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Gear Reviews

Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM Lens Review | G Master Quality In Lightweight Form

By Scott Robert Lim on November 29th 2018

G Master Quality

The Sony FE 24mm F1.4 is the newest Sony G Master prime lens. Sony designates their highest quality lenses with an orange colored “G” logo. In order to capture the detail and quality of Sony’s current and future higher megapixel cameras, it was necessary to create a lens that could capture all the detail of a 42mp sensor and higher. G master lenses are best suited for high resolution, full frame mirrorless cameras (i.e. Sony A7 and A9 series). G Master lenses are designed and built for today and tomorrow’s technology.

Sony A7r3, 24mm F1.4, 1/3200, ISO50 | Scott Robert Lim

 

Advanced Optical Quality and Resolution even at F1.4

Two XA (extreme aspherical) elements in an optical design contribute to consistently high resolution throughout the entire image area and reduced size.

XA elements shown in orange

 

Three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements are also included to minimize chromatic aberration. These innovative optical designs minimize sagittal flare so that point light sources are accurately reproduced. Sagittal flare can cause an unnatural spreading of point light sources that becomes more pronounced towards the image periphery.

Sony A7r3, 24mm F1.4, 1/8000, ISO100 photo by Scott Robert Lim

 

Compact and Lightweight Innovations

This is one of the lightest lenses in its class. The innovative use of two XA elements coupled with a redesigned DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) focus drive system allowed Sony to achieve an incredibly lightweight lens with the total weight of 15.7 oz (445g). The small footprint makes it ideal for travel and mobile applications.  A newly designed high-power DDSSM, optimized for this lens, delivers approximately three times greater thrust than the previous focus drive system. The increased power of the new DDSSM system provides faster, more precise, quieter autofocus drive capability for outstanding performance when shooting stills and movies.

Sony A7r3, 24mm F1.6, 1/250, ISO50 photo by Scott Robert Lim

 

Bokeh Monster

The 11 blade aperture creates a soft and natural bokeh. Defocused point light sources will appear more circular with a greater number of blades.

1. Polygonal bokeh 2. Circular bokeh with 11 blades

 

The ability to close focus at  0.79 ft with a wide angle lens and large F1.4 aperture allow the photographer to creatively capture dramatic imagery with shallow depth of field for stunning perspectives.

Sony A7r3, 24mm F1.4, 1/80, ISO50 photo by Scott Robert Lim

 

Professional Lens Control

Customizable focus hold button, aperture ring, aperture click switch, Linear Response MF, dustproof and moisture-resistant design and fluorine front-element coating adds up to fully professional control and reliability for movies as well as stills.

1. Focusing ring / 2. Aperture ring / 3. Focus hold button / 4. Focus mode switch / 5. Aperture index / 6. Aperture click switch

 

Sony A7r3, 24mm F1.4, 1/3200, ISO100 photo by Scott Robert Lim

 

My Field Test Observations

This is a surprisingly versatile lens. I know people don’t think of a 24mm lens as a portrait lens; however, take a hard look at this new favorite in my gear bag. As an artist I always like pushing the limits which can mean using a “wide angle” lens as a landscape and portrait lens.

My first impression of this lens is that it is very compact and light, yet it still feels like a high quality lens. This 24mm can easily fit in your favorite camera bag and is a perfect low light solution also.

I couldn’t wait to test drive this at a sunrise beach session and at the Aviation Museum on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. I set it at F1.4 pretty much all the time and noticed I could take great portraits and also amazing wide angle shots. I love the shallow DOF I could achieve especially when I was close to my subject. Wide angle shots were a breeze too with minimal distortion, especially if I kept my subject near the center. As for my shooting style, 35mm is not wide enough for my taste, so 24mm is the perfect solution.

Very quickly I noticed the quality and color rendition is superb – the colors burst off the screen and the detail was sharp and clear. Focusing was snappy and quick with no hunting, even in low light. I also enjoyed using the aperture ring to quickly change my F-Stop almost without thinking – an intuitive feature that is natural for those of us that like an old school, hands-on feel. Sony’s Eye-Focus feature can be a bit tricky when using a wide angle lens, especially if there is a lot of detail in your background – the camera can not distinguish between a human eye and other details that may be in your background. I had to occasionally switch my focus to a fixed spot to zero in on what I wanted in focus.

This lens was a complete joy to use; the quality, compact size and versatility quickly made this lens one of my new favorites. This can easily be one of my go-to lenses when I want to pack light for a casual social event or keep a low profile when shooting on the street or traveling. For my professional work, like at a wedding or a location portrait session, I expect heavy usage for this lens.

Whether you’re a portrait, landscape, wedding or street photographer, many will be pleasantly surprised at the versatility, quality and compact size. Sony created another winner with this fast 24mm F1.4 prime lens, now one of the lowest priced G Master lenses available.

Details, Details, Details

If you would like to geek out and learn more about lens basics and Sony terminology, visit this site.

 

Image Gallery | Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM | Photography by Scott Robert Lim

 

Specifications:

Mount: Sony E-mount

Format: 35 mm full frame

Focal Length: 24mm

35 mm equivalent focal length (APS-C): 36mm

Lens Groups / Elements: 10–13

Angle of View (35 mm): 84゚

Angle of View (APS-C): 61゚2

Maximum aperture (F): 1.4

Minimum Aperture (F): 16

Aperture Blades: 11

Circular Aperture: Yes

Minimum Focus Distance: 0.79 ft (0.24 m)

Maximum Magnification ratio (x): 0.17

Filter Diameter: 67mm

Image stabilization (SteadyShot)- (body-integrated)

Hood Type: Petal shape, bayonet type

Size & Weight

Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 3″ x 3 3/4″ (75.4 x 92.4 mm)

Weight: 15.7 oz (445 g)

What’s In The Box

* Hood (model):ALC-SH154

* Lens front cap:ALC-F67S

* Lens rear cap: ALC-R1EM

* Case

 

Scott Robert Lim is a certified master educator and has over 70 international awards to his name, including top Ten Most Influential, Kodak Award, World’s Top Wedding Photographers and has been a judge at many international photography competitions. His work has been published and viewed by millions all over the world and is a popular speaker on Creative Live- “Crazy Stupid Light”, “Think Like a 10K Wedding Photographer” and his latest “Portrait Fundamentals”. For the last decade he has dedicated his career to developing world class photographers on every continent and loves teaching photographers of all levels. He has an energetic and charismatic speaking style and is an industry leader in photography education.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Matthew Saville

    Great review, Scott! Thanks for sharing your wisdom on portraiture in general, in addition to the specifics of this lens.

    I think that anyone who puts themselves in a box with regards to which lenses “make good portrait lenses”, is missing out. We all should understand the basics of distortion, and therefore /why/ a medium/telephoto lens is usually more flattering for portraits, but the fact is, environmental portraits, or anything head-to-toe, opens up a whole world of other potential focal lengths that people should consider.

    I’m really looking forward to checking out this lens for nightscape photography!!!

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