In this post, I will be reviewing the SAL-30M28 which is also known as Sony 30mm f/2.8 Macro lens. If you are just starting out in macro photography, I would highly recommend this lens.

It is sharp at any aperture, both on the borders and center, have good chromatic aberration control and cheap!

SAL-30M28

Lens Score (APS-C Sensor)
Optical Quality: (4 / 5)
Build Quality: (3 / 5)
Value for Money: (5 / 5)

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By far, this might be the cheapest macro lens that I have ever encountered that provides 1:1 magnification ratio at this price.

In addition to those features, the 30mm focal length will turn this lens into a normal lens when used with a cropped sensor DSLR camera.

This means that the lens can be used as a general purpose walk around prime lens for your Sony Alpha DSLR camera.

The only downside with this lens is that it has average vignetting control and only compatible with cropped sensor DSLR camera.

Bottom line is, if you are into starting out with macro photography, don’t know which lens to get and don’t want to spend too much money, this lens will give you the best bang for your bucks!

See my complete SAL-30M28 test result below to see the in-depth review.

Technical Specs

Official Name:
Sony 30mm f/2.8 Macro DT SAM SAL-30M28

Focal Length Markings:
30mm

Features:
DT – Only compatible with cropped sensor DSLR camera.

SAM – Smooth Autofocusing Motor – Allows fast and silent autofocus.

Macro – Special lens for close up shooting. This lens is a true macro lens with 1:1 magnification ratio.

Full Technical Specs (from Sony’s website):

Technical Specifications
Groups / Elements 5 / 6
Angle of View 50
Number of Blade Diaphragm 7
Minimum Aperture f/22
Minimum Focusing Distance 0.4ft (0.13m)
Filter Thread 49mm
Weight 5.3oz (150g)
Dimension (Diameter x Length) 70 X 45mm
Macro Magnification Ratio 1:1

Optical Performance

Sharpness

The center sharpness on this lens is excellent at any aperture, starting from the widest one.

On the borders, it is very sharp as well. The point of maximum sharpness is at f/5.6.

See the sharpness test table below for the complete result.

Sharpness Scale (from Best to Worst):
(5) Excellent
(4) Great
(3) Good
(2) Fair
(1) Poor

Center Sharpness

Focal Length / Aperture f/2.8 f/4 f/5.6 f/8 f/11 f/16 f/22
30mm Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Great Good

Border Sharpness

Focal Length / Aperture f/2.8 f/4 f/5.6 f/8 f/11 f/16 f/22
30mm Great Great Excellent Great Great Great Fair

Distortion

There is a slight barrel distortion in this lens. It is noticeable, but not in the extreme case and can be easily corrected in post processing.

See the distortion test image grid below.

Distortion Test

Distortion Test

Vignetting

Vignetting is not a strong point of this lens. At the widest aperture of f/2.8, it is clearly visible.

At one stop above the widest aperture (f/4) vignetting is greatly reduced, but still visible.

To completely eliminate vignetting, stop down to f/5.6 or further.

See my vignetting test chart below.

Vignetting Test

Vignetting Test

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is well controlled on this lens. At wide apertures, it can safely be ignored.

At the smaller apertures though, they are slightly visible but can easily be corrected using any post processing software.

Chromatic Aberration Scale (from Best to Worst):
(5) Negligible
(4) Very Low
(3) Low
(2) High
(1) Very High

Chromatic Aberration

Focal Length / Aperture f/2.8 f/4 f/5.6 f/8 f/11 f/16 f/22
30mm Negligible Negligible Very Low Very Low Low Low Low

Build Quality

Materials

Being a budget lens, you can’t really expect much from the build quality. It is made from plastic, but sturdy enough for normal use.

Focusing

The SAM or Smooth Autofocus Mechanism works pretty well and fast. Direct Manual Focusing or DMF is not supported in this lens.

If you are into insect photography, you might be limited by the 2cm working distance at 1:1 magnification. However, for other purposes this lens will do fine.

The focusing mechanism is based on linear extension system. The focus ring at the front operates smoothly.

It rotates during autofocus, but the filter thread does not rotate so using polarizing filter is absolutely possible.

Image Stabilization

In the Sony DSLR world, the Image Stabilization is built into the camera sensor, not on the lenses. Check your camera body to see if it has the Image Stabilization feature.

Compatibility

Being a DT lens, this lens is only compatible with cropped sensor DSLR camera. It is not compatible with full frame or film SLR camera.

Sample Image

Below are some sample images taken with this lens.

Sample Image 1

Sample Image 1

Sample Image 2

Sample Image 2

Sample Image 3

Sample Image 3

Sample Image 4

Sample Image 4

Sample Image 5

Sample Image 5

Conclusion

Below will be the summary for this Sony 30mm Macro SAL-30M28 lens review.

This is a great lens for beginner macro photographers. For the budget price it offers great optical quality.

It is very sharp both on the center and on the borders. Chromatic aberration is very well controlled at all apertures.

If I can name some weaknesses on this lens it will be the minor distortion and average vignetting control.

Also, if you are planning to upgrade to full frame DSLR in the future, this might not be the lens for you because it is not compatible with full frame DSLR camera.

If you are happy to stay with cropped sensor and want to get started in macro photography, definitely get this lens.

Drawbacks

  • Average vignetting control. Stop down to f/5.6 to completely eliminate vignetting.
  • Visible distortion, but can easily be fixed in post processing
  • Not compatible with full frame DSLR camera

Positives

  • Very sharp at any aperture, both on the center and borders
  • Chromatic aberration is negligible at any aperture
  • Autofocus SAM works well
  • Lightweight
  • Great value for money

Good For

  • General purpose macro photography lens
  • Normal lens
  • All around prime lens

Not So Good For

  • Extreme macro photography shooting (such as shooting insects)

What Others Are Saying…

by “Andrew Siew”

A high quality and affordable macro lens! The SAL30M28 is the most affordable macro lens from Sony. Priced at 200 dollars, it’s an unbelievably affordable macro lens compared to the SAL50M28 and the SAL100M28…
Click here to see the full review

by “Seattle Tequila”

It’s a small world! I have always loved macro photography and I was using another lens that wasn’t a full macro. This one is Sony’s first dedicated macro at an affordable price…
Click here to see the full review

Where to Buy

SAL-30M28

Lens Score (APS-C Sensor)
Optical Quality: (4 / 5)
Build Quality: (3 / 5)
Value for Money: (5 / 5)

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Use the link below to get great deals for Sony 30mm Macro SAL-30M28 lens:

Thanks for reading this SAL-30M28 review, hope you enjoy it and I will catch you in the next one!

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