Sony FE 1.4/50mm GM Review : Bokeh Master Is Back! | Human Eye Focal Range
Everyone needs this lens in their kit regardless if you’re a street, portrait or food photographer, why? That’s because the focal length resembles how the human eye views the world! And side note, this lens is really really fast. I’m sure by the title you’ll already know what lens I’m talking about so let's get straight to the point!
Design & Functions
Let’s talk design! This lens is not that complex which has a relatively simple design similar to all the new GM sony lenses such the manual aperture rings or the Focus Hold buttons which are only two on this lens, but I can assure you that it's far more than enough. There's also Click ON/OFF switch, AF/MF switch and as usual, the prominent G-Master logo on the side.
Apart from that, it's also weather and dust resistant so you can definitely take it out in the rain to shoot and weighs 516g. It's quite small and fits nicely into my hands and I never had any issues using it with the A7R V.
Overall exterior design of this lens isn't any different from the previous GM 50mm and still uses the 67mm filter thread as before, to which isn't too big or too small, but just bear in mind to have those step-up rings on the ready if you intend on throwing any set of ND's for this lens.
But where things get a little interesting is when taking a look underneath the hood. So this lens has 11 aperture blades, which is quite a lot for something of this size and translates mostly in the way the bokeh comes out a little more circular and creamy, which this lens definitely has. There's also two XD linear motors, which in my opinion is very quiet and never had any issues of it leaking into my footage.
When it's focusing, the focus breathing isn't too bad and doesn't show up too much. But if you have cameras that can compensate for that issue such as the A7R V, then it surely would be very noticeable to the naked eye unless you intend to spot its flaws.
Real world tests & Performance
At f/1.4 you'd be expecting very shallow depth of field and very creamy bokeh. The A7R V has over 60MP which I feel is the best companion to test out this lens because it's extremely sharp. Wide open at f/1.4, the colour roll-off is really smooth. For an example, if you take a look at the colour differences such as my plants in this photo, you can see that the leaves actually roll-off quite nicely and no weird discolouration around the edges.
The bokeh you get from this lens also tends to be more of a circular shape and not the hexagonal shape you get in some other lenses which have less number of aperture blades.
But this lens has 11 as mentioned before, so you're going to get that really creamy and round when you're shooting against street lamps which I really do enjoy. Sony also mentioned, because of the two aspherical glass elements inside, they do claim it would have less chromatic aberration as well as an overall nicer image.
Sharpness on the other hand showed some other aspects when I had this tested in various aperture stops from f/1.4 to f/16. However, I found the sweet spot for this lens was around f/4 to f/5.6 which has the maximum amount of sharpness and tends to fall off a little more past f/8 while showing the softest at f/16 as some of the examples below.
As of this review the pricing and availability has not been released by Sony yet but do check out their website as I’m sure it’ll be released soon enough. As with all my other Sony reviews, I’m not being sponsored by Sony to say all that I’ve said and as with all Sony products I really had quite a blast using the lens for the 2+ weeks that I’ve had my time with it and I also did some plant videos with the lens that’s gonna be up on my YouTube so check it out if that’s your thing.
If you're a photographer or videographer as mentioned earlier, having a 50mm is definitely a must because of how it simulates the closest to the human eye and how we see the world. This would play a big part in relating to the audience and since it's a prime lens, you can expect a lot more sharpness and a wider aperture compared to a zoom lens, and plus who doesn't love good bokeh? So do give it a try at your closest Sony flagship store to feel out if it fits your taste!
Written by Fitri Aiyub