Sony’s Compact & Lightweight 50mm F1.2 G Master Lens Delivers Incredible Resolution, Bokeh, and High-performance Autofocus
Today, Sony has revealed the lens nobody thought they would make. A lens we all were skeptical about, even though we knew it was theoretically possible. And you know what? It looks like it might just be an incredible optic.
That’s right, the newest addition to the Sony G Master full-frame lens lineup is, drumroll, please…the FE 50mm F1.2 GM, (model SEL50F12GM) delivering excellent resolution and dramatic bokeh known to Sony’s G Master line, industry-leading AF (autofocus) capabilities, and professional control and reliability in a compact and lightweight design. The lens’s maximum F1.2 aperture combines an impressively shallow depth of field for maximum creative expression with incredible light gathering capabilities, allowing for faster shutter speeds and lower ISO in low light settings, making it ideal for portraits, wedding photography, video, and more.
“We’re excited to introduce our 60th E-mount lens – the FE 50mm F1.2 GM – which delivers a new level of expression and usability for still images and video as an F1.2 lens,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president for Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “We’re always listening to our customer to deliver the best imaging technology. The FE 50mm F1.2 GM, our first F1.2 lens for the α brand, was designed without compromise to meet the changing needs of today’s content creators.”
[Related Reading: Sony Alpha 1 Review Compilation]
Excellent Resolution and Beautiful Bokeh
The FE 50mm F1.2 GM features the latest optics, including three XA (extreme aspherical) lens elements, that contribute to high resolution across the entire image and is maintained even when fully opened at F1.2. The new lens also ensures clear images in backlit scenes thanks to Sony’s Nano AR Coating II that effectively minimizes internal reflections so that flare and ghosting do not occur.
The FE 50mm F1.2 GM creates dramatic G Master bokeh at the maximum F1.2 aperture to provide dimensionality to every image. Using the newly developed 11-blade circular aperture unit and fine-tuned optical design with minimal spherical aberration, the lens can achieve smooth, deep bokeh in both the foreground and background.
High-Performance AF and Tracking at F1.2
The lens can keep subjects in sharp focus even at an extremely shallow depth-of-field with fast, precise, quiet AF and tracking thanks to the four XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors which provide high thrust efficiency. When precise focusing is required, especially when shooting 4K video with human eye tracking, the FE 50mm F1.2 GM allows the user to focus on composition thanks to its excellent response with minimum delay and low vibration. In addition, the lens’s floating focus mechanism, controlled by its dedicated lens drive algorithm, achieves high resolution over the entire focus range, with a minimum focus distance of 1.32 feet.
Professional Control and Reliability in a Compact Form Factor
The FE 50mm F1.2 GM was designed with professional content creators in mind. With convenient controls and functions such as a Linear Response MF (Manual Focus), aperture ring with a click on/off switch, focus mode switch, and two customizable focus hold buttons, the FE 50mm F1.2 GM combines easy operation with professional control. The FE 50mm F1.2 GM also features a dust and moisture resistant design and a fluorine front element coating that protects the lens from fingerprints, dust, water, oil, and other contaminants. Developed using Sony’s latest simulation technologies and the latest optical design, the lens comes in a surprisingly compact and lightweight form factor (φ3½ in x 4⅜ in, 27.5 oz.), providing high mobility and easy handling for a 50mm F1.2 lens.
50mm f/1.2 Flagship Showdown: Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM VS Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 S VS Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L
Well, Sony did it. They joined Canon and Nikon, and made an f/1.2 prime. (There were already many third-party E-mount lenses with apertures faster than f/1.4, but none have the GMaster label, of course.)
What does this mean? It means Sony is just as serious about flagship optics as Canon and Nikon are, indeed. Now that both Canon and Nikon have full-frame mirrorless systems with excellent 50mm f/1.2 flagship lenses available, Sony had to step up to the plate, and from the look of things, they sure did!
We haven’t received our sample for review yet, but we’re looking forward to putting it through its paces on either the Sony A1 or the A7R IV. We have no idea what to expect, however, because simply put, this lens is TINY compared to Nikon’s 50mm f/1.2, and indeed significantly more compact than even Canon’s “modest” sized 50mm f/1.2.
Honestly? My best guess is that, yes, this new Sony f/1.2 GM lens is going to be excellent. So far, from what I’ve seen, the image quality is going to be very impressive, at least in the center of the frame.
It will likely come down to one simple question: Might he reason that Nikon’s lens is so much bigger be, that Sony sacrificed a little bit of image quality in the corners? Surely, with such a “small” optical formula in the Sony, it had to cut corners somewhere? (Pun intended?)
I thought the answer to this exact question was “yes” when I first saw th Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM. It was a tiny little f/1.4 lens that had no business at all being “good” in the corners. And yet, it was truly excellent, in fact it is still the best 24mm f/1.4 prime we have ever reviewed.
So, I have to reserve judgment until I get this lens in-hand, and take it out for a spin. We’ll do sharpness tests, we’ll do bokeh tests, but we’ll also take it out at night and see how it looks when capturing the Milky Way etc. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m prepared to be truly amazed.
Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Pricing and Availability
The new FE 50mm F1.2 GM will be available in May and will be sold for approximately $2,000.00 USD and $2,600.00 CAD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.
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