Carl Zeiss 55mm Review – The Best Lens for Sony Cameras?

Most lens reviews? They focus on the specifications side of things that don’t actually tell us anything. We? We like to focus on practical things such as how things look. And this his Carl Zeiss Sonnar 55mm 1.8 lens? It might be the best lens out there for Sony Cameras, even though it has been out for quite a few years at this point.

55mm is the Perfect Focal Length if You Can Only Have One Lens

There are many lenses out there for many different uses, and we too have a stack of lenses to work with, but if we only have a choice of one lens, every time, we will pick this 55mm, Zeiss.

Why? As it’s a lens that works in most scenarios.

In our case, the most important aspect was the interview shooting. Not everyone has a big home, especially in Europe where homes aren’t as gigantic as in the US.

The 55mm works in those smaller spaces. A 75mm wouldn’t.

At the same time, while the 55mm doesn’t perhaps offer all that depth of field that a 75mm would offer with portraits, the 55m still at the same time offers incredible quality portrait wise, making this a lens that just works in all kinds of scenarios.

Incredibly Sharp

If you look at the new camera releases like the Sony A7 S III, you will see that bitrate has been drastically improved.

In the past, we acquired the Sony FS7 for its bitrate.

However, what we quickly found out was that it doesn’t matter how great your bitrate if your lens isn’t right.

Example?

A professional video camera, the FS7 VS Sony A7 III.

FS7? It rocked a non-full frame (FS7 isn’t full-frame) Sony 50 mm 1.8 lens. A7 III? The Zeiss.

…Even though the bitrate on the FS7 was 3x higher, the A7 III footage looks much more crispy.

And that’s how crispy this lens is.

Here are some more examples of crispy footage which is especially harder to achieve when shooting video content.

We love this lens combined with the A7 III so much that we find very little use for the much more superior on paper, FS7.

In fact, this lens is so crip that it even makes 1080p slow-mo look crisp. Meanwhile, the Sony kit-lens made the footage look almost non-usable.

Not Great For Closeups

We said that this is a great lens for everything.

…Well, minus this.

This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 55cm.

That’s quite far.

That means no macro shots possible. Something we loved on our vintage 35mm Zeiss from the 70’s which had incredible minimal focus distance.

35mm Zeiss are old lenses worth it

If you are looking to get close-ups, it is still possible, but it’s just not going to be as close up as you might like.

Zeiss Produces Beautiful Bohek

Our favorite thing about the Zeiss lenses? Without a doubt, the subtle bohek that this lens produces.

Not only does every detail of every picture look crispier with the Zeiss, but the lens is also able to keep much more in focus when shooting at the likes of 1.8.

Build and Size

This lens is both smaller and significantly lighter than almost all 50mm full-frame options out there.

This lens is sleek, lightweight, but also premium feeling at the same time.

The top edges of the lens are pretty easy to scratch though, and we have already done that.

Great Option for Low-Light

Your low-light shots will depend vastly on the camera you have, but the Sony A7 III combined with the Zeiss does a superb job when it comes to low-light shots.

Some examples?

Best Lens for Sony Lenses

If you can only get one, this is the one. This Zeiss 55 Sonnar lens is incredible. It’s great for portraits, it’s great for videos. It works in tight spaces, while still capturing the cinematic look we all want.

 

Recent Posts

Michael Smolski Written by: