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Examined: Sony’s trio of compact 24mm, 40mm and 50mm G prime lenses: Digital Pictures Assessment

Earlier this 12 months Sony introduced a set of three compact full-frame E-mount prime lenses: the 24mm F2.8 G, the 40mm F2.5 G, and the 50mm F2.5 G. Their small, light-weight design makes them handy for informal and on-the-move photographers, and their practically equivalent sizes and weights make them supreme for gimbal film shooters requiring the flexibility of some completely different focal lengths. All three lenses weigh roughly 170g, provide 49mm filter threads and are available at an MSRP of $599 USD.

We needed to try how they carry out optically. However first, let’s begin with the optical designs:

Optical designs of the 24, 40, and 50mm compact G primes from Sony

We have beforehand pored over and extrapolated as a lot as we may from the (theoretical) MTF figures of every of those primes: the 24mm, the 40mm, and the 50mm. Now that we have had them in our fingers, we are able to take a better take a look at how they carry out in real-world utilization.The Sony 24mm F2.8 G prime contains 8 components in 7 teams, whereas the 40mm and 50mm F2.5 G primes comprise 9 components in 9 teams. All three of Sony’s newest G-series primes use aspherical components (indicated in purple above) to take care of excessive resolving energy throughout the body and scale back frequent aberrations, in accordance with Sony. The 24mm and 50mm lenses moreover make use of one ED (extra-low dispersion) ingredient every of their respective designs to cut back chromatic aberrations and fringing.

Sharpness and Lateral CA

One factor is obvious up entrance: these lenses are already at their peak sharpness virtually when shot vast open. So when you’re taking pictures in low mild or attempting to isolate your topic, you possibly can shoot vast open with none fear of sacrificing sharpness. Under we study lens efficiency for an infinity scene. All photographs have had distortion correction utilized; nonetheless, lateral chromatic aberration and vignetting stay uncorrected.

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Sony 24mm F2.8 G

Within the heart, the 24mm F2.8 G could be very sharp vast open, with little-to-no proof of any ‘veiled mushy’ take a look at vast apertures, thanks to just about 100% MTF response for low distinction element vast open. There’s solely the tiniest improve in sharpness going from F2.8 to F4 within the heart, and it is onerous to discern even in side-by-side A/B comparisons. The lens is sharp sufficient that you just would possibly discover a slight diffraction-induced softening going from 5.6 to F8 on a high-resolution sensor such because the a7R IV.

On the edges, you don’t actually see a rise in sharpness till you get to F8, and it is minimal at greatest, one thing confirmed from its theoretical MTF traces. There doesn’t appear to be a lot area curvature, as focusing out towards the sides doesn’t actually assist sharpen issues up. Focusing on the edges does lower heart sharpness ever so barely, although, so when you’re taking pictures a distant flat scene, you are higher off merely focusing on the heart.

The 24mm F2.8 G has some lateral chromatic aberration that will get barely worse as you cease down, nevertheless it’s simply eliminated mechanically in JPEGs or in post-processing with the metadata embedded within the Uncooked file. The lens stays tack sharp at close-focus distances, too, and has a decent most magnification of 0.19x in handbook focus mode (0.13x with AF).

Sony 40mm F2.5 G

The 40mm F2.5 G is extraordinarily sharp vast open, once more with no dreamy softness because of a practically 100% MTF response for low distinction element vast open. Whereas the sharpness MTF traces (30 lp/mm) improve noticeably upon stopping down, it is so modest that it is barely seen even in real-world side-by-side comparisons. Past F2.8, it is troublesome to notice any improve in sharpness, which is a testomony to its efficiency.

The lens is so sharp that it is pretty straightforward to identify diffraction-induced softening by F8. Nook sharpness will increase when you get to F5.6, however the improve in sharpness is pretty modest for the reason that edges are fairly sharp to start with vast open. There’s no improve in edge sharpness when you focus on the edge (versus the middle), suggesting very well-controlled area curvature that’s low sufficient so that you can not concern your self with it.

The 40mm F2.5 G has no discernible lateral chromatic aberration. Shut-up efficiency stays fairly good vast open, with sharp outcomes and little lack of distinction. The lens can focus right down to 0.25m in handbook focus mode, yielding 0.23x most magnification (0.2x with AF).

Sony 50mm F2.5 G

On the threat of sounding like a damaged document, the 50mm F2.5 G is extraordinarily sharp vast open, with no veiled look vast open because of practically excellent distinction vast open. Just like the 40mm F2.5 G, it will get a smidgen sharper going from F2.5 to F2.8 (predicted by the 30 lp/mm sharpness MTF plots), nevertheless it’s troublesome to understand any improve in sharpness as you cease down farther from F2.8. A lens that is diffraction restricted by F2.8 to F4 is an extremely sharp lens certainly, so kudos to Sony’s designers; this sequence of primes appear optimized for sharpness at or very close to vast open.

You may begin to see diffraction-induced softening by F8 and undoubtedly by F11. Edges sharpen up barely at F5.6 and extra so at F8, nevertheless it’s a modest enchancment over the already sharp outcomes vast open. There is not any improve in nook sharpness when you focus on the market; actually, a lower if something. This means the lens possible has a really flat area of focus, an attribute it shares with the 24mm and 40mm primes.

Lateral chromatic aberration is extraordinarily well-controlled: we won’t see even a touch of it at 1:1 magnification. Photographs shot at close-focusing distances stay sharp vast open, with an in depth focus distance of 0.31m and a most magnification of 0.21x in handbook focus mode (0.18x with AF).

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All three lenses vignette considerably when shot vast open, which is not too shocking given their compact sizes.

The 24mm F2.8 G has important vignetting vast open, and continues to vignette till F11 the place it’s barely noticeable. But there may be nonetheless a small lower in vignetting going from F11 to F16. At its worst, at F2.8, we measure the vignetting to be 1 cease on the corners relative to F16.

The 40mm F2.5 G fares a bit higher within the vignetting division, with many of the vignetting clearing up by F5.6. Nevertheless, F8 nonetheless exhibits much less vignetting within the corners than F5.6, and there is a slight improve in brightness within the excessive corners even at F11. At F2.5 we measure a 1.2 EV drop in nook brightness relative to F16.

It is a related story with the 50mm F2.5 G: many of the vignetting clears up by F5.6, however the corners brighten up a bit extra at F8, whereas the acute corners do not attain their peak brightness till F11. At F2.5 we measure a 1.1 EV drop in nook brightness relative to F16.

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We do not fear an excessive amount of about distortion nowadays merely due to how simply corrected it’s in JPEGs or in the course of the Uncooked conversion course of, nevertheless it’s insightful to take a look at in understanding why some edge softness could by no means sharpen up even upon stopping the lens down.

24mm F2.8 G

The 24mm F2.8 G reveals a excessive diploma of barrel distortion. Whereas it is simply corrected for, the stretching of the sides of the picture upon correction could account for a few of the edge softness that persists even up on stopping the lens down.

Slide the circle with the arrow carrots proper to view the corrected picture, and left to view the uncorrected picture, beneath.

40mm F2.5 G

The 40mm F2.5 G lens additionally exhibits some barrel distortion, nevertheless it’s far much less extreme than the 24mm F2.8 G. It isn’t too shocking, then, that edge sharpness does improve upon stopping the lens down, as there is not numerous stretching occurring at picture edges upon correction of distortion.

50mm F2.5 G

The 50mm F2.5 G lens exhibits little or no distortion; actually the corrected and uncorrected photographs seem practically equivalent. The low degree of distortion implies that edges and corners of the picture aren’t stretched in any respect after distortion correction, and so these areas of the picture stay fairly sharp particularly upon stopping the lens down.

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Bokeh traits differ throughout the three primes. All three lenses exhibit some cats eye impact out in the direction of the picture edges, and whereas the impact is not too distracting, it is a bit greater than we would count on for lenses with such reasonable most apertures. Take a look at cats eye impact by following these hyperlinks for the 24mm, 40mm, and 50mm lenses.

Taking a better look, the 24mm F2.8 G has the smoothest bokeh discs (or circle-of-confusion/CoC) of the pack, with little to no obvious texture or onion rings. Nevertheless, it reveals a little bit of ‘cleaning soap bubble’ impact, seen as brilliant edges across the CoC. Though this will result in a barely busy look the place bokeh discs begin to overlap, we did not discover it an excessive amount of of a difficulty in real-world utilization. Stopping the lens right down to F4, nonetheless, results in a polygonal-shaped CoC, because the 7-bladed aperture has too few blades to retain a round form.

The 40mm and 50mm F2.5 G lenses have related bokeh traits: each lenses exhibit texture and onion ring patterning to their CoCs. We should always point out, although, that we have solely examined one copy of every lens, and it is doable that different items of those lenses could have roughly texture in out-of-focus specular highlights. Nevertheless, in our years of testing we have now famous that lenses with small components and longer focal lengths are extra liable to textured CoCs, attributable to small defects in ingredient surfaces presenting over a larger proportion of the image- in comparison with related sized defects in lenses with bigger components. Therefore we do count on the the 24mm F2.8 G to yield smoother out-of-focus bokeh discs relative to the 40mm and 50mm lenses.

Broad open there’s not a lot of a difficulty in any respect with brilliant edges to the CoC, however cease the lenses right down to F4 and you will discover an identical brilliant edge to the CoC as with the 24mm F2.8 G. Once more, we did not discover this to negatively affect bokeh considerably in real-world utilization (comply with the gallery hyperlinks on the backside of the web page to guage for your self).

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Longitudinal CA / Bokeh Fringing

Whereas the 40mm and 50mm F2.5 G lenses present no observable lateral chromatic aberration (LCA), the 24mm F2.8 G does. Funnily sufficient, the state of affairs is exactly reversed with regards to longitudinal chromatic aberration (LoCA)! Each the 40mm and 50mm F2.5 G exhibit a good diploma of LoCA, seen as purple and inexperienced fringing in entrance of, and behind, the main target airplane, respectively. In the meantime, LoCA is kind of nicely managed on the 24mm F2.8 G.

Longitudinal chromatic aberration (LoCA) of the 24mm F2.8 G (left), 40mm F2.5 G (heart), and 50mm 2.5G (proper) lenses. The 40mm and 50mm F2.5 G lenses exhibit a major quantity of LoCA, seen as inexperienced fringes round out-of-focus highlights behind the main target airplane. The 24mm F2.8 G controls such a CA pretty nicely.

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Flare / Ghosting

In case you level the lenses straight on the solar or related brilliant mild sources, chances are you’ll discover some lack of distinction attributable to flare, significantly when taking pictures vast open and extra so with the 40mm and 50mm F2.5 G lenses. The 24mm F2.8 G fares a bit higher on this regard, nevertheless it’s not completely resistant to contrast-reducing flare. The excellent news is that for every lens, the distinction loss is pretty minimal. All three lenses present a good diploma of ghosting, brought on by repeated reflections off of inner lens surfaces. When the reflections happen in entrance of or behind the lens aperture, the ‘ghosts’ tackle the form of the aperture. Examine all three lenses shot into the solar vast open beneath.

Stopping the lenses right down to F16, the ghosts turns into extra obvious and higher outlined, significantly with the 40mm and 50mm F2.5 G lenses. Stopped down, the picture artifact could be distracting, however remember the fact that within the state of affairs right here we purposefully adjusted the angle and composition to maximise flare and ghosting, and it is unlikely to be a difficulty in most conditions.

The sunstar efficiency of all three lenses is kind of related. The 7-bladed apertures yield 14-ray sunstars. They’re good, however they will not blow you away: the rays aren’t as sharply outlined as we have a tendency to love, and we recognize the 18 and 22-point sunstars that 9-bladed and 11-bladed apertures, respectively, yield.

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Sony’s G ‘mini primes’ are a welcome addition to the full-frame E-mount lineup. They carry out nicely optically, focus practically instantaneously because of their double linear motors, and canopy helpful focal lengths whereas that includes comparatively quick apertures. Their bodily similarity makes them nice for video work the place chances are you’ll want to swap focal lengths with out having to re-configure or re-balance your gimbal or drone. That mentioned, they don’t seem to be with out their flaws.

When it comes to resolving energy, the sharpness of those lenses does not disappoint: you possibly can fortunately shoot them vast open with none fear of sacrificing a lot, or any perceivable, picture high quality. Their linear motors focus practically instantaneously, so you possibly can sustain with quick motion. Lateral CA merely is not a difficulty for the 40mm and 50mm primes, and the comparatively minor quantity that is there on the 24mm F2.8 G is well eliminated in post-processing. Distortion is a bit excessive on the 24mm however simply corrected for; nonetheless, it is doable that the necessity for correction negatively impacts picture sharpness on the edges even at smaller apertures. It is solely excessive edges affected, although, so it is nothing we would be involved about.

Sony’s G compact primes are optically well-performing, fast-focusing lenses of helpful focal lengths

Bokeh is arguably a bit smoother on the 24mm F2.8 G, with the 40mm and 50mm primes affected by textured out-of-focus highlights with onion rings and considerably magenta and inexperienced bokeh fringing. That fringing is brought on by a good bit of longitudinal CA that may affect actual world photographs, significantly in areas of the picture simply falling out of focus. None of those primes are resistant to flare and ghosting, which is considerably anticipated for such a lens at this worth level.

In case you do not end up chasing the shallowest depth-of-field or needing the additional mild obtainable from F1.2 – F2 lenses, these primes are an effective way to avoid wasting cash and a few weight and house in your digital camera bag. We think about most customers will select between the 40mm and 50mm primes, and can profit from figuring out there actually is not a major distinction in optical efficiency. The 24mm F2.8 G seems to be a lower above the 40 and 50mm primes optically, and we think about it discovering its method into no less than just a few digital camera baggage. In the meantime, the 50mm F2.5 G is a beautiful various to the costlier Sony/Zeiss 55mm F1.8, because of its wonderful sharpness and comparatively related bokeh and longitudinal and lateral CA efficiency in comparison with that lens. The 40mm F2.5 G leaves us scratching our heads a bit: it isn’t fairly in between the 24mm and 50mm lenses and we have now a sense most individuals will go for the wonderful 35mm F1.8 lens as a substitute.

Pattern galleries

Please don’t reproduce any of those photographs with out prior permission (see our copyright web page).

Sony 24mm F2.8 G gallery

Sony 40mm F2.5 G gallery

Sony 50mm F2.5 G gallery

Sony mini primes pattern gallery (DPReview TV)

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