Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions product images (1 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

You’ve been waiting for a while now if you’re a Sony a7 camera user for a nice, affordable 50mm prime lens, and today you’ve finally got your new nifty 50. The Sony 50mm f1.8 FE lens has seven aperture blades and a very typical body of 50mm f1.8 lens: therefore justifying the price point.

Today, I had a couple of minutes to play with the lens and more are coming later on. But here are my first impressions.

Tech Specs

Here’s some info taken from the spec page:

Performance
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)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions product images (3 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The Sony 50mm f1.8 for a7 series cameras is a small lens overall in the same of compact prime lenses, but it’s not as small as the 35mm f2.8 or the 28mm f2. For what it’s worth, it also has a much larger lens hood and a bigger focusing ring on the body.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions product images (5 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Like much of the Sony glass, the 50mm f1.8 is devoid of controls. For the most part, what you’re going to have to do is work with it via the camera’s menu system. But that makes a lot of sense for who this lens is targeted toward.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions product images (7 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

When you remove the lens hood, the package becomes much smaller overall. The exterior has a smooth, plastic-feeling body with the exception of the rubber focusing ring.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions product images (6 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

On the front, the lens packs a 49mm filter thread for your favorite filters.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions product images (8 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The Sony 50mm f1.8 FE lens is made of a plastic-feeling exterior and not being a G master lens, it doesn’t have weather sealing. Also keep in mind that there are no controls on the body itself.

Autofocus

I got a couple of minutes to play with the lens on the Sony a7r II today, and I’m really stoked to say that it focuses quickly overall as you can see in the video. But I’m getting more playtime later, so I’ll update accordingly.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions product images (2 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Considering that this is a standard Sony lens, you’re essentially slapping the lens on, focusing and shooting. It’s very straight forward as it has been with Sony’s products for a while. To that end, you may not even really be paying attention to the focusing ring unless your in DMF mode when shooting.

Image Quality

These are coming later tonight! Stay tuned!

Update: So far, the image quality is very impressive for a 50mm f1.8 lens. But I only got the time to spend a couple of hours with it

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions portrait samples (2 of 9)ISO 1001-640 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions portrait samples (3 of 9)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions portrait samples (4 of 9)ISO 2501-250 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions portrait samples (5 of 9)ISO 2501-250 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions portrait samples (6 of 9)ISO 2501-250 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions portrait samples (7 of 9)ISO 2501-1000 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions portrait samples (8 of 9)ISO 16001-10 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions portrait samples (9 of 9)ISO 64001-30 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 first impressions portrait samples (1 of 9)ISO 4001-1000 sec at f - 1.8

First Impressions

So far, I obviously believe that you’re getting what you pay for. But at the same time, I tested this lens with the a7r II, which because of its price, doesn’t totally seem like the camera someone may have when getting a lens like this. That’s kind of the equivalent of getting a Canon 1Dx Mk II with a Canon 50mm f1.8 STM vs a 50mm f1.2 L USM. The Sony a7 II would make much more sense, and so I’m going to call that camera in when testing this lens in addition to using it with my Sony a7.

Stay tuned for a full review.

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  • Sand
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.85):2656554871

    It’s hard to evaluate because most of the portraits has focus on nose or glasses mount ad I usually look at the sharpness at the eyes…

  • Mark Richardson
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2599327507

    If this is the sal50f18 in a new dress then it should be good. I’m looking forward to seeing the af performance of this on the a7m1 body.

  • Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2596907632

    Hi Chris, can you share raw files pls?

    • ChrisGampat
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2596913554

      Not a chance. My site has never done that.

  • aurele
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2596687582

    considering that the optical formula is another derivative from the 6/5 of all the 50/1.7 out here, it should be very good in the middle, slightly smooth on the border of the picture wide open. Rapidely improving a lot as you stop down, with incredible sharpness as soon as F5.6.

    The FE lens have a very very very different optical formula, with nothing in common with this new 50.
    Both lens will be good, but for different use.

  • appliance5000
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2596104856

    Not even one shot of maybe a brick wall to check distortion, centering, vignetting, and corner sharpness? Maybe 10 minutes. At this point in photography history, any 50mm should be very good – easiest and cheapest lens to make. Snap off a shot and let us know.

    • ChrisGampat
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2596915198

      The Phoblographer isn’t a technical site. It never has been. Photography is about a heck of a lot more than the technical science.

      • appliance5000
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2596938214

        Sure – and sorry if I was aggressive. Just wondering if the lens is reasonably sharp and distortion free.

        • ChrisGampat
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
          Disqus/1.1(2.84):2596944659

          I think that combined with the resolving power of all everyday cameras and just how good modern optics have been for years, it’s pretty much impossible to not get a sharp lens. Plus if you’re reading this site you’re most likely using Lightroom. So why is it even such a big factor to sit here and ramble on about?

          Bokeh, contrast, color rendition and more on the other hand are worth talking about. Not every lens is equal in that respect.

          • appliance5000
            Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
            Disqus/1.1(2.84):2596967542

            Hey – sorry we got off on the wrong foot.

            My way of shooting is looking for a neutral image – no bokeh etc.. Any color rendition I can post process etc.. I see it as gathering the best data to then -apart from framing and concept – add what I want.

            In the film days I always came back to hasselblad for this reason. Neutral – no overt signature etc..

            The design of many modern lenses is curious to me. They use configurations that have been around for a long long time, and modern materials and processes that could have only been dreamed about 50 years ago, but many are pretty deficient in terms of distortion, sharpness etc.. A curious thing.

            For a 50 I use a zuiko OM macro from the 70s – so sweet – just curious what 50 years of tech have accomplished. I do use the sony 2.8 35 which I find excellent.

            I don’t use lightroom I use photoshop – for what it’s worth.

        • Ian Toni
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
          Disqus/1.1(2.84):2597540777

          In short it’s finally a SEL50F18 for Full Frame use….

          MTF shows that the FE 50mm is not better than SELF50F18 in the middle

      • Mike
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2597600993

        That’s Why I like this site…not too technical. Please keep up the great work

  • Mike
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2595871614

    I hope it is not as sharp as the FE55. Because I spent a lot of money on the FE55 🙂

    • David B
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2595996409

      according to first video tests, it surely does not autofocus as fast as FE55. It is also not much smaller or lighter. It is just a cheaper lens. I am disappointed it was not a 50/1.4 to differentiate it better from 55FE

    • Maxwell Starr
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2597022828

      Lol, I was thinking the same thing, I just bought a 55/1.8 as it was the only 50mm-ish FE lens, and less than 2 weeks later they drop this. That said I don’t think it’ll be quite as sharp, but I’m still very curious to see as it’s both cheap and a bit smaller than the Zeiss.

      There was an article posted on this site a couple weeks ago titled ‘The Problem with Modern Optics’, and it makes me curious what will happen when Sony’s not going for the ‘sharpest/best bokeh’, and if they’ll create a more natural lens akin to older lens designs. Time will tell.

      • ChrisGampat
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2597934266

        The 55mm has weather sealing. This doesn’t.

      • Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.85):2627972507

        I almost bought the Zeiss 55mm myself but went for the loony choice and bought a Mitakon 50mm f0.95. I don’t Sony are even going to make anything close to resembling this wacky lens.

    • Ian Toni
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2597543682

      it’s not….. it’s same price than SEL50F18. Do you expect Sony making FE sharp lens at APS-C price 😉 just because some users were requesting it :D… it’s an alternative or an update of the SEL50F18…. Maybe a trick to make APS-C users jump to FF 😀

      • Mike
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2597587556

        Ian, My comment was meant to be funny, light humor. I’m thinking your comment was meant to be funny also.

        • Ian Toni
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
          Disqus/1.1(2.84):2599201612

          mine were to be sarcastic with Sony policy

  • Christopher
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2595706710

    Looking forward to reading the comparison report between FE 50mm and 55mm ZA F1.8.

  • Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2595637602

    Hey Chris, it’s a Sony FE lens but the mount is E-Mount. There is no such thing as FE Mount.

    • asnowboards1
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2596454472

      I think everybody knows what is meant with FE Mount and it certainly is easier and shorter then Full Frame E-Mount…

      • Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2596898059

        FE is easier still and correct.

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