Five Fast Focusing 50mm Lenses For Mirrorless Cameras

One of the most popular lens focal lengths out there is the 50mm–but they’re sometimes worthless if they can’t focus quickly. Whether you’re a professional or hobbyist photographer, there isn’t a reason why you wouldn’t want to have a fast focusing 50. Foodies can rest assured knowing that their 50mm lens will lock focus quickly onto dinner. When you’re capturing your corgi running around and doing corgi things, you’ll know that the image you snap will be bound to get you some karma points on Reddit.

We’ve done lots of testing with various 50mm lenses (and those that offer the equivalent field of view), and these are some of our favorites.

Fujifilm 35mm f2 R WR

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 35mm f2 WR vs Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 Comparison post images (1 of 5)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 2.8

In our review, we state:

“On the X Pro 1, this lens actually focuses incredibly fast for a Fujifilm lens/camera combo, but where it really shines is on the XT-1. Indeed, this lens really is the fastest to focus optic that Fujifilm currently makes–and that goes or both low light and great light.

In the image above, as the biker closer to the camera was moving across the frame, the 35mm f2 was able to latch onto her while shooting wide open, capture the moment and deliver a sharp and in focus image. This is exactly what Fujifilm has had problems with for years, but they’ve finally got it fixed. Most other Fujifilm lenses would have had trouble focusing even with the fact that the subject is so far away.

So what does this translate to? Considering how fast this setup is, I’d say that the Fujifilm 35mm f2 R WR and the X-T1 or the X-T10 would be well suited for candid street photography.”

Buy now $399: Amazon

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 35mm f2 WR final review samples (7 of 12)ISO 2001-4000 sec at f - 2.0

Sony 50mm f1.8 FE

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 FE review images product photos final review (2 of 5)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

In our review, we state:

Initially, I got a couple of minutes to play with the lens on the Sony a7r II, and in the great lighting that we were in, I was really stoked to say that it focuses quickly overall as you can see in the video.

But in low light situations, that performance really changed.

In very low lighting, the Sony 50mm f1.8 is extremely slow to focus. To help a friend out, I recently shot a gig at Speakeasy Dollhouse. At certain points, the focusing was so slow with both the Sony a7 and a7r II that I yearned for my Canon 6D’s strong center focusing point and recomposing on the fly. At least I’d get the shot–but I indeed missed a bunch to be bad enough that when you look at the image as a whole, that you’d be angry about it.

If focusing is off by a centimeter and we’re not pixel peeping, no client is going to care very much.”

Buy now $249: Amazon

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 extra samples at Speakeasy Dollhouse (4 of 11)ISO 20001-80 sec at f - 1.8

Olympus 25mm f1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Olympus 25mm f1.8 review product images (1 of 6)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 2.2

In our review, we state:

“Trust us when we say this: wow.

No really, of any Olympus lens that we tested, this one’s hit rate was amongst the highest. To be clear, we usually test our lenses by manually selecting a focusing point after framing a scene, then focusing and releasing the shutter.

A vast majority of the time, it nailed the focusing with no problems. Additionally, we usually shot at f1.8. The fact that we’re shooting at f1.8 on a Micro Four Thirds camera translates into approximately f3.5 on a full frame camera. The reason for this is because of the size of the sensor. In effect, this means that at any given aperture, much more will be in focus with a Micro Four Thirds camera than with a full frame DSLR or mirrorless option.

While in line with this thinking, one can then make a logical conclusion that it’s tougher to get something out of focus with a Micro Four Thirds camera than it is with a full frame or APS-C offering–and they’d be completely correct.”

Buy now $399: Amazon

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sony 35mm f1.8 OSS

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony NEX 35mm f1.8 OSS product image lead (1 of 1)ISO 16001-200 sec at f - 4.0

In our review, we state:

“This lens is fast to focus on the NEX 5R in ideal conditions, which tells us that it will work seamlessly with higher grade cameras. Focusing in low light was only a tad less snappy than in daylight. If you’re looking to use this lens for street photography, it can surely keep up with the best of the best–but I personally recommend switching the lens into manual mode and using the Zone Focusing method to get the best results. Sony has a distance scale and focus peaking that will work well to your advantage when practicing that method.

If you don’t want to though, then ensure that your units touchscreen is up to par–ours wasn’t!”

Buy now $385: Amazon

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony NEX 5R with 35mm f1.8 OSS review photos (4 of 12)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 1.8

Zeiss Touit 32mm f1.8

zeiss touit 32mm sony nex 6

In our review, we state:

“Coupled with the NEX-6, this lens was fast. Focus locked quickly and accurately. I’d wager about 8 out of 10 of my shots were in focus on a consistent basis. That’s a hit rate I can definitely live with. The lens did seem to have a little trouble focusing in backlit situations, where it would hunt for a few seconds before locking on. A minor gripe, but nothing that will make you pull your hair out.

I took a few shots of my friend Nikki on the beach and the Zeiss had no problem keeping up. I carried it with me to lunch and there was little issue of it being able to handle focus both indoors and outdoors. Even in a dimly lit restaurant, it locked focus quickly and smoothly. Another thing to add, this lens operated very quietly; important if you want a bit of stealth while you work.”

Buy now $499: Amazon

zeiss 32mm 1.8