The Sony 50mm G Master is one of the most unique sony lenses available. It features the widest aperture of any sony lens, while still being sharp with superb autofocus. It also has a price tag of $2000 dollars to go along with that. Lets go over the specs, check out some more test footage, and see if this 50mm G Master is worth the price tag when it comes to video.
This 50mm G Master costs $2000, weighs 1.7 lbs, measures 3.4 by 4.3 inches, has a 72mm front filter thread and has 11 aperture blades.
The minimus focusing distance is 1.3 feet or 15 and a half inches. A little far away if you’re doing any kind of close up macro shots. This isn’t advertised as a macro lens, but I find myself filming a lot of details with this lens, so the minimum focusing distance was a little far for me.
The build quality of this lens is as you would expect with any other G Master lens. This lens has dust and moisture sealing, Focus toggle switch, aperture ring that can be clicked or de-clicked, focus ring, and 2 customizable buttons.
My favorite part of the lens, aside from it’s very wide aperture, is the autofocus. This lens has 4 of Sony’s XD linear motors powering it’s autofocus and has some of the most accurate focus i’ve ever used, even wide open at 1.2. I’ve been using this lens with the Sony A7SIII and A7IV, and the eye autofocus has been able to lock onto subjects that are moving around the frame with ease. I’ve loved using eye autofocus and moving the camera around to create some parallax within my shots, something that was pretty difficult to do at a shallow depth of field on other prime lenses without the autofocus jumping around.
For focusing noise, the XD linear motors are silent and accurate. I haven't been able to hear any focusing noise on camera when reviewing footage. This is true for all XD motors, but worth noting, specifically when were looking at this lens for video.
Sharpness on the 50mm 1.2 is great. I was nervous that this was going to be the downfall of a lens with such a wide-open aperture. This is something that makes this lens so unique, typically large apertures like this have contrast and sharpness issues, but the 1.2 does a great job with this. Wide open, the lens is sharpest in the center, and losing sharpness in the edges of the frame but it’s still very usable in my opinion. I’ve never been shooting at f1.2 with my subject at the very edge of the frame. By f2 corner sharpness is as sharp as the center.
When it comes to flares on this lens, the lens handles pretty well. It’s a G Master, so it behaves like other G master lenses, and does a good job at not flaring enough to be distracting.
There is a very slight amount of chromatic aberration on this lens, but I’ve only noticed it in the most extreme circumstances. Very bright backgrounds with a dark silhouetted subject tends to have some color fringing but not nearly as much as other lenses. Very well controlled and only distracting if you’re pixel peeping.
The Bokeh of the 1.2 is circular in the center, and more distorted towards the edges. The quality of the bokeh is very clean, with very little to no distracting texture to the bokeh itself. On cheaper lenses, the bokeh will have more of a texture to it and be more distorted.
The 50mm 1.2 does have some focus breathing problems, but if your camera has focus breathing compensation, and you don’t mind the slight crop, this problem is removed. If your camera doesn't have this feature and you do a lot of rack focusing between objects close and far away, this could be distracting. I wish this was improved on this lens considering it’s price tag, but unfortunately not. I hope this focus breathing compensation gets rolled out to more cameras in the future so this isn’t as big of a deal.
The 50mm 1.2 lacks any kind of optical stabilization but is still able to take advantage of the camera's active stabilization. Would be nice to have, but as most primes don’t have optical stabilization, this one is the same.
The 50mm 1.2 is one of those lenses that has a unique look, while still being sharp wide open and having fantastic autofocus thanks to those 4 XD linear motors. Pairing this with a modern sony body will give you great results, especially if you’re taking advantage of the focus breathing compensation.
For me, the 50mm focal range has been one that I’ve passed up on using, since it’s a little too tight for general wide angle b roll, but not tight enough to show fine details like a telephoto lens can. It’s somewhere in the middle and this focal length has always felt a little boring to me. But the performance and f1.2 is able to turn those boring shots into something very interesting. Separating the subject from the background with a non-telephoto lens is a unique look that this lens can deliver.
Even if you’re getting this lens to shoot at f 2 and above, the corner sharpness, flare and chromatic aberration control still make it outperform all other 50mm Sony full-frame lenses. As it should, given its price tag. And really, that's the only drawback of this lens. The huge price tag of this lens makes it very inaccessible to most videographers and photographers to justify owning. But if you can justify the price tag, it’s a fantastic lens that will deliver great results.
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