Lens review

Sony FE 50 mm f/1.2 GM

16 March 2021
Maciej Lata³³o

4. Image resolution

Our resolution test (resolution meaning the MTF50 function values) of Sony FE lenses is based on RAW files from the 42.4 Mpix sensor of the Sony A7R II or the Sony A7R III camera. In the case of this kind of detector the decency level we set about 39-41 lpmm and the best fixed focal lenses have been able to exceed 70 lpmm. So far, two Sigma lenses have fared the best: the A 105 mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro (80.4 lpmm) and the C 65 mm f/2 GD DN (82.7 lpmm).

Let's see how the Sony FE 50 mm f/1.2 GM compares – its results in the frame centre and on edges of the APS-C and full frame are presented below.

Sony FE 50 mm f/1.2 GM - Image resolution

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This time we want to start, untypically, with the maximum results. Such fast lenses as the Sony, tested by us here, are expected to provide record-breaking resolution; still it doesn't perform so well - its maximum result amounts to 79.0 lpmm and it is reached by f/4.0. Still you have to remember that, not so long ago, it would be a record value; our list or record-breaking lenses featured, the Voigtlander Nokton 1.2/50, a direct rival of the Sony, with a maximum resolution of 78.6 lpmm so a tad lower than the resolution of the G Master. In our opinion the performance of the tested lens still remains sensational and complaining about the lack of records would be tantamount to nitpicking.

Perhaps that lack of record-breaking values is connected to emphasis that was put on a good performance near the maximum relative aperture and it is great indeed, almost great beyond description. With such extreme parameters even exceeding safely the decency level would be a real feat; meanwhile the Sony 1.2/50 GM by f/1.2 reaches 69.7 lpmm, higher than maximum results (of course observed on stopping down) of such lenses as the Sony FE 50 mm f/1.8 or the Sony Zeiss Sonnar 55 mm f/1.8. Hats off!

The performance on the edge of the frame is not as good but only if you compare it to the incredibly high results in the frame centre. On the edge of the APS-C sensor you get decent values of 53 lpmm already up from the maximum relative aperture and on stopping down the image quality improves very quickly. The maximum results of 66 lpmm are really extraordinary, higher than those in the frame centre of many fixed-focal lenses we've already tested.

We also don't have any reservations concerning the edge of full frame. To be honest, when I found out that physical dimensions of the new G Master lens are just a tad bigger than the dimensions of the Zeiss 1.4/50, an older lens that is also a part of the Sony system, I thought that it had to have a negative impact on the edge of the full frame. I was wrong. At the maximum relative aperture the lens reaches almost 44 lpmm so lands safely above the decency level. On stopping down the aperture you can increase the MTFs to a value over 63 lpmm and such a resolution we consider to be very good.

To sum up, when it comes to resolution, the Sony FE 50 mm f/1.2 GM is an outstanding lens, able to produce very sharp images across the frame, including its impressive maximum relative aperture.

At the end of this chapter, traditionally, we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart saved in JPEG format alongside RAW files which we used for the analysis above.

A7R III, JPEG, 50 mm, f/1.2
Sony FE 50 mm f/1.2 GM - Image resolution
A7R III, JPEG, 50 mm, f/4.0
Sony FE 50 mm f/1.2 GM - Image resolution