Sony 55 1.8 ZA Long Term Review



As a wedding and commercial photographer, I’ve been using this lens in a professional setting for a few years now and I’ve taken tens of thousands of photos with it, in all sorts of situations. Now it’s time to hear my take.

For higher res sample images, head on over to my website here:

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Shot on the Sony a9 with the Sony/Zeiss 35 1.4
a9 Amazon US:
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35 1.4 Amazon US:
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42 thoughts on “Sony 55 1.8 ZA Long Term Review

  1. I was looking for some information on this lens as i was considering this or the Sony 1.4. I found (by accident) that you had made a video about it. Perfect!

    You are by far my most favorite gear/photography youtuber. Your videos are super pleasant, to the point with filled with useful information. What really tick the boxes for me is that your not sponsored and not trying to peddle something. You should really make a lot more of these videos! I just love them.

  2. An update version with a button for AF on/off will be nice, aperture ring will be very nice, maybe a GM version !?

  3. Between all the reviewers that shoot flat sharpness charts, run down spec sheets or just plainly talk too much, you have some of the most well rounded lens reviews out there. Honest, and relevant to the actual profession of photography.
    Agreed on the caracter of the 55 – it has all the "modern" sharpness while retaining the "legacy" character. I'd say that justifies the price going up – many of the modern high end lenses today are 'over'-corrected to prevent sharpness falloff due to chromatic abberation, giving good but kind of clinical images.

  4. Nice review! I got this lens with my new A73 and absolutely love with its sharpness.
    However I have noticed an aperture noise when turning on/off the camera. Have you noticed it before? Or is it normal?

  5. Man, this is the first video of yours I've watched. I will not be watching any others. You just sound indifferent and negative. Even when you say something technically positive, you use tend to use grammar that mutes any positivity.

  6. I'm not a huge fan of lenses around this focal length though so as this lens really does hold its value used i've not picked one up yet as even though the images look really good I would not use it often enough. Nice review, love that easy going style.

  7. Have you had any issues with you? Ive heard the auto focus fails in some of these because of the older design. Check out this article:

    https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2016/04/a-look-at-electromagnetic-focusing/

    Let me know what you think and how your long term ownership has been

  8. What about the Planar?, for your review I was about to buy the 35 1.4, but due the recently launched 1.8 I went for that one. Well, if you are planning to review the planar, it will be very welcome 🙂

  9. One of the best lenses I ever had. If I need a shot on an important moment I can not afford to miss, I grab this lens. Fast, accurate, super reliable and Zeiss sharp. It truelly is a winner.

  10. I got the sony 35mm 1.8 and the 85 1.8, still can't decide if I should get this 1, it is a fantastic lens no questions about it, but having those 2 lenses, do I really need a 55mm focal lenth? This question is killing me lol

  11. hey wes im thinking about returning my 35mm. i have this lens on the way bought for 630. does it make sense to have a 35 and 55 since there close in focal range its just a few steps back but i know the compression is different

  12. I think this lens is better value if you pick it up used. I just bought mine to replace my sigma 50mm 1.4 art. Paid $625 on eBay for one in immaculate condition.

  13. For me , the 50 mm isn't suited . So I will mostly use my kit lens if I use that focal length. I love the range of 35 and 85 , so I got the primes for that range. But this is a fantastic lens.

  14. I found this review really helpful and well structured with a lot of relevant information. I have recently switched to the Sony full frame system from Fuji. Sold all my lenses. Felt that I would be happy with just the Sony 24 to 105 mm but decided it was just too big to walk around with all day. So I have just bought the 55 as well. Looking forward to trying it out at a friend’s 40th party. I am wondering, though, whether, because of its fact that it is now quite an old lens, I should have bought the 35mm. A depleted camera bag is making me feel uneasy and the choices that need to be made without re-mortgaging the house are overwhelming. Ha ha

  15. I think all this Je nais sais quoi you mentiones is the Microcontrast. I'm wondering if I should sell my voigtlander nokton 50 mm 1.5 for this. I'm happy with it,…just that I need the techart pro for af, and of course…isn't as fast.

  16. I love the little joker but however I would like the 55 or 50 in 1.2. C’mon Sony do it then us give us the 85 1.2

  17. Great review and I totally agree with what you said. I've had this lens for almost 2 years and this always ends up in my camera bag wherever I go. Best thing about the lens is the character.

  18. One major problem with these lens is the minimum focusing distance needed. I was a bit disappointed not able to go near a subject and able to focus. Unlike my sigma 50 art, even old 85 1.8 afs Nikon can focus much closer

  19. Your reviews are extremely entertaining and well done. I own this lens. Your description is dead on accurate to mine. I love the lens. It has a special look.

  20. I bought mine on June 19, 2015. I'm sorry you made me look that up because I see I paid $758 USD for it. Ouch! Ah, well. I still have it and absolutely love it. Now don't make me look up what I paid for my Zeiss 35mm f2.8, the other Sony diminutive overachiever.

  21. Enjoyed your review, Wes. I bought the 55 f1.8 along with my Sony a7iii back in August even though I had the kit lens to get me started . Although it seemed like a lot of money for a prime, I haven't regretted picking it up.

  22. I love the 55mm/1.8. While it’s a bit of a misnomer in terms of focal length, the optical quality and size are great. I think the best uses of this lens are environmental portraits and small group shots of maybe 2-3 people. Either way, it’s like you said: it just has that special quality to it!

  23. Great review Wes. I rented this lens and it's absolutely awesome. CA is fairly easy to fix in post but the sharpness is insane. I also had a Sigma ART 50 1.4 (no adapter). I did not like it, mainly due to size. It's very front heavy and the CA is absolutely awful. Also, I don't know if it was my unit, but autofocus was not good, at all. It would always hunt for the subject or not focus at all.

  24. I have that lens and I am happy about it but the most important phrase I heard today is that probably French one (because for me it sounds like a French, because English is not my first language ), and I would like to know how to write it, and understand, and know what I can say about my lens to other people (how to describe how great that lens is 😊)

  25. Bought mine new off the gray market and would go used now if I had to buy it again. Between the sharpness, size and weight it will always have a place in my travel kit. Yes, it is pretty good in the streets at night.

  26. Great video again Wes!

    I remember watching so many reviews about this lens and not seeing much difference then I got the 50mm f/1.8 and just did not like it at all. Sold it after a couple of months and bit the bullet and got the Zeiss 55. My word what a lens, such a beautiful image rendition. It comes with me every shoot no matter what.

    My only gripe with it is the hood. What the heck that thing never stays on!

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