Sony Announced a Full-Frame 14mm f/1.8, And it Isn’t a Brick
Sony has been on a roll for a couple of years now, when it comes to delivering on one of the oldest promises that mirrorless cameras ever made: to be more compact and lightweight, even with larger, full-frame sensors. Today is another exciting day for nightscape photographers!
For me, the excitement started in late 2018, when Sony announced their FE 24mm f/1.4 GM and it was “tiny” compared to other 24mm f/1.4 lenses. Yet, by some miracle or witchcraft, it was by far the sharpest 24mm f/1.4 lens, especially in the corners. Then, Sony added to the lineup with a 20mm f/1.8 and 35mm f/1.8, both of which, although not even bearing the GM label, turned out to also have incredible image quality, despite rather diminutive size/weight specs.
Today, Sony has announced what many nightscape photographers consider the holy grail of ultra-wide lenses: a 14mm f/1.8 that (SPOILER ALERT) appears to have truly incredible image quality, based on the initial tests that we’ve seen.
The Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 G Master is priced at “only” $1,598, (shipping soon!) and weighs a mere 460 g. (1 lb!)
By comparison, the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 HSM Art, which is made for DSLRs and is downright massive, costs $1,599 and weighs 1170 g. (2.6 lb)
The Rokinon/Samyang 14mm f/2.4 SP/XP, which actually has better corner sharpness than the Sigma at f/2.4, costs $749-799 and weighs 791 g. (1.74 lb)
The Rokinon/Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE, which is the only autofocus lens available that is about the same size as this new Sony, costs $499-549 and weighs 505g. (1.11 lb)
The Laowa/Venus Optics 15mm f/2 Zero-D, which is a manual lens that is one of the only lenses in the focal range that is actually smaller than this new Sony, costs $849 and weighs 500g. (1.1 lb)
Matthew’s Initial Opinion
I have reviewed and/or extensively tested every 14mm lens on the market, as an astro-landscape photographer. I’ve watched as image quality and low-light capabilities get better and better every few years, with new lenses being announced that are sharper, faster, and yes, bigger and heavier. Were these lenses exciting and impressive? Yes, of course. Am I likely to drag them with me on every wilderness adventure I go on? Absolutely not. Period.
As someone who hikes through the wilderness with multiple camera bodies and numerous lenses in a backpack, compactness and weight savings really do matter to me. I sometimes carry 2-3 full-frame bodies, and 5-7 full-frame lenses, for nightscape time-lapse purposes.
Needless to say, Sony has been continually impressing me with their specific approach to their fast-aperture, wide-angle primes in the past few years. The Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM was incredible, and the Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G was just as impressive considering its aperture and focal length combination.
For this reason, I’m very excited about this new ultra-wide full-frame mirrorless prime lens. Yet again, it sounds too good to be true. Except, this time, I’ve actually been able to see quite a few sample images that demonstrate full-resolution corner image quality, and all I can say is, it seems like the real deal!
SPOILER ALERT: my initial assessment is that the Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM has very low coma & astigmatism, but slightly more prominent vignetting, than the only other 14mm f/1.8 lens on the market, the Sigma Art. Also, compared to literally any other Sony E-mount lens in the 14mm range, this new Sony has an advantage of either weight, size, price, image quality, …or all of the above! Heck, it’s even more lightweight than the only other ~14mm lenses that still almost compete with the Sony in terms of aperture speed and compact size, the Rokinon/Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 FE and the Laowa/Venus 15mm f/2.
The bottom line is that it appears Sony has made another winner. That is, if you really care about aperture speed, and also corner image quality, in addition to weight and size, of course. Honestly, though? If you don’t need f/1.8, if you never pixel-peep the corners of your images, then you might not be as excited as I am. However, if you’re an astro-landscape photographer, you may have just seen the introduction of your new 14mm champion nightscape photography lens.
We’ll try and get our hands on this lens asap for review, and keep you updated on how its real-world performance turns out! All I know is, if this lens turns out to be as good as its E-mount sibling primes have been in the last few years, then I’ll have to officially eat crow after accusing Sony’s E-mount of being “potentially too small” for good corner image quality at fast apertures. ;-)
Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 G Master | Official Press Release
Sony Electronics Continues to Push Boundaries with the Introduction of the Compact, Ultra-wide Angle, Large Aperture FE 14mm F1.8 G Master™ Prime Lens
Newest Addition to Sony’s E-mount Lens Lineup Offers Extraordinary Resolution, Advanced and Quiet Autofocus Capabilities, Beautiful Bokeh Rendering and More
SAN DIEGO, CA – April 20, 2021 – Sony Electronics Inc. further expands its E-mount lens lineup with the introduction of the groundbreaking FE 14mm F1.8 G Master (model SEL14F18GM) – a compact, large F1.8 aperture, ultra-wide angle lens that allows users to capture the world with new perspectives by delivering sharp resolution from corner to corner with little to no distortion, especially when shooting landscapes, architecture, starry skies and interiors.
“Sony continuously strives to meet the needs of our customers with the most advanced tools possible. We’re excited to share the newest member of our G Master series, the FE 14mm F1.8 G Master,” said Yang Cheng, Vice President, Imaging Solutions, Sony Electronics Inc. “This lens sets a new standard for 14mm primes, by delivering extraordinary corner-to-corner resolution and advanced autofocus capabilities in a compact design that has never before been realized in this focal length.”
Extraordinary Resolution in an Incredibly Compact and Lightweight Design
The new FE 14mm F1.8 G Master features a compact design, measuring just 3⅜ in x 4 in (83mm x 99.8mm) and weighing just 16.3 oz (460g), with advanced optical technology that delivers superb resolution and stunning contrast. Two XA (extreme aspherical) elements and one aspherical lens element maintain excellent resolution throughout the entire image area and contribute to its compact and lightweight design. Two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements and one Super ED glass element result in optical refinements that suppress chromatic aberration and deliver excellent contrast and precise rendering at all apertures.
The FE 14mm F1.8 G Master is useful in all types of low-light situations for both still and movie shooting, thanks to the maximum F1.8 aperture. Users can faithfully render point light sources, like stars for astrophotography, without having to use extremely slow shutter speeds. A common problem plaguing wide angle lenses is light entering at extreme angles that could reflect internally. The FE 14mm F1.8 G Master uses Sony’s original Nano AR Coating II technology to maximize clarity and effectively subdue flare and ghosting.
The FE 14mm F1.8 G Master can produce beautiful bokeh at F1.8, even with the ultra-wide 14mm focal length. With a 9.8-inch minimum focus distance, the FE 14mm F1.8 G Master offers expanded possibilities for close-up still and video shooting and creates stunning bokeh known to Sony’s G Master premium series of lenses. In addition, its precise XA elements, a 9-blade circular aperture mechanism and optimally controlled aberration allow the FE 14mm F1.8 G Master to produce exquisite background bokeh without the undesirable “onion-ring” effect.
Advanced and Quiet Autofocus
Using two XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors, focus can be accurately acquired and maintained even when shooting with narrow depth of field at F1.8 giving professional shooters the reliability they need to get the job done in challenging conditions. Moreover, the FE 14mm F1.8 G Master enables quiet AF with minimal vibration for smooth focus transitions, perfect for video content creation.
Professional Level Control and Reliability
The new lens also features several advanced and versatile control options including a focus hold button, a focus mode switch and a focus ring to ensure smooth, efficient operation in a wide range of shooting environments. For added customization, a number of functions can be assigned to the focus hold button from the camera body interface. The FE 14mm F1.8 G Master also features Linear Response MF for direct and precise manual focusing. An aperture ring that allows intuitive aperture control and is also included, with click stops that can be switched ‘on’ for still photography or switched ‘off’ for smooth and quiet iris transition when capturing video. For added creative freedom, the FE 14mm F1.8 G Master includes a rear filter holder that accepts standard sheet-type filters for ND, color correction, soft filter and more.
A dust and moisture resistant design[i] provides the reliability needed for challenging conditions. The front lens element features a fluorine coating that repels water, oil, and other contaminants. The rear element is also fluorine-coated to keep that surface clean when changing the rear filter. The lens also has a built-in petal hood that effectively blocks extraneous light that can cause flare and ghosting.
Pricing and Availability
The new FE 14mm F1.8 G Master will be available in May for approximately $1,600 USD and $2,100 CAD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.
Exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new lens and Sony’s other imaging products can be found at www.alphauniverse.com, a site created to educate and inspire all fans and customers of Sony α – Alpha brand.
New content will also be posted directly at the Sony Photo Gallery. For detailed product information, please visit: