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Apr 152012
 

Sony 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 Kit lens at 50mm vs. Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS lens

In this review I wanted to compare the Sony 18-55mm F3.5 kit lens at 50mm to the Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS lens, to see if the Sony 50mm F1.8 lens was worth the money. I used “real world” images so that it would be more applicable to actual use. Here is the set up. I photographed the building at ISO 100, and at the following apertures (f-stops) on the Sony 50mm F1.8 lens: 1.8, 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, 8.0, 11, 16, and 22 and at the following apertures (f-stops) on the Sony 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens set at 50mm: 5.0, 5.6, 8.0, 11, 16, and 22. I’ve made 100% crops for each of the images at the focusing point so that you can see the differences at the different apertures for each lens. Here are the results.

Sony 18-55mm F3.5 kit lens at 50mm Vs. the Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS

Full Test Image: Sony 18-55mm F3.5 kit lens at 50mm Vs. the Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS

The image above is the full framed image that I took with each lens. The images below with be 100% cropped images from each lens.

Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS Lens at F1.8, F2.8, F4.0, F5.6, F8.0, F11, F16, F22

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F1.8

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F1.8

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F2.8

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F2.8

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F4.0

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F4.0

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F5.6

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F5.6

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F8.0

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F8.0

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F11

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F11

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F16

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F16

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F22

100% Crop 50mm F1.8 Lens at F22

Sony 50mm 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 Kit Lens at F5.0, F5.6, F8.0, F11, F16, F22

The reason the widest aperture (F-Stop) I was able to shoot was F5.0 is because the kit lens is a zoom lens and the wides aperture is limited as you get farther into the zoom so at 18mm the widest aperture is F3.5 and at 55mm the widest is F5.6 so equivalently at 50mm the widest is F5.0.
100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F5.0

100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F5.0

100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F5.6

100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F5.6

100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F8.0

100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F8.0

100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F11

100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F11

100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F16

100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F16

100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F22

100% Crop 18-55mm Kit Lens at 50mm and F22

The Results

Lets start with the Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS lens. The lens is fairly sharp at F1.8 but as you stop down farther the real beauty of the lens starts to show. At F2.8 the lens is almost as sharp as its sweet spot of F5.6. As you stop down farther you start to experience diffraction at F16 and more so at F22. All things considered though, the diffraction is not that bad. The reason you would want to buy the lens, having larger apertures (F-Stops), is the well done and the sharpness wide open is very well resolved.
As for the Sony 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 Kit Lens, at F5.0 the sharpness is only “good”, it will do the job but not it is not that impressive. As expected the sweet spot for the lens is F8.0 with a more predictable sharpness fall off all the way to F22. This is very typical for most zoom lenses. The “sweet” spot for focus is around F8.0. The reason that you would buy this lens is to have a good all around lens that you can be “lazy” and just zoom in and out without moving around. It makes a “good” work horse lens that will work in most situations. I also understand that having the flexibility of lens that can cover most subjects gives us that warm a fuzzy feeling that we will be ready with what comes our way.

Conclusion

That being said. There is something beautiful with just carrying one “great” lens that also just happens to be “fast” also. In this case I’m speaking about the Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS lens. There are so many good things about this lens, why not keep it on the camera all the time? Honestly, normally I don’t go walking around carrying a mid range telephoto lens. I normally prefer a “50mm 35mm equivalent or a 35mm”, But in the last couple of weeks testing this lens, I’ve found it a great pleasure and challenging to carry this lens. Sure for this test I had to change to the Sony 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 Kit lens, but I didnt’ want to. Really! I was having so much fun getting new views, angles, and being challenged to find alternate framing when a mid range telephoto just isn’t ideal. I’ll admit that there are cases where the Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS lens may be too close, and it may just be me, but the fact that the color doesn’t match lingers in the back of my mind. 🙂  In reality though, if you force yourself to “use” the lens for what its good at and adjust your composition, the challenge feels good! Maybe its like going to the gym, you may not really want to go and get a good sweat on, but you know its good for you and usually you feel great afterwards. That’s what photography should be “FUN”and makes your “Feel Good”, otherwise why do it right? There are other hobbies out there that are “cheaper”. So I challenge you, find a lens that you love and just stick with it for a couple of weeks and see all the fun and unique images you can come up with, go exercise that muscle! In my case for the time being its the Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS lens. But I do got my eye on the Sony Carl Zeiss 24mm. 😉

 

So what is your favorite lens?? Use the comments to share what your favorite lens is. Which lenses are you “married” to and which lenses are you just “Dating”?

Related review: Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS video test

Related articles:  Sony NEX-7 w/ Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS – Close Up Review

Related articles: Sony NEX-7-Mom Approved??

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  12 Responses to “Sony 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 Kit lens vs. Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS lens”

  1.  

    Thank you for this. This is a great way to compare and contrast the two lenses. I got the Sony 50mm last week and your review is definitely confirming my initial impressions of the lens. (I posted some sample shots last week here: http://spikesphotos.com/2012/04/12/sony-nex-7-with-sony-50mm-f1-8-lens/ )

    I have the Fuji X100 with its single fixed focal length lens. I love shooting with this camera though clearly the 35mm equivalent focal length doesn’t work in every situation. For the most part I’m quite okay with that though the other day I found myself in a place where I could have used a much wider angle lens.

    In general my favorite lens is my Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 which is heavy but worth the weight in terms of the results I get.

    •  

      Spike thanks for your comment. Your images are beautiful! I like the picture of the guy drinking the most. Framing and Composition is well done. I agree about the Sony 50mm Lens it is very good lens. I’d love to see some of your pics from your Fuji X100, and I am a big fan of the 24-70mm F2.8 full frame lens although I mainly use the Canon variant. Early on I would sacrifice more image quality and edge to edge sharpness for the convenience of a zoom, but you are right they are heavy. Now that there are many camera manufacturers that are making great prime lenses that weigh less, I am enjoying sticking to one lens and just making due with the challenge. I also feel its makes me a better image maker. Thanks again for your comment and please like me on facebook. http://www.facebook.com/photoheadonline please come back and post your pics from the Fuji X100

      •  

        Thanks Photohead for your comments. I found you via a link to this specific review and will be following your blog from now on. I liked your page on Facebook and if I can ask you to return the favor, you’ll find me here:

        http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spikes-Photos/175010792538959

        Your comment points out an interesting omission on my blog that I will rectify if and when I have time – tagging posts according to different cameras/lenses so that people can see the results from the gear that interests them.

        •  

          spike, well I’m glad that you were able to make your way to my site. I’ve just only started my journey as a blogger and it seems you have tons more experience, I like your Facebook page and I’m happy that we were able to connect and make the photo community bigger and better!!

          •  

            PH – With my photo blog, I had the advantage of having a “regular” blog for many years and so leveraged that to get people over to the newer one. It’s nowhere near as advanced as I’d like it to be but it’s an ongoing labor of love. I think you’ll do quite well because you’ve got some great material and a great attitude!

            BTW, I managed to get my hand on the Sigma 30mm lens and tested it on the NEX-7, just posted results. Please take a look and let me know what you think!

          •  

            Spike great review man!! Looks good. I like that you set up the review nicely! I may copy you on that. HEHE. Keep up the good work man!! Thanks again for the kind words. I guess I’m just at the regular blog stage?? But as you said it’s a labor of love. Also everyone has been so encouraging and supportive I don’t know why I didn’t start this earlier. Before this I’ve been teaching photography and shaping young minds, but as you may or may not know California has had major budget cuts and I just happened to be one of the victims. I needed an outlet for my passion and many people have suggested blogging and I now I know why. Its just as rewarding as Teaching, but maybe slightly more, because you get people from all over visiting you and commenting with you. Now if I could figure out how to support my family doing this, then we’d have a winner! I’ll link to your article.

  2.  

    This is great, though I’d like to recommend that you post the image pairs side-by-side for future comparisons… Otherwise, this is great.

    •  

      chpp, thanks for your comment. I completely agree with your comment. I will do my best to implement this in the subsequent reviews. This will really help me out thank. please like us on facebook. http://www.facebook.com/photoheadonline that way you will get updates when I post new reviews. I got some great ones in the pipeline. I really appreciate your comment on how to improve my reviews, you are very valuable to this site. Please keep it up! Happy Shooting!!

  3.  

    Thanks for the straight forward review. I was wondering if the 50mm 1.8 OSS was a lot better than 18-55mm at the long end, and now I have my answer. Glad to read a real world review that doesn’t go on and on about how inferior the lenses are because of edge sharpness and size, etc. Thanks again.

  4.  

    Oh, and favorite lenses right now are 24mm 1.8 Zeiss, the 55-210mm Sony E and my Voigtlander APO 85mm Nikon RF mount with adapter ( a bargain around 250 new). I think the 50mm next will round out my needs/wants for now. I like the image quality of the 85mm Voigtlander almost as much as the Zeiss 24mm, but I do like to have the full function of AF. If you could magnify the focus area in addition to focus peaking with manual lenses like you can with AF E lenses than it would be better. The manual focus lens is great for daylight photos, but focus peaking in low light still makes manual focus challenging.

    •  

      Man you got some great glass there!! I’m still trying to get my hands on the 24mm Zeiss. From what I’ve seen its looks really tasty. The Voigtlander with Nikon RF mount is interesting. Please post some examples so I can see. I just got my M-mount to E mount so I’ll be posting lots of review with some Zeiss Glass and Leica glass and Voigtlander. I don’t have any Nikon RF glass so I’m very curious to see. Please post it here or email direct if you don’t want others to see but I would really love to see it. I’ve only got to play with the adapter that I got with a Leica 50mm summicron and you are right about the focus peaking in the day light. What a great feature. I’m still playing with it in low light so I’ll get back to you on that. I want to give it a fair shake. But I love the focus peaking feature. Now that I’ve gotten so used to it along with the manual focus override. I wish the magnification time was shortened by half sec so I could frame up faster. Thanks so much for your comments and support. Please like us on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/photoheadonline so you can get updates. and please comeback and post some examples of the Voigtlander. Cheers!

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