Comparing kit zooms between the Sony and rival Panasonic offering, we can see the smaller sensor in the Lumix GH-2, with its lower pixel count, is more efficient than the NEX-7. While the Sony E16-50mm has a wider angle of view than the Panasonic, the two share similar behaviour with regards to distortion, albeit less on the latter which is to be expected. However, the Panasonic has lower levels of vignetting and Chromatic Aberration and is $100 less. All the same, given the small size and handy focal range, the Sony lens is a decent performer.
Bringing up the rear of our database is a lens that should score highly. However, while transmission, distortion and vignetting of the $250 Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro are all within acceptable limits, low sharpness and high-levels of chromatic aberration (two characteristics that should really be absent in a macro) result in a slightly disappointing DxOMark score of 15 points.
While not a macro lens, the equivalent focal length from Sigma on the other hand (and again, already no longer available in the guise tested – though the new Art model is soon to be added to our database) has more consistent sharpness across the field and lower levels of troublesome Chromatic Aberration. If you have no need of the Sony’s genuinely useful 1:1 macro capabilities, at $189 vs. $250 the Sigma is a better value proposition for general photography.
We thought it would be of interest to compare image quality with a retro-focus model designed for the same sensor format. Please bear in mind, it’s not quite a straight comparison, as the Sony lens on a NEX-7 with its 24Mpix sensor has an advantage in resolving power over Pentax combination (we’ve yet to asses this Sony lens with the lower pixel count NEX-6, and there are still too few equivalent primes for APS-C DSLRs). However, while the fact remains the Sony combination is sharper, we can’t attribute all the benefit in pixel count to the higher score. As a result, the Sony E50mm f/1.8 appears to have a slight advantage in sharpness levels, particularly at full-aperture. At the same time, the Pentax has excellent control of vignetting, though to be fair it’s not something that gets a lot of weighting in our DxOMark Score (as it’s easily compensated for in software or in-camera).