Sony FE 50mm F1.8 E-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#44197 date: Dec-16-2018
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
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 & Sony (D)
Meike 50 F1.7
Minolta MD 50 F1.7 & AF & RS
Yongnuo YN50 F1.8S DF DSM
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
Konica AR 57 F1.4
Minolta MC 58 F1.4
price paid:48 USD (used)
positive:Smooth bokeh
Corner performance stopped down
Very little lateral CA
20 FPS tracking
Lens Compensation
negative:Axial CA
Shallow depth-of-field
Dark corners
Unit focus
Slow DC motor
No sealing
Plastic focus grip
comment:The first one I tried was a retail copy with 2016 manufacturing date purchased from a local camera story. I had bought a new retail copy of the Canon EF 50 F1.8 STM at another store the day before. I won the second copy of the Sony lens on eBay with claimed damage from a sports drink. I steam cleaned this copy, and it seems to work fine now, though it still smells a bit sweet. Then lens focus locked up again, so I disassembled it down to the helicoil and wiped the tracks off with rubbing alcohol. It now focuses much smoother. "Made in CHINA"

This is a simple 6 element 5 group planar double gauss design like most other budget 50 mm primes including the Minolta 50 F1.7 lenses, the Canon EF 50 F1.8 lenses, and the Sony DT 50 F1.8 SAM. Unlike those older lenses the rear element is an aspherical which is a small innovation. Unlike older aspherical lenses it doesn't show much onion ring structure in out-of-focus points.

The Canon EF 50 F1.8 STM is sharper wide-open in the center, but the FE 50 F1.8 has better edge and corner performance. Purple fringing is not particularly bad, but there is some axial CA. Be careful using it wide-open outdoors in backlit situations. This lens mostly gives quite smooth out-of-focus blur for both backgrounds and foregrounds. It has less lateral CA stopped down than the 55 F1.8 or the 50 F2.8 Macro.

Like most E-mount lenses and the Canon STM lenses it uses focus-by-wire. The DC motor is quieter than the mechanism used in the Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM or the Sony DT 50mm F1.8 SAM. The hybrid AF hunting can be slow in AF-S. It focuses much better on the A7III than the older cameras.

The dull, soft plastic exterior looks cheap and wears poorly. But it is nicer to hold than the aluminum fa├žade that adorns other lenses. The plastic focus grip harkens back to the late cheap film kit zooms, but it is usable.

This slow focusing lens supports the 20 FPS tracking mode on the A9 while the older but faster focusing E 50 F1.8 OSS and FE 55 F1.8 Sonnar primes do not.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 12
  • sharpness: 4.46
  • color: 4.58
  • build: 3.50
  • distortion: 4.75
  • flare control: 4.25
  • overall: 4.31 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania