The Sony FE 50mm f1.8 is an affordable standard prime lens for Sony’s mirrorless cameras and corrected for use on full-frame models. Announced in March 2016 it delivers standard coverage on full-frame bodies making it an ideal walk-around option, and becomes a short telephoto on cropped-frame APSC bodies, equivalent to 75mm, making it perfect for portraits. Meanwhile the bright f1.8 focal ratio lets you shoot more easily in low light while also delivering shallow depth-of-field effects.
The optical design consists of six elements in five groups, has a seven-blade aperture system, and a minimum focusing distance of 45cm. The lens itself measures 69mm in diameter and 60mm in length, weighs 186g and employs a 49mm filter thread.
Sony’s lens catalogue isn’t short of 50mm (or thereabouts) options, but the FE 50mm f1.8 is by far the most affordable and as such is a no-brainer for many owners. Indeed it’s possible to assemble a fairly low-cost threesome of bright primes with the FE 50mm f1.8 and its affordable siblings, the FE 28mm f2 and FE 85mm f1.8. If you’re after something higher-end, there’s the original FE 55mm f1.8 ZA at round three times the price, or the Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f1.4 that’s even more still. Manual focusers may also be interested in the Samyang 50mm f1.4 or the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f2. But if you want autofocus, none can match the price of the FE 50mm f1.8 which, like low-cost 50mm lenses on other systems, represents a great first prime for anyone exploring low-light or shallow depth-of-field photography on a budget. Recommended if you can’t stretch to the higher-end options. Check back soon for my sample images and results.