The 50mm focal-length lens is a true photographic icon and an essential piece of kit for any photographeru2019s kit bag, but there are quite a few to choose from. Richard Sibley and Andrew Sydenham test 12 such optics to assess their particular qualities

Specifications: Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 SSM

RRP: £1,299
Street price: £1,299
Filter diameter:
72mm
Lens elements:
8
Groups:
5
Diaphragm blades:
9
Aperture:
f/1.4-22
Minimum focus:
45cm
Length:
71.5mm
Diameter:
81mm
Weight:
518g
Lens mount:
Sony Alpha

Chart analysis

Tested on a Sony Alpha 99

There is quite a spread of the different lines on the resolution graph, showing a real difference between the sharpness at the centre and edges of images taken on the Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 SSM lens. It is also worth noting that the corners really suffer from diffraction when the aperture is at f/16, but the centre is almost at its sharpest. Vignetting is well controlled, as the fairly shallow dome indicates, but curvilinear distortion is quite harsh and will need correcting when shooting raw images.

Score: 4 out of 5
 

  1. 1. 50mm lens test - Introduction
  2. 2. Page 2
  3. 3. Page 3
  4. 4. Specificiations: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
  5. 5. Specififications: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
  6. 6. Specifications: Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
  7. 7. Specifications: Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
  8. 8. Specifications: Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM
  9. 9. Specifications: Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8
  10. 10. Specificiations: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
  11. 11. Specifications: Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG
  12. 12. Specifications: Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 SSM
  13. 13. Specifications: Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM
  14. 14. Specifications: Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4
  15. 15. Specifications: Zeiss Makro-planar T* 50mm f/2
  16. 16. Our verdict
Page 12 of 16 - Show Full List