Is this budget fast prime lens the perfect choice for Alpha 7 users? Andy Westlake finds out
Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 review: Features
Even at a cursory glance, the FE 50mm f/1.8 is unusually sized for this type of lens. However, a look inside its 60mm-long barrel reveals why: there’s a lot of empty space between the mount and the rear element. In essence, Sony has made an adapted version of an SLR lens, starting with the classic double Gauss optical design that most fast 50mm primes have traditionally been based upon, then adding an adapter tube to place it the right distance from the sensor.
It’s not quite that simple, though, because while the six-element, five-group optical formula sounds fairly standard, Sony has employed an aspheric element at the back, which is much less common. In principle, this should go a long way to eliminating spherical aberration, which tends to be a problem with fast primes, robbing images of their sharpness at large apertures. It’s also claimed to reduce aberrations such as coma towards the edges of the frame.
The aperture diaphragm consists of seven curved blades that are designed to maintain a near-circular opening at wider settings for more attractive blur characteristics. Up front there’s a non-rotating 49mm filter thread and a bayonet mount for the attachment of the included cylindrical ALC-SH146 hood.
The lens can be used on Sony’s E-mount APS-C cameras such as the Alpha 6300, on which it gives a 75mm equivalent angle of view popular for people pictures. However, unlike Sony’s existing APS-C-dedicated E 50mm f/1.8 OSS, there’s no optical stabilisation, which makes the FE lens a less practical option for users of the smaller format. Of course, users of second-generation Alpha 7 models will benefit from in-body image stabilisation.