Sony FE 50mm F2.5 G Lens Review

Sony FE 50mm F2.5 G Lens

The Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G is an ultra-compact prime lens that features an extremely light weight despite its rugged metal exterior construction. The 50mm focal length is one of the most popular available, and the f/2.5 aperture is ready to tackle low light venues while creating a nicely blurred background. The price of this aesthetically beautiful lens is especially attractive.

In a single announcement, Sony introduced three compact, lightweight prime lenses that appeared to differ externally by only the numbers etched on the side.

Sony FE G Compact Prime Lenses

These three lenses are highly complementary, providing a nice range of focal lengths while sharing the same filter size and consuming the same storage footprint. Attractive from a video perspective are the same dimensions and weight that minimize or eliminate gimbal rebalancing, and the geared rings are additionally beneficial for movie production.

This review focuses on the 50mm version. Still, the non-optical attributes of these lenses are practically identical, and, aside from the angle of view coverage, the optical ones differ little.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Angle View

Focal Length

When selecting the ideal lens for a particular use, the focal length is always a primary consideration. The focal length determines the angle of view, which determines the subject distance required for the desired framing, and the distance from the subject determines the perspective.

One attribute shared by all (accurately rated) 50mm lenses is the angle of view. 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 therefore, 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 numerous options. Sony has five FE 50mm prime lenses at review time, plus a 55mm option for those who need a little more.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Peony Sample Picture

For photography and videography, 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. As you likely noted, a number of good applications for this lens include people as subjects. A 50mm lens used (on a full-frame body) has a modestly too wide angle of view for tightly framed headshot portraits (a too-close perspective is required), but 50mm is an excellent choice for wider portrait framing.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Rose Sample Picture

To visualize where 50mm fits among other common focal lengths, I'll borrow a focal length range example from a zoom lens review.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Focal Length Range Example

24mm | 35mm | 50mm | 70mm

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.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Front View

Max Aperture

The lower the aperture number, the wider the opening, and the more light the lens will allow to reach the imaging sensor. Each "stop" in aperture change (full stop examples: f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4.0) increases or decreases the amount of light reaching the sensor by a factor of 2x (a substantial factor).

When you buy a prime lens instead of a zoom, you expect at least one strong advantage to offset the loss of zoom range versatility. Common prime lens advantages include smaller size, lighter weight, lower price, better image quality, or a wider aperture. The lens checks those boxes, with that last advantage being a marginal one.

The three simultaneously-announced Sony compact primes feature similar aperture openings with the 24mm option slightly darker at f/2.8 vs. f/2.5. An f/2.5 max aperture is relatively wide. At review time, no Sony zoom lenses have a wider aperture at 50mm, though some offer f/2.8. Kit zoom lenses typically have apertures considerably narrower than f/2.5 at 50mm. While there are many 50mm prime lenses, few have a narrower max aperture (and most of these are macro or other brand tilt-shift lenses). So, this lens opens very wide relative to zoom lenses and not very wide relative to prime lenses.

Use a wider aperture to stop action in less light and enable handholding in similarly lower light levels. Increasing the amount of light reaching the imaging sensor improves low light AF performance. In addition to allowing more light to reach the sensor, permitting faster shutter speeds or lower ISO settings, increasing the aperture opening permits a stronger subject-isolating background blur at this focal length. Standard focal length lenses can blur the background reasonably well, though far behind what a telephoto lens can produce.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Aperture Comparison Example

The examples above illustrate the maximum blur this lens can create.

There is a very nice amount of blur seen in these examples

Narrow aperture advantages are typically related to reduced lens element size that permits smaller overall lens size, lighter weight, and lower cost. We all can appreciate those factors, and this lens was designed for those advantages. The f/2.5 max aperture is part of the formula required for the ultra-light weight and tiny size of this lens.

When recording video, only 1/60 second shutter speeds (twice the framerate) are typically needed (assuming you're not capturing high framerate slow-motion video), and wide apertures are not often required for 1/60 second rates in normally encountered ambient lighting.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Click Switch

As usual for Sony FE GM and G prime lenses, the FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens features an aperture ring, permitting a manually chosen aperture to be selected. With the ring in the A (Auto) position, the camera controls the aperture setting. All other settings electronically force the aperture to the chosen opening. A 2-position switch on the bottom right side of the lens toggles the aperture ring between 1/3 stop clicks and smooth, quiet, non-clicked adjustments, ideal for video recording. Note that this switch's orientation is rotated 90° from Sony's full-size lens design, better utilizing the limited space.

Aside from a slightly more complicated design, I find inadvertent aperture changes the primary disadvantage of an aperture ring (especially when photographing in the dark). Incorporating a lock for this ring would eliminate that issue, and learning not to grasp the aperture ring when mounting the camera reduces the issue.

Image Stabilization

Sony has been omitting image stabilization, OSS (Optical SteadyShot) in their recent wide-aperture prime lenses, and not surprising is that this little lens also lacks OSS. Addressing that omission is Sony's Steady Shot IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) featured in their Alpha mirrorless cameras. In addition to reducing camera shake, the stabilized imaging sensor provides a still viewfinder image, enabling careful composition. 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, a slight impediment to working quickly, going from tripod to handholding, for example.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Top View

Image Quality

We all care about image quality, and image sharpness is at the top of most of our requirements lists. Until the lens arrived, the MTF charts set the expectations, and I like the expectations the charts for the three compact prime lenses promised.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens MTF Chart

24mm | 40mm | 50mm

MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) describes how well a lens can reproduce fine details, measured as the degree of contrast achieved between finely spaced lines.
[1] Contrast (%) [2] Distance from optical center of lens (mm)
[3] Max. aperture [4] F8 aperture [5] Spatial frequency
[6] 10 lines pairs / mm [7] 30 line pairs / mm
[8] Radial values [9] Tangential values

With the lens in hand, reality is discernable, and in the center of the frame, this lens delivers outstanding sharpness even wide open at f/2.5. Stopping down increases center sharpness slightly, but the improvement is not needed.

In the image circle periphery, light rays are refracted to a stronger angle than in the center, and as usual, this lens's peripheral image quality is not as sharp as in the center of the frame. Still, even at f/2.5, this lens performs well, producing good corner sharpness. Corner sharpness from this lens increases as the aperture is narrowed, and by f/8, remarkably sharp are captured.

Below you will find sets of 100% resolution center of the frame crops captured in uncompressed RAW format using a Sony Alpha 1. The images were processed in Capture One using the Natural Clarity method with the sharpening amount 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.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Sharpness Comparison Example

f/2.5 | f/2.8   f/2.5 | f/2.8   f/2.5 | f/2.8

Be sure to find details in the plane of sharp focus for your evaluations. As discussed, this lens delivers excellent sharpness in the center of the frame. There is no concern about stopping down to improve image quality.

If present, focus shift, the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA), is often made apparent in such a comparison. That issue is not exhibited by this lens (many modern lenses automatically correct for it).

Next, we'll look at a comparison showing 100% extreme 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. The first result set was from the bottom-right corner, and the rest are from the top-left corner.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison Example

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 but it does matter for many disciplines, including landscape photography. When I'm photographing landscapes with corner sharpness being desired, I'm probably using f/8 or f/11 to obtain enough depth of field for in-focus corner details, and this lens works especially well for that purpose. When shooting at wide apertures, such as for portraits, the corners are often intentionally out of focus. Videos captured at typical wide-aspect ratios also avoid the use of corners.

When used on a camera that utilizes a lens's entire image circle, peripheral shading can be expected at the widest aperture settings. Wide-angle, ultra-wide aperture lenses tend to show strong peripheral shading wide open, and the just-under 3 stops of corner shading at f/2.5 will often be noticed. By f/4, the corner shading drops below 2 stops, leveling out at just over a stop by f/8.

APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. In this case, the close to one stop of shading at f/2.5 may be visible in some images, especially those with a solid color (such as a blue sky) showing 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 being 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 showing in our vignetting test tool to determine how your images will be affected.

Lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration) refers to colors of the spectrum being magnified differently. 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 easily 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 an a1 frame showing diagonal black and white lines.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Lateral Chromatic Aberration Example

There should only be black and white colors in this image, and few lenses show less color separation than this one.

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 example 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.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Spherical and Axial Aberration Example

The color blur showing in the wider two aperture results is very strong. By f/8, most of the color blur has resolved.

Bright light reflecting off of 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 in an image are variable, dependant 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. I have not seen a flare-combating special lens coating promoted by Sony for this lens model, but the low 9-element count is certainly helpful in this regard. This lens produced practically few flare effects throughout the aperture range in our standard sun in the corner of the frame flare test, with modest streaking showing by f/16.

Flare effects can be embraced or avoided, or removal can be attempted. Removal is sometimes very challenging, and in some cases, flare effects can be quite destructive to image quality. High flare resistance is a welcomed trait of this lens.

Two lens aberrations are particularly evident when shooting 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 which can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma) or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). 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). 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 an a1 frame.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Coma

Focused at infinity, this lens produces relatively sharp stars. However, they appear to have grown wings, downgrading the overall performance to average.

Prime lens designers have only one focal length to optimize for, and these lenses often show low amounts of geometric distortion. This lens falls into that norm, though slight pincushion distortion is present.

Most modern lenses have lens 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, the amount of blur a lens can produce is easy to illustrate. Assessing the bokeh quality is more challenging due to the infinite number of variables present among all available scenes. Here are some f/8 (for diaphragm blade interaction) examples.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Bokeh Example

f/8 | f/8 | f/8 | f/8

The first example shows defocused highlights being very smoothly filled, but the 7 aperture blades are beginning turning the circle into a polygon (a heptagon to be specific) by f/8. The other three results are full images reduced in size.

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, and that is the shape seen here.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Cat's Eye Bokeh Example

Even wide open, the truncation is relatively mild in the corners. As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced, and the mechanical vignetting absolves with the shapes becoming rounder.

With a 7-blade count diaphragm, point light sources captured with a narrow aperture setting and showing a sunstar effect will have 14 points. In general, the more a lens is stopped down, the larger and better-shaped the sunstars tend to be. By f/16, this lens is producing relatively strong stars, though, as illustrated below, the "points" are not especially pointy.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Sunstar Effect Example

The design of this lens is illustrated below in a comparison featuring the sibling compact primes.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Design

24mm | 40mm | 50mm

[1] Aspherical lens [2] ED (extra-low dispersion) glass

"Impeccable Sony G Lens design emphasizes a graceful balance between high resolution and gorgeous background bokeh that can enhance the artist’s vision." [Sony]

Overall, the Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens is, optically, a good performer. The corner image quality is not amazing at f/2.5, but it is good and quite impressive at narrow apertures. Wide open color blur is relatively strong. Those able to overlook or avoid this lens's short list of detractions will enjoy a much larger list of optical strengths.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens on Tripod

Focusing

"Two linear motors deliver fast, precise AF with superb tracking performance that maximizes camera body performance to capture vital moments in street snaps and the like. The fast, precise and quiet AF with superb tracking performance is ideal for shooting movies as well as stills." [Sony]

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Dual Linear AF

While Sony is not promoting the use of the "XD" version of their linear motors, this lens has very small elements to move. The Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens focuses internally, essentially silently, and with good speed.

The AF accuracy from this lens has been excellent (like the rest of the FE lenses), and low light AF performance from this f/2.5 lens is also excellent.

Normal is for the scene to change size in the frame as the focus is pulled from one extent to the other, referred to as focus breathing, a change in focal length resulting from a change in focus distance. Focus breathing negatively impacts photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus, and anyone very critically framing while adjusting focus. This lens produces a relatively strong change in subject size through full extent focus distance adjustment.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Focus Magnification Example

Despite the tiny size of this lens, a customizable AFL button is provided. While in continuous focus mode, this button can be pressed to lock focus at the currently selected focus distance, permitting a focus and recompose technique, perhaps to grab a quick pano. This button also acts as a custom button, able to 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.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Side View with Hood

This lens has an AF/MF switch, allowing this frequently used camera setting to be changed without using the menu system. Different is that this switch is rotated 90° of the usual orientation, better-utilizing the space available on the small lens barrel.

The all-metal exterior construction of this lens extends to the focus ring. The gear-like focus ring is easy to grasp, including by follow focus rigs. However, the small size of this lens, along with the other included features, permits only a slim focus ring size. In addition to its small size, the focus ring is positioned close to the similarly ribbed aperture ring, adding slight complication to finding the focus ring. Find the end of the lens or back of the lens hood to find this focus ring tactilely.

Electronic focusing (vs. gear driven) AF can enable a variable rate of focus adjustment based on the focus ring rotation speed. However, this feature must be properly tuned to avoid frustration when rocking the ring back and forth to obtain a precise focus setting, and the variable rate can be problematic when pulling focus during video capture. Those issues do not apply to this lens, featuring a linear focusing system, my preference.

This focus ring is very smooth, has an ideal amount of resistance, and the 155° of MF rotation linearly adjusts focusing at an ideal rate, allowing precise manual focusing even at close distances.

Manual focusing provides a minimum focus distance of 12.2" (310mm), with a respectable 0.21x maximum magnification. If using AF, this lens's minimum focus distance increases slightly to 13.8" (350mm), with the maximum magnification spec dropping to a mediocre 0.18x.

ModelMFDMM
Sony FE 24mm f/2.8 G Lens7.1"(180mm)0.19x
Sony FE 40mm f/2.5 G Lens9.8"(250mm)0.23x
Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens15.7"(400mm)0.17x
Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens17.7"(450mm)0.15x
Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Lens17.7"(450mm)0.14x
Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens12.2"(310mm)0.21x
Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens6.3"(160mm)1.00x
Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens19.7"(500mm)0.14x

A subject measuring approximately 5.9 x 3.9" (150 x 100mm) fills a full-frame imaging sensor at this lens's minimum focus distance.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Maximum Magnification Example

Need a shorter minimum focus distance and higher magnification? An extension tube mounted behind this lens should provide a significant decrease and increase, respectively. 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 otherwise function as normal. As of review time, Sony does not publish extension tube specs, nor do they manufacture these items, but third-party Sony compatible extension tubes are available.

This lens is not compatible with Sony teleconverters.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Side View

Build Quality & Features

"The metal (aluminum) exterior finish of the lens body and hood contributes to reliability through increased strength and durability." [Sony]

Sony FE G Compact Prime Lenses Metal Build

The little Sony FE 24mm f/2.8 G Lens's design is unlike any FE lenses before it. The appearance, including etched letters and numbers, is classy. The all-metal construction coupled with this design will provide a high-grade feel.

Sony FE G Compact Prime Lenses with Hoods

Here is a closer look at the 50mm f/2.5 G lens.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Product Images

MFD |    w/ Hood:  MFD |    Rotated        Compare »

With a focus ring, aperture ring, click switch, AF/MF switch, and AF stop button, this small lens barrel has a lot going on. However, these controls are useful, and I especially appreciate the AF/MF switch remaining present. With the cameras able to perform that function, this AF/MF switch becomes an omit-able feature.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Weather Sealing

This lens features dust and moisture resistance.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Mount

There are few lenses smaller or lighter than this one. This lens can easily be carried all day, and it takes up little space in the case. Notice the size and nearly identical weight of the trio of Sony compact prime lenses. Swap these lenses in cases or on a gimbal with little or no reconfiguration.

ModelWeight oz(g)Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)FilterYear 
Sony FE 24mm f/2.8 G Lens5.7(162)2.7 x 1.8(68.0 x 45.0)492021
Sony FE 40mm f/2.5 G Lens6.1(173)2.7 x 1.8(68.0 x 45.0)492021
Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens27.5(778)3.4 x 4.3(87.0 x 108.0)722021
Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens27.5(778)3.3 x 4.3(83.5 x 108.0)722016
Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Lens6.6(186)2.7 x 2.3(68.6 x 59.5)492016
Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens6.1(174)2.7 x 1.8(68.0 x 45.0)492021
Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens8.3(236)2.8 x 2.8(70.8 x 71.0)552016
Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens9.9(281)2.5 x 2.8(64.4 x 70.5)492013

For many more comparisons, review the complete Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.

This little lens will provide adequate finger clearance on the Sony Alpha a7 III, a7R III, a7 IV, and similarly designed cameras.

Here is a visual comparison of Sony's current FE 50mm lenses sorted by max aperture, with a 55mm model included at the end as a bonus.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Compared to Similar Lenses

Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:

Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens
Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Lens
Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Lens
Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens
Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens
Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens

Small size is a big feature of this lens, and this comparison emphasizes that advantage.

The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Compared to Similar Lenses with Hoods

Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens to other lenses.

All three simultaneously introduced Sony compact prime lenses utilize relatively small and inexpensive 49mm filters. While this size is not especially common, seven current Sony FE lenses feature 49mm filter threads. With the three compact primes functioning especially well as a kit, their shared size is especially welcomed.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G ALC-SH166 Lens Hood

A plastic lens hood on a lens featuring an all-metal exterior would not be right, and the Sony engineers behind this lens design knew that. The Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens's round-shaped aluminum ALC-SH166 hood, shared with the 40mm G lens, is compact like the lens.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Front View on Camera

This hood is compactly efficient.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Cap

A lens case is not included in the box, but finding somewhere to stow this lens's small footprint should not be challenging.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Angle View with Hood

Price, Value, Wrap Up

The FE 50mm f/2.5 G is one of the most affordable Sony FE lenses. With the conbination of good image and build qualities, this lens is a great value.

As an "FE" lens, the Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G 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 Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G review lens was purchased online-retail.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Front View on Camera 2

Alternatives to the Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens

50mm lenses abound, and many choices complicate decision making. Those considering the FE 50mm f/2.5 G are typically prioritizing small size, light weight, or affordable price in their search. Thus, I'll focus on a few options in those categories.

In the Sony FE lineup, the Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens is the review-time option with the most similar specs, giving up a small amount of aperture opening for close focusing capabilities.

I expect the G lens to be at least somewhat sharper than the macro lens in the wide-open aperture comparison, and the wide open image quality comparison indeed shows the G lens to be sharper, primarily in the center of the frame. The macro lens has slightly less geometric distortion and shows less color separation in blurred areas of imagery.

The Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens vs. Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens comparison shows the macro lens, though quite small and light, weighing slightly more and measuring noticeably more than the G lens. The G lens has an all-metal exterior construction and an aperture ring, and it features dual linear AF motors vs. a stepping motor. The macro lens has a far higher maximum magnification (1.00x vs. 0.21x), has a larger focus ring, and uses slightly larger filters (55mm vs. 49mm). The macro lens is less expensive, but not dramatically so.

Let's compare the G lens to the value-priced Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Lens next.

While the f/1.8 lens has a significantly wider aperture opening, the mediocre image quality it produces at f/1.8 limits the value of that feature, and I expected the G lens to produce superior image sharpness. That expectation proved out as shown in the image quality comparison equalized at f/2.8. The f/1.8 lens has less peripheral shading at f/2.8 and slightly less at narrow apertures. The f/1.8 lens also has less geometric distortion.

The Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens vs. Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Lens comparison shows the f/1.8 weighing a tiny amount more and measuring slightly longer. The G lens features all-metal exterior construction, has various switches, including AF/MF, has an aperture ring, and has dual linear AF motors vs. a DC motor. The G lens has a big maximum magnification advantage, 0.21x vs. 0.14x. As hinted, the f/1.8 lens costs considerably less, about 1/3 as much.

For the next comparison, let's go with the slightly longer focal length, all-metal constructed, Zeiss-branded Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens.

The ZA lens holds the f/1.8 aperture advantage, and this time, very good image quality makes this aperture highly useful. I was anxious to see how the ZA and G lenses optically compared, but the ZA lens did not leave room for a dramatic improvement. The image quality comparison equalized at f/2.8 answers the question. In the center of the frame, the G lens holds the sharpness advantage. In the periphery, the ZA lens has a slight advantage. At f/2.5, the ZA lens has considerably less peripheral shading, and it still has less at narrow apertures. The ZA lens also has less geometric distortion.

The Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens vs. Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens comparison shows the ZA lens, though small and light, weighing a bit more and measuring longer. The G lens has an aperture ring, has various switches, including AF/MF, and has the maximum magnification advantage (0.21x vs. 0.14x). The ZA lens has two additional aperture blades, 9 vs. 7. How much is the wider aperture worth to you? The G lens's price is considerably lower than the ZA lens's price.

The FE 40mm f/2.5 G could be compared here. However, this lens is basically the equivalent at a modestly wider focal length, and that is the factor that should be used in the decision between these two lenses. These lenses are complementary, with the longer two lenses offering a slightly wider aperture and a slightly higher maximum magnification.

What about a zoom lens for comparison? The Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens offers the 50mm f/2.8 focal length and aperture combination along with the versatility of a long range of focal lengths.

In the image quality comparison at f/2.8, the prime lens shows itself sharper, considerably so in the center of the frame. The zoom lens has less peripheral shading but shows more flare effects and stronger geometric distortion.

The Sony FE 24mm f/2.8 G Lens vs. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens comparison shows additional dramatic differences between these lenses: size and weight. Add the filter size to those differences — 49mm is far smaller than 82mm. The three compact primes combined weigh only 2/3 of the zoom lens's weight. The in-the-hand weight difference between one prime and the zoom is huge, especially after a long period of use. Of course, if the shot is missed because the right focal length was not mounted, all the prime lens advantages are gone.

The zoom lens has a higher maximum magnification, 0.24x vs. 0.21x, and two additional aperture blades, 9 vs. 7. If the zoom lens is on sale, the three prime lenses combine to match the zoom lens price.

Use the site's comparison tools to create additional comparisons.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens Top View with Hood

Summary

As I said at the beginning of this review, the Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G is a highly attractive, ultra-compact prime lens that features an extremely light weight and a rugged metal exterior construction. The 50mm focal length is one of the most popular, and the f/2.5 aperture is ready to tackle the low light venues and create a nicely blurred background. That this is one of the most affordable Sony FE lenses aids its popularity.

Create a kit of the three simultaneously announced compact prime lenses for convenient coverage of a wide range of needs.

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