The 50mm lens is such a classic lens in photography and I’m so excited that Sony has released the fastest version yet for E-mount.
As a professional photographer for over a decade, I’ve used a lot of 50mm lenses, but I have to say, I am impressed with the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM lens.
This lens is exceptional for people who want beautiful bokeh or extreme low-light performance.
If you shoot events, portraits or weddings, this lens is definitely worth considering.
Scroll down for more thoughts on the Sony 50mm f 1.2 gm lens review and why it might be the most desirable lens Sony has ever made.
Table of Contents
Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM Specs
- Excellent Low Light Performance
- Beautiful Bokeh
- Very Sharp
- Excellent Image Quality
- Build Quality
- Stabilized: No
- Weight: 778 g (1.7 lb)
- Size (Diameter x Length): 3.4 x 4.3″ / 87 x 108 mm
- Filter Diameter: 72mm
- Minimum Focus Distance: 0.4m (1.3 ft)
Build & Ergonomics
When you pick up the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM lens, the first thing you’ll notice is the sturdy build. It feels substantial in your hands.
The rubberized focus ring and aperture ring give you a nice grip on the lens. Some might call this lens heavy at 778 grams, but what do you expect from a lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.2?
The fact is, a wide-aperture lens is going to be heavy. You’re not picking up the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM because of its svelte build. You’re choosing it because you want an aperture range that lets in as much light as possible.
Sony GM prime lenses usually max out at f/1.4, but the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM lets in an extra 1/3 stop of light. That translates to a little higher shutter speed in the darkest environments.
As you might expect on G Master lenses, the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM has a manual focus ring, a dedicated aperture ring, an aperture de-clicking switch, two focus hold buttons, and an auto/manual switch focus.
Although that may sound like a lot of controls, this Sony lens is very straightforward and comfortable to use.
I rarely use manual aperture controls, although it is nice to have when you want to have tactile control. Only video-focused creators will utilize the aperture de-clicking switch.
While testing this lens, I appreciated the weather sealing. I was out in the snow, and even while my camera was getting wet, I knew the weather sealing would keep my camera dry on the inside.
The one feature I love to use is the focus hold button. I like to customize my camera to have this switch set to Sony’s eye autofocus. This allows you to lock onto a subject’s eye and get sharp images.
This is especially useful for an f/1.2 lens because it has such a narrow depth of field.
There was a time when people questioned if Sony could create an f/1.2 lens that would match the Canon and Nikon equivalents. This lens proves that it can be done!
Aside from the lens itself, you’ll also get a high-quality lens hood and a storage bag in the box. Although I rarely use them, having a storage bag come with this lens is a nice touch for a GM lens.
When it comes to focus performance, this lens is exceptional. It locks focus in the darkest environments and tracks well even with such a shallow depth of field. Sony prime lenses are known for having excellent autofocus.
As with some of the recent Sony lenses, the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM has four linear xd focus motors, which give it outstanding performance even in touch situations.
If you want a lens for pulling focus, this lens can do it. At f/1.2, you’ll have the shallowest depth of field, and a manual focus-pull video can look really nice. The focal length is long enough to get out-of-focus backgrounds even with subjects at moderate distances.
Another concern for videographers is focus breathing (when the lens changes focal length slightly when focusing). Because of Sony’s new focus breathing compensation on their camera bodies, this won’t be an issue.
If manually focused shots are challenging, another alternative is direct manual focus. This camera menu setting allows you to lock in your focus with autofocus and then jump back to manual focusing.
At the closest focusing distance of 0.4m (1.3 ft), you will get an incredible background blur.
Of course, longer focal lengths would give more bokeh, but that is what is particularly great about the Sony 50mm f/1.2 is that it still has a medium focal length that is flexible and useful.
Few lenses are going to perform as well as the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM. You can count on this g master lens series to focus quickly whether you’re stopped down or using a very large aperture range.
The image quality is the main reason why you’ll be interested in the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM. At f/1.2 this is the fastest lens in the Sony lineup.
You’ll get optical performance that exceeds that of other wide aperture lenses because of the extra 1/3 stop of light. Additionally, this lens will have a very shallow depth of field which gives it the bokeh people love.
Other lenses at this focal length just can’t compete with the f/1.2 aperture. A full frame lens at f/1.2 is going to really emphasize out-of-focus areas.
There are crop sensor lenses with an f/1.2 minimum aperture designation, but they won’t provide nearly as much smooth bokeh at the same focal length.
In my opinion, this lens gives better bokeh at f/1.2 than my Sony 85mm f/1.8 does wide open. The longer the focal length, the more out of focus the backdrop will be.
If you really want the best bokeh, I’d check out the Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM lens, but the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM is a close second.
While bokeh is fun, the real beauty of this lens is its sharpness. Even at the extreme corners, this lens will give you very sharp images.
As a new lens, the FE 50mm f1.2 GM is pushing the boundaries of the maximum aperture while retaining sharpness. Mirrorless cameras are now exceeding what is available to DSLR cameras with the development of new lenses.
The sharpness of the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM lens will improve as you stop down to f/2.8, but the gains are minimal after that. I honestly wouldn’t hesitate to shoot wide open at f/1.2 because the sharpness is still top-notch.
In terms of color and contrast, this lens outperforms any others I’ve used. These qualities tend to be a bit more subjective than qualities that can be tested, but I really appreciate the look of the images from this camera.
In terms of chromatic aberration, this lens is well-controlled. The lens elements are designed to reduce pincushion distortion and spherical aberration making this a top-quality lens.
Color fringing is also not an issue, as you would expect with a new GM lens. There are almost no issues with this lens which is why it holds the GM designation.
Nano ar coating ii also gives the front element the ability to minimize lens flare so you don’t get any distracting elements in your backlit images.
Overall, the image quality of this lens is spectacular, and I love how well it performs. Simply incredible image quality!
Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM Sample Images
Here are some sample images taken with the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM and the Sony A7IV.
The full-frame Sony e-mount is becoming a crowded space for 50mm lenses. While the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM is the reigning champion when it comes to quality and aperture range, it does come at a cost.
If you don’t want to spend around $1900 on the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM, you might check out the Sony 50mm f/1.4 GM. This lens is only 1/3 stop slower and offers many of the same impressive qualities.
Alternatively, the Sony 55mm f/1.8 is cheaper and has great performance. This lens is also super compact/lightweight, something the f/1.2 version isn’t.
Although some people prefer to stay with the native Sony brand, you might consider the Sigma 50mm f/1.4. This recently released lens has great performance for around $850.
Lastly, I would steer clear of the Sony 50mm f/1.8 lens. Despite being only $250, this lens is an underperformer, and I believe you will be disappointed with the image quality, focus performance, and overall feel of this lens.
Value for Money
For around $1900, the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM is a pricey lens. If you want the best quality and aperture range, this is the lens for you. If price is a concern, you might consider one of the alternatives above.
For me, this lens is a great addition to my kit. Sure, $1900 is a lot to spend on a 50mm lens, but if you are shooting in super dark conditions, the extra light will make getting sharp images accessible.
When I can’t add light with off-camera strobes, having a super wide aperture is essential. I also love the look of the images with this lens.
If you’re just starting out, this isn’t the lens for you. When you’re working professionally and need top quality, this lens is awesome!
Is the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM worth it?
In short, yes. This lens has exceptional quality if you can afford it!
When was the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM released?
This lens was announced in March 2021.
What does the GM on Sony lenses mean?
GM stands for G-master, Sony’s highest designation of quality in their lens lineup.
How much does the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM weigh?
This lens weighs 778g (1.5lbs)
Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM Review | Conclusion
To summarize, this record-setting lens is very fun to shoot with. Having an aperture setting all the way to f/1.2 is fun in terms of bokeh and very useful for dark shooting environments.
This lens is heavier and more expensive than the average lens in my kit, but it serves a purpose and has earned its place among full-frame large-aperture lenses in my bag.
To the minimalist lightweight photographer, this is not the lens for you. There are so many good choices in this focal range that you should probably look for something cheaper, more compact, and better suited to your style.
If you’re shooting on high-end full-frame Sony e-mount cameras like the Sony A1, get top-quality GM lenses like the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM. You won’t regret it!