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Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens

BH #SO5518 • MFR #SEL55F18Z
Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens
Key Features
  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/22
  • Three Aspherical Elements
  • ZEISS T* Anti-Reflective Coating
A perfect pairing for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras, the Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens offers excellent resolution and a bright f/1.8 aperture for photographers looking for a high-performing normal-length prime.
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Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Overview

  • 1Description
  • 2Premier Portrait Prime
  • 3ZEISS Optical Design
  • 4Autofocus and Design
By B&H Photo's
Premier Portrait Prime
A perfect pairing for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras, the Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens offers excellent resolution and a bright f/1.8 aperture for photographers looking for a high-performing normal-length prime.
ZEISS Optical Design
  • Based on the ZEISS Sonnar optical concept, this lens uses a design with seven elements in five groups that helps achieve the large maximum aperture of f/1.8 while simultaneously reducing flare and improving contrast.
  • Bright f/1.8 maximum aperture allows users to create images with shallow depth of field and work in low-light conditions with relative ease.
  • Three aspherical elements, including two double-sided, are incorporated in the lens design to reduce astigmatism, field curvature, coma, and other monochromatic aberrations.
  • ZEISS T* anti-reflective coatings have been applied to each lens surface to help minimize reflections in order to provide greater image clarity, contrast, and color fidelity.
  • Rounded nine-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality when employing selective focus techniques.
Autofocus and Design
  • Linear autofocus motor and internal focus design provide quick and precise autofocus performance and enables accurate and silent focusing while recording videos.
  • Dust- and moisture-sealed design better permits working in inclement conditions and rubberized control rings benefit handling in colder temperatures.

Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Specs

Focal Length
Maximum Aperture
Minimum Aperture
Lens Mount
Sony E
Lens Format Coverage
Angle of View
Minimum Focus Distance
1.64' / 50 cm
Maximum Magnification
Optical Design
7 Elements in 5 Groups
Diaphragm Blades
9, Rounded
Focus Type
Image Stabilization
Filter Size
49 mm (Front)
Dimensions (ø x L)
2.54 x 2.78" / 64.52 x 70.61 mm
9.91 oz / 281 g
Packaging Info
Package Weight
1.2 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH)
8 x 4.4 x 4.3"

Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Reviews

Hard to fall in love pt 2

By maxim
Rated 5 out of 5
Date: 2023-08-06

I can't update my original review. But the update would have been as follows: after several shoots this has become my favorite lens for headshots and 3/4 length portraits. This is definitely one worth working for. It does a ton of things very well. I was just didn't get it at first. Highly recommended. Apologies for my confusion. Hope that helps

Hard to love/fall in love with

By maxim
Rated 3 out of 5
Date: 2022-10-23

Okay, so I still haven't sold this lens-but every time I shoot with it, I swear that I am going to do so imminently. Here's why: The 55mm focal length is awkward, like dancing with one foot slightly longer than the other. It's always just a bit too tight for normal and not quite tight enough for telephoto. The sharpness/contrast is just unflattering and offensive. It makes people appear old and displeased-looking. And in low light the colors get distorted even more. It's as if they've tweaked the knobs to make an MTF chart look good and let everything else go to pot, with no consideration for whether a human being would ever want to look at it. I bought this strictly off of reviews, and my strong advice is that you should find a way to rent or borrow one before purchasing. I can't rightly explain it, it's Zeiss but tainted in some way...I haven't sold mine yet just because I want to be really sure that it's the lens and not me, but I really think it's the lens. For reference, I have an adapted manual Zeiss 50mm 1.4 Planar ZE, Zeiss 35 f2.8, Zeiss 85 1.8 for my A7RIIIa. I love all those lenses and the 'Zeiss rendering'...but the 55 just ain't got it.

An Outstanding Lens, Besides One Critical Flaw

By Jacob
Rated 3 out of 5
Date: 2022-09-13

This lens is amazing, probably one of my favorites - even considering its flaws. It is razor sharp in the center and it's bokeh and chromatic aberration give the photos such character, I always get compliments on them. Not to mention it is one of the highest rated lenses on DXO Mark for Sony E mount cameras. The price is amazing for the quality too, and the autofocus is perfectly fast unlike the 50mm G Master. However - and it is a big however - if you intend on shooting video with this lens, you should reconsider purchasing it. For some wild reason, when your camera is set to continuous autofocus, the lens freaks out. It jumps in and out of focus extremely fast, almost like it's hunting for focus, but more like the motors are having a seizure - that's the best way to describe it unfortunately. It renders footage completely worthless. It is inconsistent too, it is hard to figure out exactly what causes it, but it's always there. It seems to be worse when the aperture is not wide open. And the saddest part is I have tried 3 different copies of the lens (my friends own them too, like I said, they are that good) and on several different cameras. All of them have the same issue. So, if you are looking for an amazing photo lens, look no further! This is it! But if you are hoping to shoot video on this lens, maybe don't.

Hunts for focus

By Andrew
Rated 4 out of 5
Date: 2022-08-22

I get the cult following on this lens. It's good. However when compared with many of the new e mount lenses out there the autofocus is behind. There's a significant amount of focus breathing and when photographing stills in less than good light it frequently hunts for focus. Using it on an a7c.

Crazy sharp lens

By John
Rated 5 out of 5
Date: 2022-07-28

One of the sharpest lenses I've ever owned. It's madness.

Super sharp, lovely bokeh

By Intermediate Bob
Rated 5 out of 5
Date: 2022-06-06

This lens justifies the price. Mates perfectly with a7c to maintain a compact but very powerful combo. The evf on the camera had me wondering a bit about how the photos would translate, but once uploaded, I’m blown away by the sharpness and bokeh. Low light performance is excellent- I’ve yet to wish for a flash for any indoor shot with any light available. Highly recommend.

The Sony Sonnar 55 is sharp

By Gordon
Rated 5 out of 5
Date: 2023-02-03

The Sony Sonnar 55mm is sharp corner to corner and the autofocus works great with the A7R4.

Couldn't be happier

By Robert
Rated 5 out of 5
Date: 2022-11-28

I shoot mostly long-exposure deep focus documentary environmental portraits using an A7R4 and a tripod. So bokeh is not very important to me. However, I want extreme sharpness front-to-back plus soulful color* I can heighten into emotion. The Sony Sonnar FE 55mm fits the bill. It's also not heavy (which with the tripod I lug around is important to me). I couldn't be happier. * I'm really writing this because of the review that said the lens's color was tainted. I can't see it. I work in a part of the world where the material culture has a limited palette of color. I know those colors well. Using them as a baseline, I can say that the FE 55mm renders them accurately, alone or in combination, such that in rendering the memories and feelings I intend to evoke are evoked.

See any errors on this page? Let us know



Will this work on a7r or rII?
Asked by: Gary
Yes any lens with an E mount will work on the a7 series cameras. The FE in the name of the lens signifies it as an e -mount for a F ull frame sensor cameras, like the a7 series. The crop sensor lenses (lenses with just E not FE in the name), will also work pn the a7 cameras but will be cropped and have a vignette/shadow on the pictures due to the bigger sensor on the a7 series cameras.
Answered by: Stephen S.
Date published: 2018-08-25


Is there a way to set the focus distance from meters to feet on this lens? I am using it on the the AR7II. I cannot find a menu setting to change that anywhere. I know on the Batis lenses one can turn the focussing ring but that does not work on this lens. I am trying to figure out hyperfocal distances and I do have an app but I find it difficult to keep switching back to meter distances.
Asked by: lia R.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that this is a possible function using this lens.
Answered by: Heather S.
Date published: 2018-08-25


Why no OSS on this lens?
Asked by: Anonymous
Note IBIS (in body stabilization) is only available on the most recent/newer (Mark 2) A7 cameras like the A7R2, A7ii, and A7S2 which are at least 2000-3500 in cost. The first gen A7 cameras dont have IBIS. Usually you only need OSS when using a long/telephoto lens of 70mm or greater due to the increase in shake when zoomed in farther. Wide and normal lenses from 10 to 55 mm usually dont need extra stabilization as long as your shutter speed is above 1/125 sec or higher
Answered by: Stephen S.
Date published: 2022-12-01


Is this Lens compatible with the Sony FS700?
Asked by: Toks O.
Yes, and it will work fabulously. I use it on my a7s as well, gives wonderful images w/o having to pay a lot of $ for Cinema lenses
Answered by: DARREN L.
Date published: 2018-08-25

Which is best sigma 50mm f/1.4 art and this Zeiss ...

Which is best sigma 50mm f/1.4 art and this Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 ?
Asked by: Nakib
Both lenses are excellent, but the Sigma is slightly better in low light as it is 2/3 of a stop brighter.
Answered by: Kirk
Date published: 2020-12-14

How are the bokeh and focus breathing on this ...

How are the bokeh and focus breathing on this lens?
Asked by: Zachary
From testing in store and from owning this personally, the bokeh of the Sony Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 is aesthetically quite pleasing and quite clean, although depending on what you're used to and your tolerance for "busy-ness", your own review might be skewed. It does have some focus breathing, which might be an issue in video.
Answered by: Jeremy
Date published: 2022-05-25

Can I use a lens that's made in the UK?

Can I use a lens that's made in the UK?
Asked by: Alexander
Yes, any E-mount Sony lens regardless of region will work on a Sony E-mount camera, like this incredible Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Sonnar T* lens!
Answered by: Jeremy
Date published: 2022-06-19

When using eye tracking for video on FX9 / 6 / 3, ...

When using eye tracking for video on FX9 / 6 / 3, does this AF perform as quickly and reliably as the 50mm F1.4?
Asked by: Blake
Yes, the performance on the Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens is similar to the Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens with use on the Sony FX3 Full-Frame Cinema Camera, the Sony FX6 Full-Frame Cinema Camera (Body Only), and the Sony PXW-FX9 XDCAM 6K Full-Frame Camera System (Body Only).
Answered by: Richard
Date published: 2022-11-18
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