Sony FE50mm 1.8 REVIEW

Update 14.09.16

Sony has finally listend to us reviewers and released an update for the FE 50mm 1.8 lens, the latest version for this lens is now 0.2

I´v downloaded the update from Sony´s japanese website here Sony Japan. Don´t know why Sony still has not updated their european and us websites with this update, but the installer is in your language which is set in your windows version and the update is very easy to do.

Now what has changed?

Tested on the Sony A7II, i have noticed that the lens is more precise now in daylight especially when you focus on smaller objects like flowers, bees…or you could also say that you can now actually focus on these objects where i had sometimes to use manual focus like i allready have written in my review below.

Is it faster now? Well yes and no, it moves faster now in daylight when you are focusing on a far away subject and then on a near, i think there is definetly a differnce which is good, but i would still not call this a fast lens. In lowlight it is still slow.

Keep in mind this result is on the A7II, have also tested this lens on the A6300  and A7rII, especially on the A6300 this lens focuses noticeble better also without the update, because it just has a faster and better focusing system. The Fe50 1.8 is also a bit quicker on the A7r2.

Here is a short testvideo i have shot with my mobile phone:

 

Testshots with the update V 0.2, all shot using the setting for small focus point

 

Here is my review for the Sony FE 50 1.8 lens! Sony finally listend and gave us an affordable emount lens for the A7 series bodies, lets find out how good it is in this 10 min. Video Review.

Please subscribe to my Youtube Channel if you haven´t allready to be one of the first to know when a new video is online: dsphotoblog.com YouTube Channel

Get some spareribs and beer and enjoy the video!

 

UPDATE 12.05.16: Here is a short testvideo i´ve shot using the FE 50mm 1.8 + Sony A7II in SLOG2 handheld. No LUT was used editing this video to show the look of the lens and how good the IBIS is working. The wind was blowing like crazy on that day, but i really like the result and for closeup shots i think this lens does also a very nice job in video even on the A7II. Just be carefull with the color fringing which can also be seen in video. The focusing was done all manual, the autofocus in normal single focus mode is not so bad, but also not really quick, af-c is too slow for video.

 

The good news this lens is really small with only 8.6cm length with the lends hood on and its also very lightweight with only 186 gramms

The construction is solid with a metal mount and quality plastics. The lens has no buttons but a focus ring which is very smooth to turn.

The filterthread is 49mm if you want to screw filters on.

Here is more Information on this lens:

Focal Length 50mm
Aperture Maximum: f/1.8
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Sony E (Full-Frame)
Format Compatibility 35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
Angle of View 47°
Minimum Focus Distance 1.48′ (45 cm)
Magnification 0.15x
Elements/Groups 6/5
Diaphragm Blades 7, Rounded
Features
Autofocus Yes
Physical
Filter Thread Front: 49 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.70 x 2.34″ (68.6 x 59.5 mm)
Weight 6.56 oz (186 g)

 

 

This lens balances perfectly on my A7 ii and with its small size it really makes sense using a small lens on a small body like the A7 series cameras. It has no stabilisation built in, but of course with your A7II, A7rII and A7sII you will get stabilisation thx to the 5 Axis in body stabilisation system.

Focusing

Well..not everything is good about this lens, it´s weak point is the focusing, as much as I appreciate Sonys efforts to make an affordable lens which everyone can buy without selling their cars like for the Gmaster lenses, the less I understand why sony is not able to make shure that just basic things like quick focusing is working in this lens.

I understand that you can´t get a SSM fast and silent lens for that money, but if you compare this with a Nikon 50 1.8G for example that costs even less and has better focusing than it’s really a bit disappointing as a Sony user.

As you can see in my review Video the focusing is really not what you would call quick, of course it will work for your portrait shots, but the focus on this lens has real issues like it moves forward and backwards before it gets the focus and when you set the camera to f8 the focusing gets even slower.

This flower here was quite difficult to shoot with this lens, because I just couldn´t get it done with the autofocus, so I had to use it manual.

 

Image Quality

Now let´s have a look  at the image quality and the look

The very good news, the image quality of this lens is surprisingly really excellent, you get very usable sharpness already at F1.8 and if you stop it down just a little to f2.0 it gets very sharp.

I have noticed quite some purple and mangenta fringing , but you can correct that with some mouseclicks in lightroom.

The bokeh of this lens is really nice too, its not perfectly round but it has its own characteristics which is pleasant  to the eye.

What really really surprised me is the look that this lens can offer you for it´s affordable price, as you can see in my pictures  you can even get some 3d pop like zeiss lenses offer. Edited in Lightroom with basic settings only:

 

 

This shot here is also edited only with basic lightroom settings. The look this lens offers is really amazing, absolutely didn´t expect that, it has a very warm look that reminds me a bit of the GM lenses, sony has done an excellent job here. The colors pop without using any filters and overall it just looks beautiful.

 

Here is a image comparison of the same image shot with F2 and F8 , at F2 i´m not seeing any kind of bad distortion and already very nice details and sharpness. At F8 the sharpness and most of all the detail improves. That’s an excellent performance that can even come close to Zeiss lenses.

 

These images now where shot at F2.2, see how sharp that is, really love it.

 

 

 

More Image Samples all shot handheld and edited in Lightroom only with basic settings:

And here are some edited with color efex pro in lightroom:

Comparison & Adapt Lenses

Now of course there are a lot of great 50mm lenses out there, also manual focus lenses. For the Sony FE system the Zeiss FE 55mm 1.8 is the king with no doubt, it is known as one of the sharpest lenses ever and the focusing is one of the quickest on the FE system.

But of course it also costs a lot more 890$ in the US and 840 € in Europe.

The Sony/Zeiss 35mm 2.8 is also a very sharp and great lens too and its focus is also quicker than the FE50 1.8 and it costs 700$ in the US and 660€ in Europe you can find my review for that lens here:

The mighty, little Zeiss 35mm 2.8 REVIEW

 

Should you rather adapt an A-Mount lens or adapt any lens? Why not, if you like the lens and the image quality go for it, but keep in mind you will always have to sacrifice something like the Eye-AF and the Face AF with Face Registration which is great for shooting portraits together with the tilting screen.

The only adapter right now that can give you all AF functions is the Sigma MC-11 for using Sigma lenses with Canon Mount. This adapter alone costs you 249$ in the US and 299 € in Europe.

I´m also using a Sigma lens the 24mm 1.4 ART which is an awesome lens , very sharp at 1.4 great bokeh and rendering, one of my favourite lenses. Here is my review of that lens:

SIGMA 24 mm 1.4 ART on Sony A7II REVIEW

And last but not least there is the excellent and amazing sharp Sigma 50mm 1.4 ART which you can get for 749 € in Europe or 849$ in the US.

Both Sigma lenses are much heavier and larger than the FE 50mm 1.8 though.

 

Conclusion & Rating

This lens has excellent value for money when it comes to image quality and the warm look you get. For 248 $ or 300 euros it even beats Tamron and Sigma lenses. The image quality and the look are that good that I will keep this lens and hope that Sony will release a firmware update for it to improve the autofocus. If i would give it a rating it would be a 8+ out of 10 for image quality and the look. The FE 50 1.8 is small and lightweight and it makes total sense on an A7 series camera especially for street shooting and travelling and of course for portraits.

Also make shure to read my blogpost about portraits & streetshooting with the FE 50mm 1.8:

Sony FE 50 1.8 for Portraits and Street

 

If you like these kind of reviews please support this blog just by orderings something on Amazon with the links below, you can basicly order anything after you clicked a link:

Sony FE 50mm 1.8 on Amazon US | Deutschland

Zeiss 35mm 2.8 on Amazon US | Deutschland

Zeiss 55 1.8 on Amazon US | Deutschland

Sigma 50mm 1.4 on Amazon US Deutschland

Sigma 24mm 1.4 ART on Amazon USDeutschland

Sigma MC11 Adapter on Amazon  US Deutschland

Sony A7II on Amazon US | Deutschland

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