Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • Sony E-mount
  • 50mm Full Frame
  • 75mm APS-C equivalent
  • f/1.8 - f/22
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.48ft (0.45m)
  • Included Lens Hood
  • 49mm Filter Diameter
  • Compact and Lightweight
  • Metal Construction
  • Lightweight and compact so it's easy to carry in your bag or on an adventure
  • Maximum f/1.8 aperture is great for low-light shooting
  • Great Bokeh for defocussed backgrounds
  • Very Affordable at $200
  • Slight Vignetting
  • No Optical Image Stabilization
  • Slow Autofocus
Bottom Line
For the price, the Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 lens is a must have for anyone that owns an E-mount camera. While it focuses slow and produces some vignetting, it also creates nice bokeh and handles low-light well.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a looking for an affordable prime lens to add to your collection. This is great for someone that is interested in learning portrait photography.
With the price of lenses climbing while the image quality increases to astonishing levels, there have not been many lens releases that fall on the affordable side. Of the few that are, most of them are have been standard zoom lenses. Sony has set to change that with a few affordable prime lenses for their full-frame E-mount cameras. We are starting with the FE 50mm f/1.8 lens, providing a large maximum aperture for excellent low-light performance. This lens does not feature any optical image stabilization, but with most of the current and new Sony Alpha cameras featuring built-in sensor shift IS, it is not too big of an issue.

The lens itself is made up of 6 elements in 5 groups and features a 7-blade circular aperture, and sports a 75mm equivalent on Sony's APS-C cameras. It is compact and lightweight, but still has a sturdy feel. Its very simple design only features the large rubber focus ring on the smooth black finish. This focus ring is smooth and firm, allowing for fast and accurate manual focus. The lack of a MF/AF switch was a little surprising at first, but with the AF/MF button on the back of the a7, it is not an issue. Also included with the lens is a standard lens hood.

Shooting with the FE 50mm was about as expected with a new affordable lens. Even with the latest firmware (ver. 3.20) on the a7, the lens was slow to achieve focus in most lighting conditions. Its lack of an IS system forced us to keep the shutter speed and in turn the ISO a little higher for clear images. Once you are prepared for this, the lens was fun to shoot with. Our samples came out bright and sharp, with a little vignetting in all of our sample images. As you would expect from a prime with a large aperture, its bokeh or blurred background is very smooth and really allows your subjects to stand out against the backgrounds, making this a fantastic option for a beginner's portrait lens.

Bottom Line - The Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 lens is a very affordable prime lens that is a must have for the US $199.99 price tag that it carries. It produces great bokeh with just a little vignetting, but overall we came away with some great images. The AF is a bit slow, so it may make shooting fast-moving subjects a bit tricky, but it helps to know so you can be prepared.

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