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Sony FE 50mm F/2.5G Lens Review

The Sony FE 50mm f/2.5G is the third lens that completes the trio of compact FE lenses from Sony and John Riley has put it through its paces.

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Sony FE 50mm F2,5G On Sony A7RIII | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 68.0 mm | ISO 100

The Sony FE 50mm f/2.5G lens is the third in a series of three compact, high-performance lenses for Sony FE fit full-frame (and APS-C) cameras. If used on a Sony crop sensor (APS-C) body, the 35mm-format equivalent field of view is 75mm. The Sony FE 24mm f/2.8G and Sony FE 40mm f/2.5G have already been reviewed and given Highly Commended awards. Can the third lens in the trio maintain the same high standard? Let's fire up the Sony Alpha A7R III 42MP camera body and find out.


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Sony FE 50mm f/2.5G Lens Handling and Features

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5G Front Vertical View | 1/6 sec | f/16.0 | 135.0 mm | ISO 100

We have again a compact and light lens, weighing in at a very modest 174g, the heaviest of the trio by just 1g. Normally there is a supplied hood, but the review lens was sent without this. Within the bayonet fitting for the hood is a standard 49mm filter thread, a small size that will be inexpensive to source filters for. The all-metal design is very well made and is dust and moisture resistant, these days just about a basic requirement for any lens intended to be used out in the field.

The manual focusing ring is slim but has an excellent grip. Focusing is down to 35cm (1.15 feet) in AF mode, giving a maximum magnification of 0.18x. Focusing in MF mode is down to 31cm (1.02 feet), giving a maximum magnification of 0.21x. This is closer than a traditional 50mm lens, which might well have only focused down to 45cm, or around 1.5 feet. All the usual Sony focusing options are supported, such as AF-S, AF-A, AF-C, DMF, and MF. AF is driven by double linear motors and is fast, silent, and accurate. There is no distance scale and also no depth of field scale, but to be fair it is difficult to see how these could be included, given the design of the lens.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5G Front Oblique View | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 135.0 mm | ISO 100

The impressive aperture ring is ideal for both stills photographers and videographers. There are click stops at one-third of a stop intervals, and if desired the aperture can be de-clicked, particularly useful for video shooting. There is one permanent click stop for the A setting, which enables the aperture to be controlled by the camera.

There are a few controls around the barrel of the lens. The AF/MF switch is self-explanatory, as is the click on/off switch that controls the aperture ring. There is also a focus lock button that holds the focus position in AF mode whilst it is held down.

Optical construction is 9 elements in 9 groups, including 2 Aspherical and 1 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion). The diaphragm comprises 7 circular blades, for improved bokeh. Given that a traditional 50mm lens might well only have a 6 element construction, this added complexity suggests a higher level of corrections have been pursued.


Sony FE 50mm f/2.5G Rear Oblique View | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 135.0 mm | ISO 100

Used on a full-frame camera, 50mm is considered to be a standard lens. This is defined as the diagonal measurement of a format, so technically speaking a standard lens ought to be 43mm. Currently, only Pentax offers a 43mm lens in their DSLR lens range, and most standard lenses are the expected 50mm. Obviously, there would be no benefit per se in pursuing some mathematical ideal, but this translates into a focal length that gives a field of view that offers a perspective similar to the human eye. In other words, the world looks normal through a standard lens. In design terms, the standard lens also offers a high level of technical performance and is tolerant of being abused by added-on optics such as teleconverters or close-up devices.

However, there is a dazzling array of 50mm available for Sony FE, so let's turn to the performance to see why we might choose this one over the others.


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11 Aug 2021 10:26AM
Is there any lens designed for mirrorless that has distance or depth of field scales?
I think it's unfair to reduce the total score because of this.
11 Aug 2021 10:49AM
That wasn't the reason for the scores, and I agree with you that would be unfair if it were. I think the lens did pretty well for itself!
LenShepherd 14 4.5k United Kingdom
18 Aug 2021 5:31PM

Quote:Is there any lens designed for mirrorless that has distance or depth of field scales?
I think it's unfair to reduce the total score because of this.

At the price point - not as far as I know.
Some more expensive Nikon S lenses have a window with options to display aperture, focus distance and depth of field.
The Nikon 105mm S also has a reproduction ratio display - and a significantly higher price tag at £999.
I also, though I shoot Nikon, think this lens acquitted itself well in the MTF 50 test.
jameswburke 20 14 Ireland
10 Jun 2022 10:45AM
I have this lens for my Sony A7iii. I love the way you can lock the aperture on the lens (can be over ridden). Superb optics from wide open. Lightweight too, so very portable. Writing this in 2022, so there are a few used ones on MPB if you want to save a bit of money. Once again Sony has been more imaginative than the big dslr makers.

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