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Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM

re: Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM

Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM

The about $1298 Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM [Sony specifications] was announced in February 2023, shipping in May 2023.

  • Full-Frame, f/1.4 to f/16
  • G-Master Design with Advanced Optic
  • Two XD Linear AF Motors
  • Internal Focus Focus Hold Buttons & Iris Lock Switch
  • Physical Aperture Ring & De-Click Switch
  • Rounded 11-Blade Diaphragm
  • Nano AR II & Fluorine Coatings
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction

I’ll review the 50/1.4 GM when it becomes available in May.

CLICK TO VIEW: 50mm Lenses for Sony Mirrorless

vs Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM

Similar advanced optical construction makes one wonder how the lens will perform at f/1.4 vs the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM. Quite a bit smaller and lighter and cheaper, and as good performance, maybe better?

Real-world testing of the f/1.2 GM shows that the MTF chart is fantasty; f/5.6 is required for full sharpness across the field, with fantastically sharp results at center at f/1.2 along with rapid deviations towards the edges. Will the f/1.4 GM show similar deviations? Probably.

It if baffling why Sony produces MTF charts for f/8 that (a) do not incorporate diffraction and therefore do not represent a physical reality and (b) hides from us the performance at more interesting apertures such as f/4. F/8 is not particularly useful to look at.

What I like to see in in the 50/1.4 GM is (a) no focus shift, (b) minimal field curvature, (c) edge-to-edge sharpness. This is what the Voigtlander FE 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar delivers and without stopping down. But of course the Sony 50/1.4 GM has other design goals, and so maybe both lenses will be needed to cover different photographic challenges, and certainly the 50/1.4 GM is a far better lens due to its (fast) autofocus.

Claimed MTF for Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM, 10/30 lp/mm
diffraction-free computed fantasy MTF eg impossible at f/8

In my experience, the fantasy MTF charts from Sony have invariably failed to match what real lenses actually deliver, so claims of high performance need to be met with some skepticism. Still, I expect little less than very pleasing performance out of the 50/1.4 GM.

Specifications

Nominal, as per Sony.

Specifications for Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM
Focal length: 20-70mm (nominal)
Aperture range: f/1.4 - f/16
Focusing range: 16.1in = 41cm
Angle of view: 47°
Number of elements/groups: 14 elements in 11 groups
Diaphragm: 11 blades, rounded
Magnification: 0.39X = 1:2.56
Filter thread: 67mm
Weight (as weighed): 18.2 oz = 516 (nominal)
Dimensions: Approx. 3.2 X 3.8 in = 80.6 X 96mm
Street price: about $1298
Supplied with:

Front Lens Cap
Rear Lens cap
Lens Hood
Limited 1-Year Warranty

Sony Description

Sony web page for 50/1.4 GM...

Optical design for Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM

Breathtaking G Master quality right out to the image edges —  Two high-precision XA (extreme aspherical) lens elements effectively correct distortion and most types of aberration. This new optical design also employs an ED (extra-low dispersion) glass element to suppress chromatic aberration. And with our original Nano AR Coating II on lens surfaces, internal reflections that can cause flare and ghosting are dramatically reduced.

Innovative optics and an F1.4 aperture deliver magnificent bokeh — Innovative optics and an F1.4 maximum aperture combine to deliver magnificent bokeh. Smooth, naturally defocused background and foreground bokeh at F1.4 are ideal for making portrait subjects stand out from their surroundings. Advanced features that contribute to superb bokeh quality include XA (extreme aspherical) elements that effectively prevent onion-ring bokeh, and carefully controlled spherical aberration during design and manufacture.

A lightweight and compact lens with incredible performance — XA (extreme aspherical) elements precisely positioned in an innovative design, high-thrust XD linear motors, and the latest compact circular aperture unit work together in a large-aperture high-resolution lens hat is only 3.17” (80.6 mm) in outer diameter and 3.78” (96.0 mm) in length while weighing just 18.23 oz (516 grams). A unique blend of mobility and low-light performance make it an ideal choice for everything from portraits to snapshots.

Fast, precise, quiet AF and tracking for stills and movies — The lens’s focus group is driven by our high-thrust XD (extreme dynamic) linear motors and an advanced control algorithm for smooth, responsive focus drive. Noise and vibration are minimized for refined, quiet AF operation that can be a huge advantage when shooting movies. Movie subjects are smoothly captured and tracked even when shooting at 120 fps or other high frame rates.

Intuitive operation supports the creator's vision — Linear Response MF provides manual focusing response that rivals mechanical lenses, and is more than responsive enough to produce smooth rack focus for movies. An iris lock switch can be locked so that the aperture ring can be fixed at the “A” position to prevent unwanted changes, or manually set from F1.4 to F16. Two customizable focus. hold buttons and an AF/MF focus mode switch provide extra shooting versatility.

Outstanding reliability for any environment and application — The front lens element features a fluorine coating that repels fingerprints, dust, water, oil, and other contaminants while making it easier to wipe off any contaminants that do become attached to the lens surface. A dust and moisture resistant design3 provides extra reliability for outdoor use in challenging conditions.


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