony SEL-1800 (18-200 mm with f3,5-6,3), you should look out for sets with a thread of 67 mm. I linked one here that got good reviews.

Hoya close-up lens set with 67 mm thread
This 3-piece close-up lens set from Hoya offers the magnifications with +1, +2 and +4 diopters.

E-mount macro lenses for the NEX 7

The best image results are of course achieved with special macro lenses that can be mounted directly on the camera's E-mount. There are different variants: If you like to take large pictures of immovable things, you can definitely use a lens with a small focal length. If you want to take photos of insects or other animals that have a long flight distance (that is, that fly away early if you get too close), you should use a macro with a long focal length, as you can take the pictures from a distance can. This is definitely recommended for butterflies, dragonflies, bumblebees or bees. Here are my recommendations:

50,11 EUR
Sony SEL-30M35 macro lens
With a 30 mm focal length you can or must get close to the subjects with this lens. Certainly not so practical for animal photography, but a great lens with a good price-performance ratio for taking pictures of flowers and the like. However, when taking pictures you should try to use an aperture of 5,6 and higher in order to achieve optimal sharpness to reach.
Sony SEL24F18Z Carl Zeiss Sonnar lens 24mm / F 1,8
With a purchase price of almost 1000 EUR, this lens is certainly only something for ambitious photographers, but it also offers the option of taking excellent pictures with an open aperture. For animal photography, however, it is only of limited use when it comes to animals with a high flight reflex.
214,00 EUR
Sony SEL-55210 E-mount telephoto zoom lens 55-210mm / F 4,5-6,3
With this telephoto zoom you now have the option of taking pictures of insects from a distance. If you actually need more zoom at the same distance, you should add a close-up lens set with a 49 mm thread - linked above. But it already offers a strong zoom that also works with the image stabilizer.

 

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2 comments

  1. Helmut Hass says:

    Hello Sir,

    I've owned a SONY Nex 7 for a long time, but I don't use it for macro photography of flowers and insects, which is a big part of my photo safaris. I still use the SONY Alpha 580 with a SIGMA 105 macro lens. SONY's own macro for the Nex has a focal length that is too short for me. In the meantime I read about a new fast ZEISS lens (TOUIT 2,8 / 50mm) on the Internet. I would like it better in terms of the focal length and I could imagine better image results overall with the combination of the usual ZWEISS lens quality and the larger sensor of the Nex 7 than with my previous - and also quite heavy - equipment. Do you have experience with the new lens and what do you think of the combination of the Nex 7 with the mentioned ZEISS lens vs SONY Alpha 580 with SIGMA 105 Macro?
    Sincerely
    Helmut Haas, Aalen

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Mr. Haas! Unfortunately, I don't have both lenses and unfortunately I don't know the Alpha 580 either. So I can't say much about the comparison. But there is also a clear difference in focal length between the 105 and the 50. Would a 50mm prime lens be enough for you? For insects, you will surely come to an area where the butterflies like to run away from time to time. The 105 Sigma is certainly better suited for this. But that's just my guess. Unfortunately, I have no practical experience with the lenses. Best wishes! Jens

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