Sony 50mm f/1.4 review

Does Sony's small and inexpensive prime lens have the performance too?

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Our Verdict

The Sony lens displays strong corner shading (vignetting) when it's used at or near its maximum aperture, and the resolution is weak too. In fact, this lens doesn't really sharpen up until you stop down to around f/5.6, which rather undermines the value of a fast prime lens. If Sony wants to establish itself as a premium DSLR marque, it must do better


  • Small
  • Well-priced
  • Long focus travel


  • Image quality disappointing
  • Stiff focus ring

The Sony 50mm f/1.4 is the smallest and lightest of the 50mm lenses on test, and it has a very neat, uncluttered design. It's also got the best set of depth of field markers, covering f/4, f/8, f/16 and f/22.

It's much less sophisticated to use, though. The autofocus is pretty fast, but there's a lot more mechanical noise than you get from the others.

You can turn the focus ring manually in autofocus mode, but the movement is quite stiff until you switch to true manual focus, where it becomes lighter.

It has a much longer focus travel than the others, which means it's possible to focus much more precisely, and this is where the extra depth of field markings will prove their worth.

It's a very practical lens for hands-on photographers, then, but it's not finished to the same standard as the others, and the optical results are actually pretty disappointing.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeLens
Fixed Focal Length50 mm
Maximum Aperture Fixed1.4
Brand NameSony
Filter Attachment Diameter55 mm
Lens TypeTelephoto
Depth43 mm

Sony alpha DSLR-A100 Digital SLR Camera

ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelSAL-50F14
Product NameSAL-50F14 50mm F1.4 Telephoto Lens
Manufacturer Part NumberSAL50F14.AE
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Wide-aperture standard / mid-range telephoto lens with strong brightness at F1.4. Ideal for wide range of shooting situations including portraiture and landscapes.

Weight (Approximate)220 g