Sony AF 50mm F1.4 A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#44151 date: Oct-23-2018
sharpness: 3.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.9
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 40 F1.7
Konica AR 40 F1.8
Canon EF 40 F2.8 STM
Pentax-M 40 F2.8
Pentax-DA 40 F2.8 XS
Pentax-FA 43 F1.9 Limited
Rokinon 45 F1.8 FE
Tamron SP 45 F1.8 USD (VC & non VC)
Minolta MD 45 F2
Sigma 45 F2.8 DG DN C
Rokinon 50 F1.2
Yongnuo 50 F1.4
Zeiss C/Y 50 F1.4 Planar
Canon EF 50 F1.4 USM
Sigma 50 F1.4 EX DG HSM
Minolta MD 50 F1.4 & AF
Minolta MD 50 F1.7 & AF & RS
Sony FE 50 F1.8
Canon EF 50 F1.8 STM
Fotasy 50 F1.8
Konica AR 50 F1.8
Vivitar 50 F1.8
Sony DT 50 F1.8 SAM
Sony E 50 F1.8 OSS
Minolta MD 50 F2
Neewer/Meike/Vivitar 50 F2
Sony FE 50 F2.8 Macro
Sony A 50mm F2.8 Macro
Minolta AF 50 F2.8 Macro RS
Minolta MD 50 F3.5 Macro
Minolta AF 50 F3.5 Macro
Konica AR 52 F1.8
Minolta MC 55 F1.7
Sony FE 55 F1.8 Sonnar
Minolta SR 55 F2
Minolta MC 58 F1.4
price paid:156 USD (used)
positive:Size and weight
Reversible circular hood included
Lens Compensation support
Axial CA/focus shift
Barrel distortion
comment:A clean, undamaged copy with original hood and front cap. I purchased a second copy with both caps and hood to try on the LA-EA4r. I purchased a third copy to try on the LA-EA5. The original Minolta AF version was $175 in 1985 about twice the price of the AF 50 F1.7. Sony's last list price was $450 before they discontinued it. "JAPAN"

Somehow this lens performs even worse than the earlier Minolta versions. My beat up original AF version was better aligned and thus sharper. It makes sense that Sony discontinued it. It is not as sharp as the FE 50 F1.8 or Yongnuo 50 F1.4. The heavy axial CA which makes focusing accurately wide-open difficult. Stopping down cleans up a lot of the axial CA fringing. Unfortunately Sony doesn't provide any way to focus A-mount lenses stopped down.

It is a bit wider than the Minolta 50mm F1.7. It is brighter wide-open than the F1.6, F1.7, and F1.8 lenses. The corners though are quite dark. It weighs a bit less than the Minolta versions despite the addition of the focus distance encoder.

*My Sony cameras display the aperture range from F1.4 as F1.6, F1.7, F2... It is strange especially when Sony only sells F1.8 lenses, and F1.7 is the half-step between F1.4 and F2. Probably this F1.7 is actually F1.8 which would also fit with the second stopped down F1.7 setting when using the Minolta AF 50 F1.7 lenses. F1.8 lenses display as F1.8 wide-open.

The large A-mount ZA Planar SSM is much better optically. The Sony FE 50mm F1.8 is sharper, has much less CA, less distortion, and brighter corners.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 138
  • sharpness: 4.70
  • color: 4.78
  • build: 4.20
  • distortion: 4.79
  • flare control: 4.49
  • overall: 4.59 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania