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50mm full frame lenses for Sony E-mount


  • There are a multitude of 50mm-60mm lens choices for Sony covering a wide price range from the super cheap Canon 50mm f/1.8II at around $AU120 (although there are issues with using this lens on the Sigma MC-11 adapter - you need to re-mount lens every time you turn the camera off), the “cheap” Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 at around $AU430, the expensive trio outlined below, and the super-expensive Carl Zeiss lenses
  • the main reason to have a wide aperture lens on full frame cameras is to achieve nice background blurring with aesthetic bokeh while retaining subject sharpness and contrast - a difficult lens design compromise!
  • in addition, there are Canon EF lenses:
    • the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens for even shallower depth of field (DOF) but you do give up image quality wide open with mixed bokeh sentiments, massive 2.4EV vignetting, mod CA, and only 60% accutance in centre and 48% at edges at f/1.2, but this does improve to 78% in centre at f/2.8 and 60% at edges
    • the compact, light, cheap, Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM has T1.9, 0.5% distortion, 4micron CA, reasonable sharpness with 71% accutance in centre and 48% at edges at f/1.8 which improves to 80% in centre at f/2.8 and 60% at edges, but massive vignetting at 3EV wide open
  • in addition, with the new AF adapter for MF lenses, there are a multitude of legacy MF lenses in various mounts which could be used with autofocus and image stabilisation on the Sony a7 II full frame mirrorless camera and Sony a7R II full frame mirrorless camera.

comparison of AF lenses

Sigma EF 50mm f/1.4 ART Sony FE CZ 50mm f/1.4 ZA Sony FE CZ 55mm f/1.8 ZA
price $AU999 + adapter $AU2250 $AU1150
weathersealing No Yes Yes
weight 815g + adapter 778g 281g
length 100mm + adapter 108mm 64.4mm
filter 77mm 72mm 49mm
diaphragm 9 11 9
close focus 0.4m 0.45m 0.5m
dXoMark score 45 45 48
sharpness at f/1.8 82% accutance centre, 65% at edge 84% accutance centre, 61% at edge (worse at half-way to edge!) 78% accutance centre, 74% at edge
transmission wide open T1.7 T1.6 T1.8
distortion -0.1% 0.1% 0.4%
vignetting at f/1.8 0.7EV (1.2EV at f/1.4) 1.8EV (2.5EV at f/1.4) 1.6EV
lateral CA at edge at f/1.8 6micron 7micron 5micron
shallow DOF 2/3EV better 2/3EV better base level
bokeh sharp rings, busy bokeh less busy as less onion rings and thus better than the 58mm smoother than FE 50mm but severe onion ring for near background
long. CA much less than the 55mm
coma mild, need to stop down to f/2.8 to remove coma almost none wide open need to stop down to f/2.8 to remove coma
comments can be used on Canon dSLRs and 0.5EV shallower DOF, minimal distortion and mild vignetting, sharper in centre than the 55mm but not as charp in centre as the Sony 50mm, but big, heavy although “the best ‘bang for the buck’ among 50mm lenses” sharper in centre than even in Sigma, soft half way to edges, lots of vignetting, very expensive but best bokeh, zero coma, minimal distortion and very flat field and ground breaking central sharpness level make it one of the best 50mm lenses optically light, compact, weathersealed and better edge-to-edge sharpness but more expensive than the Sigma, lots of long. CA, and busy onion ring bokeh, considerable lens to lens variation
other The FE 50mm F1.4 ZA, like most recent Sony lenses, focuses stopped down at your selected aperture. This means that autofocus performance steadily drops as you stop down, since smaller apertures mean less light, and more depth-of-field (less phase difference) for the autofocus system to work with. By F9, phase-detect fails altogether, and you'll experience significant hunting in AF-C. faster AF than the Sony 50mm

other 50mm AF full frame lenses

Sony FE 1.8/50 (SEL50F18F)

  • budget lens at $AU430
  • 49mm filter; 7 blades; close focus 0.45m; extends on focus; AF noisy;
  • 186g
  • reviews:
      • busy bokeh at longer distances but no onion rings; AF slow; lots of vignetting; LoCA can be bothersome; complex moustache style distortion; corners are soft and dark, and don't sharpen up until f/8. Centre sharpness is Ok wide open but much better at f/2.8; avg flare resistance;
      • a sharp lens for most applications but it falls a little short of many older and much cheaper manual lenses.
      • can give nasty flares

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM (not the ART version!)

  • smoother bokeh than the ART version but much less sharp wide open
  • discontinued
photo/sony50mm.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/03 15:23 by gary1