Sony FE 50mm F1.4 GM review: sharpness and compactness; the essential optics of Sony hybrids

The best dive on the market

With Sony the optics follow one another and each new Pebble comes with better performance. While the FE 50mm F1.2 GM had established itself as the lens offering the best level of sharpness in our labs, this more “modest” 50mm f/1.4 outclasses it.

We must not bury the 50mm f/1.2 either, which turns out to be very close to the newcomer in the trajectory of the curves, having only 1/3 of additional stop. In fact, the FE 50mm F1.4 GM therefore offers an exceptional level of sharpness, right from the full f/1.4 aperture, which therefore beats many other lenses on the market.

Really high sharpness, but not very homogeneous optics

The level of sharpness still increases and reaches its theoretical maximum at f/2.8, but f/2 and f/4 offer results so high that it will be difficult to detect the difference between these three openings. At f/5.6 the sharpness is still excellent and even very good at f/8. f/11 remains a fairly correct value.

Now let’s dwell on the question of the homogeneity between the corners and the center of the image. On the curve, one observes a clear divergence between the edges and the middle of the shot, in particular at the best apertures, which is not usually encouraging.

That being said, Sony’s latest optics show such high sharpness that ultimately, on the periphery, while being set back from the center, the results remain quite acceptable, even if it will be necessary to wait f/8 to have a completely homogeneous image, for those who wish.

Usually we seek to compare with similar optics, used on a camera offering an equivalent definition. As part of this Sony 50mm f/1.4 G Master, rather than opposing it to the previous version or the Samyang model, we compared it to a lens that we had tested in early 2022, without however publish for now: the Leica Summilux-M 50 f/1.4 ASPH.

Leica’s 50mm struggling

In addition, we released the latter with the Leica M11 which has a sensor similar to that of our Sony A7R IV. A Pebble manual dating from 2004 and which, according to the models, is negotiated new between… 4200 and 5000 €. A lens which, in addition to its compactness, compares poorly with the FE 50mm F1.4 GM.

The full aperture is quite mediocre and the sharpness only really increases from f/4, to reach its maximum at f/8, while remaining well below what Sony’s lens offers. It is certainly a very beautiful object, but not very adapted to cash the strong definitions.

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