Sony Zeiss 55mm F1.8 lens is arguably one of the most popular lens for Sony full frame mirrorless system.
In fact, this is the first lens I got for my A7III. I just heard so many good things about this lens that I couldn’t resist getting one for myself. The hype was real. I was instantly blown away by the images that were coming out of this lens. The colors, sharpness, super snappy auto focus, it was just a breeze to use in combination with the highly capable A7III. It was also light and compact making it a perfect choice for day-to-day shooting. And with the Super 35 mode of A7III, it could also be used as 82.5mm if I needed to.
So I’ve been super happy with the Zeiss 55mm, but I needed one more lens to cover the wide angle. 55mm was just a bit tight in many indoor situations. So I added Sony 28mm F2 to my kit. It wasn’t particularly mind blowing as the 55mm but it was decent. So 28mm and 55mm was my prime lens setup for a while,
There were times that I was tempted to switch from this prime lens setup to a more convenient single zoom lens (Tamron 28-75mm F2.8) just to make things a bit easier. And to make the matter worse, Tamron released another promising zoom lens with a lot more telephoto reach up to 200mm. It wasn’t tempting at first as a lens in this category (super zoom) usually compromises on image quality and comes in variable aperture. But it quickly became #1 selling lens in Japan with great reviews amongst photo community. So after some contemplating, I replaced my prime lens setup with the new Tamron 28-200mm. I wanted to keep the 55mm but I didn’t have the luxury to keep both.
From Prime to Zoom and The Consequences
Prime lens setup vs a zoom lens is another big topic so I wouldn’t expand on too much here but it didn’t take me a long time to realize that I was so much more happy with the images from the Zeiss 55mm F1.8. The auto focus including the eye af was so much more snappy (maybe from being the native Sony lens) and overall the images were just so much more vibrant on the Zeiss.
The zoom lens was definitely more convenient but having more bulky setup mounted on the camera all the time wasn’t fun. The weight and size of the Zeiss 55mm was just perfect on my A7III.
And more importantly, I had already been spoiled by the Zeiss 55mm, it was hard to take in the quality tradeoffs from the super zoom lens. So it was an expensive lesson to learn that I like the prime lens a lot more despite all the inconvenience. There are many people who would favor a zoom lens setup but it wasn’t for me.
Full Frame Body + F1.x Prime Lens = Magic
So after some trial and error, I decided to switch back to the prime lens setup and get the Zeiss 55mm F1.8 for the second time. I had never bought the same camera gear before so
Now that this lens is in my possession once again, I’m going to hold onto this lens unless I switch the whole camera system.
You heard me saying enough good things about this lens as being a compact and very sharp lens, but there are also a few things that I dislike about this lens:
- Long minimum focal distance – the minimum focus distance is 0.5 m which makes it challenging to use indoor in some situations
- Not the most durable lens – it has a solid metal construction but the surface is prone to scratching
- Focus-by-wire manual focus – like most modern lens, this lens also implements focus-by-wire manual focus which makes it hard to use if you’re shooting a video with manual focus
- For F1.8 prime lens, it’s not cheap – 50mm is one of the most common focal length and many camera brands offer this lens at a lot more affordable price tag
Despite all the cons of the lens, I captured so many beautiful moments with it that I ended up buying it again and this should give you an idea how much I dig this lens!
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What’s a camera lens review without some image sample, here are some videos and still images I captured with the Zeiss 55mm F1.8.