Sony’s new prime lenses are the small saviors I’ve been looking for

The new Sony 24mm f/2.8, 40mm f/2.5, and 50mm f/2.5 are three new compact prime lenses that each cost $599.99 and will be shipping in mid-May. While they uphold the reputation of quality Sony has established with the G lineup, it’s their uniformity and small size that come as a welcomed surprise.

Uniformity and size are so rarely a topic of discussion in regards to lenses. As a video-first creator, 67mm, 77mm, and 82mm are common thread sizes in my gear bag. But it feels like with every new lens I buy I have to factor in the cost of a new ND filter or a step-up or down ring. These three new lenses all conveniently share the same 49mm filter thread.

Then there is weight and size. It’s no secret that bags with full-frame camera gear are heavy, and lenses play no small role in that. But this new trio of lenses are small and light enough to fit in a compact bag or even your jacket pocket.

Each of these lenses features an aperture click toggle, an autofocus toggle, a programmable button, and an aperture and focus ring. They are all weather-sealed and are 2.5 inches (64mm) in diameter while only 1.8 inches (45mm) tall. This uniformity is especially helpful when balancing a camera on a gimbal, where often the gimbal will need to be rebalanced with each lens swap. I was able to balance my A7C on a Zhiyun Crane M2 with the 24mm attached then easily change to the 50mm for tighter shots without having to rebalance.

The weight also plays an important role here. The Zhiyun Crane M2 is a $200 handheld gimbal designed for phones, action cameras, and point-and-shoot cameras. The 24mm f/2.8 weighs 162g (5.71oz), the 40mm f/2.5 is 173g (6.10oz), and the 50mm f/2.5 is 174g (6.13oz). Add the 50mm, the heaviest of the three lenses, to the 509g A7C, and at 683g, I was still under the Crane M2’s 720g (1.58lb) weight limit. That left me enough headroom to put my Rode VideoMicro mic on the camera.

A full-frame camera with a full-frame lens on a gimbal that small is truly remarkable, and my arms are forever grateful.

Because there are typically fewer lens elements in a prime lens than a zoom lens, they are often sharper and have less chromatic aberration. Primes also usually have wider aperture that can let in more light or provide more creative control over the depth of field in an image. At f/2.8 and f/2.5 maximum apertures, none of these three lenses will win contests for the blurriest bokeh or the most light-gathering ability. But on a full-frame Sony camera, they provide enough separation between subjects and pleasingly blurry backgrounds. Overall, they all capture sharp images with a soft, painterly focus falloff. Although I didn’t have any other primes lenses within the $600 price range to compare them to, I was impressed with the sharpness throughout the aperture range and the lack of chromatic aberration.