Well, you’d be hard pressed to find a tidier looking collection of lenses than Sony’s new FE 24mm F2.8 G, FE 40mm F2.5 G and 50mm F2.5 G primes. And not only do they look good, they promise great image quality, tough, light and portable design, and refined handling.
All of these lenses are full-frame E mount models, so they’ll fit on either full frame or APS-C Sony bodies, though of course in the latter case you’re looking at equivalents of 36mm, 60mm and 75mm. As a set, you’re looking at focal lengths covering a decent range of subjects across stills and video, varying from portraits, street and documentary to landscapes and travel.
What’s more, the FE 40mm F2.5 G is a first for that focal length in Sony’s lens lineup, and the closest lens to a proper ‘standard’ optic you’ll find. After all, while many people think of a 50mm as a ‘standard’, ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ lens, on a full frame camera like the Sony Alpha series, a true standard lens is around 43mm – the same as the diagonal measurement across the sensor. So there you go.
As part of Sony’s G lenses range, you’d expect the new primes to offer great image quality, and that’s what the company is claiming, with “state-of-the-art optics using aspherical elements and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements, delivering high resolution and suppressing colour fringing from corner to corner, even from the widest apertures.” All of the lenses also use a circular aperture design to improve their bokeh.
When it comes to focusing, the lenses promise fast, accurate and quite AF, thanks to their twin linear motors. Something that’s vital if you want to make the most of the powerful face, eye or subject tracking AF in the latest Sony Alpha bodies. The quietness of the AF should also make these lenses suitable for discrete shooting at weddings, events, on the street, or for movie shooting when your mic would close enough to pick up noise from regular, geared lenses.
The lenses’ minimum focus distances also impress, giving photographers close focusing options, and it’s possible to focus even nearer in manual than it is in autofocus mode. The FE 50mm F2.5 G has a minimum focus distance of 0.35m in AF and 0.31m in manual; the FE 40mm F2.5 G records 0.28m in AF and 0.25m in manual; and the FE 24mm F2.8 G can focus down to 0.24m in AF and 0.18m in manual.
These lenses have obviously been designed to handle really well, too. For starters there’s a physical aperture ring letting you take control right on the lens barrel, which always feels great, and saves an input on the body. They also feature a focus mode switch and focus hold button, the latter of which can be customised from the camera menu and assigned based on users’ preferences. Not only that, the aperture can be declicked for video applications.
Using an aluminum exterior for strength and durability, each lens offers an identical 49mm filter thread, letting users mix and match lens caps and filters. Each of the lenses is also dust and moisture resistant to ensure usability in any sort of outdoor environment. Despite all this quality, they’re also very small and light. Each lens measures 68x45mm, and they tip the scales at 163g for the 24mm, 173g for the 40mm and 174g for the 50mm. This, of course, makes them very portable for a day’s shooting, but also means other kit you carry like tripods and gimbals can be lighter. For video applications, the similar weight, size, and internal focusing design also means you shouldn’t need to rebalance a gimbal between lens changes.
The FE 50mm F2.5 G, FE 40mm F2.5 GandFE 24mm F2.8 G lenses will be available in April and with an RRP of around £630 each. Here’s a gallery of sample images.