Nifty or not so nifty fifty

I switched some years ago form Nikon to a Sony α7III and started of with kit lens and a 50mm f1.8 (SEL50F18F). But for some reason I never was happy with the Sony 50mm.

I really enjoyed in the past shooting 35mm and my 50mm on my Nikon d7200. My Nikon gear was always crop format and so the 50mm should pretty much cover for the 35mm. And I got the Sony 85mm f1.8 which works perfectly for me.

Nikon DX CropCrop Factor 1.5Sony Full frame
35 mm52.5 mm 50mm
50 mm 75 mm85mm
Corp vs FF

I put it to the test.

Finally, a few weeks ago I put it to the test. And Boy was I surprised.

The setup

Both lenses were tested under the same light conditions in the room and settings. I choose two objects with different distance (1.5m & 6M) to the cameras.

1. Sony a7III and Sony’s Nifty Fifty
2. D90 with the matching Nifty Fifty (which means the focus motor is in the camera body)

Name Nikon 50 mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor SEL50F18F
Release year20022016
Auto fucus In Bodyin Lens
Aperture Blades 77

The Sony
I haven’t touch my Sony 50mm for a while, and I have forgotten of the slowness, focus hunting and the noise the Sony glass makes.

The Nikon
One of the first affordable DSLR’s. As soon I press the shutter release halfway down I felt the minor vibration of the in-camera focus motor and bang straight in focus.
Swapped between the objects multiple times, every single time bang on focus and fairly quick.

Picture quality wise both lenses are amazing for what I paid, but only one of the two lens did cut the “crop”

The old-timer, from the dawn of DSLR technology, the Nikon Glas truly deserves the title Nifty Fifty.
Even on a totally outdated camera body, it is so much faster to focus and therefore way more fun. The built quality is also better.

And the Captain Slow of all of my lenses, the Sony 50mm, will be used in manual mode from now on, and most likely one day replaced.

Would I recommend the Sony 50mm?
If you really have only a tiny budget and you want 50mm…

… I don’t know! Maybe? Not really.


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