Sony FE 50mm F1.8 E-mount lens review by A68noob

reviewer#45651 date: Feb-27-2021
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50 1,4
Minolta 50 1,7
price paid:80€ used, good cdt.
positive:+very light, tiny.. fits a7 very well
+very good low budget build: solid and nicely looking plastic, and not nearly as cheap as the extremly awful A-Mount 50 1,8.
+very precise and nicely dimensioned MF ring
+best "minolta" colours i have ever seen.. even in harsh lighting situations this lens delivers superb images on a7 (as a APS-C user for years, this is another world of photography)
+in most situations surprisingly pleasing bokeh (thanks to full frame and thin DOF)
+excellent IQ straight out of camera a7 .jpgs
+sharp, detailed pictures even at F1,8 (very surprised by that)
+slightly stopped down even sharper
+only the very very slightest purple fringing in extreme situations even at widest apertures (how can a Zeiss be even better?) - only seen in pixelpeeping!
+cheapest FE lens you can get.. with everything you want: fast aperture, sharpness, colours, build quality.. all well done
+best flare control i have ever seen.. only a small flare with strong contrast remaining
+beautiful sun rays.. shooting straight into the sun is pleasing!
+distance encoder for MF on screen (a7)
negative:-bit noisy, slow and sometimes even inaccurate AF.. easily the worst AF i have ever seen (on a7)
-MFD could be closer.. bad magnification
comment:As mentioned above.. colours, sharpness, saturation are the best i have ever seen. Straight out of camera jpgs are already mindblowing in many situations.. this combination is an eye opener to my photography after years of APS-C usage (even the best camera: A77ii). 50mm on APS-C feels very limiting anyway.

I have shot hundreds of pics with this lens already in a short period of time and most of them were at F1,8. This is another dimension coming from old 1,7 Minoltas. Almost no purple fringing, significantly sharper wide open, no low contrast flare, nothing hazy, shooting straight into the sun is possible.. just epic..

BUT: i really prefer the AF of screw drive minoltas compared to this Fail-AF-Drive. I am aware that AF on A7 and A7ii is not really good, nor quick.. but this lens is ALWAYS hunting for focus. No matter the lighting, no matter the subject, no matter if it is stationary with AF-S.. always hunting. My screwdrives on the other hand usually always snap directly onto the subject - the accurate focus is not as high, but a much better feeling than the continously hunting, slightly noisy AF on this relatively new lens.. this is very disappointing and feels like a dinosaur. (a7 + FE50 with latest drivers even). After some research the hunting focus is a design "issue"..

So treat it is a MF (with focus peaking, focus magnification and distance enocder on a7 it is already very pleasing) and you will have a good time. Small camera, small lens.. stunning IQ = a joy to use. Another style of photography.

This is now my main walk around lens/camera combination and i am very happy with it, especially for the price, but i was still looking for an alternative. Zeiss 55 1,8 - approximately 6x more expensive in similar condition.. but i highly doubt its even 1,3x better than this one.. after reading some reviews i can add the following: AF is obviously better on Zeiss, better Flare control, weather sealing and better corner sharnpess near max aperture.. if this is not crucial to you, the FE 50 is a no-brainer!

Edit #2:
I added 5* on sharpness again because the low sharpness issue on most pictures taken at F8 was caused due to missfocus. With manual focus it was all good again. I have obtained now another copy and will come back once i did testing if things now work as they should.

I also thought in the beginning that the lens is the reason why the colour cast is that nice, but it is just the standard rendering of a7 camera, as colours ALWAYS look the same just as FE 85 or Samyang 85 ones. On A-Mount there was always a big difference between Zeiss, Minolta, Tamron etc.. weird.

Highly recommended. Ratings based on price/performance. 4* for build as AF is awful. Lens build itself very nice.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 12
  • sharpness: 4.50
  • color: 4.58
  • build: 3.50
  • distortion: 4.75
  • flare control: 4.25
  • overall: 4.32
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