One of Sony’s Best Lenses Is Almost 10 Years Old

When I bought the Sony 55mm f1.8 a long time ago, I didn’t think it would last all that long. Sony has a tendency to keep pushing innovations further and making you need to buy the latest products as a result. In fact, I was hesitant to buy it at first because I hate the 50mm field of view. But over time, the Sony 55mm f1.8 proved to be one of Sony’s best offerings. In 2023, it will turn a decade old, and it’s still one of their sharpest lenses.

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Since releasing the Sony 55mm f1.8, Sony has released an entire series of G Master and G lenses. So how has this one Zeiss collaboration withstood the test of time? Honestly, I’m not sure. The Sony and Zeiss partnership that we knew for years is long gone due to Sony partially buying Tamron. But the Sony 55mm f1.8 still remains as one of Sony’s best lenses. It boasts weather resistance, sharp optics, a small size, fast autofocus, and beautiful bokeh. More importantly, it’s slightly longer than 50mm. By all means, it’s a dream lens for many photographers. Don’t want something as long as an 85mm? You can reach for this!

Let’s go over some of the biggest things that make the Sony 55mm f1.8 one of Sony’s best lenses:

  • It’s small and lightweight
  • Metal body
  • Weather resistance
  • Fast autofocus
  • Beautiful image quality
  • Sharpness
  • Character
  • The ability to make images that will make you say “wow”
  • Slightly longer focal length than 50mm makes it appealing for portraiture
  • I’m convinced it’s a mini Zeiss 55mm Otus lens
  • It’s under $1,000

Over the years, I’ve brought this lens with me on press trips to use on cameras to test how they perform with portraits and candids. It’s never failed me. And with Sony’s autofocus system consistently improving, I can’t see why someone would pass on this lens.

While digging through my camera bag dedicated to Sony gear, I decided to try it again. These days I tend to use their 35mm f1.8 and 85mm f1.8, along with Tamron zooms. But the 55mm f1.8 continues to impress me every time. 

I’m currently having a ton of fun reviewing my full-spectrum converted Sony a7 original camera done by Kolari Vision free of charge. I’ve been shooting lots of wide landscapes with it, but no portraits. However, in the right situations, portraits with the Sony a7 and 55mm f1.8 are fantastic. The only post-production that’s ever really needed is a bit of a hue shift. 

Of course, the Sony 55mm f1.8 remains to be one of Sony’s best lenses for one other big reason: sharpness. Even on my Sony a7r III this lens is exceptionally sharp. When I’ve used it on the Sony a1, it also proved to be very sharp. However, it also has character that modern Sony lenses try hard to remove. 

With the Sony 55mm f1.8 about to become a decade old, I wonder what will happen. Will Sony try to remake it without Zeiss? Will nothing happen to it at all? This lens is bound to keep photographers happy for a long time. If you don’t want the 50mm f1.2 G Master because of its massive size and lack of character, this lens is a worthy alternative. It’s weather resistant, focusing quickly, and is much lighter and smaller. Portability is a big reason why I’d want this lens over a giant 50mm f1.2 any day. You might want something different but, even if you do, we can’t deny this is one of Sony’s best lenses.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.