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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Price:£129.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

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on 29 March 2010
I've had mine 4 months now and have taken the best pictures ever with this lens. The depth of field / blur you can create is great and it allows you to shoot in lower light than the kit lens (assuming yours starts at f3.5 like mine). Since using it I've moved away from opening it right up at f1.8 (as others have mentioned) because it can be a bit soft but some of the pictures I've taken have got great praise in online forums and my Flickr pages. I think every photographer needs a 50mm prime in their case. If I had the money, maybe I may have bought the f1.4 but I don't think you really need to. The auto-focus seems fast enough, not noticed it being noisy and because it's smaller than a zoom, you can get away with taking pictures in public without sticking out like a sore thumb. I haven't noticed that the build quality feels cheap - just like any of your kit, be careful with it and it will last. I've only taken it off the camera twice this year and put it back on within 10 minutes because it's so much better than my kit lens. Only problem is, once you try a faster lens, you'll want to spend even more on a large aperture zoom and that could hurt your wallet !
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For the asking price (around £90 odd at the time of this review) this is quite a decent little lens.
In many way similar to the Canon 50mm f1.8 the lens is pricey cheaply with a few downsides but nothing that is too scary at this price point.

I'll kick off with the bullet list of pros and cons, I've used about 3 copies of this lens over various time periods and did not notice any significant differences between the lenses.

+ Well priced, for under £90 you get a fast prime for low light work/depth of field control
+ Optics are good, decent performance wide open (ie usable at f1.8)
+ Distortion is minimal and unlikely to cause a problem
+ Nice out of focus redering mostly pleasing (subjective but that's my take)
+ Some vignetting but not that bad really better than average for an APS-C lens

- It is cheap but the build quality isn't anything to get excited about, plastic mount and casing are expected but I think the feel of the lens could be better (ie more density to the plastics) Not a deal breaker, nor would I be overly concerned about durability if you look after your lenses.
- CA can be an issue it does improve a bit stopping down but it's seen esp on out of focus areas. Not unusual for a fast prime lens just something to note
- SAM in lens motor has no real advantage over screw drive though the AF accuracy seems fine here. It's a little quieter than screw drive lenses but not silent. Focus ring is very small and a basic painted distance scale.
- You cannot use DMF (if your camera supports it) with the SAM lens motor
- APS-C only. Strange move by Sony on this as most makers have their f1.8 50mm primes as full frame lenses. Not likely to bother most, just bear it in mind if you sometimes use a full frame camera.
- No hood. I doubt many will use it but it would have been nice to have one

Overall hard to complain for the asking price which is very decent. It's good Sony have an affordable prime lens for users to get started with. I would have liked better build, a full frame lens and a metal mount (and I'd happily pay more for that) It might be worth looking at the 35mm f1.8 budget prime for general use (50mm works quite well for portraits)

The other alternative is the Minolta 50mm f1.7 which has a metal mount, is full frame and far superior build, built in hood and is screw driven. Optics wise they are fairly close though again copies of the Minolta can vary too.

At a sub £100 price point the Sony lens is well worth investigating but don't pay more than that for one.
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on 12 April 2010
I just bought this lens for a friends wedding to take some nice portrait shots. It was a bit of an impulse buy as I bought it the day before the wedding so had no time to practice with it, and as this was my first prime lens I didn't want to splash out too much. Wow. I am so glad I got this lens. The pictures turned out beautifully. The f/1.8 worked brilliantly in the low light conditions at the reception and it remained very fast so there was no motion blur in the portraits; nor in the smoke from the cigars they were smoking!

Some of the other reviews have said about there being too much "Bokeh" ( the nice blur of the photograph out of the main area of focus ) and I disagree, I think there is a pleasing level of it and it makes for some lovely effects, but this is subjective.

I do agree with another reviewer about it feeling plasticky, but it doesn't feel flimsy, but I wouldn't treat it any less carefully than any other lens because of it.

Since purchasing this lens it hasn't been off the camera and I think I will have a great time learning the ins and outs of prime lens photography.

For reference it's fitted to my Sony Alpha 300.
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on 15 November 2013
I use the Sony A77 camera and I have the kit lens plus a couple of lenses from my old a100 and a 100mm macro lens. I wanted a lens that I could use to start experimenting with for portraits and this one fit the bill.

Other reviews will tell you of its plasticky feel and, yes, it does feel incredibly light and not particularly durable. However, if looked after, am sure it could last for many years.

I started doing wedding photography and for getting started it is great. It should be mentioned it is a DT lens so is only compatible with APS size sensors and not full-frame cameras.

I am likely to be upgrading to a full frame camera in the next year or so and know that this lens will not be compatible. However, for a second camera it is light and can take some beautiful and sharp images.

FOr the price it is a pretty good purchase and I would definitely recommend it as it will allow you to get right down to f1.8 to allow shallow depth of field and use in relatively low light.
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on 14 December 2015
I got this lens to replace the one that came as standard with my Sony Alpha series DSLR. For the price paid I cannot fault at all. The lens is so much better in lower light conditions and gives a more impressive depth of field to photographs - it has given my camera a new lease of life.

As it is intended as a portrait lens the zoom is fixed, however I haven't missed this feature at all and happily trade it for overall better performance. The auto focus and manual focus both work well, and despite criticism from others I have not found the focus ring size to be a problem; although I was initially confused as there is an AF/MF selector on the lens as well as the camera body (you just leave the camera set to AF and can toggle using the lens). It came with a Sony Alpha cap and standard cover to protect it when not in use which also fit the stock lens. It's also about half the length of the original so makes the camera a little easier to carry/store.
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on 9 October 2010
When I bought this lens I was looking at doing some portraits of my other half and her sister. It turned out to be the right choice.

This lens is a prime lens which means the image quality is better than most zooms would be at 50mm focal length. CA, pincushioning, and vignetting are not noticable on my example (on a Alpha 500 body). The autofocus is very quick and accurate and works quite well in low light compared to most other lenses, and the lenses' overall low light performance is pretty good. You do not tend to get the 'hunting' focus problem so much with this lens. The aperture of f1.8 is good at focusing out your background which really helps if the background to your subject is cluttered or distracting. It also tends to soften the subject a tad but in a pleasing way as though you are intending to. This can be cured if it is not desired by moving the aperture to f2 onwards.

On the downside on this lens the manual focus ring is tiny and doesn't lend itself too well to being used for that purpose which is a bit of a pity. Also, this lens has a diameter of 49mm which means if you have a Sony kit lens and you have some filters for it they won't fit unless you buy an adaptor ring as they tend to be 55mm diameter.

This is a good performer for this price and I recommend it if you are planning to start taking portraits.
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on 7 August 2010
i asked my niece the other day if i could take some snaps of her new born.This visit turned into a shoot if you will and i snapped over 400 odd shots for her.Even her hubby came along.Little did i know they had recently been to get some professional shots taken and were ripped off for four sub par pictures.I used my new sony sal 50mm sam portrait lens and soon became quite the pro myself.On my belly waiting for that perfect shot of Alfie...interacting with his toys with a 2.5 and 2.8 apperture set on continuous shoot.The pictures were breathtaking and i printed a number out and stored the rest on a dongle for my niece to take to a photoshop if she wanted any more.I learnt that this lens is fabulous and well worth the money.I printed out the pics for free and laughed at the 30 pound price tag of the so called pro shots.
This is ideal for portraits and group shoots and really sucks in the light.....highly recommended.
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on 23 September 2015
never have it off the camera that much, the quality of the photos is incredible especially portrait shots
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on 30 January 2015
This is a superb lens for the money. It looks and feels like a Sony and boy does it delivers with a punch. One could niggle about the slightly plastic of feel of it I think this is pedantic given everything it offers. There are a lot of automatic options for playing around with and they do generate so HQ photographs. I particularly like the panoramic shot facility - a but' iphoney', but much better and you don't feel like youv'e sold your individuality to take the picture. Like many other, this lens has become my preferred lens for every day work. Well recommended.
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on 25 July 2012
I was blown away of the quality of this lens in comparison to the price! It is a huge step up from the kit lens and I have managed to get some fantastic shots with it!! It is by far my most used lens and I use it for any photography that I can 'zoom with my feet'. My kit lens is now completely redundant!!
The depth of field is brilliant, pictures are sharp and colour rich. Over all a very versatile lens with a price tag that means everyone should have one of these in their kit! Highly recommend!!
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