Andy Westlake tries out Sony's latest premium fast prime designed for Alpha 7 users, the Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA
Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA review – Features
One clue to Sony’s intentions is the optical design; with 12 elements in nine groups, this is unusually complex for a 50mm prime. Indeed, while Sony designates it as a refined Planar-type lens, its optical formula has strayed almost unrecognisably from the classic symmetric double Gauss implied by the name. It includes an advanced aspheric element, which Sony claims has an exceptionally fine surface tolerance of just 0.01μm in a bid to improve the rendition of out-of-focus areas, while providing the sharpest possible image from the centre to the corners of the frame. Also on board are an additional aspheric element and an ED glass element to maximise contrast, reduce chromatic aberration and suppress distortion.
Sony has also included an 11-bladed diaphragm that’s designed to keep the aperture as close to circular as possible, and in turn keep out-of-focus highlights circular. Look into the front of the lens as you stop down and it’s clear that this serves its purpose admirably.
At the front of the lens is a large 72mm filter thread that doesn’t rotate on focusing, along with a bayonet mount for the deep petal-type hood. When not in use, the hood can be reversed snugly around the barrel, but in this position it does block the manual-focus ring almost entirely. The minimum focus distance is 45cm, which is fairly typical for its class, but like all other full-frame 50mm f/1.4 designs there’s no optical stabilisation.