The 50 mm is usually one of the cheapest lenses in the manufacturers’ catalog and represents a very interesting addition to the zoom that most users want permanently on their device. This Sony FE 50mm f1.8, sold for less than $300, does not deviate from the rule. Many of you have asked us what it was worth on the ground. Answer is in this review.
- Sony E Mount
- Maximum Covered Format: 24×36.
- Maximum Aperture: f / 1.8.
- Minimum Opening: f / 22.
- Reproduction Ratio: 0.14X.
- Macro: (1:1) No.
Sony FE 50mm F/1.8 Review
Equipped with an E-mount and compatible with all Sony hybrids. This 50 mm can be combined with a 24×36 hybrid of the A7 series as well as an APS-C hybrid such as the A6500 or the A6300. With the latter, it will offer a field equivalent to that of a 75 mm and will therefore be more suitable for portraits.
Very simple design, the lens incorporates 6 elements divided into 5 groups including 1 aspherical lens. Its minimum focus distance is unfortunately limited to 45 cm for a maximum growth ratio of 0.14 x. So do not expect to take macro shots. On the other hand, you will probably appreciate its lightness, since it weighs only 186 gm for 68.6 x 59.5 mm.
Despite its lightweight design and all-plastic finishes, the Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 features beautiful workmanship, precise machining of parts and a pleasant to the touch coating. Although more cumbersome than a “pancake” model, its dimensions are perfectly adapted to those of Sony cases and the whole remains perfectly balanced, in addition to being light and pleasant to take in hand.
Fixed focal requires, the lens has only one adjustment ring dedicated to focus. Wide and pleasant to handle, it offers good fluidity. On the other hand, it does not have a stop at the minimum distance or infinity, which makes manual focus less enjoyable. Also, do not look for an indication of focus distance because no inscription appears on the lens.
Note that the lens comes with a sun visor that ‘lens rental firm’ has not been able to send us. We cannot therefore decide on its quality of manufacture or its attachment to the lens. Its presence will be appreciable to limit the flare; on the other hand, it is less essential to protect the front lens, sufficiently recessed.
The lens unfortunately does not enjoy all-weather protection, but the rent model sent by rental firm, which does not seem to have always been kept or handled with the utmost care, did not suffer from any annoying traces or anomalies.
With usual focal point of 24×36 the 50mm is an indispensable lens in the bag of many photographers and reporters. Some reporters blamed it for a too tight angle for street photography, when some portraitists found it on the contrary a little too wide. It must be noted that on the ground, it is still a very versatile lens with which we were able to realize both some landscapes, portraits, street scenes and stills. Above all, it is a very inexpensive and very light lens that offers a very generous f / 1.8 aperture. And this is indeed its main asset, so it opens up creative possibilities in comparison to a trans-standard zoom f / 3.5-5.6 or even a lens with aperture f/2.8.
If this Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 has many advantages, do not expect any miracles either. We sometimes found it a bit slow in focus, and found a number of failures. Above all, we were regularly hampered by its minimum focus distance of 45 cm, which we found too large. To indulge in macro, it will be necessary to turn to the side of the Sony FE 50 mm f/2.8 Macro that allows to reach the ratio 1:1 but only opens to f/2.8.
In the Register of complaints, we also note a vignetting marked at f/1.8 and which remains sufficiently present at subsequent openings to disappear only at f/4. The phenomenon is corrected very well in post-production, but requires to go through the computer box.
We welcome, the almost total absence of distortion of this lens.
The notion of Pique is quite delicate to deal with. This is what can be equated to the “sensation of sharpness” or the “accuracy” observed on an image. It can be very different from one lens to another, from one focal point to another and from one aperture to another. It can also vary between the center and edges of the image. It is customary to say that the Pique is optimal in the center and at medium openings (f/8 or f/11, for example).
In addition, the sting will depend on the size and definition of the sensor of your device. We tested the lens with a Sony A7R II with a 24×36 sensor of 42 Mpx, with a definition of 8000 x 5320 px.
Our test target operated by the Imatest software shows very low lens separation power at f/1.8 and f/2 apertures. The resolution increases significantly in the center from f/2.8, but still stagnates on the sides and corners of the image. It is necessary to close to f/5.6 or f/8 to use the lens at its best performance. As of f/11, performance starts to decline again due to diffraction.
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One of the Cheapest Lens in Mount FE
This FE 50mm f/1.8 is clearly not the best lens in the Sony range, but we can be content to enjoy a large aperture, good lightness and quality all honorable. Nevertheless, compared to the 50 mm f/1.8 of other brands, we find the Sony model quite expensive: Canon and Nikon offer equivalent lenses at about half price.
The alternatives are however very limited, because no compatible lens manufacturer offers a lens 50 mm f/1.8 in Sony E mount. Therefore, it is mandatory to pay more to turn to the F/2.8 Macro version by Sony, to the Zeiss FE 55 mm f/1.8 or Planar FE 50 mm f/1.4 ZA, or wait for the upcoming availability of the new 50mm f/1.4 Sigma that has been announced at $829. In any case, none of these solutions makes it possible to equip for such an attractive tariff as this FE 50 mm f/1.8.
• Low Price.
• Opening f/1.8.
• Light Lens.
• No Distortion.
• Low separating power at large openings.
• AF bit fast.
• Important vignetting from f/1.8 to f/4.
This is certainly not the best 50mm FE mount, but it is by far the cheapest. In this sense, its quality/price ratio is excellent. But users of Sony hybrids are entitled to find its price exaggerated, compared to that of its Canon or Nikon counterparts. If your budget allows, it may make sense to look from the f/1.4 aperture competition side to win in quality.