It’s funny that not so long ago, I wrote an article on not really needing a 50mm lens. I even sold my Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS nifty-fifty and my 55mm Zeiss lenses and never really regretted it. But then, I borrowed a friend’s Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM and found it amazing. I mean, AMAZING! I then borrowed another from another friend and well, I bought one that same week. Things often go full circle, don’t they?
I have repeatedly said one of my favorite lenses is my Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM. However, I can only shoot headshots in my little studio. The 50mm GM gives me the range I need and the most beautifully flattering portraits. Going back to a 50mm lens has challenged me creatively and I can’t wait to use it more and more. But not just portraits. Still-life, in the gardens, with the animals and so much more.
Note: While I purchased this product myself, I am happy to give a completely independent review of my first few weeks with my new lens.
- Super shallow depth of field at f/1.2
- Beautiful soft bokeh
- Fast, precise, quiet AF and tracking
- 0.4m minimum focal distance
- The linear response in Manual Focus mode feels smooth and responsive
- The focus ring is about a finger width and ribbed for good grip
- A little big and bulky compared to my old 50mm f/1.8 (778 grams vs 202 grams), but is smaller than the 85mm
Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM – Technical specifications
All technical specifications have been taken from Sony’s website. Please see the website for full details.
- Mount: Sony E-mount
- Format: 35mm full-frame
- Focal Length: 50mm
- Focal Length (35mm APSC): 75mm
- Lens groups/elements: 10-14
- Angle of View (35mm): 470
- Maximum Aperture: f/1.2
- Minimum Aperture: f/16
- Aperture blades: 11
- Circular aperture: Yes
- Minimum Focus Distance: 0.4m
- Filter Diameter: 67mm
- Dimensions (D x L): 87 x 108mm
- Weight: 778 grams
Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM – Ergonomics and build quality
- High grade of build
- Quality weather sealing
- Good features and general handling
- Fast, quiet, and accurate autofocus
- Excellent wide-open sharpness across the frame
- Beautifully soft bokeh
- Low chromatic aberrations
- Good flare resistance
Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM – In the field
Despite the bulky size of the lens, when used with my new Sony A7RV, it actually feels very comfortable in my hands. I adore the soft creamy bokeh and the fabulous focus on this lens (comparable to the 85mm version). The focus ring is smooth and well-positioned. The image stabilization is generated by the camera body. There’s a focus hold button, aperture ring on the lens, as well as aperture click switch (smooth or click through when changing aperture). These are handy for knowing when you may have accidentally changed the aperture instead of the focus. Beautiful creamy bokeh and so tack sharp where it matters.
Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM – Autofocus performance
I loved the fast autofocus and amazing depth of field. Even at f/1.2 the tracking hit the mark and gave me tack sharp focus. I did find the sweet spot at f/2.8, especially for portraits and animals. Granted it’s still early days, but I can’t wait to get into some more portraits in the studio.
Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM – Image quality and characteristics
As previously mentioned the sweet spot seems to be around aperture f/2.8, the sharp focus, soft bokeh and creamy soft images, even at ISO640 were sublime. I particularly like to capture portraits and my favorite style at the moment is Cinematic Film Noir.
Distortion control and vignetting
I found there was a slight pincushion effect, which is actually great for portraits and adds a slimming effect. The lens correction in Lightroom added a slight barrel effect, which I was not a fan of. No real vignetting as such on the edge of images, but I do often shoot for the blur, so if there is a vignette I didn’t really notice it.
Chromatic aberrations, flares and ghosting
When shooting high-contrast areas (ie bright skies and shady trees), I found some blue chromatic aberration on the fringes. Easy fix in most cases. No real ghosting or flares.
Sharpness and bokeh
You get beautiful round bokeh when shooting into the light. A little on the small side. I really like the bokeh from the 85mm which is larger and softer. Perhaps that boils down to shooting styles and preferences. I found in the studio with artificial lighting it didn’t really make that much difference. Tack sharp, especially on the eyes. I adore the AF and eye tracking with this lens and my Sony A7RV too.
I found everything I captured was true to color, no issue there. A great lens is always a joy to work with. Although for some reason I adore Black and white images with this lens.
Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM – Best for nifty-fifty lovers
If you love portraits, or even just shooting with a 50mm lens, I honestly don’t think you can beat this 50mm f/1.2 E-mount Lens from Sony. Yes, it is a little on the pricey side, but in my opinion totally worth the money.