My Sony 50 1.8 DT hands-on impressions

Earlier this summer I briefly owned and tried some Sony SLT cameras. Sony was not an historic camera maker. They made compact cameras but had no photographic culture or background to speak of in the SLR world. When the decided to start producing DSLRs, they just bought Minolta, who had a huge history, prestige, and user base as a serious photo gear maker. So Minolta’s mount became Sony Alpha mount (“A”, in short).

Minolta50F1.7-03During my brief SLT fling, I bought a couple of A mount lenses, including the 50mm F:1.7 prime.

Last week I finally gathered the gut to buy and try the LA-EA2 A mount adapter for NEX, so the 50 1.7 found a new use for me. It’s a sharp lens with good color, smooth bokeh and reasonably fast AF. On the LA-EA2 it’s slightly capricious and only randomly accurate on moving targets, which had me looking at other similar options.

FlowersSept13-01In my backyard

Has18Sept13-68At the stables, ISO 1600, F1.7, 1/160th. *When* it nails focus all is fine.

In search of an alternative, I purchased a Sony 50 1.8 DT. It’s a small and rather sleek looking plastic lens. Light, cheap, and quite good. From the early tests I find it slightly better than the Minolta. AF performance is also slightly better.

CannelleSept13-28Indoor with flash, flawless sharpness wide open, very smooth bokeh. Hard to fault for the price indeed.

MarlaSept13-86Also totally usable indoor *without* flash, where it achieves excellent clarity and sharpness (despite the light loss of the LA-EA2).

MarlaSept13-91Outdoor the AF is very snappy, though for optimum performance sticking to center AF point is key.

CannelleSept13-31No flash, 1/15th, ISO 800 F1.8

MarlaSept13-88Cannelle is pondering trying raspberries

MarlaSept13-85Dang I do like that sharpness, contrast, and color tones

MarlaSept13-92Bokeh is buttery s-m-o-o-t-h…

FlowersSept13-03My usual flower test

CannelleSept13-29Subject isolation is very good with nice 3D pop

MarlaSept13-87She does like raspberries after all !

CannelleSept13-30So here’s my verdict. Optically the 50 1.8 DT seems better than the old Minolta 50 1.7. The 1.7 vs 1.8 max aperture difference is totally negligible for practical purposes. AF is slightly faster, more solid and more accurate. It’s still not as fast or as reliable as it’d ideally need to be, but it’s usable. It’s very cheap and gives great bang for the buck. However, based on the absolute its numerous and absolutely raving reviews, I’m gonna try the Sony 50 1.4…

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About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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4 Responses to My Sony 50 1.8 DT hands-on impressions

  1. The clarity and contrast are brilliant! Love the image of Canelle and Marla’s foot. I must say that the first flower image has lovely bokeh with the elliptical highlights, really pretty. You always nail the WB with flash, mine always come out too warm. How’d you do that?

    • marla2008 says:

      4300K and let it roll. I never stray from that and it always gives perfect WB for flash. I also let the K setting stuck at 4300 on the camera, so all I have to do when pulling the flash is to hit WB, scroll down to Kelvin, and start shooting.

  2. Lisandra says:

    Beauuuuuutiful stuff. I love the contrast on these. Smooth rendering and beautiful dof

    • marla2008 says:

      Thank you Liz and welcome to the blog ! I’m thrilled to have you following and I hope you’ll enjoy future posts. I’ll be testing the 1.4 version next week, stay tuned 😉

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