Best 50mm lens for your camera: 8 ‘Nifty Fifty’ lenses tested and rated

Best 50mm lens for your camera: 8 'Nifty Fifty' lenses tested and rated

Best 50mm lens for your camera: Sony 50mm f/1.4 A

Best 50mm lens for your camera: Sony 50mm f/1.4 A

Price: £305
The Sony 50mm f/1.4’s design follows the opposite path to the competing Sigma lens. Downsizing seems to be key, with a size and weight that’s much more in keeping with f/1.8 lenses. It also has a relatively small filter thread of 55mm.

Surprisingly, the lens itself is even smaller than Sony’s 50mm f/1.8 lens, despite the fact that the f/1.4 is compatible with full-frame bodies, whereas the f/1.8 is designed exclusively for cameras with APS-C format sensors.

Sony has managed to squeeze in a focus distance scale, but the focus ring seems almost like an afterthought.

It’s small and placed at the forward end of the lens barrel, and has no knurling to assist a secure hold. That’s not an altogether bad thing, however, as the focus ring rotates during autofocus.

Contributing to the fairly lightweight build of 220g is the absence of a built-in autofocus motor. Instead, autofocus needs to be driven from an in-camera motor via a screw-drive.

As with the similar arrangement in the Pentax 50mm lens, autofocus is fairly fast, but the Sony is a little quieter.

The minimum focus distance of 45cm, maximum magnification factor of 1.5x, and the provision of a seven-blade diaphragm are all par for the course.

Performance
There’s a noticeable darkening of image corners when using the lens at wide apertures on a full-frame body like the A99, but it’s not too bad on APS-C format cameras. Sharpness and distortion levels are average for this class of lens, but colour fringing is relatively poor.

Features: 3/5
Build quality: 3/5
Image quality: 3/5
Value: 3/5

Overall: 3/5

PAGE 1 – What is a 50mm lens good for?
PAGE 2 – Features to look for in a Nifty Fifty lens
PAGE 3 – Best 50mm lens: 01 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
PAGE 4 – Best 50mm lens: 02 Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
PAGE 5 – Best 50mm lens: 03 Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
PAGE 6 – Best 50mm lens: 04 Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
PAGE 7 – Best 50mm lens: 05 Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8
PAGE 8 – Best 50mm lens: 06 Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
PAGE 9 – Best 50mm lens: 07 Sony 50mm f/1.4 A
PAGE 10 – Best 50mm lens: 08 Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM
PAGE 11 – Image quality comparison
PAGE 12 – Best 50mm lens: Verdict

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