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50mm f/1.8

  • First Look at the Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens (SEL50F18)

    We recently discussed Sony's plans for expanding the E-mount lineup of lenses for Sony's NEX camera system. At the time of this discussion the Sony E-mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS (Optical SteadyShot Stabilization) lens had already been announced. Now, at that time, although the 50mm f/1.8 had been announced, it had not yet been released and shipped. We just received our first shipment of the Sony E-mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens a few days ago, and were curious how it performed. We decided to slap it on a Sony NEX-7 and take the 50mm f/1.8 for a stroll.

    Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens on Sony NEX-7 Digital Camera

    Sony E-mount 50mm f/1.8 mounted on Sony NEX-7

    Sony 50mm f/1.8 Build and Construction

    The Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens construction feels solid, and the design is minimal and elegant. The lens has a good weight in the hand, and it feels like Sony used a good amount of metal in the construction. Although this lens is more expensive than 50mm f/1.8 lenses from other manufacturers, the construction feels nicer than some of those other lenses. Where other manufacturers are building lenses with plastic lens mounts to cut costs, Sony's 50mm f/1.8 has a metal bayonet mount. This is nice to see as many of our customers's lens repairs involve broken plastic bayonet lens mounts. The focus ring is set flush in the lens barrel, but still gnarled with a good feel for accurate manual focusing.

    The first thing that struck us was the size of the lens. This 50mm f/1.8 lens is larger than similar lenses from other manufacturers. The Sony 50mm f/1.8 is approximately the same size as the Sony E-mount 18-55mm zoom lens.

    Sony 50mm f/1.8 and 18-55mm zoom lenses side-by-side

    50mm f/1.8 and 18-55mm lenses side-by-side

    The size of the lens is a little perplexing considering that it is designed for the Sony NEX camera system, which are small cameras by design.

    Nikon 50mm f/1.8 compared to Sony E-mount 50mm f/1.8

    Compared to Nikon 50mm f/1.8

    Sony 50mm f/1.8 Image Samples

    The Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 lens and the Sony NEX-7 make for a great pair. Except for a slow, hunt-and-peck autofocus in low-light or dark subjects, the image quality is superb. The Sony 50mm f/1.8 is able to take advantage of the high, 24 megapixel count of the NEX-7. Take a look at the image of Charlie below:

    Sample of Charlie taken with the Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens and NEX-7

    If you zoom in on the eye and take a look at the image at 100% , the detail is all there:

    Cropped image sample of Sony 50mm f/1.8 and NEX-7

    100% crop of eye

    Sony NEX camera users have been waiting for an affordable, fast-aperture lens. The Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 was the first to come out, but at $1000 is a little out of reach for most users. In addition, the Zeiss 24mm is a wide-angle lens, and, although good for low-light, does not make a good lens for portraits. The Sony 50mm f/1.8 is effectively a 75mm lens on the current NEX cameras, and, therefore, makes for a better portrait lens. The fast F1.8 aperture creates nice, soft out-of-focus backgrounds:

    Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens Image Sample with out-of-focus background

    Although the 50mm f/1.8 has a fairly close focus of 1.28 feet, it is not a macro lens. The above image was cropped from its original composition to make this image look like a macro shot. The 24 megapixel NEX-7 sensor provides plenty of resolution to be able to crop images, even this close.

    The Optical SteadyShot Stabilization in conjunction with the fast F1.8 aperture allows for hand-held, low-light shooting:

    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS low-light image sample
    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS low-light image sample

    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS low-light image sample

    Even in low-light and hand-held, the Sony 50mm f/1.8 is able to produce sharp images with the NEX-7:

    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS low-light image sample detail

    Here are some other images taken with the Sony E-mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens on the Sony NEX-7:

    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS image sample
    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS image sample
    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS image sample
    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS image sample

  • New Sony Cameras and Lenses Announced! (A77, A65, NEX-7, NEX-5N, SEL24F18Z, SAL1650, SEL50F18, SEL55210)

    We are excited to share today's announcement of new Sony digital cameras and lenses. Two new cameras featuring Sony's "Translucent Mirror Technology" have been introduced. These cameras build on the popular Sony Alpha SLT-A33 and Sony Alpha SLT-A55, and will be sold along with the new Sony Alpha SLT-A35, which is available now (lens kit, body only). Sony today announces the Alpha SLT-A65 (lens kit, body only), and the Alpha SLT-A77 (lens kit, body only).

    Sony Alpha SLT-A65 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens

    Sony Alpha SLT-A65 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens

    Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Digital SLR Camera with 16-50mm f/2.8 Lens

    Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Digital SLR Camera with 16-50mm f/2.8 Lens

    The A77 and A65 both feature a newly developed Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.3 effective megapixel resolution, as well as the world’s first XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ viewfinder, which features an astounding 2.3 million dot resolution. The sensor teams with the next generation of Sony’s BIONZ® image processing engine to handle huge amounts of high speed data from the camera sensor, enabling unprecedented response times and flawless image quality with ultra-low noise when shooting still images or Full HD video. The A77 is the world's fastest digital SLR with 12 FPS continuous shooting, and the A65 sits just behind with a still incredible 10 FPS continuous shooting. In addition, both cameras offer an extreme sensitivity with an ISO range of 100-16000. The A77 offers a durable magnesium alloy body and weather-resistant sealing for less-than-ideal shooting environments.

    For more information about the A77, including a look at the new 16-50mm f/2.8 lens (SAL1650) that is offered as a kit, check out the video below:

    In addition to the Sony A77, A65 and 16-50mm f/2.8 lens, Sony has also announced the introduction of two new NEX cameras, which will be sold along with the new NEX-C3 (available now). The two new NEX cameras announced today are the NEX-7 (lens kit, body only) and the NEX-5N (lens kit, body only, silver kit).

    The Sony Alpha NEX-7 is being pegged as the "all-in-one" compact interchangeable lens digital camera. Unlike many other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, the Sony NEX-7 has a built-in viewfinder.

    Sony Alpha NEX-7 Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    Sony Alpha NEX-7 Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    The NEX-7 camera features a new Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.3 effective megapixel resolution – highest in its class -- that complements the latest generation of Sony’s BIONZ®  image processing engine.

    The Sony NEX-7  offers a unique combination of sensor and processor technology and delivers flawless image and HD video quality with very low noise and exceptionally fast shooting responses. An ultra-high sensitivity range extends from ISO 100-16000, making it easy to capture clean, low-noise images in dimly lit interiors or exteriors.

    Response is accelerated even further by a shutter release lag of approximately 20 milliseconds– the fastest of any interchangeable lens digital camera (as of Aug 2011). In speed priority continuous mode, the NEX-7 camera captures fast-moving action at up to 10fps (AF/AE is fixed) – the world’s fastest burst shooting speed of any mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (as of Aug 2011).

    Sony Alpha NEX-5N Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    Sony Alpha NEX-5N Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    The Sony Alpha NEX-5N features an Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with 16.1 effective megapixel resolution and is complemented by a specially-optimized version of the powerful BIONZ® image processing engine, resulting in exceptionally clean, low noise images. Maximum sensitivity is also boosted to ISO 25600,the highest among mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (as of Aug 2011), allowing for very high-quality handheld shooting in low-light conditions.

    One of the highlights of the Sony Alpha NEX-5N is that it is the first E-mount interchangeable lens camera from Sony that features an intuitive new Photo Creativity Touch interface. Background Defocus, Exposure, Picture Effect and other adjustments can be quickly and easily previewed, applied and combined via the LCD touch panel and control dial, with traditional “photo jargon” simplified for beginner shooters.

    In addition to the camera's mentioned above, Sony has also announced some very exciting new lens additions to both the A mount and E mount systems. As already noted, Sony has introduced a high-end, fast-aperture A mount lens, the Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM lens.

    Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM Lens for A-Mount Cameras

    Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM Lens for A-Mount Cameras

    In addition to this lens, Sony has also introduced three new E mount lenses. Perhaps the most highly anticipated of the three is the new Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 24mm f/1.8 ZA lens. Sony NEX users have been waiting for a Carl Zeiss lens to be introduced into the highly popular NEX camera system.

    Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 ZA Lens

    Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 ZA Lens

    Sony also announced an E 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens, and an E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS lens. The 50mm f/1.8 OSS is the first lens of a fixed focal length of 50mm with a large aperture to feature optical image stabilization built in to the lens. The 55-210mm is a welcome addition to the NEX camera system for people looking to shoot objects at greater distances.

    Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens

    Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens

    Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens

    Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens

    For a closer look at all of the products mentioned above, plus some extras, please check out this video:

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