I have been slowly migrating all my gear from Nikon to Sony while attempting to retain the advantages of using Zeiss glass. I have noticed that with old age comes a problem. As I have gotten older, I am having a difficult time focusing manually. Having the luxury of auto focus Zeiss lenses on a digital camera is what motivated me to make the switch.
For now, I have decided on the A7 while I build up an inventory of Zeiss glass for the alpha cameras. Since I mainly do street work, I thought the A7 would be the best choice for my needs. However, I am leaving the door open for the A99 or it’s successor. Leaving that door open has presented me with a dilemma. Do I get the highly coveted 55mm 1.8 FE, the 50mm 1.4 ZA or do I get both? Since the A7 can accommodate the ZA lens with the LA-EA4 adapter it seemed like a no brainer to go with the 50mm 1.4 ZA. This way the lens can be used on both bodies. However, I heard so many good things about the 55 FE that I wanted that one as well. But is it that much better than the 50 to justify owning both? Well, I will let you decide for yourself. This little comparison of the two was done to see if one is really that much better than the other and help you decide which lens to buy.
So here we go. These are tripod mounted using auto fous on the A7.
The first scene here is what was photographed. It shows both lenses delivering beautiful bokeh wide open which would make any Canon or Nikon user jealous.
Although the angle and cropping is off a little between the two sets of images, it will give you a general idea of how these two lenses stack up against each other.
There is no sense in continuing with smaller aperture samples since we already know both these lenses perform extremely well.
Based on the above samples, I ended up selling the 55 1.8 to have the 50 serve as a lens for both A7 and A99 bodies. I find the differences between the two marginal with a slight advantage to the 55 in sharpness/Contrast and an even larger advantage to the 50 for bokeh.