Sony Carl Zeiss 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM Planar T* A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 29   
reviewer#41963 date: Nov-19-2017
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 50/1.4 EX
price paid:1500 USD (new)
positive:On an a99ii, everything. AF speed and accuracy, even in the dark. Sharpness across the frame, even wide open. Good size and weight.
negative:Expensive. Someone somewhere wrote that there is moderate distortion, but I don't shoot subject matter where that is noticeable.
comment:Wow! It gets me shots I used to miss with other lenses. It has completely replaced my older Sigma 50/1.4 EX for dive bar concert photography— and I thought nothing could dethrone that lens! I still use other focal lengths, mostly wider. The extra pixels on the a99ii plus the sharpness of this lens let me "digitally zoom" by cropping, so I don't really need an 85mm lens anymore. If you have an a99ii, get this lens. You might not take it off the camera.
reviewer#27599 date: Jun-7-2016
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sony SAL 50mm f1.4 , Sony 50mm f2.8 macro
price paid:good price
positive:+ Superb built quality (similar to sony zeiss 85mm f1.4 ZA ssm) - robust and minimalist modern design. No silly rubber focusing grips that attract dusts - just plain metallic body.
+ amazing colours and resolution even @ wide open at f1.4
+ smooth rounded bokeh rendering
+ SSM - lightning fast and smooth . Did not hunt even in low lighting condition.
negative:- Included hood comes free with lens is plastic. scratches easily
- size bigger than sony 50mm f1.4
comment:Read plenty of reviews before I commit to buying this lens. This lens is sold for approximately 4-5X the price of Sony / Minolta 50mm f1.4 AF. First couple of shots @f1.4 , I'm already seeing the differences between this lens and the other sony/Minolta 50mm.

(1) The lens shines and perform superbly wide open , excellent contrast and centre sharpness. Bokeh is perfect and smooth rendering.

(2) the cheaper sony 50mm f1.4 has the loss of contrast and the image appears to have coma glow, whereas the zeiss 50mm f1.4 resolve well under all circumstances.

(3)The ssm focus is incredibly smooth and quiet and quick to focus.

(4) stop down to f2.8 , the zeiss 50mm still outperforms the other sony 50mm f1.4 and sony 50mm macro f2.8 - that proves that the optical quality of the zeiss 50mm is amazing.

Summary : This lens is worth 5X the price tag IF you love taking shots at f1.4 to F2.8 - at wide apertures this lens rivals any top end lens above USD$1500. If you are buying it for street photography where you are planning to stop down to F4 and above , then consider getting the cheaper Sony / Minolta 50mm lens - where the differences are only marginal even pixel peep at 100%.

I don't own a sigma 50mm f1.4 ART to compare , but the zeiss is shorter and weighs lighter than the Sigma counterpart - and more importantly, if you buy the sony zeiss on resale - the value will hold better. I trust original SSM focusing motors better than sigma's.

reviewer#20406 date: Nov-2-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:CZ 135mm f/1.8
CZ 24-70mm f/2.8
CZ 16-35mm f/2.8
Minolta 50mm f/1.4
Minolta 50mm f/1.7
price paid:1,000 USD NEW
positive:Tack sharp, great contrast even wide open, solid build, metal focus ring, fast focusing, etc. Best 50mm I've ever used!
negative:Slight CA at wide apertures. As others have stated, plastic lens hood and filter ring..
comment:I never thought I'd pay this much for a 50mm, but it was completely worth it! This lens can be shot wide open and still be tack sharp with great contrast. I'm putting this right up there with my CZ 135mm 1.8. :)
Yes, I've noticed the CA when shooting wide open, but it isn't something that really bothers me. It can easily be dealt with in post.
reviewer#20400 date: Oct-28-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50/1.7 old
price paid:880eur (used)
positive:Very sharp, bokeh is perfect, good construction, low vignetting (if any)
negative:Some distortion, size/weight, price
comment:Absolutely love this lens, it can sit on my camera for a very long while.
It's plenty of sharpness in all circumstances, and when shallow DOF is needed it's there to be used.
Bokeh is perfect for me for a 50mm: very pleasant & present while not be so creamy it'd be too obvious.
I won't comment on the plastic hood as I don't carry it with me (but I should as some flare can be gotten, in the harshest conditions).
Some distortion is noticable for me, likely because no profile exists in Capture One though.
A little too big but that's how lenses are for high sharpness now anyways so better roll with it I guess. I bought this lens against the Sigma ART, I couldn't do with 800gr for a walkabout lens.
Also I can't tell apart this lens from my 24/2 CZ when the front cap is on.
I got a cheaper price by buying it used but... It's annoying that such needed lenses are that price.
reviewer#15248 date: May-18-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 16-50 SSM
Sony 50 F1.8 SAM
Minolta 50 F1.4
Minolta 50 F1.7
price paid:1200 EUR (new)
positive:Build
Sharpness
Micro-contrast
Color
SSM
Weatherproof
negative:Hood
comment:SHARPNESS is simply outstanding. On my a99 it doesn't need any micro-adjustment because it's simply spot-on!
Center is amazing, also at F1.4. Borders are nice and they quickly improve as you close the aperture.
COLOR is classic Sony-Zeiss. I love them because they are pretty natural without any particular cast.
BUILD is absolutely professional. It's a joy to play with this piece of aluminum and glass. Focus ring is so precise and fluid in its movements that you'll love to manual focus. I find very useful the configurable button on the body. I only think the cheap, plasticy, round hood is an insult for such a lens!
DISTORSION....what? It's a 50mm....what distorsion are we talking about?
FLARES are well controlled in normal conditions. With the horrible hood attached it's very very difficult to obtain lack of contrast or flares etc....

To be honest this is my best lens. I felt in love with it after 5 minute and after the second shot!!! With a77 it is a great portrait lens, on my a99 it's a fabulous normal...if we can call "normal" such a wonderful lens!
reviewer#12214 date: Mar-28-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50 F1.7
Minolta 50 F1.4
Sony E 35 F1.8
price paid:1.299,00 €
positive:Sharp, razor-sharp from f5.6, fast and quiet AF SSM thanks, very solid construction, useful focus hold button, weather sealing and nice colours.
negative:The plastic lens hood is in no way the other valence of the lens. For the price you could expect a lens pouch, too bad Sony!
comment:It is a privilege to take pictures with this lens. Depending on the camera (A99 or A77II) this dream lens has very different characters. A photo trip only with this one lens for me is always a special experience. After I sold my A99 I will use the lens (with the Sony LA-EA3 adapter) on the Sony A7RII. I look forward to the results and will report back.

Overall: Highly recommended!
reviewer#12207 date: Mar-25-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:24-70mm F2.8Z
price paid:1200 (CAD)
positive:Sharp, great build quality, SSM, light weight.
negative:Plastic hood didn't snap on easily.
comment:Really sharp lens, great on night shots with A7S and landscape with A7R. Only downside is the plastic hood, didn't snap in place easily and cheap quality for hood.
reviewer#12186 date: Mar-16-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm f1.4, Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss
price paid:999 Euro new
positive:very sharp, nice colors and contrast, weather sealed, hybrid AF is suppported.
negative:high price, ca wide open
comment:This lens is brilliant, like the other Zeiss primes. If you need the focal length, the high price is justified. I will keep it.

Edit 5/17/2017: I returned to A-Mount after the introduction of the A99II. I got a new copy of this lens for less than i paid for a used one three years ago. The hybrid-AF is very precise, i can focus accurately wide open. I put Eye-AF on the Focus-Hold button, a very nice setup.
reviewer#12183 date: Mar-14-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50/1.4
Sony FE 55/1.8
price paid:900€
positive:Nice construction
Central & corner Sharpness
Fast AF
Nice Bokeh
negative:Official price: 1500€
Plastic hood
Mid zone not sharp until F5.6
comment:Very nice lens but the price is unreasonable especially for a plastic hood and no lens pouch.
reviewer#12182 date: Mar-12-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50 F1.7
Minolta 50 F1.4
Minolta 50 F1.4 RS
Minolta 50 F3.5 Macro
Zeiss Ultron 50 F1.8
Zeiss Contax G 45 F2

price paid:900 USD
positive:Color
Bokeh
SSM
Great build
negative:Price
comment: I am unable to cover much new ground from what has already been mentioned. The Sigma Art is as good, but different. The color is good, but like several other ZA lenses I have used. Not quite as lovely to me as Minolta. I used it first on a Maxxum 9 with Ektar and Portra VC, and it was amazing. I did a wedding with it, using it for video and the results sparkled. No complaint here, just kind of pricey. I am blessed to have found a good deal on this lens.
reviewer#12181 date: Mar-12-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:sony 50mm/1.4
sigma 50mm/1.4
minolta AF 50mm/1.4
minolta AF 50mm/2.8 Macro
price paid:1400USD
positive:Excellent color
Excellent sharpnes
Excellent dimensions
Excellent build quality
negative:hard to find and also quite expensive compared to Sony 50mm/1.4
comment:it's must buy lens!!!!

very good performance on my A900, I think that no other can compared.
reviewer#12114 date: Jan-27-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:None.
price paid:1499.00 USD
positive:Smooth Bokeh wide open, it reminds me of the Minolta 100mm f2
negative:None other than the 1500.00 price.
comment:Wonder how this lens will work on FF but on APS-C this focal length is not as long as 85mm f1.4 Zeiss and perfect for everyday use.
reviewer#12113 date: Jan-26-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50 1.4
price paid:£650 new
positive:Sharp wide open, would have no qualms about F1.4.
Very very sharp when stopped down
Beautiful soft bokeh
A good step up from Sony 50 1.4
negative:None bar price but you get what you pay for!
Sigma 50 1.4 art at lesser price (rrp)
comment:Managed to get it at a good price new, whilst I have no doubt the Sigma art is sharper the Zeiss is more than enough in that department with lovely bokeh and oh so fast and accurate autofocus.
reviewer#11840 date: May-21-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Other System 50mm F1.4
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp
SSM
Build Quality
Zeiss Rendering
MFD
negative:Size
comment:I bought it from the US and it has focus shift (Noticeable) and returned after I developed my two Slide films (was 3 months after receiving the lens!)

once came back from Sony US Repair, it's Spot on. Very sharp but not contrasty wide open (Good contrast but not excessive). focuses fast and sure too, which I like the most. It's rendering is typical Planar with a little bite to it, very similar to the 85mm F1.4 Planar ZA.

Size for 50mm is on the big side of the scale :). But this is very good lens and to me one of the most useful on the Alpha lineup.
reviewer#11834 date: May-20-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50mm F1.4
Sony Zeiss 85mm F1.4
price paid:1100 Euros
positive:Sharp even wide open, stopping down to F1.7 improves image quality only slightly (opposed to the Zeiss 85mm which is only "good" wide open)

Fast and quiet AF

Gives photos the beautiful Zeiss look (sharp, contrasty, great colours)
negative:I can't think of anything besides the plastic lens hood, but i don't use lens hoods anyway
comment:I have reached 50mm lens nirvana with this lens!
reviewer#11829 date: May-16-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tokina 17mm f3.5 Pro
Min 35mm f2
Min 50mm f1.7
Min 85mm f1.4 GD
Min 100mm f2.8 macro RS
Sony 135mm f1.8 Sonnar T
Min 200mm f2.8 HS APO
Min 400mm f4.5 HS APO
price paid:1500.00 New
positive:Sharp, color, Build, Focusing system is perfect the best I have ever used, spot on and as fast as it gets.
negative:Barrel roll can be a problem so be careful with straight lines in background at f1.4 to f4.
comment:A perfect low light street light lens, a amazing performer sharp at f1.4 and razor sharp at f2.8 to f11, indoors or in low light is where this lens really pays off. It has become my most used lens!
reviewer#11787 date: Apr-23-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SAL Zeiss 85f1.4
Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art
Minolta 50 f1.7
Hasselblad 80 F2.8
Mamiya 80 f1.9
Contax 80 f2
price paid:£750 new !!!!
positive:High Build Quality
Very High Performance
Draws Like Only a Zeiss Lens can
negative:a little aberration
lens hood not worthy
comment:I'll keep this review short. Simply to say, all the DXO/lenstip/dpreview tests fail to tell you the 2 important things you need to know about a lens. A) How it draws a subject B)Bokeh performance. The Leica Noctilux would be a classic example of this approach.

This Zeiss lens really is a stunner - it looks almost identical to the 85 f1.4 but has SSM & has that bokeh/look & feel which is just outstanding.

I'm sure many people will be plumping for the Sigma 50 f1.4 art as on paper it looks like the better lens. However, there is no way it will draw in quite the same beautiful fashion this zeiss does.
reviewer#11696 date: Feb-16-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Nothing- it outclasses them all
price paid:1300
positive:Stupid sharp
negative:Hood
comment:Yeah, I own it. It's special alright- but maybe not 1500.00 dollars special. Nah, who am I kidding- it's that special. I own the 135mm 1.8 as well. This one has all of the same characteristics that make Zeiss what it is. Great color rendition, extremely sharp and smooth diffraction focus. what I like about Zeiss is you don't need much if any post processing. The sharpness is already where you'd want it and the colors rarely even need minor adjustments. Shot, capture and print.

Ok, the hood is an absolute insult. The focus hold button on the side is plastic as well. But, the rest makes up for it. SSM, SOLID barrel build and that oh so sweet glass. You may not need 1.4, but it's nice to know you have it. I use it quite a bit but outside of wide open I tend to shot at 5.6. That's were this lens DESTROYS...I mean DECIMATES other 50's. It's medium format quality stopped down. So about that 1500 dollar question again. Yeah, it's worth it and if you get it used for around 1300 then it's a steal.

Update 11/12

Still have it folks. I've used it the past two years for wedding photography and no regrets. It is soft though at 1.4 till around F2 but no big deal. There is CA wide open for sure but I'll trade that off for the excellent bokeh it produces. I shot it side by side with the 55mm 1.8 FE and nothing to write home about in terms of differences.
reviewer#11691 date: Feb-13-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 50mm f1.4
Sony CZ 85mm f1.4
Sony CZ 135mm f1.8
price paid:1100 GBP
positive:Looks great, good build, smooth quiet SSM focusing, the usual Zeiss Alpha quality.
negative:Plastic lens hood (vs 85 & 135 metal hood)
Expensive versus other 50/55mm primes
comment:Exactly as I expected from a Zeiss Alpha lens - great build, sharp, good colours. A definite upgrade from my Minolta 50mm f1.4. The size is almost identical to the CZ 85mm f1.4 though a little lighter. It fits very well with the A99, and would likely be nice with the A77 too. The SSM focusing means you don't need to turn to the likes of the 24-70 f2.8 for fast smooth focusing.
reviewer#11690 date: Feb-13-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50 1.7
Sigma 50 1.4 HSM
Minolta 50 2.8
price paid:1000 CHF near new
positive:Sharp wide open
Super fast AF
Fast AF in low light conditions
Very sharp from f2.0 - f4.0
Build
Quiet SSM
Weather protected
negative:Plastic hood
Some CA evident at 1.4
comment:Just received this lens, so far very happy with it. It may not be the absolute sharpest 50 prime on the market i.e. FE 55 1.8, but the overall usability of the lens is excellent on A Mount. I doubt I will need anything sharper, with such nice colours and contrast, than this. All of my other lenses will be sitting in the bag for a while unused because of this lens.
Update November 14: After using this for most of this year I have to say this is the sharpest lens and best rendering lens I own. It is sublime. CA can be a headache from 1.4 - 2.8 on high contrast objects and scenes. This is the only weakness, and easily fixed in PP.
reviewer#11600 date: Jan-11-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:ZA 135/1,8
price paid:$1,499.99
positive:Excellent build, well-balanced, beautiful colors, very sharp focus, and near silent operation.
negative:Small amount of CA and flimsy pathetic lens hood with weak locking to the lens.
comment:UPDATE 17 April 2014: I'm still on vacation in Italy and this is my primary lens alongside the ZA135. I use it a lot more since the 135 is simply too restricting and heavy. The ZA50 renders great although for the street, it too can fall short on the view I need. The streets here are bustling with people (some of them are skilled pick-pockets) so you don't really have a lot of time or reasonable security to swap-out lenses. My lens hood fell-off twice so far due to the flaky lockup on the lens. Lots of narrow streets in the villages so a fast wide zoom or the ZA24 is now on my wish list.

Original Review: I wasn’t sure whether to retire my Alpha 900 and move on, or to add a second ZA to my system. I’ve been using the ZA 135/1,8 for about 2-years without ever removing it, so I have done just about everything one could do with that lens. Anyway, I decided to roll-the-dice when I ordered this lens and I have no regrets. This lens is so good that it inspired me to stick with the Alpha mount and forgo the FE-mount frenzy. In fact, this lens has resurrected my passion for the A900 so I’m not even considering the newer model for sometime to come.

The Good: Once I installed the B+W 72mm XS-Pro Clear with Multi-Resistant Nano Coat (007M) that’s when this lens started to shine! The colors and tones are phenomenal and the focusing is sharp and dead silent. As others have mentioned, there is a degree of CA with high-contrast zones so you simply have to use the lens accordingly.

The Bad: As for the remarkably cheap flimsy lens hood I couldn’t agree more, whereby Sony and Carl Zeiss have unwittingly embarrassed themselves. I hated this hood so bad that I special ordered the premium hood from the ZA 85mm and it’s a match made in heaven! Of course you will pay through the nose for this hood although I feel it was money well spent. Heck, I even went a step further and added the Sony 4-yr service/accident warranty for piece-of-mind.

Cost vs. Value: I feel the retail price of this lens is on par with others ZA lenses of equal quality, with the exception of the miserable lens hood. Had they included the same hood as provisioned for the ZA 85mm I would have considered it a true bargain. No, it doesn’t come with a lens pouch but I never use the stock pouches so that didn’t bother me.

Summary: If you like the quality of the Carl Zeiss line of ZA lenses, then this new offering it's unlikely to disappoint.

Regards,
Dan Ortego
reviewer#11554 date: Dec-23-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 85mm F1.4 ZA SSM
Sony SAL50F14
price paid:AU$1,200 as new
positive:Solid build, well balanced on camera body, fast and silent SSM focus, superb image quality, weather proof.
negative:Plastic hood (the comparable Zeiss Planar 85mm has a metal one).
comment:More solid and heavier than the Sony 50mm f1.4, more comparable to the Carl Zeiss 85mm f1.4 in look and feel.
A professional quality, weatherproof lens that gets the most out of high resolution sensors, particularly full frame.
Exceptional level of detail, buttery smooth Bokeh, natural colour rendition, weatherproof, precise controls, quick, sure and silent SSM focus with direct manual focus always available. Expensive and much bulkier than the Sony 50mm f1.4 (virtually unchanged optically from Minolta versions going back to 1985), but feels very well balanced on the camera body and will certainly match, enhance and optimise the capabilities of today's high resolution sensors as well as those yet to be released.
reviewer#11495 date: Nov-23-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:SAL-50F14
price paid:Rented
positive:50/1.4 ZA looks well built, just like 85/1.4 ZA.
It renders OOF areas smoothly, with no pronounced highlight outlining like Sony 50/1.4 does, and no coma in the corners @ F1.4-2. 9 aperture blades, when closed down to f/4, still retain a perfect round iris shape. It shows an improved sharpness at f/1.4 across the image frame. Excellent sharpness at infinity at any aperture.
negative:Amount of LoCA it produces is on par or slightly more than Sony version even stopped down.
Distortion, flare control hasn't improved from Sony previous generation of 50/1.4.
comment:It's an overall improvement over Minolta designed 50/1.4 in terms of color, bokeh, sharpness, contrast, vignetting, build. AF speed is on par with Sony 50/1.4, but accuracy was lower with my 50ZA sample. It tended to back focus occasionally in dim light or back lit shots (a850 center AF point).
You can find comparison images between Sony & Zeiss 50/1.4 here: http://goo.gl/c0fnqk
reviewer#11465 date: Nov-10-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:DT50/1.8
Tamron SP90/2.8
price paid:10000DKK = 1340 €
positive:Just about every thing!
negative:Price!
Cheap plastic lenshood whitout "velvet" on the indside of the hood.
And it comes whitout a lens case?
comment:Bought it whith the A99 and it's a match made i Heaven! The build, size and weight offers a perfect setup and it has been mountet on my A99 about 99% of the time since.

The price is pretty steep for a 50/1.4, but compaired to the other members of the Zeiss klan? I guess it's just about right.

This is in my view, a very very very nice and highly recomendable lens.
reviewer#11366 date: Oct-4-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Canon EF 50L f/1.2
Sony 50 f/1.4
Leica 25 f/1.4(50mm) 4/3-Mount E-System
price paid:new
positive:Sharpness
IQ
Bokeh
Sealing
Size & Weight
negative:Plastic Hood
comment:Unlike all other Zeiss, this one has a cheap plastic hood. Apart from this, it is a dream lens. I want to pair it up with a 135Z these are in the same league.

For A99, this is the lens to go with, if you like primes.

No other 50mm does top this lens
reviewer#11358 date: Sep-29-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:zeiss 50 1.4 ZF2 , Summilux 50 , Rokkor 50 1.2
price paid:
missing
positive:very sharp , nice OF rendering , not as heavy as it looks , very fast silent focusing
negative:price and a little to much CA at wide aperturs , but I can live with it ;-)
comment:a very nice lens , I was really surprised for the very high IQ this lens provides on the a99 . very very sharp , fits perfectly on the a99 , I bet it will be on the camera more than any other lens .
The only But , is the CA at wide apertures , I little less would of made the lens perfect . ( It is normal for wide open lenses on High contrast OF areas , but less would of been great )

A very nice lens , a must if you like 50s and you have an a99 , it really makes it shine ;-)
reviewer#11326 date: Sep-3-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:1379 € (new)
positive:Very high IQ at all apertures (except chromas), nice colors, snappy contrast, ver y low vignetting, very fast and accurate AF operation, weather sealed
negative:The amount of CAs wide open is quite high, purple fringing in high contrast areas is quite pronounced
comment:All in all it is a highly desirable lens. It's a joy to use. Built quality is on a very high level, the SSM AF is quite fast and acuurate.
What I am a little bit disappointed about is the high amount of CA open up to f2. Especially purple fringing is quite disturbing in high contrast areas.
(unfortunately there is still no compensation available in ACR or DxO).
reviewer#11283 date: Aug-1-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:50/1.7
16-80 @ 35mm on crop frame
35-70/4 @ 50mm on full frame
price paid:
missing
positive:MFD closer than some
SSM
well balanced on a900
negative:Is it worth the price?
comment:review based on a five day rental

After using this lens exclusively for a week, I liked it, but I think I can live without it. It has plenty of resolution, contrast, and is all but immune to flare, but it didn't "speak to me" (although I did receive a placing in the Weekly Exhibition, so I got a good result from using the lens!). Disclaimer: I rented the 16-80 and said I would not buy it, now it is a "go-to" lens, so in two years you may see me using this lens every day....

I took a picture with the sun in the frame, and I added veiling haze with software; I found it all but impossible to create flare, ghosting, or veiling haze with this lens - the coatings are unbelievably effective.

Geometric Distortion is quite noticeable at close focus, more normal at infinity focus.

Purple fringing is expected at 1.4

Skin tones on film are fabulous, on a digital sensor colors are full and contrasty, perhaps a little more yellow-ish and magenta-ish than the "steely blue" Zeiss is known for, perhaps hinting at "Minolta Colors" more than most Sony lenses.

Differential Focus is smooth, favoring definition over cream. I think the foreground differential focus is almost immaculate (not quite as immaculate as Master Prime Cinema lenses), but the background differential focus can be messier near infinity focus, smoother at close focus.

I definitely would rent the lens again for a special event, but I did not like it as much as "Special Sauce" 50/1.7, even though 50/1.7 does not have near the resolution or contrast of this lens on the a900; it is better than a zoom, but less noticeably so at f5.6-f11; extreme apertures seem to be this lens's strength (where other lenses lose contrast and resolution, or don't go to 1.4).
reviewer#11280 date: Jul-31-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Sony 50 f/1.4 (SAL50F14)
Minolta 50 f/2.8 macro D
Minolta 28-70 f/2.8 G
price paid:Review sample
positive:Fully usable from f/1.4
Very creamy bokeh
SSM AF motor
wheather sealed
short MFD
negative:Price
comment:This lens was long awaited and i'm happy Sony finally made it available to us. It is a lot bigger, heavier and more expensive compared to the SAL50F14 - which is derived from the old Minolta 50 lenses.
The main difference compared to the older Sony 50 is the better sharpness fully open - f/1.4 to f/2.8. Also contrast is better preserved. I love the oof area's with this lens, it looks so smooth. Shooting with the sun in the frame shows there can be small flares, but overall it is very well controlled. These three properties make it a lens that opens new creative opportunities for me.
At first i hoped for an even shorter MFD, but can't complain as it is much better that the older 50 mm.
The CZ is bigger than the older Sony 50. To give you an idea: the SAL50F14 has the size like the fisheye and 20 mm lenses, while the CZ has the size like the CZ 85 f/1.4. The visible part of the front elements are approximatly 35 and 40 mm for both 50 mm lenses, so the size of the CZ will be a result of the SSM motor and the optical design. Filter size is 72 mm.
reviews found: 29   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 29
  • sharpness: 4.97
  • color: 5.00
  • build: 4.97
  • distortion: 4.76
  • flare control: 4.90
  • overall: 4.92

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