Sony has announced its new Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens. This full-frame fast prime features an 11-blade aperture for circular out-of-focus highlights even as you stop down, 'Advanced Aspheric' and ED lens elements and Zeiss' T* coating. Sony says that the lens' Planar design minimizes distortion. 

The lens is similar in construction to the FE 35mm F1.4. It's weather-sealed and uses Sony's Super Sonic Wave Motor for quick and quiet autofocus. A clicked aperture ring can be de-clicked if desired for smooth aperture control in video.

At a recent shooting event in San Diego, we had a chance to go hands with this fast prime (view our gallery here). Despite being a bit heavy, the lens handles beautifully. We were very impressed by sharpness: subjects placed far off-center remained sharp even wide open, despite the 42MP Sony a7R II sensor resolution. Indeed, MTF curves indicate an impressive 60% response is maintained across the frame wide open even at 40 line pairs / mm. Our initial shots also indicate that axial chromatic aberration (green and purple fringing) are very well controlled, and bokeh appears very smooth, both of which add to this lens' appeal over options like the Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA.

The FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens will be available this month at a price of $1500.

Sony Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typePrime lens
Max Format size35mm FF
Focal length50 mm
Image stabilizationNo
Lens mountSony FE
Aperture
Maximum apertureF1.4
Minimum apertureF16
Aperture ringYes
Number of diaphragm blades11
Optics
Elements12
Groups9
Special elements / coatings2 aspherical + 1 ED element + Zeiss T* coating
Focus
Minimum focus0.45 m (17.72)
Maximum magnification0.15×
AutofocusYes
Motor typeRing-type ultrasonic
Full time manualYes
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleNo
DoF scaleNo
Physical
Weight778 g (1.72 lb)
Diameter84 mm (3.29)
Length108 mm (4.25)
SealingYes
ColourBlack
Filter thread72.0 mm
Hood suppliedYes
Hood product codeALC-SH143

Press Release:

Sony Releases Full-Frame FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Prime Lens

A quintessential wide-aperture 50mm “normal” lens, the new ZEISS® Planar F1.4 offers high resolution, high-contrast and overall exceptional performance

SAN DIEGO, July 11, 2016 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today introduced a new full-frame lens for their E-mount camera system, the Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA (model SEL50F14Z).

This 50mm prime lens features a large F1.4 maximum aperture that offers impressive contrast and outstanding resolution that are hallmarks of the ZEISS® brand. It produces these consistently strong qualities throughout the entirety of the frame – from center to corner – and at all aperture settings, even while shooting wide open at F1.4. The cutting edge optical structure includes high-precision AA (Advanced Aspherical) and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements that reduce spherical and chromatic aberration, as well as a ZEISS® T* Coating that minimizes flare and ghosting creating the classic ZEISS® clarity. Additionally, its Planar design ensures minimal distortion.

The large F1.4 maximum aperture of the FE 50mm F1.4ZA lens provides a level of brightness and speed that are advantageous for dimly lit indoor shots, night scenes, and portraits, while its 11-bladed circular aperture allows for stunning “bokeh”, or background defocus, in images. The lens also features an aperture ring with an adjustable ON/OFF switch, an AF/MF focus mode switch, and a dust and moisture resistant design¹, further increasing its functionality.

The new lens is also equipped with a ring drive SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) system, which allows it to efficiently lock focus with speed, precision and in near silence, making it particularly useful for shooting movies.

Pricing and Availability – FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Lens

The new FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens will ship this July for a retail price of $1,500 US and $1,950 CA. The new FE interchangeable lens will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.