Sony Elevates 50mm f/1.4 to G Master Status02/21/2023
Sony has upgraded its all-purpose prime for a new generation of hybrid creators with the FE 50mm f/1.4 GM lens. Delivering Sony’s highest level of optical performance from a surprisingly compact build, this fast prime excels at still and video capture.
From fashion to food, weddings to picnics, the new lens is sure to become a centerpiece in Sony’s G Master lineup and a favorite among amateurs and professionals alike.
The FE 50mm f/1.4 GM effectively replaces the Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA and serves as a significantly lighter, more compact alternative to its predecessor and Sony’s more recent FE 50mm f/1.2 GM. At 18.2 ounces it is also five ounces lighter than the recently announced Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG DN Art lens for Sony E-mount. Its size and weight are truly surprising to anyone accustomed to the typical heft of fast prime lenses. This makes it easier to use handheld, to mount on a gimbal, or carry around all day.
Autofocusing boasts a 1.9x speed boost over the older lens, enabled by a pair of XD linear motors. Focusing is fast and reliable whether shooting with the aperture opened up or closed down. It pairs seamlessly with Sony’s advanced subject and Eye-AF modes. It easily kept up with a moving model when used with an a7R IV and FX3. Speaking of dynamic subjects, it can also manage bursts up to 30 fps as well as high-frame-rate video recording. Videographers will appreciate that the new lens does a better job of managing focus breathing compared to its predecessor.
For close-ups, you can frame from up to 15 inches from subjects when manual focusing and 16 inches when using AF. As one would expect from a G Master lens, the new 50mm f/1.4 leans on an impressive optical design (14 elements, 11 groups). This includes extra-low dispersion (ED) and two extreme aspherical (XA) elements, promising sharp, accurate imaging. A Nano AR coating minimizes ghosting and flare.
As you open the aperture, focus melts away naturally, producing compositions with organic subject-environment separation. While admittedly not as fast as the 50mm f/1.2 GM, its smaller overall build makes it equally, if not more, suited for handheld usage when working in low-light environments or at slower shutter speeds.
Typical of the G Master series, the lens barrel incorporates a variety of tactile controls including two customizable focus hold buttons, a de-clickable aperture ring with iris lock switch, and an AF/MF switch. The entire construction is dust and moisture resistant and a fluorine coating protects against water and oil. It takes a 67mm front filter, making it swappable with other G Master lenses including the 24mm f/1.4 GM and 35mm f/1.4 GM.
Sony intends for the FE 50mm f/1.4 GM to be a go-to prime for both casual and professional photographers and videographers using Sony E-mount cameras. How does it stack up? Share your thoughts in the Comments section, below!