In The Box
Sony Front Lens Cap
Sony Rear Lens Cap
- Under the Warranty of Sony Malaysia for Twelve Months
The silver Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens is a prime portrait-length lens featuring a bright f/1.8 maximum aperture and a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 75mm. The lens has a lightweight and compact design with an aluminum alloy lens barrel and engraved focusing ring to provide greater handling as well as an aesthetic appearance. Greatly benefitting handheld usage with this lens is Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, which works to minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to four shutter speed steps to support use in low-light conditions.
A linear autofocus motor is incorporated into the lens design to provide smooth, quiet performance and a stepping motor is employed to deliver quiet aperture actuation that is well-suited to video applications. For refined control over focus, Direct Manual Focus (DMF) is supported, which enables manual fine-tuning of focus when in AF mode to enhance working with selective focus imagery. Also contributing to shallow depth of field applications is a seven-blade circular aperture that provides a smooth quality to out-of-focus backgrounds.
- Prime portrait-length lens provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 75mm.
- Large, bright f/1.8 maximum aperture is well-suited for use in low-light conditions and for shallow depth of field imagery.
- Optical SteadyShot image stabilization works to minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to four shutter speed steps to benefit shooting handheld in dim lighting and with greater zoom magnifications.
- Linear autofocus motor and stepping aperture actuation control provide smooth and silent performance that is especially beneficial to video applications.
- Direct Manual Focus (DMF) permits fine-tuning of focus manually while working in autofocus modes.
- Aluminum alloy lens barrel is both lightweight and elegant in appearance.
Shot this in Vivid mode with the 50 at 1.8, wide open.
This Kangaroo was posing for me :) The 50 at f/3.2
The Lens construction, look and feel
The lens in use feels good and light and is a joy to use. When I mounted it to the NEX-7 I realized that it was about the same weight as the kit zoom and felt about the same but the 50 was a tad bigger (length). The lens will not win any heavy duty build awards but thats not what the lens is about . It’s simple, it’s silver, and it is a basic 50mm 1.8 lens coming in at $299. There is not really much you can say about it so I will try to SHOW you what the lens did for me and talk about the AF speed, sharpness, etc.
The AF Speed of the 50 1.8
In use the 50 1.8 AF speed was very good. Not excellent or super speedy but very good. In bright light it was speedy but when the lights got low the combo of the NEX-7 and the 50 had a hard time focusing in many situations. It would hunt, even with the cameras AF assist lamp. BUT, I am talking low light indoors. No overhead lights, just soft low lighting. For example, if you were on a couch in your living room with one lamp in in the room and took a snap of your wife sitting next to you then the focus would hunt a but before locking in. This is not abnormal as most mirrorless cameras do this with their lenses. In fact, the only camera that did not do this for me in recent times is the Nikon V1, which had blazing AF in good light and fast AF in low light.
The Sony 50 focuses fast, but don’t expect blazing AF, especially in low light. With that said, I didn’t have any issues getting shots in lower light though I did have to shoot the image below a couple of times as the 1st one missed focus. These bearded dragons were in a huge display at the local Zoo. I find that by f 2.5 the lens is really sharp. To some, the Bokeh may be a little distracting but I think its great for the price point of the lens.
ISO 640 at f/2.5
This focal length will work well for portraits as well due to the 75mm equiv focal length. ISO 100 at f/2.8
ISO 1600 at 1.8
Is this a sharp 50?
Many shooters stress over the absolute sharpness of a lens. Me, I prefer “character” over sharpness which is why I still love my old Leica glass from the 40′s and 50′s. When you think about it and look back at old classic photos, not all of them were razor sharp. I also never really care what my photos look like at 100% view on my iMac screen. Why? Well, that is not how people will be viewing my photos! You guys view my review samples no larger than 1800 pixels wide. If I print something these days it is usually not bigger than 8X10. Pixel Peeping has gotten old for me and I just don’t do much of it anymore for my personal photos. If a photo is a bit off at 100%, so what! Unless I am shooting for some multi thousand dollar paying project then it’s not really that big of a deal.
So with that rant I bet you are expecting me to say the 50 is a softer lens right? Well, not really. The lens is somewhat sharp at 1.8 and gets sharper and sharper as you stop down. It never reaches the razor sharp detail I see with my Leica M9 and always seems to have a slight softness to the files but this is slight. To some, this lens may look razor sharp. I think it is all down to what your expectations are. The lens is also slightly soft on the edges, even at f/2.8 but again, not something most people would even notice. Even though I do not pixel peep I know many of you guys do, so below you will find a series of photos with 100% crops embedded. To see the crops at the real 100% view you must click on the photos to see the larger versions.
Here is a shot at f/2.5 with the NEX-7 and 50 1.8. BTW, F/2.5 is the widest aperture of the $1400 Leica 50 Summitar. Here, the Sony provides PLENTY of sharpness for my tastes.
In harsh AZ sunshine at f/3.5 – this is with default sharpening in ACR
The 24 Megapixel sensor makes for some larger files from the NEX-7. This one was shot at f/3.2
The lens at f/1.8. It renders beautifully in the right light
Once again, Wide open at f/1.8
The next two shots were both converted from RAW but the 1st one had some sharpening applied during the RAW processing, the 2nd one did not. When printing it is always best to add some sharpening…
Below is an image from my NEX-7 review using the 50 1.8. It CAN be razor sharp when sharpening a little – This one is at f/2.8
So there are some pixel peeping samples for you. When you do not apply any sharpening the files seem a tad soft but add some sharpening and you can get a crisper file, but of course artifacts from sharpening. If I am going to make a print I sharpen up the images and they look great on paper. If I am posting to the web I do not really add any sharpening because I resize the files anyway. Overall, the lens performs great. About on par with other brands 50 1.8 lenses (NIkon, Canon, etc) but with better Bokeh IMO.
My last thoughts on the Sony 50 1.8 OSS Lens
Basically this lens is a must have for any NEX shooter who wants a medium telephoto with a fast aperture. The lens has great color, has a fast aperture for shallow depth of field or when the lights get low and the lens pumps out great color with rich saturated tones. The lens is sharp but not clinically sharp. On the NEX-7 it is a fantastic performer. It is not perfect though! The lens is a little slow to AF when the lights get dim and the camera will hunt for focus even when using the AF assist light. Overall though, for $299 I can’t complain one bit because you are getting a super lens with built in optical steady shot and a nice look and feel as well. The lens is scheduled for release in Jan/Feb 2012 and I expect it will be a huge seller for Sony along with the NEX-7. Sony needed a lens like this and I am happy they finally released this and the Zeiss 24. With these two lenses, the NEX system is not only maturing, but is becoming a serious contender in the world of mirrrorless cameras.
The color is great when shooting RAW with the NEX-7 and shooting the 50 1.8
More samples from the NEX-7 and 50 1.8
Since the best way to judge a camera lens is actually using it, I will leave you with a few more samples from the 50 1.8 and the NEX-7. Enjoy!
|Filter Thread||Front:49 mm|
|Dimensions (DxL)||Approx. 2.44 x 2.44" (62 x 62 mm)|
|Weight||7.13 oz (202 g)|