Within the ultra-popular 50mm prime lens class (this is the 35th 50mm prime lens I've reviewed), f/1.4 versions tend to be especially favored due to their compact size, light weight, and affordable price. With the FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens, Sony adds this combination to the professional-grade Sony G Master lineup, joining the FE 50mm F1.2 GM Lens as the second 50mm GM option.
After reviewing the high-performing Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens, it seemed that a GM version could be a low priority. This GM lens had to meet or surpass the FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens's performance, including its great image quality, to justify its existence.
Also, the FE 50mm F1.2 GM lens is an outstanding performer, setting expectations high for the f/1.4 version.
In addition to having a pro-grade build quality and a wide aperture, the Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens's Dual XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors deliver high-performing AF, and the realized image quality is as needed. The focal length and aperture combination again create a relatively compact, lightweight, and moderately-priced lens, and as expected, this lens launched to very high popularity.
Focal length is the first consideration for lens selection, and with a prime lens, you get only one angle of view. That angle of view drives subject distance choices (or meets distance-related requirements), and subject distances determine perspective.
On a full-frame body, a 50mm focal length provides an angle of view that seems natural, and that aspect brings great general-purpose usefulness. So useful, and thus, so popular, is this focal length that 50mm (or very similar) focal length prime lenses are found in all major brand lens lineups, with some brands having many options. At review time, Sony has six FE 50mm prime lenses in their line-up, plus a 55mm option for those who need just a little more.
50mm lenses are frequently used for fashion, portraiture, weddings, documentary, street, lifestyle, sports, architecture, landscape, commercial, around-the-home, and general studio photography applications, including product photography or recording your lunch. As you likely noted, many useful applications for this lens include people as subjects. While a 50mm lens used (on a full-frame body) is modestly too wide for tightly framed headshot portraits (a too-close perspective is required), this angle of view is excellent for wider portrait framing.
50mm is a great option for video recording. Having a 50mm focal length and f/1.4 aperture available opens many artistic opportunities, including those found in nature.
To visualize where 50mm fits among other common focal lengths, I'll borrow a focal length range example from a zoom lens review.
On an ASP-C/1.5x sensor format body, the 50mm focal length provides an angle of view similar to a 75mm lens on a full-frame sensor format body. Uses for this angle of view coincide with most uses of the 50mm focal length, with modestly tighter framing or modestly longer perspective for the same framing being the difference. The APS-C 50mm angle of view favors tighter portrait framing.
How much light does the lens bring to the imaging sensor? Usually, that question is the second most important when selecting a lens.
The f/1.4 max aperture made available by this lens is nearly as wide as mirrorless interchangeable camera lenses get. Allowing more light to reach the sensor permits freezing action, handholding the camera in lower light levels, and using a lower (less noisy) ISO setting. Often critical is the improved low-light AF performance availed by a wide-aperture lens.
Increasing the opening also permits a more substantial, subject-isolating background blur. The shallow f/1.4 depth of field must be acceptable to the scenario, but a shallow depth of field is a highly-desired lens capability, perfect for making the subject pop from a blurred background. I love the shallow DOF look that draws the viewer's attention to the subject by eliminating background distractions. The ability to blur the background so strongly bolsters this 50mm lens's artistic capabilities.
Following is a 50mm aperture example captured at this lens's minimum focus distance.
The background is a significant percentage of many images, and when the background is not complementary to the subject (or even distracting), blurring it away is highly advantageous. That capability is in this lens's skill set.
Note the difference between the above results captured at f/1.4 and your widest 50mm lens's max aperture.
Here is one more look at this lens's maximum blur capability.
The details are gone, leaving a non-distracting backdrop for your subject to stand out within.
Notable drawbacks to lenses that feature wide maximum apertures are increased size and weight, directly reflecting the use of larger and heavier lens elements. Unfortunately, those larger elements are also evidenced by the increased price of the lens. For most photographers, the benefits of a wide max aperture prime lens far outweigh the drawbacks, and those drawbacks are minimal for this lens.
Sony includes an aperture ring on this lens model, permitting a ring-selected aperture. With the ring in the A (Auto) position, the camera controls the aperture setting. All other settings force the aperture to the selected opening, and a 2-position switch on the bottom-right side of the lens toggles between 1/3 stop clicks and smooth, quiet, non-clicked adjustments ideal for video recording.
This is the first Sony prime lens to feature an iris lock switch. Previous, it was easy to accidentally turn the aperture ring into the wrong setting, especially when mounting the lens. Now, the iris ring lock switch on the right side of the lens enables only the A (Auto) setting or only the full range of manual settings to be locked.
The Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens, like all other 50mm prime lenses, does not feature image stabilization, but with the f/1.4 aperture available, image stabilization is often not needed. There always seems to be adequate light to handhold a 50mm f/1.4 lens.
Omitting the optical stabilization system reduces the size, weight, complexity, and cost of a lens. However, image stabilization is a very useful feature.
Sony addresses that omission with Steady Shot IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) in their Alpha cameras. In addition to reducing camera shake, the stabilized imaging sensor provides a still viewfinder image, enabling careful composition. Furthermore, sensor-based AF takes advantage of the stabilized view for improved accuracy.
With no IS switch on the lens, the camera menu must be used to enable or disable IBIS or check the current settings. This extra step is a slight impediment to working quickly, going from tripod mounted to handholding, for example.
Historically, we could count on 50mm f/1.4 prime lenses to produce modestly soft image quality at f/1.4. The Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens showed exemplary f/1.4 performance, and this GM lens came 7 years later with a higher price. Thus, optimism was high.
This lens produces sharp center-of-the-frame results wide-open at f/1.4. A slight improvement is seen at f/1.6, and at f/2, the center results are razor-sharp. The center-of-the-frame improvement at f/2.8 is negligible, and no improvement is needed.
Often, subjects are not placed in the center of a composition. In the periphery of the image circle, where light rays are refracted to a stronger angle, lenses typically show decreased sharpness, and this one shows a gradual decline from the center to the corner.
F/1.4 produces modestly soft details in the periphery. Aided especially by peripheral shading reduction, peripheral details sharpen steadily as the aperture is narrowed until f/5.6 where this lens delivers outstanding corner-to-corner performance.
The resolution chart is merciless on image quality, so let's take the testing outdoors, next looking at a series of center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured in RAW format using a Sony Alpha 1 and processed in Capture One using the Natural Clarity method. The sharpening amount was set to only "30" on a 0-1000 scale. Note that images from most cameras require some level of sharpening, but too-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the deficiencies of a lens.
Be sure to find details in the plane of sharp focus for your evaluations.
Next, we'll look at a series of comparisons showing 100% resolution extreme top left corner crops captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. The lens was manually focused in the corner of the frame to capture these images.
Samples taken from the outer extreme of the image circle, full-frame corners, can be counted on to show a lens's weakest performance.
Corner sharpness does not always matter. When I'm photographing landscapes and architecture with corner sharpness required, I'm probably using f/8 or f/11 to obtain enough depth of field for in-focus corner details, and this lens works outstandingly well for these purposes at these apertures. The corners are usually intentionally out of focus when shooting at wide apertures, and videos captured at typical wide-aspect ratios also avoid using the deepest corners.
This lens does not exhibit focus shift, the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA).
A lens is expected to show peripheral shading at the widest aperture settings when used on a camera that utilizes its entire image circle, and as mentioned in the sharpness discussion, this lens has this feature. Expect just under 3 stops of shading in the f/1.4 corners. This is a noticeable amount but not an unusual amount for a lens in this class.
Stop down by 1 stop to remove a corresponding 1 stop of corner shading. About 1.5 stops of shading remain at f/2.8, with gradual reduction occuring through f/5.6, where about a stop of shading remains present through f/16.
APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. In this case, the about one-stop of corner shading showing at f/1.4 may be visible in select images, primarily those with a solid color (such as a blue sky) in the corners.
One-stop of shading is often used as the visibility number, though subject details provide a widely varying amount of vignetting discernibility. Vignetting is correctable during post-processing, with increased noise in the brightened areas the penalty, or it can be embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame. Study the pattern shown in our vignetting test tool to determine how your images will be affected.
Lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration) refers to the unequal magnification of all colors in the spectrum. Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii), with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the most significant amount as this is where the most significant difference in the magnification of wavelengths typically exists.
With the right lens profile and software, lateral CA is often easily correctable (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide. However, it is always better to avoid this aberration in the first place.
Color misalignment can be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a worst-case example. The image below is a 100% crop from the extreme top left corner of a Sony a1 frame showing diagonal black and white lines.
Only black and white colors should be present in these images, with the additional colors indicating a modest presence of lateral CA.
A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light. More simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration, along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to observe. Axial CA remains somewhat persistent when stopping down, with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing. The spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused, and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.
In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation, with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.
The examples below look at the defocused specular highlights' fringing colors in the foreground vs. the background. The lens has introduced any fringing color differences from the neutrally colored subjects.
The color separation is moderately strong at f/1.4, but it clears rapidly as the aperture opening is reduced.
Bright light reflecting off lens elements' surfaces may cause flare and ghosting, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes interesting, usually destructive visual artifacts. The shape, intensity, and position of the flare and ghosting effects in an image are variable, dependent on the position and nature of the light source (or sources), selected aperture, shape of the aperture blades, and quantity and quality of the lens elements and their coatings. Additionally, flare and ghosting can impact AF performance.
On this lens, Sony utilizes Nano AR Coating II to combat flare and ghosting, and the moderate 14-element count slightly increases the challenge in this regard. This lens produced practically no flare effects even at narrow apertures in our standard sun in the corner of the frame flare test, reflecting excellent performance.
Flare effects can be embraced or avoided, or removal can be attempted. Unfortunately, removal is sometimes very challenging, and in some cases, flare effects can destroy image quality. Thus, high flare resistance is a welcomed trait of this lens.
Two lens aberrations are particularly evident in images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners, and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light that can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma) or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). The coma clears as the aperture is narrowed. Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal). This aberration can produce stars appearing to have wings. Remember that Lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.
The image below is a 100% crop taken from the top-left corner of a Sony a1 image captured at f/1.4.
The brightest stars show some flaring, but overall, the stars in this sample are relatively round.
This lens has modest pincushion distortion that may reveal itself when straight lines align near the edges of the frame.
Most modern lenses have correction profiles available (including in-camera), and distortion can easily be removed using these. Still, distortion correction is destructive at the pixel level as some portion of the image must be stretched or the overall dimensions reduced.
As seen earlier in the review, it is easy to illustrate the strongest blur a lens can create. Due to the infinite number of variables present among available scenes, assessing the bokeh quality is considerably more challenging. Here are some f/11 (for diaphragm blade interaction) examples.
The first example shows a 100% crop with defocused highlights filled rather smoothly and shaped relatively round, though the diaphragm is closing slightly unevenly.
The second example is also a 100% crop, and the last example shows a full image reduced in size. Both appear nice.
Except for a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the frame's corner does not produce round defocused highlights, with these effects taking on a cat's eye shape due to a form of mechanical vignetting. If you look through a tube at an angle, similar to the light reaching the frame's corner, the shape is not round. That is the shape we're looking at here.
As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced, and the mechanical vignetting diminishes, making the corner shapes rounder.
An 11-blade count diaphragm will create 22-point sunstars (diffraction spikes) from point light sources captured with a narrow aperture. Generally, the more a lens diaphragm is stopped down, the larger and better shaped the sunstars tend to be. Wide aperture lenses tend to have an advantage in this regard, and this lens creates beautiful stars, as illustrated in the f/16 example below.
The design of this lens is illustrated below.
"The 50mm F1.4 G Master is packed with two XA (extreme aspherical) elements that effectively correct field curvature and most types of aberration. This lens is also designed with one ED (extra-low dispersion) glass element that suppresses chromatic aberration to maintain clear and sharp images without color bleeding. The design combination of the XA and ED elements help achieve high-resolution throughout the entire frame." [Sony]
From an optical performance standpoint, the FE 50mm F1.4 GM does not show a big improvement over the FE 50mm F1.4 ZA, but that lens set the bar high, and matching that lens's performance is still excellent, and the GM has other benefits to its advantage.
The FE 50mm F1.4 GM's AF system, powered by dual XD linear motors, is very fast, nearly silent, and accurate.
"The [50mm F1.4 G Master’s] autofocus is as much as 1.9x faster than conventional models with the same specifications. The lens’s focus group is driven by Sony’s high-thrust XD linear motors and incorporates an advanced control algorithm for smooth, responsive focus drive." [Sony]
"The XD linear motors and control algorithm optimize response to control signals so that focusing is precise, and vibration is minimized for refined, quiet AF operation. This is extremely advantageous when shooting movies, allowing movie subjects to be smoothly captured and tracked even when shooting at 120 fps or other high frame rates. The ability to leave focusing to the camera when shooting solo or with a small team can dramatically enhance efficiency and creative flexibility." [Sony]
This is an internal focusing system, as usual for lenses of this grade.
This lens on a Sony a1 camera impressively focuses in extremely dark environments if provided sufficient contrast. As usual, focusing becomes slow in low light, but my eyes can barely detect the subjects this lens can focus on.
Two customizable AF hold buttons are provided. With the camera set to continuous focus mode, press a button to lock focus at the currently selected focus distance, permitting a focus and recompose technique. These buttons also act as custom buttons and can be programmed to another function using the camera's menu.
FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported via Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) AF mode. This lens has an AF/MF switch, allowing this frequently used camera setting to be changed without accessing the menu system.
The rubber-ribbed focus ring is modest but adequate in size. The rotational resistance is light, but the ring turns smoothly.
The focus distance is linearly adjusted, with 150° of ring rotation providing a full-extent focus distance adjustment. This rate facilitates precise focusing even at close distances.
It is normal for the scene to change size in the frame (sometimes significantly) as the focus is pulled from one extent to the other. This effect is focus breathing, a change in focal length resulting from a change in focus distance. Focus breathing impacts photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus, and anyone critically framing while adjusting focus.
This lens produces a moderate change in subject size through a full-extent focus distance adjustment.
This lens supports the focus breathing compensation feature found in compatible Sony Alpha Cameras, but it is not a power zoom lens, making digital compensation the option.
With a minimum focus distance of 16.1" (410mm), this lens has a 0.16x maximum magnification spec (up to 0.18x in MF mode). Few will buy this lens to gain its close-focusing feature, but this is still a useful number and a normal number for the lens class.
|Canon RF 50mm F1.2 L USM Lens||15.7"||(400mm)||0.19x|
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens||17.7"||(450mm)||0.15x|
|Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.25x|
|Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||15.7"||(400mm)||0.15x|
|Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens||17.7"||(450mm)||0.15x|
|Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||15.7"||(400mm)||0.18x|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.26x|
|Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens||15.8"||(400mm)||0.17x|
|Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens||16.1"||(410mm)||0.16x|
|Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens||17.7"||(450mm)||0.15x|
|Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Lens||17.7"||(450mm)||0.14x|
|Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens||6.3"||(160mm)||1.00x|
|Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens||19.7"||(500mm)||0.14x|
|Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens||31.5"||(800mm)||0.12x|
|Tamron 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens||11.4"||(290mm)||0.29x|
|Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens||17.7"||(450mm)||0.15x|
|Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Lens||19.7"||(500mm)||0.14x|
A subject measuring approximately 7.4 x 4.9" (180 x 120mm) fills a full-frame imaging sensor at this lens's minimum MF distance, and the image quality is relatively good at this distance.
The USPS love stamps shared above have an image area that measures 1.05 x 0.77" (26.67 x 19.558mm), and the overall individual stamp size is 1.19 x 0.91" (30.226 x 23.114mm).
Need a shorter minimum focus distance and higher magnification? Mount an extension tube behind this lens to significantly decrease and increase those respective numbers. Extension tubes are hollow lens barrels that shift a lens farther from the camera, allowing shorter focusing distances at the expense of long-distance focusing. Electronic connections in extension tubes permit the lens and camera to communicate and function normally. As of review time, Sony does not publish extension tube specs or manufacture these items, but third-party Sony-compatible extension tubes are available.
This lens is not compatible with Sony teleconverters.
The G Master lens series represents Sony's best available lenses. These lenses are professional grade, and the FE 50 F1.4 GM's family resemblance is obvious.
Sony FE lenses have a relatively narrow mount with an obvious diameter increase occurring not far in from the mount end. Once the wider diameter is reached, the lens maintains a mostly straight design with a slight diameter increase at the rubber-covered focus ring, making it easy to tactilely find. The outer lens barrel construction is engineering plastic.
Overall, this lens's build quality is high, with all rings and switches having a precision feel to them. The AF/MF switch is recessed, making it hard to inadvertently change and requiring a bit more effort to intentionally change, especially with gloves on.
"A dust and moisture resistant design provides extra reliability for outdoor use in challenging conditions" [Sony]
This is a great lens to use outdoors, and its dust and moisture-resistant design, including a gasketed mount, can save the day out there.
"The 50mm F1.4 G Master’s front lens element features a fluorine coating that repels and allows for easy removal of fingerprints, dust, water, oil, and other contaminants." [Sony] This coating makes a difference, and that advantage is especially welcomed in outdoor use.
The FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens is relatively compact and lightweight for a high-quality lens in this class and considerably smaller and lighter than the FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens.
|Model||Weight oz(g)||Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)||Filter||Year|
|Canon RF 50mm F1.2 L USM Lens||33.5||(950)||3.5 x 4.3||(89.8 x 108.0)||77||2018|
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens||10.2||(290)||2.9 x 2.0||(74.0 x 51.0)||58||1993|
|Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM Lens||5.6||(160)||2.7 x 1.6||(69.2 x 40.5)||43||2020|
|Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||42.4||(1200)||3.5 x 5.2||(87.8 x 131.0)||82||2018|
|Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens||23.3||(660)||3.1 x 4.4||(78.2 x 111.5)||72||2023|
|Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||28.8||(815)||3.4 x 3.9||(85.4 x 99.9)||77||2014|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens||18.5||(524)||3.0 x 3.8||(76.0 x 96.0)||67||2021|
|Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens||27.5||(778)||3.4 x 4.3||(87.0 x 108.0)||72||2021|
|Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens||18.2||(516)||3.2 x 3.8||(80.6 x 96.0)||67||2023|
|Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens||27.5||(778)||3.3 x 4.3||(83.5 x 108.0)||72||2016|
|Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Lens||6.6||(186)||2.7 x 2.3||(68.6 x 59.5)||49||2016|
|Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens||8.3||(236)||2.8 x 2.8||(70.8 x 71.0)||55||2016|
|Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens||9.9||(281)||2.5 x 2.8||(64.4 x 70.5)||49||2013|
|Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens||28.9||(820)||3.5 x 4.2||(89.5 x 107.5)||77||2016|
|Tamron 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens||19.2||(544)||3.2 x 3.6||(80.4 x 91.4)||67||2015|
|Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens||32.5||(922)||3.2 x 3.8||(82.5 x 97.5)||67||2015|
|Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Lens||36.4||(1030)||3.6 x 5.7||(92.4 x 144.0)||77||2013|
For many more comparisons, review the complete Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.
Here is a visual comparison of the FE f/1.4 GM lenses:
Positioned above and below from left to right are the following lenses:
The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.
Here is another visual comparison featuring 50mm lenses:
Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens to other lenses.
The Sony ALC-SH173, a semi-rigid, round-shaped plastic hood, is included in the box. This hood's shape permits standing the lens on the hood, and the rubber-coated end of the hood is helpful in that regard (and it looks cool).
The hood has a matte interior for reflection avoidance, and a push-button release makes the bayonet mount easy to use. The size of this hood is adequate to protect the front lens element from contrast-robbing, flare-inducing light and from impact, including from light rain.
A nice zippered, padded nylon lens case is included in the box.
While the Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM is a moderately-priced lens, it is the most expensive 50mm f/1.4 lens available at review time (aside from a Leica Summilux-SL lens and a pair of Panasonic Lumix S lenses). Still, the performance and build quality of this lens make it a reasonable value.
As an "FE" lens, the Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM Lens is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras, including full-frame and APS-C sensor format models. Sony provides a 1-year limited warranty.
The reviewed Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM Lens was purchased online-retail.
There is no shortage of lenses to compare the Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens to. Let's start with its predecessor, the Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens.
In the image quality comparison, the two lenses perform similarly, with the ZA lens showing a slight advantage in the periphery. The GM lens shows better flare resistance, and the ZA lens has less geometric distortion.
The Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens vs. Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens comparison shows the GM lens is considerably smaller and lighter. The smaller lens uses smaller filters, 67mm vs. 72mm. The GM lens features Dual XD Linear AF vs. RDSSM and has an aperture lock switch. Most other aspects in that comparison show similarity, aside from the price for which the ZA lens holds favor. I recommend going with the 7-year-younger GM lens.
Sony's most recent prior 50mm lens introduction was the FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens, a superb performer. In the wide-open aperture image quality comparison, the F1.4 lens is slightly sharper in the center of the frame, and the F1.2 lens is slightly sharper in the periphery. The comparison equalized at f/1.4 shows the two lenses similarly sharp in the center of the frame and the F1.2 retaining a periphery sharpness advantage. The F1.2 lens produces slightly less pincushion distortion.
The Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens vs. Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens comparison shows the F1.4 lens is smaller and considerably lighter. The smaller lens uses smaller filters, 67mm vs. 72mm, and has an aperture lock switch. The F1.2 lens features Quad XD Linear AF vs. Dual XD Linear (though you may not notice this difference). The F1.2's biggest advantage is the wider aperture, and its biggest disadvantage is the price, noticeably higher than the F1.4 lens.
The equally-specced Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens was introduced about the same time as the Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens. In that image quality comparison, the Sony lens is sharper in the center of the frame. The Sony lens has slightly less peripheral shading at f/1.4 and less pincushion distortion.
The Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens vs. Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens comparison shows the Sony lens is modestly lighter and smaller. The smaller lens uses smaller filters, 67mm vs. 72mm. What is the Sigma lens's greatest advantage? Price. It is significantly less expensive than the Sony lens. While I recommend the Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens over the Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens, the price is an equalizer in this case.
Use the site's tools to create additional comparisons.
How did the 35th 50mm prime lens reviewed on this site perform? The performance bar was set high, and I'd say the Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens cleared it.
While its image quality isn't dramatically better than its predecessor, the Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens, that lens already has excellent image quality. Thus, even similar performance would be good, and the FE 50 F1.4 GM lens's optical performance is as needed, making one want to use f/1.4.
The Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens's Dual XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors deliver impressively fast and quiet AF. This professional-grade Sony G Master lens is compact and lightweight, with a moderate price.
The utility of 50mm and f/1.4 in a high-performing package will make this lens one of the most used in the kit.
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