Zeiss 55MM f/1.8 Lens Review: Is It Worth the Hype?

This lens was released with the initial Sony A7 back in 2013.  Many reviewers have expounded upon the sharpness of this lens and sang its praises.  But is it worth all the hype, and more importantly, the $900 price tag?

In this post, I share my experience shooting with the Zeiss 55mm lens on my Sony A6000.

Sharpness

After doing a few portrait shoots with the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8, I must say that I was very impressed by how sharp it is.  The image quality is fantastic - one of the best lenses I’ve used on my A6000 so far.

 Model: Simone Cooper

Model: Simone Cooper

I've talked a lot about my favorite portrait lens being the 35mm.  But the Zeiss is certainly a better lens for headshots and tight portraits.  It has less distortion and makes facial features a bit more flattering.

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Autofocus Performance

I did have some issues with autofocus performance.  I missed a few shots that I ordinarily wouldn’t have if I had been shooting with my 35mm or 50mm Sony lenses.  

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 These are all shots I wouldn't have missed with my 35mm or 50mm...

These are all shots I wouldn't have missed with my 35mm or 50mm...

Maybe it’s just user error on my part.  Or maybe FE lenses are more finicky on crop sensor bodies like the A6000.  I dunno.

Either way it was definitely frustrating to miss shots that I would have otherwise nailed when shooting with my Sony 50mm lens or Sony 35mm lens.

Final Verdict: Is It Worth It?

In any case, I do recommend the Zeiss 55mm lens if you can afford it.  It’s a great lens for portraits and headshots in particular.

However if $900 puts a strain on your wallet, there are some budget-friendly alternatives that perform quite well for the A6000.

If the Zeiss isn't right for you, I recommend the Sigma 60mm f/2.8 and the Sony 50mm f/1.8.

If you're interested in exploring more options for Sony lenses, be sure to grab my A6000 Lens Picker Guide (see below)

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About the Author

Dan Bullman is a portrait photographer and YouTuber based in Boston. He produces educational videos, gear reviews and other content to make you a better photographer faster.  His videos have been viewed over 1 million times.  His portrait work has been featured on accounts like @moodyports @followingboston and @portraitmeet.

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