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Shipping: Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

Get Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

I see the Sony G Master lens lineup as lenses targeted at the bread-and-butter pro and semi-pro market (weddings, portraiture, etc). But the new Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 fills in a hole for compact and relatively inexpensive normal lens. What’s a little odd is the $248 price, which is higher than both Canon and Nikon: Canon’s 50mm f/1.8 STM is $125 and Nikon’s 50mm f/1.8G Is $217. Is the Sony lens better? Maybe—perhaps a fresh design optimized for mirrorless can be better.

I wish the days of 1-year warranties would end: will any vendor besides Nikon step up and stand behind their products for more than one year?

I’ll be taking a look at the Sony FE 50mm f/1.4, though I confess to less than peak enthusiasm; it does not look to be anything exceptional. The ideal lens (which presumably will follow at some point) would be a Sony 50mm f/1.4 GM, to fill out the lens line along the Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM.

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

With an aspherical element, the Sony FE 50/1.8 suggests the promise of performance similar to and possibly than its DSLR equivalents. But the Sony FE being a new optical design specifically for mirrorless, it may have been possible to improve upon DSLR designs slightly.

The FE 50mm f/1.8 is stated to be a double gauss design, which implies optical symmetry in design, which tends to naturally cancel certain aberrations, so its bokeh may well be more pleasing than Sony/Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 ZA Sonnar. Properly stated, it is a double-gauss derivative with some amount of asymmetry, since it has an aspheric element.

But while the MTF for the Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 looks reasonably good at f/1.8, is is not nearly at the same level or consistency across the frame as the MTF for the Sony G Master 85m f/1.4 at f/1.4. So you do get what you pay for (price and the 'cost' of carrying a heavy lens).

Still, I’m a fan of a 50mm f/1.8: relatively inexpensive, relatively high performance in a very compact package. It’s a a good complement to a mid-range zoom. The use of the aspherical element to control spherical aberration is a plus: it suggests little or no focus shift, which is a headache with some 50mm designs.

Well worth noting is that on an APS-C crop sensor camera like the Sony A6300, the 50mm f/1.8 makes an excellent and very compact medium telephoto (equivalent to a 75mm in field of view).

A simple, bright, and lightweight normal prime, the FE 50mm f/1.8 from Sony is a versatile normal-length prime lens designed for full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras. Its sleek design makes it well-suited for everyday shooting, while the fast f/1.8 maximum aperture benefits working in low-light conditions as well as offers increased control over depth of field for selective focus imagery.

The optical design incorporates one aspherical element to control spherical aberrations, an employs a double-gauss configuration in order to realize sharper, clearer image quality throughout the aperture range with reduced field curvature. A DC actuator is also employed to provide quick and precise autofocus performance that is also quiet to suit video recording applications. Additionally, a rounded seven-blade diaphragm is featured to render out-of-focus highlights with a smooth, circular appearance. Characterized by its straight-forward design, this go-to lens balances both ease of handling along with enhanced image quality.

  • Normal-length 50mm prime lens is designed for full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras, however, can also be used with APS-C models where it will provide a 75mm equivalent focal length.
  • Fast f/1.8 maximum aperture benefits working in difficult lighting conditions and also avails greater control over focus placement for working with shallow depth of field techniques.
  • One aspherical element minimizes spherical aberrations for improved clarity and sharpness.
  • Double-gauss optical configuration helps to reduce field curvature and distortions for more consistent image quality from edge-to-edge.
  • DC actuator offers quick, quiet, and accurate autofocus performance to suit both stills and video applications.
  • Metal bayonet offers increased durability and a solid feel when mounting the lens.
    Rounded seven-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality.
Specifications for Sony FE 50mm f/1.8
Focal length: 50mm
Aperture range: f/1.8 - f/22
Focusing range: 1.48 ft / 45 cm
Angle of view: 47°
Number of elements/groups: 6 elements in 5 groups
Diaphragm: 7 blades
Magnification: 0.15X = 1:6.7
Filter thread: 49mm
Weight, nominal: 6.56 oz / 186 g
Dimensions: Approx. 2.70 x 2.34 in / 68.6 x 59.5 mm
Street price: about $248
Supplied with: ALC-F49S 49mm Front Lens Cap
R1EM Rear Lens Cap for E-Mount Lenses (Dark Gray)
Lens Hood
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