Lens review

Sony FE 40 mm f/2.5 G

23 March 2021
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between basic parameters of different full frame 35-40 mm f/2.0-2.8 lenses. On the one hand the Sony model is much bigger than such midgets as e.g. the Canon 2.8/40; on the other hand in the same class of equipment you can find instruments with such significant dimensions as the Zeiss Batis 2/40 CF. As you see, in this category the range is rather wide and the Sony model can be placed somewhere in the middle.

In the photo below the Sony FE 40 mm f/2.5 G is positioned between the Sony 50 mm f/1.4, designed for reflex camera and the Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar 65 mm f/2.0 Macro. As you can notice, when it comes to physical dimensions, the new model is practically the same as the older but much faster Gauss construction. What's insteresting, older 1.4/50 class lenses were hardly marketed as small and handy; meanwhile slower 2.5/40 and 2.5/50 instruments, which physical dimensions are, basically, the same, are touted as compact and easy to carry around. Perhaps it is true but only when you compare them to real 'beasts' constructed for contemporary mirrorless cameras; however, objectively speaking, they are not that small.

Sony FE 40 mm f/2.5 G - Build quality

The tested lens starts with a metal mount that surrounds a rear element, 26 mm in diameter, and a contact plate. The rear element is situated behind an oval frame which is black and well matted. The same can be said about the area around it – there are no slits and you can't spot any electronic parts of the interior so, from this side, everything looks as it should.

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Sony FE 40 mm f/2.5 G - Build quality

The proper body of the lens is made of metal (black-painted aluminum) and starts with an immobile ring with the name and paramters of the lens, the Sony logotype, the E-mount mark, a white dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, its serial number, and information that the lens was manufactured in China.

Sony FE 40 mm f/2.5 G - Build quality

Then you see an indentation in that immobile ring which swiftly turns into another part of the ring, of a slightly increased diameter. Here you find the focal length mark, and a G series mark, an aperture lock button (that can be also alloted other functions from the camera menu level), a focusing mechanism mode switch (AF/MF) and a CLICK ON/OFF toggle that is used to control the aperture ring.

Sony FE 40 mm f/2.5 G - Build quality

Further on there is an aperture ring, 11 mm wide; in the middle of it there is a narrower part with ribbing that is supposed to ensure you a firmer grip. The ring's working mode can be clickless or click-stopped every 1/3 EV.

Sony FE 40 mm f/2.5 G - Build quality

Near the end of the barrel you find a manual focus ring, as wide as 8 mm, completely covered by rubber ribs that feel nice to the touch. It doesn't feature any distance or DOF scale. The ring is a focus-by-wire construction and its focus throw amounts to about 140 degrees, depending on how fast you turn it. Such a value allows you to set the focus with good precision.

The front element, just 17 mm in diameter, doesn't move. It is surrounded by a part of the barrel with inscriptions stating the name of the lens, and its minimum focusing distance; then you see a non-rotating filter thread, 49 mm in diameter and a hood mount.

Sony FE 40 mm f/2.5 G - Build quality

When it comes to optical construction you deal here with 9 elements put in 9 groups. Inside you can also find a round aperture with 7 diaphragm blades; it can be closed down to a value of f/22 at the maximum.

Buyers get in the box with the lens: both caps, and a hood. The hood's shape is really interesting and the cap fits it well so, in practice, you can put the cap on the lens or on the hood, the choice is yours.

Sony FE 40 mm f/2.5 G - Build quality