Sony NEX 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens Review

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This medium telephoto lens for Sony NEX range offers a similar view angle which is equivalent to a 75mm lens used on a 35mm camera, which is very ideal for portraits shooting. The bright maximum aperture is f/1.8, and it also owns an Optical Stabilization, silent focusing and just costs for $255.

The Sony NEX 50mm f/1.8 OSS

The Sony NEX 50mm f/1.8 OSS

Handling and features

The lens barrel is made of high quality plastic with a chrome coat covering the out surface and its mount is made of metal. This is not a heavy lens as it just weighs 202g. This characteristic makes it a perfect partner for the Sony NEX-5R used for testing.

The product image

The product image

The autofocus process is very quick and precise, which brings its users confidence feeling when using the lens at fast apertures, even in low light conditions. Its manual focus ring works smoothly and is well damped, making the manual control of focus very convenient and pleasant. The minimum focus is 39cm from the sensor plane, which is such a typical characteristic for a lens with such focal length.

As the focus process is done internally, the filter ring does not rotate or extend. This makes the lens so ideal to use with a graduated polarizing filter. As standard, a deep circular hood is given with the lens and it works as a shade keeper for the lens.

Its manual focus ring works smoothly and is well damped

Its manual focus ring works smoothly and is well damped

This 50mm lens is considered as the fastest lens on any system to include optical stabilization currently. With enough attention, you will recognize that the time for the optical stabilization to work is proper and tight hand held would produce images around half the time with the shutter speed of 1/10 second.


At f/1.8, the center of the frame owns a very good sharpness although the clarity towards the edges of the frame does not have that good result, as it just reach the fairly good level. Stopping down would somehow improves the sharpness across the whole frame, although the edges still cannot achieve good level of clarity until the lens is stopped down to f/4. Keeping stopping down to f/5.6 would produce excellent sharpness towards edges of the frame with magnificent result in the center.

Chromatic aberration test

Chromatic aberration test

How to read our charts

The blue column shows the figures of the frame’s center at different apertures. The green ones represent the edge’s readings. Their averages would give us the red weighted column

The scale on the left hand side is an indicator showing the real image resolution. The higher the column, the better the lens performs.

For this review, we tested the lens on a Sony NEX-5R using Imatest.


Evaluating the image’s sharpness

Evaluating the image’s sharpness

Chromatic aberration indicates the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or blurring all of the visible light’s color at a particular point of the lens. High the chromatic aberration is equivalent to a noticeable fringing and a halo effect around the sharp edges of the pictures. However, these can be fixed thanks to software.

Apochromatic lenses features special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc), so it is able to reduce those problems. Therefore they are usually very costly.

For this review, we tested the lens on a Sony NEX-5R using Imatest.

The lens is capable of controlling the falloff of illumination towards the edges very well for such fast aperture lens. The corners are 1.08 stops darker than that at the center at f/1.8, and visually uniform illumination will be possible when the aperture stopped down to f/2.8 or more.

There is the appearance of moderate levels of pincushion distortion, which raises many issues during the normal picture shooting process. If absolute straight lines are the first and foremost important things, then the 1.76% pincushion distortion would be quite easy to be fixed as the whole frame shows a uniform distortion pattern.

The hood of the lens fulfills its mission wonderfully as it prevent the lens from being exposed to unrelated light that can cause flare issues. However, if the hood is absent, this lens can still be able to resist the flare and produce good contrast, even when shooting into the light.

Sample photos

Sample photos

Sample photos


This lens price fluctuates in the range of $255 and $360 at the time this review is written. Even being in the first class, this lens is still worth its price as it offers wonderful features and excellent optical performance.


This lens with a reasonable price, ability to create sharp images, contrast photos, a optical stabilization and fast maximum aperture, Sony has just created a safe belt for them.

The only drawback of this product is the high level of chromatic aberration towards the edges of the frame at fast apertures, although this flaw would be easily dismissed if we take into account all the positive attributes of this lens


·         Good built quality

·         Sharpness

·         Light weight

·         Optical stabilization


·         CA level towards the edges of the frame at high speed aperture



·         Lens Mounts: Sony E Mount


·         Focal Length: 50mm

·         Angle of View: 32°

·         Max Aperture: f/1.8

·         Min Aperture: f/22

·         Filter Size: 49mm

·         35mm equivalent: 85mm

·         Internal focusing: Yes


·         Min Focus: 39cm

·         Stabilization: Yes


·         Blades: 7

·         Elements: 9

·         Groups: 8

Box Contents

·         Box Contents: Front and rear caps, lens hood


·         Weight: 202g

·         Height: 62mm


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