The Pergear 60mm Macro Reviewed: Is 2x Magnification for $200 Legit?

The Pergear 60mm Macro Reviewed: Is 2x Magnification for $200 Legit?

Truly affordable macro lenses, especially for hobbyists who are just starting out, are tough to find. The Pergear 60mm Macro lens promises magnification beyond the standard 1x reproduction ratio, but at just $200, can it really deliver usable results? In this hands-on review, I’ll test out this lens and take a detailed look at its performance.

The Specs

The Pergear 60mm Macro isn’t an insignificant lens in any sense, except price. With all-metal construction, it’s chunky and weighs around 600 g. The size is similar to 105mm macro lenses I’ve used in the past. While the lens isn’t unwieldy, I’ve definitely seen more compact macro lenses in the past, even accounting for the 2x magnification capability.

This lens supposedly covers a full frame image circle, with one important asterisk: vignetting at infinity on full frame, with the issue getting worse at around f/8 and smaller apertures. I feel this note from Pergear undersells things: vignetting is significant beyond about 5 feet, with the edges of the frame being unusable at infinity. APS-C cameras, with the smaller image circle required, won’t see this issue, but advertising this as a full frame lens feels disingenuous.

An example of vignetting in the worst case

The front filter ring is 62mm, with the front element taking up most of the space. There is an unusual rectangular cutout behind the glass that is reminiscent of an anamorphic lens (this is a regular, spherical lens, however). Shooting distant subjects with lights in or near the edge of the frame reveals this odd addition via prominent flares.

The optical system is relatively simple, with 10 elements in 7 groups. Pergear claims the inclusion of 3 high refractive index elements to help control aberrations. The max aperture of f/2.8 is controlled via a 10-blade diaphragm. It can stop down to f/22.

The aperture ring is clickless, and it has a very dampened rotation. Both the aperture and focus rings are quite grippy, with serrations in the metal, but they are quite heavy to turn. The first few uses, the lens seemed to have a bit of a detent at the focus transition from 1:2 to the wider range, but this has gone away with use.

Notably absent are any controls, rear seals, barrel markings for alignment, or mount communication interfaces. This lens is entirely manual and communicates nothing to the camera. On some bodies, you’ll need to specify focal length for best VR/IS performance and disable any release lock that requires a lens to be mounted.


Between the heft, need for manual settings, and slower focus process, this is really going to be best suited to capturing static subjects. Chasing bugs and juggling flashes will be a bit of a challenge with this lens. Furthermore, full frame users will want to treat this as a dedicated macro lens, with shots beyond a few feet revealing significant flaring and vignetting issues.

Fortunately, at macro distances, this lens delivers good results. It really does reach 2:1 magnification, allowing you to reproduce a subject on the sensor twice as big as it is in real life. This is a significant jump in magnification compared to 1:1 lenses. You can get incredibly close and detailed shots of very small subjects.

A side-by-side, comparing 2:1 and 1:1 magnification

At the 60mm focal length, you aren’t left with a ton of distance at 1:1 or greater, so lighting needs to be a deliberate choice. Additionally, with the heavy focus ring, I often had better luck nudging the camera back and forth for minute adjustments, rather than trying to tweak focus via the ring.

If shooting at normal distances, focus remains tricky as the non-macro portion of the focus ring is quite bunched up. Only a small turn pulls you from infinity down to a foot or two away, making a portrait at f/2.8 a difficult proposition.

Focus issues can also come from the significant amount of focus breathing. Focus breathing means changing the focus distance changes the magnification or field of view, and on this lens, shifting focus visibly changes your composition. That will complicate focus stacking, as well as pulling focus for video.

The center of the frame is good, even from f/2.8. Some color fringing is visible, and the focus challenges can make nailing focus at f/2.8 difficult, but overall the contrast and sharpness are good. At 2:1, a bit of softness is visible at f/2.8, but this clears by f/4. It returns at around f/8 thanks to the impacts of diffraction.

Corners are just OK on the APS-C frame at f/2.8, with significant improvement stopping down to f/4 or f/5.6. Vignetting on an APS-C frame is never really an issue, while even full frame use at f/2.8 is fine, assuming you’re focused at macro distances.

There is a noticeable degree of pincushion distortion, but this can be cleared up with manual correction.

Bokeh, or the quality of the out-of-focus areas, is quite pleasant at f/2.8, thanks to that 10-bladed aperture. As a macro lens, this is important, as many close-up subjects will often have shallow depth of field.

Chromatic aberration is surprisingly well controlled for an inexpensive lens, with basically no false color visible in test shots.

Overall, the Pergear 60mm 2x Macro lens delivers a ton of macro performance for such a low price. It’s certainly not without issues, with the “full frame” claim needing much more explanation for buyers. Additionally, there’s a few things missing that make it clear this lens is targeting a value price point: no lens alignment marker on the body, printed rather than engraved markings, and no lens hood being among the most apparent. Still, if you want to get into macro photography, particularly with still subjects, this is an excellent value option. Additionally, if you need to get 2x magnification natively in your lens, this will be an easy and cheap way to try it out. The Pergear 60mm for Sony E Mount is available for $199.

What I Liked

  • Good image quality at macro distances, even on full frame
  • Solid construction for an inexpensive lens
  • Excellent price to performance for macro applications

What Could Be Improved

  • Calling this a full frame lens needs a much bigger disclaimer
  • Distance use is challenging due to vignetting and manual focus
  • A lens alignment marker on the body would help locating, as the body has few landmarks
  • Flare, distortion, internal reflections, and more make this unsuitable for copy-stand use
Alex Coleman's picture

Alex Coleman is a travel and landscape photographer. He teaches workshops in the American Southwest, with an emphasis on blending the artistic and technical sides of photography.

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