Sony has created a few gems when it comes to lenses in the past few years, with the 90mm Macro and 16-35mm f/4 potentially being some of the best in their class. 50mm for some reason seems to be their favorite focal length to produce, seeing as they now have seven different “normal” lenses with the release of their new 50mm Macro this morning.
With over double the selection in this range of their closest competitor, Canon, it may be tough to choose exactly which one to go for. Whether you’re starting in the world of Sony with an a6000 or are a professional photographer with the most demanding clients, they have a 50mm(ish*) lens for you.
Starting with their cheapest offering, we have the “Nifty Fifty.” A full frame lens with a decent aperture of f/1.8 that’s extremely inexpensive. From my experience with the lens, it’s plenty sharp on the a7sII or a7II and a6000/a6300. On the a7RII, you might not be so thrilled, but a $250 lens isn’t likely to be stellar on a 42 megapixel sensor. The autofocus speed is simply alright. If you’re shooting portraits on single autofocus mode and you don’t need good tracking, you’ll be fine. With a $250 price tag, this lens is for the photographer on a budget or someone just getting their feet wet in the world of 50mm lenses.
At $299, this lens is also pretty inexpensive. For $50 dollars more, what are you getting? It’s also what you aren’t getting. This lens does not cover full frame. Image Stabilization and significantly better autofocus performance are the real benefits here. If you have an a6000 or a6300, this lens is great. If you also own an a7 or plan on it down the road, maybe hold off. Optically I would say the FE 50mm f/1.8 and the OSS version here are similar.
A brand new addition to the lineup, this is Sony’s second full-frame macro lens. I have not used this lens (as it was announced this morning), but I would venture a guess that this will likely be a solid performer on all of the A7 series cameras, functioning as an excellent all around lens for macro, portraiture, and product work. On a crop sensor Sony, this is around a 75mm lens, perfect for portraits and studio work. If you like getting close, this is your lens. At $498, this is a reasonably priced lens with promising specs. Auto focus it is yet to be demonstrated so beware if good AF speed and accuracy is important to you, as macro lenses are typically underwhelming in this category.