Lens review

Sony FE 50 mm f/2.5 G

29 March 2021
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between basic parameters of different full frame 45-50 mm f/2.0-2.8 lenses. As you can notice, the Loxia is the heaviest but its aperture is also the fastest so the superior weight is understandable. The Sony 2.8/50 is physically the biggest for a change but it's a macro lens and its barrel has to allow more movements of the optical system than in case of traditional constructions. The Sony FE 50 mm f/2.5 G is hardly the smallest in this group but it remains the lightest.

In the photo below the Sony FE 50 mm f/2.5 G is positioned between the Sony 50 mm f/1.4, designed for reflex cameras, and the Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar 65 mm f/2.0 Macro. As you see, when it comes to physical dimensions, the new model is practically the same as the older but much faster Gauss construction. What's interesting, 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 with contemporary mirrorless cameras in mind; however, objectively speaking, they are not that small.

Sony FE 50 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. You don't see any oval frame like in the FE 2.5/40 G model. The area around the rear element is black and matt – 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 50 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, 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 50 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 50 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 50 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. It doesn't feature any distance or DOF scale. The ring is a focus-by-wire construction and its focus throw amounts to about 150-160 degrees, depending on how fast you turn it. Such a value allows you to set the focus with good precision.

The front element, just 20 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 parameters; then you see a non-rotating filter thread, 49 mm in diameter and a hood mount.

Sony FE 50 mm f/2.5 G - Build quality

When it comes to optical construction you deal here with 9 elements put in 9 groups; one of them is made of low dispersion ED glass and two are aspherical in shape. 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, as you like it.

Sony FE 50 mm f/2.5 G - Build quality