Lens review

Sony FE 50 mm f/1.4 GM

21 February 2023
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between basic parameters of the new lens, its predecessor, and other 1.4/50 class models equipped with autofocus and designed for full frame mirrorless cameras.

As you can notice, the Sony FE 50 mm f/1.4 GM is, next to the Sigma, one of the most optically complex constructions in this class of equipment. Despite that fact the lens doesn't seem big and/or heavy. Actually in this group only the Samyang is smaller and lighter. Additionally, the new Sony sticks out with the smallest filter diameter and its minimum focusing distance which, in the manual mode, amounts to just 0.38 of a meter.

Sony FE 50 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

This photo shows off moderate physical dimensions of the Sony FE 50 mm f/1.4 GM as we positioned it next to its direct rival, the Sigma A 50 mm f/1.4 DG DN presented almost at the same time, and the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM on its right, the old, double gauss, reflex camera construction. It's also obvious that the dimensions of the newer lenses are significantly increased when compared to models released just more than a dozen years ago.

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The tested lens starts with a metal mount, a rear element, 29 mm in diameter, inside it, and a contact plate. The element doesn't move, is surrounded by a black 30x23 mm frame, and is situated almost on the same level as the contacts. From this side everything looks as it should.

Sony FE 50 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

The proper body of the Sony starts with an immobile, smooth, plastic ring which increases its diameter as you move further from the mount. On the ring you see a frame with an inscription 'FE 1.4/50 GM', a white dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, the mount type (E-mount), the symbol of the lens, along with the serial number of the instrument and information that it was produced in China.

Sony FE 50 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

The next ring allows you to change the aperture of the lens and it works properly well. It is 13 mm wide and its surface is covered by rubber ribbing to improve your grip. The ring can move every 1/3 EV step or you can declick it, a feature that will please video recording users for sure.

Another ring that doesn't move features an inscription 'Sony', the G series mark, a CLICK ON/OFF switch that controls the aperture ring, and an AF/MF switch that allows you to change the focusing mechanism mode. You also get two aperture lock buttons that, additionally, are programmable from the camera's menu level.

Sony FE 50 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

A manual focus ring is the next part – almost 20 mm wide, covered by rubber ribbing very pleasing to the touch. The ring is a focus-by-wire construction and its focus throw amounting to an angle of about 150-160 degrees, depends on the speed of your turning. It's enough for ordinary performance but I admit, with such an aperture fastness I think I would expect something closer to 180 degrees.

Behind the ring you also find an immobile part of the barrel made of metal, with a red mark for a better alignment of the hood, and a hood mount.

Sony FE 50 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

The front element doesn't move; it is quite flat, 42 mm in diameter, 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 fiter thread, 67 mm in diameter.

Sony FE 50 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality

When it comes to optical construction you deal here with 14 elements positioned in 11 groups. An interesting thing, this system is more complex than the one we saw in the faster Sony FE 50 mm f/1.2 GM, also with 14 elements but positioned in 10 groups. The new 1.4/50 model features two aspherical XA elements and one made of low dispersion ED glass. Inside, you also find a round aperture with as many as 11 blades that can be closed down to a value of f/16. The producers also boast of Nano AR Coating II.

Buyers get in the box: both caps, a hood, and a very solid, hard case for the lens.

Sony FE 50 mm f/1.4 GM - Build quality