A surprising thing happened recently. Especially surprising was the circuitous route I took to get here. This did not happen by design. I will not take yet another walk down 50mm-ish memory lane since I covered it in my last post. But in the past, I had written off the Sony FE 50mm f/1.8. But after seeing new posts what began as firmware impact curiosity and a best vs. cheapest comparison ended up with a keeper combination. (Yeah… I sold the lens again. Still a great option. Just saw no use between the faster, near perfect GM and slower, but more versatile and compact 28-60mm. Still. Everything below still applies. I am glad it redeemed itself.)
A lens I used to dislike that has since been redeemed by firmware teamed with a camera I really like makes for a much better whole than I would have expected.
But let me frame the result here by stating what this combination is not and what it is.
What it is not.
- Great at everything.
- The sharpest.
- The most MP.
What it is.
- Good at many things.
- A solid stills and even video solution in a pinch.
- Sharp enough.
- Enough MP.
- For my purposes anyway. Heavy crop below.
- Not prestigious, but very practical.
- A small, light, unassuming, solid performing full-frame camera with a fast aperture lens at my favorite focal length that draws little or no attention? Yes please.
- As mentioned above it puts me in the mind of my favorite film SLRs when using it.
- While it is nice to have best of breed stellar performers there is something to be said about competent, less dear gear for everyday use.
- Had thought of doing a back to back comparison between this and the f/1.2 G Master, but then I thought… what is the point? No one cross shops these two lenses. Ot at least no one should. Crazy talk. Like comparing a Leica M3 to a FED2… Wait… ignore that last part. Of course the f/1.2 would be better, but that is not the point of this lens. This lens is now good enough for a reasonable sum. The same can be said of the A7c. While there are better lenses and cameras when combined I cannot think of another set up that offers a full frame solution with solid all around specs at a relatively affordable price point in such a light and compact package. That alone is validation enough for consideration.
- Not gorgeous, but a solid aesthetic pairing.
- Released many years apart they make for a great match in look and feel. Especially with an all black A7c.
Let’s see what else. A few more notes before I wrap this up.
- Manual Focus
- Tried it. Enjoyed it. Especially when paired with the High Contrast Monochrome JPEG only profile. For a giggle flip the rear screen around for an all EVF experience. (I seem alone in this, but I have no issues with the A7c’s EVF. Of sufficient size and resolution to frame and manual focus for me. Perhaps my expectations have been sufficiently lowered by regular use of older digital and analog gear. I am just glad it has an in body viewfinder, given its small size. Early A7c rumors suggested it might not.)
- Relatively compact.
- While the lens is longer than the fantastic Canon the A7c counters with a considerably smaller body. Further this combination is considerably smaller than Canon and Nikon full frame as well as Sony’s own a6100 when combined with the SIGMA 30mm f/1.4. The only APS-C that suited my 50mm-ish equivalent needs.
- This pairing feels more like a solid film SLR pairing or digital crop solution in hand weight wise than a full-frame digital solution. Specifically it reminds me of a larger crop pairing I liked in hand more than I did in use. The Fujifilm X-Pro1 and 35mm R f/1.4.
- Not only is it the least expensive Sony 50mm-ish full-frame lens, it is the least expensive AF option from any brand.
No. It is not meant to be. Plus there is no such thing. There are always compromises.
Best lens for A7c?
No. Depends on the task at hand. But that is the beauty of a compact interchangeable lens solution with many lenses to choose from. A lens for every preference. This is a good option, however.
That brings me to my point. The purpose is not to debate what camera and lens are “best”. So much energy is expended debating this gear or that. This brand over another. This format over another. This lens or camera over another. That is a fool’s errand. Choose what you like and have at it. Would choose them all if I could, but I do not have funds or space for that. In this space I seek to review that which I have tried and liked. Never to put down anyone else’s preferences.
We’ve had a rare bit of snow here to add a little varying scenery here and there. Here are some samples from bringing this combination along running errands one day.
I am impressed. Plenty of so-so lenses are left as is by their manufacturer. Sony did the users a solid with the firmware update. Anyone can produce a great lens size, weight, and cost no limit. Plenty produce meh lenses for more than this. To produce a decent performing lens of reasonable size and weight at your lowest price point? Well done Sony.
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