Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro review: Resolution, shading and curvilinear distortion
The lab tests match the real-world examples, showing a good level of centre sharpness across all apertures, but importantly there isn’t a huge difference in quality between the centre and edges. At f/2.8, the lens performs very well, but it achieves its peak sharpness at around f/5.6, before dropping off slightly at f/11. There is another drop at f/16, but the real-world examples show the lens is still acceptably sharp at this aperture setting.
Our tests show that when shooting wide open at f/2.8, there is almost 1EV darkening in the corners of images. However, stopping down to f/4 reduces this to near 0.5EV, and by f/5.6 it is less than 0.3EV. It is worth noting that the built-in raw profile helps to reduce this even further when using compatible conversion software.
As expected for a 50mm macro lens, curvilinear distortion is minimal. Our tests reveal the merest hint of barrel distortion, measuring just 0.5%, which you’re unlikely to notice in practice. This makes it a great lens for archival reproduction, or anything else where low distortion is essential.