Lens Review: Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Field Test

Published: February 21, 2023

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens

New Star in the Sony G Master Lens Lineup

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM ($1,298) is the latest addition to the Sony G Master lens line and the smaller, lighter, cheaper brother to the FE 50mm F1.2 GM. It’s the 49th Fullframe E-mount lens and 72nd E-mount lens overall.

Weighing just 18 oz (516 grams) and measuring 3.7 inches (80.6mm) long and 3.1 inches (96mm) in diameter – Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM is 5.4 ounces lighter and half an inch shorter than the recently announced Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens. And as with all G Master lenses – it’s not just about the incredible sharpness – it’s the look! Other lenses may give you one or the other – but only Sony G Master gives you both.

Prior to today’s announcement, Sony sent me a FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens to review for a week and here’s what I found:

Say Hello to the FE 50mm F1.2 G Master’s New Little Brother

The new Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM offers the incredible image quality of the FE 50mm F1.2 GM in a smaller, lighter…and cheaper package. If you absolutely need the speed or look of one-point-two – you’re gonna want the FE 50mm F1.2 GM – otherwise you’re going to LOVE this lens.

FE 50 F1.4 GM, FE 50mm F1.2 GM lenses
SIZE COMPARISON: Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM & FE 50mm F1.2 GM lenses

BOKEH COMPARISON: FE 50 F1.4 GM, FE 50mm F1.2 GM lenses

Latest Addition to the Compact Sony F1.4 GM Prime Family

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM joins Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM , FE 35mm F1.4 GM as the latest member of Sony’s F1.4 GM Prime Family featuring ultra-fast XD linear AF and de-clickable aperture rings. Since all three lenses are roughly the same size and weight, they easily swap out on a gimbal with only minimal need to adjust balance. The layout has changed slightly in order to add a second focus hold button on the top of the lens. Yes, I know Sony also makes the OG FE 85mm F1.4 G Master Lens – but it’s considerably larger and heavier and lacks lightning fast XD linear AF and the aperture ring.

Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM, FE 35mm F1.4 GM, FE 50 F1.4 GM
Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM , FE 35mm F1.4 GM & FE 50mm F1.4 GM

A Day at the Beach

I love 50mm for street photography or in my case you could say “Beach Photography” since I took it to Venice Beach. It doesn’t do anything fancy. It neither expands the scene like an ultra-wide or compresses like a telephoto. Simply shows you a straight honest perspective. I laugh when I hear someone refer to a superzoom like a 24-300mm as the perfect ‘walk-around lens.’ That’s the last thing I’d ever want to walk around with. Give me a light, sharp fifty and I’ll use my feet to zoom.

Venice Beach California Skateboarder photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F4 • 1/2000 • ISO 100
Venice Beach California  Skateboarder photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/8000 • ISO 100
Venice Beach California  Skateboarder photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/8000 • ISO 100
Venice Beach California basketball player photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F2.8 • 1/1600 • ISO 100
Venice Beach California basketball player photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F2.8 • 1/1600 • ISO 100
Muscle Beach Venice California photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/8000 • ISO 100
Venice California photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F5 • 1/400 • ISO 100 | Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/8000 • ISO 100
Venice California Boardwalk photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/8000 • ISO 100

Bring on the Night

Thanks to its fast F1.4 aperture and compact size and weight, FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens is a great lens for low light night photography.

Hollywood after dark photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/40 • ISO 100 | Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/10 • ISO 100
Hollywood & Vine and Capitol Records photographed at night with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/125 • ISO 100 | Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/13 • ISO 100
Hollywood at night photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/20 • ISO 100
Hollywood after dark photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/25 • ISO 100

Lightning Fast XD Linear AF

When paired with the new Sony a7R V, the FE 50mm F1.4 GM nails focus before you can even think about it.

Surfers on Venice Beach, California boardwalk photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/8000 • ISO 100

Surfers on Venice Beach, California boardwalk photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/8000 • ISO 100

Surfers on Venice Beach, California boardwalk photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/8000 • ISO 100

Surfers on Venice Beach, California boardwalk photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/8000 • ISO 100

Beautiful Bokeh

As with all G Master lenses, not only does the FE 50mm F1.4 GM give you incredible sharpness, but you also get beautiful bokeh thanks to an 11-blade circular aperture. A pair of XA (extreme aspherical) lens elements moulded to 0.01 micron precision both eliminates onion ring bokeh produced by third-party brands while also effectively control astigmatism, field curvature, coma, distortion, and other spherical aberrations for a high degree of sharpness and accurate rendering.

Vintage Car in Los Angeles California photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/1000 • ISO 100
close-up of succulent photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/160 • ISO 100

Close Focus Down to 16 Inches

While not a macro, FE 50mm F1.4 GM autofocuses down to 16 inches (0.41 meters) or down to 15 inches (0.38 meters) with manual focus.

Lemons photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/250 • ISO 100
Sunglasses on Venice California Boardwalk photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F2 • 1/640 • ISO 100
Sunglasses on Venice California Boardwalk photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F2 • 1/320 • ISO 100
Close-up of succulent photographed with Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM lens
Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM + a7R V • F1.4 • 1/400 • ISO 100

SONY FE 50MM F1.4 GM LENS SPECS:

 

SIZE:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM measures 3.2 x 3.8″ / 80.6 x 96 mm (diameter x length)

WEIGHT:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM tips the scales at 18.2 oz / 516 g

FILTERS:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM has a 67mm Front Filter Tread

LENS CONTROLS:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM includes two Customizable Focus Hold buttons, AF/MF Switch and an Iris Lock switch which prevents the aperture ring from being accidentally moved. This switch can also be unlocked allowing the aperture ring to rotate seamlessly and silently.

WEATHER SEALING:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM is dust- and moisture-sealed for working in inclement weather.

Sony-FE-50mm-F1-4-GM-Weather-Seals.jpg

IMAGE STABILIZATION:

There is no optical stabilization on this lens. Many Sony camera bodies have built-in sensor-shift stabilization.

AUTO FOCUS:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM features Two XD Linear Focus actuators for extremely fast and precise focus tracking and responsive Eye AF.

Sony-FE-50mm-F1-4-GM-XD-Linear-AF

MINIMUM FOCUS DISTANCE:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM minimum focus distance is 16.1″ (41 cm) and maximum magnification of 0.16x

APERTURE:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM has 11 rounded aperture blades for smooth, rounded bokeh

APERTURE RING:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM has a de-clickable aperture ring

FORMAT:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM covers Fullframe sensor and smaller.

OPTICAL DESIGN:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM features an advanced optical design of 14 Elements in 11 Groups including a series of XA, aspherical, Super ED, and ED elements, which combine to reduce a variety of aberrations and distortions for a high degree of sharpness, accurate rendering, and notable color accuracy. An updated Nano AR Coating II has also been applied, which suppresses flare and ghosting for greater contrast when working in bright and backlit conditions.

Sony-FE-50mm-F1-4-GM-lens-design

LENS CHARTS:

Sony-FE-50mm-F1-4-GM-MTF-lens-chart

IN THE BOX:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM comes with front & rear lens caps, lens hood & a padded lens pouch.

PRICE:

Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM has a street price of $1,298 USD

The Bottom Line

If you already own the FE 50mm F1.2 GM and don’t mind the size and weight – you don’t need this lens. But if you’re looking for an ultra premium quality fifty millimeter lens that combines the perfect balance of size and weight with excellent sharpness and beautiful bokeh all while focussing like a speed demon – then check this lens out…

ORDER NOW!

Order Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM Lens from B&H Photo | Amazon | Sony

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