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Pros and cons of the Sony FE 55mm F1.8?


I would like to know REAL LIFE pros and cons of the Sony FE 55mm F1.8. I would like to hear opinions from people who actually use or have used this lens before? I will use it for wedding documentary (people, action). I rarely take portraits. I love that this lens is very small and light.


Prime Creator

The 55/1.8 is a great, small, sharp lens! It's great, the only things I wish it had a AF/MF switch and an aperture ring like the 50/1.2 GM. Also, because it is an older design the autofocus isn't as fast as the 50/1.2, still good though. That said, I have and use both! 

FE 50mm F1.2 GM (SEL50F12GM) Sonnar® T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA (SEL55F18Z) 


I love the lens.  I've used it for lifestyle shoots and even head shots.  I've used it for lightweight street photography and as a video lens.  The compression of the background is nice and you can blow it out.  Don't be scared to shoot wide open if you're within the focal sweet spot. I just wish for the price, it would have a switch, programmable button and aperture ring.

The downside, focus and recompose is EHHH AND when you're attempting to refocus quickly, you can feel a slight struggle, but the images still come out pretty sharp.  I generally pair it with an A7IV or an A6600 for super light shooting.

PRO Support

The 55mm f/1.8 Z was one of (if not THE) FIRST Sony mirrorless E-mount premium full-frame lenses.  It's sharp, vibrant and compact! When you compare it to the numerous 50-ish mm offerings now, I think the main drawback is as others have pointed out: slower AF, lack of AF/MF switch, Focus Hold button and manual aperture ring.  However, I also feel that there is a low amount of vignetting and fringing.  And the metal focus ring is a bit slick/slippery.  Still, it benefits from ZEISS optical design and proprietary lens coatings that give you a punch in contrast. Still one of my favorites! Here's a sample from 2014 shot on the original a7S.DSC09771_2.jpg


Mover & Shaker

No real life experience, as I have held back from buying it because of two things:

1) Focus motor issues where the linear motor can stop working, due to the mounting of a coil being sub-par (a blob of glue). Newer Sony lenses don't suffer from this design mistake.

2) The 55/1.8 has outright bad bokeh at wider apertures (visible in some, but not all, circumstances). OK, so 50-mils aren't generally known for great bokeh, but the 55/1.8 is worse than most due to irregularities in the circle of confusion likely caused by the aspherics (on the other hand, the same aspherics are responsible for the sharpness of the lens, right out in the corners. Can't have it all!).

Apart from these two points I have never heard anything bad about it. As you note, it's small and light, and it also is remarkably sharp and has good flare control.