That 50mm Is Not Bad

Now the revelation: most of the photographs I have shown so far taken with the Sony A350 and the 50mm F1.8 were not sharp, there is a strong possibility that they were not in 100% accurate focus. I am starting to suspect there might be front or back-focusing issue. 

When the perfect sweetspot was hit, the level of details the 50mm F1.8 in combination with then class leading 14.2 Megapixels image sensor in the A350 can be quite impressive. 

Take a look at the image below, I clearly remembered I set the focus on the word "D600". This was taken in a series of three photos, and the other two photos were soft, and obviously out of focus. 

Nick Wade willingly became my victim. 

100% crop from the previous image. 
Not bad, not bad at all. And the images were not even sharpened, but you can evidently see traces of in camera sharpening happening. The purple fringing shows the out of focus zone in front of the focal plane, while the green fringing shows behind. Sometimes CA can be useful to indicate the lens behavior. 

I think I should test this 50mm F1.8 lens further. It does seem to be quite a decent lens, and very worth its low price tag too. As I have mentioned, it takes time to know your gear. I just thought perhaps I have jumped into conclusion too early that at F1.8 wide open, the 50mm was soft, in fact, looking at the photographs above, I am surprised to find that was not the case. 


  1. One of the features I wish Sony would copy from Olympus is the face recognition that focuses on the closest eye (or farthest depending on what you selected). I think Olympus started implementing that feature starting with the E-PL2. I've used the Sony 50/1.8 and it can indeed be quite sharp wide open. The focal lenght was a bit too long for me so I ended up picking up the 35/1.8 and it is excellent. Very very sharp wide open, but sometimes I have to focus on the eye then re-compose .

    1. Hey Wataru,
      The face recognition and AF are surely very useful but I still do not trust the camera to pick which face to focus on. lets say there are 5 faces inside the frame, how would the camera know which is the one you want to be in focus? It can detect multiple faces but the value calculated would be averaged, and may not be the right focus plane that the photographer wants.
      I am considering the 35mm F1.8 as well, if I can find a good used market deal I will surely grab it with no hesitation !

  2. This looks indeed plenty sharp to me. Maybe it (or the camera) is front-focusing just a tad - the rubber flaps on the D600 that are nearer to the camera look slightly sharper to me than the D600 logo itself, not much, just a tad. And yes, some CA but nothing alarming. The picture of the elderly guy with the turban in your previous series showed some CA on his right shoulder too, but again, not bad. My ancient Nikkor 24-50 is much worse, while the even older MF 28mm prime has none. I'd say its a very, very useable lens, also wide open.

    Is it me, or is that D600 indeed quite compact? I like bigger cameras, as I have big hands, so I always use the vertical battery grips. I'm amazed how small this camera seems for a full-frame beast. You know, maybe it bothers your friend too - I'll gladly relieve him of that annoyance, completely for free :-) Argh, GAS attack! ;-)

    1. Hey Andre,
      Yes the D600 is quite small for a full frame camera, in fact it is much smaller than the previous D700, and perhaps almost similar in size with the D7000. Strange, but true, and because of the size being smaller the D600 does have a few compromises (I shall not comment further or I will be hunted down by Nikon fanboys). Surely you can benefit using the battery hand pack/grip if you are using a smaller camera bodies for better gripping and handling.

  3. Hi Robin, I too experienced back focusing issues with my Sigma lens. I used a focusing chart from this link which helped me point this out to the lens seller. I hope you find this useful.
    Thank you so much for your wonderful site. You are truly a source of inspiration. More power to you Robin!