Coming from what Sony calls the easy choice line is a selection of lenses that are literally aimed at making the entry to specialized photography an easy one. The Sony 50mm f/1.8 SAM DT is a perfect example, as it represents an extremely low cost introduction to wide aperture shooting. While being a budget buy, it also unlocks the very different world that is wide aperture shooting.
Construction and Performance
Building a specialty lens on the cheap comes at a cost, and that cost is polycarbonate. The entire body, even the lens mount, is made of this tough plastic. Though it feels dense and durable, it still does not compete with any kind of metallic barrel, so care is advised when handling it. Inside is Sony’s Smooth Autofocus Motor, which for many entry level SLRs would be an improvement over the AF system found on the camera, but it doesn’t quite match up to higher end models. Optical quality is quite good however, and this is the foundation of a solid purchase.
What You Can Do With It
Having an affordable lens with such a wide aperture gives you capabilities that would normally only be found on higher end lenses. This is a thoroughly single purpose device that allows you to get a very shallow depth of field. Shots that this might aid you in are close-ups with a less-than-desirable landscape in the background. Your shot will contain your subject in perfect focus, with the background blurred out and indistinguishable. In this way, the intended subject of your picture truly does appear as so.
A wide open aperture also means that the sensor receives more light in a shorter amount of time. Even many high end lenses have an aperture that only opens to f/2.8. The f/1.4 capable aperture on this lens is equivalent to 2 full stops of light over the former. In other words, in the same amount of time that an f/2.8 takes to shoot, you’ve gathered four times as much light. This makes the lens perfect for quick shutter speeds and dimly lit rooms. The only gripe that people may find with this is that coupling excellent shutter speeds with an average AF motor to some extent squanders that perk.
It isn’t the perfect package, and it don’t expect image quality to be stellar. Forgive it for this though, and you’re left with a functional specialty lens with an extremely friendly entry point. Learning how to use a wide aperture lens takes some technique, the result being the ability to take shots you were simply not able to without it. The Sony 50mm f/1.8 SAM DT lens fits all Sony Alpha cameras, and is yours for about $150.