When Sony first announced their new ultracompact prime trio — the 24mm f/2.8, 40mm f/2.5 and 50mm f/2.5 — I scratched my head a little bit. With all of the compact prime lenses on the market for E mount cameras, where do Sony’s fit in?

After all, Sony has hit home runs with their f/1.8 primes. So why develop these ultracompact primes?

As I tested them out, I began to realize the markets they were going after. There are two here — one, the hobbyist photographer who doesn’t want big, heavy lenses (especially when traveling). And two, vloggers. Let me explain.

When you look at the other compact primes for E mount cameras — those by the likes of Tamron and Sigma — they perform very well. But they still are not as compact as the new Sony primes. I mean, these things are TINY. They’re super lightweight. And this makes them a perfect lens option for something like the a7C camera.

But that’s not what Sony is trying to do with these new primes. They’re trying to provide an ultracompact option for those who want or need that. I’m not that person, but I know a lot of people (especially casual videographers) who would absolutely love these lenses. One thing about Sony is that their lenses are extremely reliable. The image quality on these is great, as is the focusing.

Where it fits in for photographers

Travel and street photographers rejoice — the fact that these lenses are so small means that you can carry all of them at once without much of a worry. If you’re traveling this will give you more room to work with in your bag without bogging you down with heavier lenses.

On the street side of things, these lenses will make your subjects feel a little more comfortable. They’ll be less likely to shield their face or turn the other way because these lenses will be seen as approachable.

As you can see in the shots above, if you’re looking for that signature bokeh look, you might want to look elsewhere. These primes offer a creamy background separation, but it could be better. If you’re looking for bokeh in the background … well, it’s not really present.

The above shots were taken with the 50mm, and the lens performed as you would expect. Focusing was pretty quick, and image quality was good.

For still photography, I look at these primes much like I would a kit lens. They work really well for what they’re meant to do. But you won’t get amazing, creative results that you might from higher-end lenses. That’s OK, but if you want a little more of a defined look in a compact package, I’d recommend something like the Sigma 35mm f/2 instead.

However if you’re just getting started in photography and need a reliable prime lens, these are good options without breaking the bank. That said, it’s hard for me to recommend these lenses to beginning photographers over, say, the Tamron compact 20mm, 24mm and 35mm primes — all of which are much more affordable.

For the 40mm (above), I really like the focal length present here. It suffers from the same lack of bokeh, and I found that if there are certain patterns in the background (for example, bricks), the background is a little too detailed — even at f/2.5.

Finally, the 24mm (below) gives a great field of view, but there is quite a bit of distortion present. This is to be expected (and can be easily fixed), but in certain instances, it almost looked like it was applying a fisheye effect to my images.

All this said, these lenses are good. But if you’re looking for pro-like quality, there are better options that fit the bill.

Where it fits in for videographers

I actually think these primes work better for videographers than they do photographers. With all of these being the same size, it means you can balance your camera on a gimbal and not have to worry about adjusting as you change lenses.

The lenses come with a declickable aperture ring, too, meaning you can change apertures on the lens without having to worry about any sounds being picked up.

For vloggers, the compact size and weight mean you can carry around your camera easier than before. If you have something like an a7C, these will fit perfectly, and allow you to obtain relatively good video quality when you’re on-the-go.

I did a few video tests with the 50mm f/2.5 and was pleasantly surprised. I ultimately decided I wanted a closer-in look with a different lens, but during my tests with the 50mm, it was clear that it would have fit my needs extremely well if the shot was right.

If you shoot video, or are just starting to, these lenses fit the bill incredibly well.


24mm f/2.8

  • Minimum focus distance: 0.24m (AF) / 0.18m (MF)
  • Maximum magnification: 0.13x (AF) / 0.19x (MF)
  • Diaphragm blades: 7, rounded
  • Weight: 5.7 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2.68″ x 1.77″
  • Image stabilization: No

40mm f/2.5

  • Minimum focus distance: 0.28m (AF) / 0.25m (MF)
  • Maximum magnification: 0.18x (AF) / 0.23x (MF)
  • Diaphragm blades: 7, rounded
  • Weight: 6.1 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2.68″ x 1.77
  • Image stabilization: No

50mm f/2.5

  • Minimum focus distance: 0.35m (AF) / 0.31m (MF)
  • Maximum magnification: 0.18x (AF) / 0.21x (MF)
  • Diaphragm blades: 7, rounded
  • Weight: 6.1 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2.68″ x 1.77″
  • Image stabilization: No

Should you buy them?

If you’re a hybrid shooter, switching back and forth between photo and video, you might want to give these lenses a look. The 40mm f/2.5 entices me the most, as that’s becoming more and more of a popular cinematic focal length.

If Sony can develop a few other primes in this set — an 85mm would be a perfect addition — it’ll be a great lineup of primes to entice casual photographers or videographers.

Sony Compact FE Prime G Lenses

When paired with a Sony full-frame or APS-C camera, all three lenses offer high resolution, intuitive operability, and fast, precise and quiet AF (autofocus) capabilities. The lenses were designed for a wide range of photo and video uses including portraiture, landscape, street photography and more.