The 50mm lens is what used to be called a “standard” lens, though perhaps a very slightly shorter focal length gives the absolutely most natural perspective. For some of us here at Phillipreeve.net it’s a length we adore, and have more 50s than any other focal length. Others of us are less keen, finding it usually too short or too long. Obviously there is no right answer here, it depends on how each photographer sees the world.
But it is a very versatile focal length with a wide range of applications. It can be used for slightly formal portraits, moderately environmental portraits, landscape, architecture – most things except wildlife or sport. You can also, with a little quality loss, crop down to a more formal portrait angle of view, and you can – with a gain in both quality and hassle – stitch frames to get wider angles of view for certain kinds of landscape.
In this article we summarize our experience with all the native E-mount 50mm lenses to give you a independent resource in one place for choosing the best 50 mm lens for your needs.We will cover AF E mount, MF E mount with electronic contacts, and lenses with the E bayonet but no contacts. There will a separate article about lenses from other mounts you might adapt to E mount.
Unlike most other review sites we have no association with any lens manufacturer apart from occasionally borrowing a lens for a review. We prefer independence over fancy trips and nice meals.
Before discussing each lens, we tell you which of us had or has the lens, and whether it was purchased or borrowed for review. In most cases we have bought the lenses new from retail stores or on the used market.
If we have left any question unanswered please leave a comment and we will do our best to answer it.
If you purchase the lens through one of the affiliate-links in this article we get a small compensation with no additional cost to you.
Okay, everybody is talking about how manual lenses work so well on the Sony a7 series but how does it actually work? And which results can you expect? Read on if you want to know.
Manual Lenses on the Sony a7/a7II/a7III
Why should I use manual lenses?
They can be very cheap, you can get a great 1.4/50 lens for $50. For most applications such a lens will give you 90% of the performance of a $1000 Zeiss 1.8/55 FE. For the $1000 you would have to pay for that Zeiss you can buy an excellent set of five lenses from 20 to 300mm.
You have a huge choice between thousands of lenses ranging from exotic ones with lots of “character” to some of the very best lenses available.
There are 30-year-old primes with better image quality than many modern lenses. Of course progress has happened in recent years but still affordable primes are often sharper than very expensive modern zooms.
Old lenses are usually beautifully built from nothing but metal and glass which makes it a joy to handle them. They can last a lot longer than modern lenses which are full of electronics and very complex designs, both of which make them more likely to fail.
They also hold their value much better than modern lenses. With some patience you can sell most manual lenses without a loss but with new lenses you can expect to lose 30% in the first year.
Manual focusing can be very enjoyable. This certainly depends on application but personally I enjoy working with fully manual lenses a lot more than with any AF lens and I would choose a good manual focus lens over an AF lens (almost) any time. Check out our manual photographers series to read other photographers stories who feel similar about this.
Those of you who read my Sony A7II vs. Sony A6500 comparison know that I have been curious about the Fujifilm X-T2 for quite some time, I am still looking for a reliable, handy and fast camera to take pictures of people, especially children. Neither of the cameras that I have used so far could satisfy me completely, therefore I decided to take a look over the fence.
The Fujifilm X system is to me the most obvious alternatives to the Sony FE system. The approach to offer as many manual controls as possible as well as the broad but reasonable lens lineup and fast AF are very appealing to me. So when I got the chance to give the system a try I jumped on it. I will use a Fujifilm X-T2 with four lenses for a month. Will it suit my needs?
With the Sony A6500, Sony has entered the terrain of semi-professional crop cameras. The camera is significantly higher priced than other Sony APS-C cameras, and is directly competing with other smaller format flagship cameras like Fuji X-T2, Nikon D500, Olympus OMD-EM1 Mk2 or the Canon Eos 7D Mk2.
Furthermore, the Sony A6500 is now similarly (or even higher) priced than the Sony A7II. This leaves open the question for many people as to whether they should really spend that much on an APS-C camera, or if they should get a full frame body instead. The comparison is obvious, and legitimate, because the cameras share a few key specifications – like sensor resolution, mount, and sensor stabilization. Let’s check what sets these cameras apart from each other.