What this budget prime might lack in acronyms is more than made up for in overall image quality as this WDC review of the Sony 50mm f/1.4 lens discovers.
The lack of acronyms in its title might suggest that this is a modest lens with little to shout about, but its resolution curve reveals otherwise. Its modesty is therefore confined to its diminutive proportions and low mass, for this is a compact and lightweight lens that packs quite a punch.
There is, however, a slight downside to its small size in that the manual focusing ring is rather narrow. However, the ring is also smooth (not ridged) and rotates in AF mode. The latter is less of a problem given the first two features. Switching between AF and manual focusing can only be done using the rotary knob on the camera body, as there is no such switch on the lens itself. That said, manual focusing has a nice feel to it.
Sony kindly supplied its new 50mm f/1.8 DT lens to test alongside the faster version that is the main subject of this review. Dual testing was made all the more possible thanks to the Alpha A900‘s automatic ability to adjust the recorded area to match the field of view of the lens used.
A standalone review of the new f/1.8 lens will appear shortly, but for now it should be noted that the lens has a similar design to that of the f/1.4 but with the addition of an AF/MF switch on its barrel and an even nicer feel in manual focusing mode.
In terms of MTF testing, both lenses perform well provided that they are closed down at least one f-stop, at which point their resolutions are very close-to and then comfortably above the critical 0.25 cycles-per-pixel level right out to f/16 (and on to f/22 for the f/1.8 lens). The f/1.4 lens proved to be equally successful in the real world thanks to an AF system that turned out to be very accurate and reliable despite being noisier than average.
Ignore the lack of acronyms and look at its performance instead: Sony’s f/1.4 has some weaknesses but elsewhere it’s a real cracker.
See sample image gallery
Lens hood included
AF and M (non-IF)
66 x 43