Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Lens (Full Frame E-Mount)

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Key Features

  • 55mm focal length
  • 82.5mm equivalent on APS-C cameras
  • F1.8 maximum aperture; F22 minimum
  • Linear motor autofocus
  • .50m/19 - 11/16" minimum focus
  • 49mm filter size
  • Compatible with Sony full frame E-mount and NEX cameras

Product Description

The FE 55mm F1.8 ZA is a premium 'normal' prime for Sony's full frame E-mount cameras, the A7 and A7R. It can also be used on APS-C NEX models, on which it will offer an 83mm-equivalent angle of view - ideal for 'head and shoulders' portraits. It uses a linear motor for silent autofocus, has a 9-blade circular aperture, and a dust and moisture resistant design.

Specs

Principal specifications
Lens type Prime lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 55 mm
Image stabilisation No
Lens mount Sony E (NEX)
Aperture
Maximum aperture F1.8
Minimum aperture F22.0
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Optics
Elements 7
Groups 5
Special elements / coatings 3 aspherical elements
Focus
Minimum focus 0.50 m (19.69)
Maximum magnification 0.14×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Stepper motor
Full time manual Unknown
Focus method Internal
Distance scale No
DoF scale No
Physical
Weight 281 g (0.62 lb)
Diameter 64 mm (2.52)
Length 71 mm (2.8)
Materials All-metal construction
Sealing Yes
Colour Black
Zoom method Rotary (internal)
Power zoom No
Zoom lock No
Filter thread 49 mm
Hood supplied Yes
Hood product code ALC-SH131
Tripod collar No

Reviews

User Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
  • Zeisschen, Jan 27, 2014 GMT:
    Best lens I own

    I have 3 Zeiss lenses for the NEX APS-C  (12 2.8 touit, 24 1.8 and 16-70 F4) and now the 35 FE2.8 and the FE5 1.8 for my A7r. Others than that I used several older manual Zeiss lenses on the NEX-7 and experimented with some on the A7r as well. To make it short: This lens is nothing short of amazing! It's the best Zeiss lens I have used so far! All the pictures I took with this and the A7r I made wide open have such a high level of crispness, detail, colour and contrast, I don't know how a ...

    Continue Reading

  • José B, May 22, 2014 GMT:
    Sonnar 1.8/55: Hands-down the best portrait lens for my A6000.

    I wanted to downsize my DSLR equipment slowly but surely been building up my A6000 lens lineup. I shoot a lot of portraiture and was looking from a 'go-to' portrait lens like the much-vaunted 85/1.2LII that I have with my Canon equipment. I wanted a fast portrait lens that would come close to an 85mm ff equivalent with my A6000 so that I can do not just full-body shots but close up portraits as well. After I saw a few samples from the owners, I picked the Sonnar 1.8/55. Having picked up a ...

    Continue Reading

Questions & Answers

QUESTION

Image Stabilization on Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T*

I have Sony A7 and planning to buy this lens but since A7 and this lens don't have image stabilization I wonder if it's gonna be really noticable since I don't primarily use tripods in my shots. I know there is an option to buy 24-70 (FE) with OSS but all reports show this lens is mediocre in overall quality. The price for this 55 mm bites so I really need help in this matter. Thanks.

vmwelt asked
5 months ago

ANSWERS

Four other ideas: (1) Test to see what shutter speed works well for you. (2) When the light is low, go ahead and use a lower shutter speed than your limit. Perhaps even much lower. Since the amount of blur is random, take 10, 20, or 50 shots when the image is important and you have to use a slow shutter speed. You may well be amazed and delighted that one or more of the images is quite sharp. I use it all of the time. (3) Find something to lean against, or put your camera on something stead (solid rock is often better than any tripod). Continue Reading

Jerry Fusselman answered
5 months ago

And turn on electronic first curtain shutter. Continue Reading

JimKasson answered
5 months ago

That's still just a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which is 1/4 the size of a full frame sensor. To my knowledge there is no mirrorless system with an APS-C or larger sensor that has IBIS. And I'm not just talking about the amount the sensor needs to move; I'm talking about that AND the mechanism needed to move it. A larger sensor needs more circuitry and more hardware for heat dissipation than a smaller sensor (which is also why a Panasonic camera can record 4K straight to the SD card while the A7S can't). All of that PLUS IBIS seems a bit much to ask. Continue Reading

locke42 answered
5 months ago

QUESTION

Why are the A7's lenses so big?

Regular full-frame DSLRs have large lenses because of the mirror. Rangefinder camera lenses (such as a Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux) are much smaller, because of the reduced distance between the lens and the sensor. Then, why are Sony A7's lenses so hefty (and with such a low aperture), considering that they're even closer to the sensor?? Can someone from DPReview explain?

5 months ago

ANSWERS

1. The reduced size of rangefinder lenses is because they don't have electronic aperture control or AF motors. The registration distance to the sensor has little to do with it. 2. Modern photographers don't, as a rule, want non-AF/non-AE/non-OSS lenses. For those who are willing to forego these features, there are excellent modern options from Voigtlander and Zeiss. 3. Optical reality. You want fast lenses, you get big lenses. The extra metal for the "adapter" is largely irrelevant. No one has miniaturized the laws of physics. 4. To put 35mm f1.4 optics into a lens with all the auto-think, you get a big, expensive, limited demand product. DPREVIEW users are a minuscule % of the mass market. By limiting the maximum aperture to f2.8, you get a lens barely affordable to that tiny %. 5. And this is really key - because with FF sensors capable of great ISO 2000 photography, an f1.4 lens is over the top for most users. Check the ISO, focal length, ISO and shutter speed. That's what you ... Continue Reading

Mel Snyder answered
5 months ago

Leica M 35 is not smaller than Sony FE 35 unless you are thinking thickness (where you just admitted AF will add size). In terms of length, consider the difference in flange: Leica M is 10mm longer. So, Leica M 35 is built with a front element to sensor depth of 74mm, while Sony FE 35 is built for 54mm. Remembet, FE 35 is 36mm long while M 35 is 46mm, plus the extra 10mm due to M mount being longer. Continue Reading

EinsteinsGhost answered
5 months ago

I knew that AF, IS, etc. add to the size (esp. diameter) of lenses, but I didn't realize how much stuff (to use a 5-letter word instead of a 4-letter one) was in modern lenses beside the optics until I saw pictures like these: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/12/assumptions-expectations-and-plastic-mounts Continue Reading

Arcturu answered
5 months ago

QUESTION

Feedback from a7r users

I just sendt my D600 to the IR (again) and finally decided to sell it and get a A7r when i travel to US next month. After the release of DF and 1V3, i don't see nikon making any "ar7" in near future and after reading the reviews of Sony 55FE, 70-200FE and announcement of a 16-35FE, i'm pretty sure Sony will release som stellar glass in the future for the E mount. My current gear: D600, Nikon 18-35G, Nikon 85 1.8G, Sigma 35 and a SB700. What i look for in gear: Sharpness, bokeh, weight, af, price. What i use it for: family stuff (everyday stories, fairs and so on), backpacking, traveling and landscape. I actually preorder the sigma 50mm Art and had a deal to swap my 600 for 800E, but after calculating the weight of my backpack, I had 2nd thoughts (d800e+50mm+flash = 2kg straped around my neck) vs a7r+55mm+flash which is lighter than the body alone of a d800e. Me and my family does about 50+ days of mountain hiking a year and i have been man enough to carry my gear so far, but if i ...

odinthomas asked
5 months ago

ANSWERS

yes, the a7r has hss, but it also has a slow shutter, that when combined with pre-flash, has generated complaints about shots of people with their eyes closed... search this forum for the threads. the big sony f60m flash that i have will do hss with manual power settings, which eliminates the pre-flash, fwiw. you could go a7(electronic shutter) instead of a7r, to help alleviate some delay, but it won't be a step up in pq from your full-frame d600?? you want to save weight with a smaller body, but then counteract that with a heavy sigma lens and adapter. you could save weight with a cheap adapter and a light legacy prime, but no autofocus. the sony 35mm prime is xlnt, but it has serious vignetting issues, it's a dark piece of glass, but it'll save weight, and you can use the legacy approach for when you need to shoot in a low-light situation. tough call... i'd be inclined to learn how to clean the d600 sensor myself, and live with it for awhile. Continue Reading

osv answered
5 months ago

I bought the 18-35G in hope to not drag along the sigma 35, but the Nikon 18-35G is so soft and flares so much that i "never" use it @35mm. So if the new Zeiss FE16-35mm F4 OSS is "sharp enough" @35 i would only need the 16-35mm and the 55mm for backpacking. We don't know the weight of the new Zeiss UWA, but i can't imagine that it's going to be heavy weighter, looking at the previous lenses for FE and the F4. The sigma 35mm would be for indoor shooting and after sundown, not around my neck during daytime backpacking. most likely been sold after a while. I also want to get rid of the AA filter which is in both the A7 and D600. I initially bought the D600 so that my wife and kids could use it with all the "modes" and the popup flash, neither of those things has been fulfilled, so been waiting for a used D800E from my local photo store for a couple of months now. If i knew that Nikon would produce a FF mirrorless camera in near future i would stick to my D600. Been reading a lot of ... Continue Reading

odinthomas answered
5 months ago

- The 55FE is the second sharpest lens tested by DXO with the Otus being first. I see no reason to go with the Sigma instead for a normal prime. - Shutter shake I haven't experienced or can't notice. A lot of the Canon convert users with heavier lenses seem to be having the problem but there are workarounds paying attention to shutter speed. There is a drawback with the A7 and A7R and the preferred 1/60th shutter speed for Aperture priority or Program Auto. It is too slow for full frame and Sony should provide a menu option to adjust this to a higher preferred shutter speed. The workaround is to use Manual mode and auto ISO limited to 3200. It works very well. - HSS works for me with the Sony HVL-60M resulting in use up to max 1/8000th shutter speed but I don't know if your Nikon flash will. You could bundle the Sony flash and get it for $100. - You will likely get worse AF speed compared to your D600 for AF since PDAF is not available with the A7R. However, I am thoroughly ... Continue Reading

PVCdroid answered
5 months ago

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