Buying the latest and greatest is seriously tempting, but is it really worthwhile? Going from the MeFoto RoadTrip to a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod; from the a7 III to the a7s III; from the Shogun Inferno to the Ninja V; and from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 12 Pro Max: those were all substantial upgrades. But will I see enough of a difference with the 50mm GM in handling, image quality or autofocus performance to justify its steep price? With only a couple months to go before it starts shipping, I brought my trusty Planar 50mm f/1.4 out on another shoot to decide once and for all if I should replace it. I took mostly head-and-shoulder and full body shots, with the aperture somewhere around f/2 – f/4.5. For the most part, eye autofocus worked flawlessly, only faltering momentarily when the model raised her arms above her shoulders to play with her hair. When shooting the model with the figurine, the camera unfailingly stuck to the figurine’s eyes as long as the model’s face was obscured. I can’t even imagine what it would be like trying to pull focus manually as the model spun around in her chair! For support, the camera was mounted on the superb Gitzo GT 1545TA. In post, I just corrected the primaries and secondaries using the X-Rite ColorChecker, hue vs. hue and the vectorscope, then adjusted to taste with the temperature and tint controls. It’s incredibly difficult to find any fault with the Planar!

4 thoughts on “Upgrade to the 50mm f/1.2 GM?

  1. There are not so many improvements on lenses because there’s less electronic in them.
    An optically very good lens will remain very good for decades.
    You should try compare what’s the lenses behaviour (sharpness, bokeh, etc).
    Then, the only electronic difference may be the AF.

    Sony lenses are very sharp in the center but we should not forget the other parts of the image because we don’t (rarely?) place he main subject at the center of the frame.

  2. The new Sony G lenses may be bot as good as the GM the their size is quite attractive for full frame lenses!

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