Sony 50mm f/1.4 Lens

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88% Gold Award
It's not perfect, but it has low light capabilities unmatched by any zoom, and image quality unrivalled by all but the most expensive.”

Read more of the review

Key Features

  • 50mm focal length
  • 75mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras
  • F1.4 maximum aperture; F22 minimum
  • AF via camera body motor
  • 55mm filters
  • 0.45m/17.72" minimum focus
  • Sony Alpha mount for full frame and APS-C DSLRs

Product Description

The Sony 50mm F1.4 is a standard prime lens for Sony's full-frame and APS-C format SLT cameras. A 'standard' (~50mm) prime is one of the most useful lenses you can have in your camera bag, and this small, light and fast example ably proves this rule, providing excellent image quality at a low cost. On an APS-C format camera this lens offers a 75mm equivalent angle of view, and its excellent central sharpness really lends itself to use on this format, where it offers a useful focal length for portraiture.

Specs

Principal specifications
Lens type Prime lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 50 mm
Image stabilisation No
Lens mount Sony/Minolta Alpha
Aperture
Maximum aperture F1.4
Minimum aperture F22.0
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 7
Aperture notes rounded blades
Optics
Elements 7
Groups 6
Focus
Minimum focus 0.45 m (17.72)
Maximum magnification 0.15×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Screw drive from camera
Full time manual Unknown
Focus method Unit
Distance scale Yes
DoF scale Yes
Physical
Weight 222 g (0.49 lb)
Diameter 66 mm (2.58)
Length 43 mm (1.69)
Colour Black
Filter thread 55 mm
Filter notes does not rotate on focus
Hood supplied Yes
Hood product code SH0011
Tripod collar No

Reviews

DPReview Conclusion

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category at the time of review.

Score Breakdown
Poor Excellent
Build Quality
Ergonomics and Handling
Features
Image Quality
Value
Gold Award
Gold Award
88 %
Overall Score

Like any fast prime it's not perfect (shooting through all that glass at large apertures inevitably introduces more aberrations), but it has low light capabilities unmatched by any zoom, and image quality unrivalled by all but the most expensive. It's also small, light and unobtrusive, and therefore perfect for discreet shooting. These qualities add up to give a lens worthy of all Alpha users' consideration.

Good For

Those in search of a small, relatively sharp portrait or low light lens on their Sony DSLR -- a good match for full frame or APS-C.

Not So Good For

Questions & Answers

QUESTION

Lens advice for A99

I just bought an A99 body, and now I need a lens/lenses. Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!This is my first full frame camera. I'm mainly concerned with video, but I also shoot some weddings. I'm considering Sony 50mm 1.4 as I am on a budget and I also would like something with some more range for video...but I'm wondering if I should save up for a CZ, if it's that big of a difference...?  Thanks for your time! Prior to this Sony I had a Canon t3i, with their 50mm 1.4 and 18-200 EF-S lens (which I wasn't thrilled with quality but I did like the range).

Jacob James asked
1 year ago

ANSWERS

Some one else might jump on this thread with more knowledge than I. I have 4 old Minolta lenses.  Marked MC like an 80 - 200 and others around here. I got an adapter and can vouch that they take pretty good video.  And are very cheap. When I was doing video (well in charge of the department) we learned that most shots were less than 30 seconds.  This is how most pro video is done.  When you watch a TV show, say Seinfeld for example if you watch they switch views a lot.  Sometimes there are 2 or 3 cameras but often in a hallway there is just one.  Then they move it and shoot again.  You don't notice they are doing a transition.  Often we'd shoot over the shoulder, then move our camera and do the same line from the other side.  And add a sentence.  Then do it again.  We would put a LOT of shots in the 'can' as they say, and assemble them later.  Often the video stream had 4 or 5 lines that were stacked on the time line. It takes some practice, and if you can, find someone who knows ... Continue Reading

OntarioJohn answered
1 year ago

Budget how much? For about $1400 you can get Sony 28-75 2.8 and 70-300 G, I did. If you don't mind the difference in speed the Minolta 50mm 1.7 is very sharp and less than $100. Don't forget next month the highest rated 35mm will be available for less than $1000. Last year I picked up a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 for $650, it is my favorite wedding lens, of course that may chance with AF-D and the A99. Continue Reading

Edward Sargent answered
1 year ago

Which lens is coming out next month? Can you please tell me more about it? Thanks Continue Reading

Jacob James answered
1 year ago

QUESTION

Need advise for an equipment upgrade

I have the following problem: I tend to use HDR on 2/3 of my photos but my Sony Alpha 57 does only have a “baby” exposure bracketing function able to do +/- 0.7EV. When I bought the camera I did not know that my photography would go down this path but as it happened I definitely need a camera with better exposure bracketing. And a better low light performance would be awesome as well even though it is not the driver. So, looking at the Sony products I think that there are basically two choices for me now: 1. Sony Alpha 99 2. Sony Alpha 7R If I decide for the Sony Alpha 99 I will not be able to use my beloved Sigma 8-16mm lens anymore and if I decide for the Sony Alpha 7R I would need to use adaptors reducing the photo quality. Both choices are not really those that I want to take… Checking with a camera store here in London, the guy I talked to quiet frankly said: Change system to Canon or Nikon now! What a lovely dilemma I am in… I would appreciate suggestions from more experienced ...

kridpics asked
7 months ago

ANSWERS

The A-mount to E-mount adapters don't have a glass element in them so they shouldn't degrade IQ at all. However the image circle on your APS-C lenses isn't big enough to cover a full frame sensor. So you can use them on the A7r or A99, but you'll get a cropped image. With the A7r it'll be a 15MP image and with the A99 it'll be a 10MP image. If you simply need more bracketing options the A77 has the same ones as the A99 and you can use all your lenses on it. If you're trying to do HDR auto bracketing is useful, but you'll get better results shooting manually. With setting effects on you can shoot however many pictures you want to combine later and see what parts of the picture are under or overexposed before you take the shot. Shooting manually you can be more precise, and that will be true with any camera you end up getting. -- Good luck and happy shooting! Continue Reading

thebustos answered
7 months ago

FWW, you can get more bracketing out of your camera: shooting in manual. Continue Reading

trekkeruss answered
7 months ago

Doesn't A77 offer what you want in terms of HDR? It shares a lot of features with A99. But A77ii seems to have all of it including focus limiters etc. Your results are good :) So I think you are on the right track at least from a manual point of view. I will just say it again Sony adapters DO NOT degrade quality. I'd say A7r is a landscape photographers wet dream lol (especially if you are hiking to remote locations like me to get the perfect nature shot uninterrupted by tourists and crowds). That coupled with a carl zeiss 16-35 will give some of the best results. sony FE55mm is one of the sharpest lenses out there and sony FE35 is also one of best 35mm tested. The reason I am saying all this is because I feel your camera shop sales person just gave you some blind advice. People are quick to knock Sony without realising its offerings. At the same time nikon have tilt shift lenses for example that sony lack. But again with an adapter you can use nikon tilt shift lenses on A7 or A7r. ... Continue Reading

nandbytes answered
7 months ago

QUESTION

Novice Lens Question - low light / indoors / walk-around lens

Hi All - I'm relatively new to DSLRs and photography and would really appreciate some advice here.  I own a Sony A57 and have been using the Sony 18-250mm lens pretty much exclusively over the past 11 months.  I've been learning more about the basics of photography and using the camera lately I noticed some of the limitations of the 18-250 lens.  I tend to take a lot of photos at family gatherings and work social events.  But I find that in lower light (ie dimly lit room), the big lens doesn't do such a great job.  Some photos tend to come out too dark or noisy if the ISO is high. Right now, I have 2 lenses on order: - Sony SAL1650 (b/c it has a larger aperture - f2.8 and has some zoom range) - Sony SAL50F14 (b/c it has a large aperture - f1.4) I've also read good things about the relatively inexpensive Sony 35mm f1.8. I'm having hard time deciding which one would suit my primary need right now.  The 16-50 was my original choice and recommendation from a photographer friend.  Then ...

PrazVT asked
1 year ago

ANSWERS

The Sony 16-50mm is an excellent lens all-around. It has reasonably wide aperture, and excellent image quality. It is one of the best f/2.8 zooms on the market for a normal focal range, if not the best. The only plausible competitor to this lens is the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8. Generally, f/1.4 is too wide an aperture to really be useful for general-purpose photography. Especially at 50mm and beyond, the depth-of-field is razor-thin. If the eyes are in-focus, the ears will be out-of-focus. Generally, the reason people buy f/1.4 lenses is because they're higher-end lenses, and most have spectacular image quality. However, they're typically used to shoot at f/2 or narrower. In the Sony system, the 50mm f/1.8 is a more premium lens than in most competing systems (costs more, but has better image quality). The image quality is just as good, if not better, than the Sony f/1.4 -- you don't get a bump in image quality until you step up to the SAL50F14Z, which is probably the best on-brand 50mm ... Continue Reading

Alphoid answered
1 year ago

Both, actually. Your camera has a fixed flash pointing at the subject. Absolutely the worst lighting you can have. Accessory flashguns that attach to the camera usually have the ability to swivel. They also have lots more power than the camera's flash. So, you can point the flash at the ceiling (as long as it's reasonably white) and end up with soft, uniform light: Standard cat picture with bounce flash Continue Reading

Leonard Migliore answered
1 year ago

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Canon-Lenses/What-Focal-Length.aspx I don't know about Sony dSLR lenses, but in general the faster relative apertures are better for dim lighting conditions.  Only you can determine what you really need, which focal length is optimal for you and if you need f/2.8 or f/1.4.  Also consider the ability of the lens to focus accurately in dim lighting conditions, as some lenses focus better than others. Is the undefined "b/c" a relevant value or a lens feature?  The biggest issue is determining which relative aperture will provide the exposure that you need, and at what focal length.  If 50 mm is not a good focal length for you, don't buy a 50 f/1.4 lens only because somebody else likes it.  If you need a wide-angle lens, consider a 24 mm or 35 mm lens that has an f/1.4 relative aperture. Continue Reading

ARShutterbug answered
1 year ago

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