Sony FE 50mm F2.5 G Review
The Sony FE 50mm F2.5 G is a tiny, lightweight "nifty fifty" that packs a lot of performance, features and optical quality into its small frame.
Its main selling points are its premium finish and excellent build quality, retro feel, plethora of controls, small size and weight, and fast auto-focusing.
This lens is a great performer optically, being pin-sharp throughout virtually all of the frame, even when shooting wide-open at f/2.5.
Vignetting is a little heavy wide-open, but chromatic aberrations and distortion are well-controlled in both the JPG and Raw files and the bokeh is nice enough for what is after all only a f/2.5 maximum aperture lens.
A traditional aperture ring is a feature that we love on any lens, and Sony's implementation of it on the 50mm F2.5 G is nigh on perfect.
It has a lovely action, positive movements between the 1/3rd aperture stops, and a pronounced gap between f/22 and the Auto setting that requires more pressure to move so that you can't inadvertently select it.
It also gets one up on one of its main rivals, the Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN, by offering a dedicated switch on the lens barrel that allows you to de-click the aperture ring for video use, making it more suited to movie-making than the Sigma alternative.
The Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN has the main advantage of offering even better build quality, but it has a slower maximum aperture and for once the third-party alternative is similarly priced to the Sony option.
The Sony 50mm F2.5 is smaller and lighter than the Sigma 45mm F2.8 and offers a better designed lens hood plus extra features like the de- clickable aperture ring and the focus hold button.
The Sony also beats the Sigma when it comes to auto-focusing, with a dual motor linear auto-focus system that is silent, very quick, and virtually 100% reliable.
It's perhaps not fair on either lens to compare them directly though - after all, the Sigma 45mm F2.8 offers a subtle yet uniquely different view of the world that means that it has few true rivals, whereas the Sony 50mm F2.5 has so many 50mm rivals that we can hardly count them all!
There's the budget FE 50mm f/1.8, which is much cheaper and faster but has pretty terrible auto-focusing, inferior build quality and no weather-proofing.
The "old" Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA is a little more expensive, bigger and lacks a focus hold button and aperture ring, but again it does offer a faster maximum aperture.
If you want to really push the financial boat out, the Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM is hard to beat in any department, but it's hardly a "nifty fifty" in terms of size or price.
You could also seriously consider the Sony FE 40mm F2.5 G, which is our favourite out of the new trio of similarly designed lenses, especially if you already have a 50mm prime in your collection.
Overall, the FE 50mm F2.5 G is a very solid addition to the ever-growing number of Sony 50mm lenses. It might not grab the headlines with its modest F2.5 aperture, but there's still a lot to like about this super-compact lens.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||3.5|