Sony’s popular all-purpose 50mm prime lens has been improved for a new generation of hybrid photographers with the FE 50mm f/1.4 GM lens. According to the company, the new lens delivers the highest optical performance from a remarkably tiny design. The lens is also intended for video users. The entire structure is dust- and moisture-resistant; a fluorine coating keeps water and oil out.
The FE 50mm f/1.4 GM replaces the Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA. It’s a smaller, lighter alternative to its predecessor and Sony’s more recent FE 50mm f/1.2 GM. The new Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM lens weighs only 516 g, so it seems extremely well balanced on a compact Sony mirrorless body. The lens is 7.9cm in length and 9.4cm in width, making it a fantastic choice for run-and-gun shooters who must carry their gear with them all day. Because the 50mm lens is so similar in size and weight to the 24mm and 35mm G-Master lenses, you can quickly swap them out when your camera is placed on a gimbal. The 50mm, like the 24mm and 35mm, has a 67mm diameter for switching filters between those lenses.
The new lens comprises 14 components organized into 11 groups, including two ‘very aspherical’ elements and one extra-low dispersion (ED) element. It has an 11-blade diaphragm and can focus as close as 0.38m (15″) in manual focus mode for a maximum magnification of 0.18x.
The lens exhibits some focus breathing (a narrower field of vision at near focus distances); however, this is mitigated by Sony’s Focus Breathing Correction function, which reduces footage to the smallest field of view and maintains it even as the focus goes towards infinity.
Like other Sony lenses, the barrel contains a linear response ring for consistent, precise focus pulling. Manual aperture adjustments are possible thanks to a specialized aperture ring, which is de-clickable for quiet video operation. An iris-lock switch keeps the aperture ring from accidentally shifting out of the automated mode.
Here are some sample pictures:
The autofocusing speed is said to be 1.9x faster than the previous lens. It makes use of two XD linear motors. Sony claims that the focus is fast and dependable whether the f-stop is wide open or closed. When used with an a7R IV or FX3, it works well with Sony’s advanced subject and Eye-AF settings and can easily keep up with a moving subject. Videographers will appreciate how well the new lens manages focus breathing.
The FE 50mm f/1.4 GM lens will be available in late April/early May for $1299.