Good new. Great second hand. Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

One of the lenses that Sony has released in the last year that interested me was this lens. (The other being the instant favorite 85mm f/1.8.) Why? It is 50mm. And I am a sucker for a 50mm sub f/2.0 prime lens.

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And now Sony was offering one at an unusually affordable price… for Sony. $249. Not quite the bargain that the $599 85mm f/1.8 is, but I beat that price by finding one used for $156. Even better. So I heard a few murmurs about this lens online so let’s address those first.

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New and Old Camera To Me: Sony a6000. And the 20mm f/2.8 too.

An interesting thing happened recently. After becoming enamored w/ the swift AF of the recently acquired 85mm f/1.8 on the 5 fps continuous focus A7ii I have been hunting for a used 11 fps a6### body to try it out on. Which one was easily decided. The very capable a6500 added IS, but was more than I was willing to spend. I rarely shoot video so a6300s 4K was not necessary. a6000 it is. Having come out so long ago I did not bother or try to find them on sale new, but after mistakenly searching the new collection of a site there it was. And for barely more than a used one in good condition, $499 body only. Only $100 more with a power zoom kit lens with OSS. $799 if you wanted a 55-210mm thrown in. As tempting as that 2 lens bundle was I have learned the hard way to never cheap out on a lens… Unless you like buying lenses that gather dust in the dark recesses of your bag or shelf.

Continued after the break.

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New Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Review: Thank you Sony.

What I really like from a system are solid 50mm and 85mm lenses. Affordability, f/1.8 or larger apertures, and sharpness on center are welcome here. As stated in a recent blog post Sony seems intent on providing both:

  • FE 50mm f/1.8
    • A true nifty 50. Though a bit pricier than alternatives and some disparage it’s AF speeds I am not that worried since I use MF mostly anyway so any AF is about acceptable in my book.
  • FE 85mm f/1.8
    • Now released and on line tests were already touting this as a bargain Batis. And with a sub $600 asking price day 1 ’nuff said for me

First acquired of the 2 above is the FE 85mm f/1.8. I have had and loved many 85mm and crop rough equivalent lenses and one native crop, but 85mm anyway lens. Some native. Some manual focus marvels. Ranging from f/1.2 to f/2.0. This lens is better than all of those. Batis, L, G Master, and the like are too rich for my blood but I believe Sony has brought levels approaching those to the masses in my opinion. Why such a claim? Glad you asked. Here are things no 85mm lens I had before this could muster:

  • AF focusing is swift and silent. I say again completely silent and quick. So much so that I thought the AF was not working at first. This has been the achilles heel of every single 85mm lens before. For example the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 was wonderful, but it was not the lens for candid moments and would often require that I ask portrait subjects to wait as AF caught up. Not horrible, but put to shame by the Sony FE. Case in point the sequence below was taken casually, day 2, hand held from the 7th row past the band pit.

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    No camera and lens combination I have used has ever performed this well. This is not a fluke. And I do not even know Sony’s focusing system well enough to use tracking focusing yet. This is on the A7ii with 5 fps and I would love to see how it would do with the a6### series 11 fps. Especially now that I see an a6000 can still be bought new for $500-$800 depending on whether you get body only, one lens, or two.

Continued after the break:

Continue reading “New Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Review: Thank you Sony.”