IntroductionSony have a great range of quality FE lenses available for their full-framed cameras, however with RRP’sranging from £399 to £2149+, it certainly is a lot harder for hobbyists on a lower budget to get a hold ofa full-framed camera and an FE lens to compliment each other at a lower cost.Before this lens, if you wanted a 50mm f/1.8 lens on your full-framed Sony camera, you would have todo either of the following:1) Buy the FE ‘SEL55F18Z’ lens which has an RRP of £859.2) Buy the ‘SEL35F18’ lens which has an RRP of £359; this would give you an equivalent of 52.5mmwhen in the APS-C crop mode.The ‘SEL50F18F’ changes everything by being Sony’s most affordable FE lens to date, and the firstbudget FE lens to hit the market, new for 2016. Hopefully Sony will have more affordable FE lensesplanned in the pipework, so those who can’t quite afford the premium range, will have something to buy.Of course there will be a leap in quality between the ‘SEL50F18F’ & ‘SEL55F18Z’, in favour of the‘SEL55F18Z’, but do bare in mind the price difference is threefold. At the same time, don’t let the low costdeceive you either, the ‘SEL50F18F’ can deliver some great results.Lens SpecificationsMOUNT: Sony E-mount.FORMAT: 35mm full frame.FOCAL-LENGTH (35MM): 50 mm.FOCAL-LENGTH (APS-C): 75 mm.LENS GROUPS / ELEMENTS: 5 / 6.ANGLE OF VIEW (35MM): 47°.ANGLE OF VIEW (APS-C): 32°2.MAXIMUM APERTURE (F): 1.8.MINIMUM APERTURE (F): 22.APERTURE BLADES: 7.CIRCULAR APERTURE: Yes.MINIMUM FOCUS DISTANCE: 0.45 m (1.48 ft).MAXIMUM MAGNIFICATION RATIO: 0.14 x.FILTER DIAMETER: 49 mm.HOOD TYPE: Round shape, bayonet type.DIMENSIONS (W X H X D): 68.6 x 59.5 mm (2-3/4 x 2-3/8 in.).WEIGHT: 186 g (6.6 oz.).Build Quality, Handling & OperationWeighing in at just 186g, this lens is incredibly lightweight.When mounted onto my A7ii, I barely noticed it was attached, this meant I could hold my camera normally without shaking and theneed to support the lens.The lens has a simplistic yet smart design and looks great whenmounted onto a camera.Without the lens hood, the lens sticks out approximately 6cm, andwith the lens hood attached, 8.6cm.The focus ring has decent grip and has a nice smooth rotationmaking it easy to manually focus.In daylight or decent lighting conditions, this lens can autofocus very quickly. I had compared it with myA6000 w/SEL35F18 lens attached, and they seemed to focus exactly the same time.Low-light however was a different story, the SEL50F18F attached to my A7ii, seemed to take roughly doublethe time to autofocus than it did in daylight; the focus time in low-light was close to the one second mark. The A6000 w/SEL35F18 however, seemed to autofocus just as fast in low-light as it did in daylight.A major negative for the lens would be the noise it makes when focusing, more so when in autofocus. I don’t think this will bother most photographers as the sound actually gets drowned out when an area where there is a mix of ambient sounds in the background, but for videographers, it will be a major problem!After recording some test footage, it was clear as day that the cameras in-built microphone picks up every bit of sound produced by the focusing mechanisms. Autofocus was the worst as you could hear a constant ticking sound and then when focusing, the sound was recorded at a very high volume. I also tried manually focusing when recording, and whilst it was much, much quieter, it still picked up the sound. So unless you’re planning on not using the sound recorded by your cameras microphone, I couldn’t recommend it for videographers.Photo QualityTo get straight to the point, this isn’t the most sharp lens Sony has to offer, but it at least does a satisfactory job in the focused areas. Besides, if it’s not quite as sharp as you want it to be, it only takes one click in photo-editing software to add that little extra sharpness this lens can’t quite deliver on. That said, you only really notice the slight lack in sharpness when you zoom quite far in on the photo.Some of my photos did suffer from chromatic aberration, however the ones that did was only noticeable if you really looked for it, otherwise most people wouldn’t even know it’s there.The f/1.8 aperture allows for some very nice shallow depth of field making this lens perfect for portrait photography. I managed to take some shots that I was very pleased with, so couldn’t be happier in that area of photography.Bokeh lovers I’m sure will be be very satisfied with the results; just like the SEL50F18 (which I used a lot with my A6000), the SEL50F18F also has a 7 bladed aperture, allowing you to take photos with very nice bokeh.All the photos I took with this lens had not suffered from any vignetting whatsoever, very pleased indeed.Below are some photo examples that were taken straight from the camera (no edits have been made at whatsoever).Final OpinionIf money is no object to you, then I think the ‘SEL55F18Z’ may end up being the better choice, after all it’s more expensive because quite simply, the quality is much better. However if money is an issue, then you really can’t go wrong with the ‘SEL50F18F’. I personally feel like I got more quality than what I actually paid for and have no regrets in the purchase.All in all, this lens not so great for videographers, but will satisfy many photographers.Would highly recommend.
Pros: + EXTREMELY low price. + Lightweight & low-profile. + Smooth focus ring. + Can produce decent photos & shallow depth of field.Cons: - Focus mechanism emits noise, making it not suitable for videographers.