Sony Carl Zeiss FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Sonnar T* E-mount lens review by TheEmrys

reviewer#11817 date: May-7-2014
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50/3.5
Sony 50/1.4
Minolta 50/1.4
Tamron 90/2.8 Di
CZ Planar 50/1.4
price paid:998
negative:Serial number is on a sticker
comment:This is my favorite lens ever made. I love the 50mm focal length, and this lens alone was worthwhile for me to switch from a-mount to e-mount. This lens is really the brass ring. It has the superior sharpness, color, and contrast that Zeiss manual focus lenses are known for. The SSM is a tremendous asset. It is a very bright f/1.8 lens, due to the transmission being t/1.8. I cannot get this lens to flare as much as I try. The hood is really superfluous.

The micro-contrast makes boring images pop. AF is nicely quick and pretty accurate.

If you are a 50mm shooter, this lens is worth switching for. Sharp corner to corner from f/5.6. At f/1.8, the lens is sharp over the center 80% of the frame.

I never thought I would find a lens sharper wide open than the Minolta 80-200 HS G, but I have.

This lens, while not as dainty as the 35/2.8, is wonderfully small and balances extremely well on the a7. When coupled with the 24-70/4, it is an amazing kit.

My only gripe is that the serial number for the lens is on a stupid sticker. What happened, Sony? Do a bit of C-N-C on the barrel before assembly and do it right. Not good for a $1k lens.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 27
  • sharpness: 4.91
  • color: 4.96
  • build: 4.78
  • distortion: 4.93
  • flare control: 4.85
  • overall: 4.89 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania