Rated 4 out of 5 by Thkpic1 You get what you paid for.
I own this lens...and it hasn't let me down whatsoever. The build is fantastic and the images are razor sharp. I also own the 135mm 1.8 Zeiss as well. Now, in terms of contrast it comes up in spades. Its also virtually silent to focus from a mechanical perspective. Lastly, the bokeh is very pleasing as I find it smooth and distinct from other 50's that tend to share the same bland quality.
Two gripes I have. Focusing distance is too long....I wish it were shorter. For portrait work this is not a problem however. For meddling around it sometimes is. Lastly, the hood is a pure insult at this price point. It should be metal. However, truth be told the optic is so far recessed in the lens you rarely need it.
I've compared numerous shots to the much touted Sigma 50mm 1.4 ART. It may be sharper wide open, but I in no way find the bokeh or contrast as pleasing. It's use of more elements and a greater number of groups (more corrections) presents a trade off. You get that sharpness on the cheap at the expense of these previously mentioned qualities. Pick what you value....but to my eyes I'd gladly choose the Zeiss all day. Thats even before mentioning the build quality, better AF and weather sealing. You get what you pay for. By the way, stick this on an a7r and stop down a bit and your in medium format territory. Absolutely amazing.
July 27, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by PerfectSilhouette .Excellently crafted piece of glass and metal.
I purchased this lens from my local camera store and it was magnificent. Noticed it available on ebay, returned that one and won the auction. Same pristine quality as the brand new lens. Took many sample shots with both and impressed with the quality and out of focus rendering to the background. Images were quite punchy, sharp and retained great colors. Build is exceptional as well as focusing speed and quietness. I own the 85 and 135 as well and this compliments the other two while creating a perfect trio. Purchase and fall in love, otherwise miss out and wish you had.
July 15, 2014
Rated 2 out of 5 by JuniperLaurel Not impressed
I purchased this after using the 85 1.4 Zeiss for a year and a half and being absolutely in love with that lens. But I needed something that would allow me to work within slightly more confined spaces - and people seemed to love the 50 1.4, so I ordered it in March. I have not been impressed. Yes, the auto focus is super fast (and much, much quieter than the 85), but it is also really quick to move out of focus (which is frustrating). My main issue with this lens, though, is the color quality. Images are slightly off-toned and a tad greenish. The colors with the 85 are phenomenal - and the cost cast with the 50 is slight, really, but when I am selling my work, it needs to be perfect, and so far I haven't truly loved any images I've taken with the 50 (and I've probably shot 8-10k with it so far). I typically keep the 50 on one camera body and the 85 on another (and another lens on a third). When I go to edit, I find I am discarding almost every single shot I get from my 50 (and I've rotated it to various bodies - all the a99 - so it is not a camera issue). Maybe I was sent a dud lens - but how do I know? Pictures often appear a bit soft also with this lens. I wish I had purchased another lens instead - and I should have sent this lens back the day I got it! Oh and people keep griping about the bad lens hood. It really is bad - what a piece of junk. I can't believe Sony would put that on a lens at this price. I feel like a lot of things were cheaped down with this lens, and it is making me start to rethink my very strong affiliation with Sony cameras. I am very, very disappointed in this lens. I really wanted to love it (or hey, at least like it!) but I just do not enjoy using it at all.
July 10, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by SLUF1354 Two lenses; HUGE Difference
Having had the SAL50F14 since the beginning, it to me was firmly seated in my general photography lens kit. I must confess that I am enamored of every Zeiss lens I have, and was looking forward to the release of the SAL50F14Z since it was first announced. With its arrival, I put it to work at once, and am pleased to say it is all I've come to expect and more. Yes, it is more weight than the non-Zeiss lens, but it is easily forgotten when shooting. The focus seems faster with less hunting with busy compositions. The true value comes to you when the images are presented for critical editing. Transitions between similar tones is sharp yet still pleasing, and relatively large prints display a sort of 'you are there' quality. And playing with the depth of field is quite rewarding as well. Not much more to say than a line I've used in other reviews: "You are getting what you've paid for."
October 2, 2013