The Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens was announced, began shipping, reached the top of the best-sellers list, and is still out of stock at major retailers over 6 months later.
Why is this lens so popular? The 24mm focal length is useful for a wide range of common subject needs and the wide aperture extends that usefulness to very low light levels while providing the ability to throw the background out of focus. Add very impressive image quality, including at f/1.4, to that package and demand goes way up. Make that package compact, lightweight, and relatively affordable and the lens becomes, at least for an extended period of time, unobtainable.
The focal length range (or individual focal length for a prime lens) is a primary consideration for a lens purchase or selection for use. Focal length matters greatly because it drives subject distance choices with perspective determined by those distances.
What is 24mm used for? The 24mm focal length is extremely popular and the used-for list is huge. I'll share some of my favorites.
Landscape photography is a perfect use for a 24mm lens. This focal length is quite wide and can allow an entire scene to remain in focus, but 24mm is not so wide that it complicates composition and not so wide that it makes distant details (such as mountains) tiny. A very high percentage of my landscape images have been captured at 24mm.
Architectural photography, large product photography, interior photography, birthday parties ... are some uses for 24mm. This is a great focal length to leave mounted for documenting life in general.
Wedding and event photography often utilize a wide-angle lens for capturing the large scene, for environmental-type portraits and for group portraits including in tight spaces. Even groups of your largest subjects will fit in the frame.
Photojournalist's needs are often similar to those of a wedding photographer and can also make use of 24mm.
When combined with an extremely wide aperture, a 24mm lens is a great choice for night sky photography. With that in mind, having a high-end 24mm f/1.4 lens in my hands for review aligned with a new moon and a forecast for clear skies with no wind left me with an opportunity I couldn't pass up. I searched for a (relatively) nearby dark sky location and combined that knowledge with state forest maps, looking for a vista with a southern view. With no wind, adding a small lake for reflections into my astrophotography equation seemed ideal. The research led me to a small state park about an hour from home.
Pennsylvania state parks generally close at dusk, meaning that special permission is required from the park manager for star photography. With that required special permission granted for the side of a small lake, it was time for a field trip. Add a good friend and ... you have the recipe for an early June all-nighter (the Milky Way didn't become visible until nearly 1:00 AM). The sky was brightening significantly as I crawled into bed, but watching an amazing starry night is always great fun, especially when you know the view is being captured by an impressive camera and lens.
Every landscape image is better with the Milky Way in it, right?
The Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens is my new favorite star photography lens.
Above and below are Milky Way sample pictures from Rocky Mountain National Park.
Videographers often find the 24mm focal length to be just right for their needs.
While telephoto lenses are more frequently used for sports, a 24mm angle of view allows a very different perspective on these events. This focal length can be used to capture the big picture of the venue, overhead shots of the stars and their coaches being interviewed after the game and, when access permits, full body environmental action sports photos showing lots of venue in the background. Note that when used for action sports with a rapidly approaching subject, a 24mm angle of view makes the capture of the perfect pose at the perfect framing distance very challenging due to the subject changing size in the frame very rapidly at short distances.
When used on an ASP-C/1.5x FOVCF sensor format DSLR, this lens' angle of view is similar to that of a 36mm lens on a full-frame DSLR, practically the same as the hugely-popular 35mm angle of view. While many of the uses for this AOV remain the same as for 24mm, the narrower angle of view obviously requires more distance for the same subject framing and the longer distance changes the perspective modestly. The full-frame 35/36mm angle of view is typically favored over 24mm for portrait photography.
This lens' f/1.4 max aperture is as wide as it gets at 24mm. While most major lens manufacturers offer a 24mm lens with an f/1.4 aperture, as of review time, no 24mm lenses have an aperture wider than f/1.4 and this wide aperture is a huge advantage. Use f/1.4 to allow more light to reach the imaging sensor, allowing action (subject and camera) stopping shutter speeds in very low light levels. It seems there is always enough light for handholding this lens at f/1.4.
Another advantage of a wide aperture lens is the background blur it is able to create. F/1.4 with a close subject creates a very shallow DOF, drawing the viewer's eye to the in-focus subject. It is hard to diffusely blur the background with a wide-angle lens, but an f/1.4 aperture can do that. Add artistic capabilities to this lens' list of highly-desired features.
If you are shooting under a full sun at f/1.4, you will likely need a 1/8000 sec shutter speed at ISO 100 to keep the exposure dark enough. Positive is that there is little action that a 1/8000 sec shutter speed cannot stop, but if the subject has very bright and/or reflective colors, even a 1/8000 sec shutter speed might not be fast enough to avoid blown highlights. Some cameras have an extended ISO setting of 50 that can be optionally used in this situation (sometimes with lower dynamic range). Using a neutral density filter is another good option to retain the ability to use f/1.4 under direct sunlight and this is the best option when using cameras with shutters that max out at 1/4000 sec. Stopping down (narrowing) the aperture is always an option for preventing an image from getting too bright, though stopping down negates the need for the wide f/1.4 aperture and the subject-isolating shallow depth of field is lost.
Sony has been featuring an aperture ring on some of their prime lenses including this one, permitting a manually-chosen aperture to be selected. With the ring in the A (Auto) position, the camera controls the aperture setting. All other settings force the aperture to the selected opening and a 2-position switch on the bottom right side of the lens toggles the aperture ring between 1/3 stop clicks and smooth, quiet, non-clicked adjustments, ideal for video recording. The aperture is electronically controlled by the ring.
Aside from a slightly more complicated design, perhaps the primary disadvantage of an aperture ring is that inadvertent aperture changes are made available. Making the A click stop firm enough to reduce the chances of this occurrence eliminates much of that concern.
There are notable drawbacks to lenses that feature very wide maximum apertures. These lenses require the use of larger, heavier glass elements which translate into larger and heavier lenses. Unfortunately, those larger elements are not only evidenced by the increased weight, but also by the increased price of the lens. That said, compared to its peers, this lens is not large or heavy and the price tag is reasonable.
For most photographers, the benefits of a wide max aperture prime lens far outweigh the drawbacks. Usually, no flash is required.
The Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens is not optically stabilized, but Sony generally takes care of that omission with Steady Shot or IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization). On a traditional DSLR with an optical viewfinder, IBIS results in an unstabilized view, meaning that stabilization was not helpful for composition or for providing a still subject to the camera's AF system. With EVFs being prevalent in Sony's lineup, the viewfinder image is being read from the imaging sensor which is stabilized. Therefore, the viewfinder image is very nicely stabilized and sensor-based AF takes advantage of the stabilized view for improved accuracy.
Mounted on a Sony a7R III with Steady Shot enabled, I was able to handhold this lens with an excellent sharpness rate at 0.5-second exposures. Combine an f/1.4 aperture with a 0.5-second exposure and this lens is ready for handholding in extraordinarily dark conditions. The sharpness rate dropped significantly at longer exposures, but sharp images were captured at exposures as long as 1 second.
Image stabilization testing was conducted under ideal circumstances (indoors, concrete floor) and you should expect your results to vary based on your own skills and the conditions you are shooting in.
With no IS switch on the lens, the camera menu must be used to enable or disable IBIS and that is annoying when I need to work quickly, going from tripod to handholding for an example.
With high-grade zoom lenses available to cover the 24mm focal length, the ultra-wide aperture is one of this lens' biggest advantages and that advantage relies strongly on the image quality delivered at the widest apertures. Historically, ultra-wide-angle lenses have been a bit soft wide open (or nearly so), leading to the question: Is the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens sharp at f/1.4? Absolutely, and impressively so.
In the center of the frame, the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens is very sharp wide open at f/1.4 and the high-quality results can easily be utilized for all purposes. A sure way to improve upon wide open sharpness is to stop down a stop or two and by f/2, a slight contrast improvement makes results from this lens extremely sharp.
Image quality typically degrades as the image circle's radius is traversed, meaning that corners are seldom rendered as crisply as the center of the frame. While the Sony 24 GM's peripheral image quality is not as crisp as the center, the difference is not strong and the results are excellent for an f/1.4 aperture. Corners have good sharpness at f/1.4 with gradual improvement showing until f/4 where the corners are very impressively sharp.
Let's go outside for some real-world examples. Below you will find sets of 100% resolution center of the frame crops captured in uncompressed RAW format using a Sony a7R III. The images were processed in Capture One using the Natural Clarity method with the sharpening amount set to only "30" on a 0-1000 scale (Note that images from most cameras require some level of sharpening but too-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the deficiencies of a lens).
I didn't need to show results from apertures narrower than f/2 because ... the Sony a7R III could not resolve visually noticeable differences at narrower apertures. The f/1.4 results are quite sharp and a slight amount of additional sharpening will make them especially nice. The f/2 results are awesome.
In some lens designs, the plane of sharp focus can move forward or backward as a narrower aperture is selected. This behavior is called focus shift (residual spherical aberration or RSA). It is seldom (if ever) desired and this lens does not exhibit such.
Next, we'll look at a comparison showing 100% extreme-corner crops captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. These images were manually focused as close to the corner of the frame as the a7R III permits. The first and last sets are from the top-left of the frame and the middle set shows the top-right.
The corner results at f/1.4 are quite impressive, among the best from any lens at this aperture. Especially with vignetting reducing, narrower apertures bring improved corner performance with f/4 delivering the last noticeable improvement. Correct for the lateral CA and the corners are ... awesome.
When used on a camera utilizing a lens' entire image circle, peripheral shading can be expected at the widest aperture settings. Wide-angle, ultra-wide aperture lenses tend to show strong peripheral shading wide open and the about-3-stops of shading in the corners is relatively strong, but not unusually so. Stopping down to f/2 reduces the shading to just over 2-stops. Unfortunately, f/2 is about where the vignetting reduction stops. Only minor improvement is seen even at f/16 and the about-2-stops of corner shading remaining is noticeable. I was a bit taken aback by what I was seeing as this number was at least 2x-higher than the comparable lenses we've tested. Unfortunately, re-testing showed the same results. Did Sony sacrifice this image quality performance aspect to gain a narrower lens?
APS-C format imaging sensors will see about 1.5-stops of corner shading at f/1.4 and about 0.7-stops (usually not visible) through the balance of the aperture range.
Vignetting can be corrected during post-processing with increased noise in the brightened areas being the penalty or it can be embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame.
The effect of different colors of the spectrum being magnified differently is referred to as lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration). Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii) with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the greatest amount as this is where the greatest difference in the magnification of wavelengths typically exists.
While lateral CA is usually easily corrected with software (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide, it is of course better to not have it in the first place. Any color misalignment present can easily be seen in our image quality tool, but let's also look at a worst-case example, a 100% crop from the extreme top left corner of an ultra-high resolution 5Ds R frame.
There should be only black and white colors in these images and the additional colors are showing lateral CA. With only one focal length to be designed for, prime lenses often show very low amounts of lateral CA, but this one has rather strong color separation showing in the corners.
A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light, or more simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to look for. Axial CA remains at least somewhat persistent when stopping down with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing while the spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.
In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.
In the examples below, look at the fringing colors in the out of focus specular highlights created by the neutrally-colored subjects. Any other color is being introduced by the lens.
It is not unusual for ultra-wide-aperture lenses to show color separation in tests such as this and these results show this effect rather strongly. Stopping down improves these test results, though not hastily.
The Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens' optical design incorporates a relatively low 13/10 elements/groups count and Nano AR Coating for reducing surface reflections, flare, and ghosting, increasing contrast and improving color rendering. This lens shows near perfection in our flare test. With the sun in the corner of the frame, only very minor flaring is seen even at f/16. Peripheral shading would darken the sun in this test.
There are two lens aberrations that are particularly evident when shooting images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point, instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners, and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light which can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma), or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal). Remember that lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.
The image below is a 100% crop taken from the extreme top-left corner of an a7R III frame.
While this lens has not reached perfection, it is closer to it than any 24mm f/1.4 lens I've reviewed and closer to perfection than most lenses I have reviewed. As I said earlier, this is my new favorite star photography lens.
With a single focal length being designed for, prime lenses typically have very low linear distortion. With the corners being pulled outward, this lens shows slight pincushion distortion. Most modern lenses have lens correction profiles available for the popular image processing software and distortion can be easily removed using these, but distortion correction is destructive at the pixel level. Some portion of the image must be stretched or the overall dimensions must be reduced.
The blur seen in the out of focus portions of an image and the quality of that blur is referred to as bokeh and this lens has great bokeh. Here are some examples:
Even with the aperture blades closed down 4 stops to f/5.6, the shapes of the out of focus specular highlights are very round and smoothly filled. Out of focus nature also looks great. The cat's eye effect seen in the wide-open aperture corners is relatively minor.
When stopped down, this lens' 11-blade aperture produces beautiful 22-point stars from point light sources. You can confidently add cityscapes to this lens' ideal subjects list.
"Two XA (extreme aspherical) elements in an optical design that meets stringent G Master requirements contribute to consistently high resolution throughout the image area. Three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements are also included to effectively suppress chromatic aberration. This innovative optical design minimizes sagittal flare so that point light sources are accurately reproduced." [Sony]
While the designers do not appear completely successful in the "suppress chromatic aberration" objective, peripheral shading is rather strong when stopped down, and there is a touch of pincushion distortion, this lens delivers otherwise outstanding image quality and most will be very impressed by the image sharpness.
The 24 f/1.4 GM lens' AF system utilizes Sony's DDSSM (Direct Drive Super Sonic wave Motor).
"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]
The Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens internally focuses smoothly, quietly, accurately, and the speed is quite good. Unfortunately in this case, the speed of focusing is in part controlled by the camera and in AF-S single shot AF mode, the Sony a7R III (along with most/all other current Sony alpha MILC cameras) de-focuses the lens slightly before focusing on the subject even if focusing to the same distance as the lens is already focused to and even with the same motionless subject. The results is an overall mediocre focus speed.
The lens focuses quickly and the focus speed is adequate for most uses, but don't expect to hit the shutter release and have an instant photo captured (it might also be misfocused). Timing single captures becomes challenging due to this issue. In AF-C continuous AF mode, the defocus and focus scenario goes away and this lens' fast AF can be enjoyed.
This lens mounted to an a7R III focuses in very low light scenarios when adequate contrast is provided. Sony cameras default to stopping down the aperture to the dialed-in setting with some benefits including constant depth of field preview, but when the aperture is narrow, restricting light, slower AF may be experienced.
Sony provides an AF hold button on this lens. While in continuous focus mode, this button can be pressed to lock focus at the currently selected focus distance, permitting a focus and recompose technique. This button also acts as a custom button (C5) and can be programmed to another function using the camera's menu (note that not all models are supported).
FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported via Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) AF mode.
The manual focus ring is nicely sized and turns very easily, slightly more easily than I prefer. The ring has decent smoothness and the 90° of Linear Response MF rotation is just right for precise manual focusing at all distances. This is a reasonably-well-done focus-by-wire implementation with adjustments being reasonably-smoothly made.
There is a moderate change in subject size as full extent focus adjustments are made.
While a focus distance marks are not provided, a focus distance meter shows in the lower portion of the electronic viewfinder during manual focusing.
The Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM lens' 9.4" (240mm) minimum focus distance spec, measured from the imaging sensor plane, let's the photographer get quite close to their subject. However, the wide-angle of view means the subject is not shown large in the frame and the maximum magnification spec of 0.17x reflects this. This number is in line with that of the other 24mm f/1.4 lenses.
|Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.17x|
|Nikon 24mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.179x|
|Rokinon (Samyang) 24mm f/1.4 US UMC Lens||9.8"||(250mm)|
|Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.19x|
|Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens||9.4"||(240mm)||0.17x|
|Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens||11.4"||(290mm)||0.13x|
|Zeiss 28mm f/1.4 Otus Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.16x|
A subject measuring approximately 7.8 x 5.2" (198 x 132mm) will fill the frame at the minimum focus distance.
Sometimes image sharpness degrades at very close focus distances, but I'm quite happy with how this lens performs.
Need a shorter minimum focus distance and greater magnification? An extension tube mounted behind this lens should provide a very significant improvement. Extension tubes are hollow lens barrels that shift a lens farther from the camera, which permits shorter focusing distances at the expense of long-distance focusing. Electronic connections in extension tubes permit the lens and camera to communicate and otherwise function as normal. Sony does not publish extension tube specs nor do they manufacture these items, but third-party Sony extension tubes are available.
This lens is not compatible with Sony teleconverters.
The G Master lens series represents Sony's best-available lenses. They are the complete pro-ready package and as is common, family resemblance is shown.
Sony FE lenses have a rather narrow mount and, despite being rather narrow for its class, an obvious diameter increase occurs not far in from the mount end. Once the wider diameter is reached, the lens maintains a mostly straight design with a slight diameter increase occurring at the rubber-covered focus ring, making it easy to tactilely find. The outer lens barrel construction is quality plastic.
Sony focus rings make distance adjustments by turning in the same direction as Canon lenses (the opposite of Nikon lenses).
Overall, this lens' build quality seems high with all rings and switches having a precision feel to them. The AF/MF switch is recessed, making it hard to inadvertently change and making a bit more effort required to intentionally change it, especially with gloves on.
This is a great outdoor lens and its dust and moisture-resistant design, including a gasketed mount, can save the day out there. More specifically, the owner's manual states: "This lens is not water-proof, although designed with dust-proofness and splash-proofness in mind. If using in the rain etc., keep water drops away from the lens." After photographing the Milky Way until 3:00 AM, this lens was quite wet, covered in dew, and no detriments were noticed.
The front element is fluorine-coated to resist dust, moisture, and fingerprints and for easier cleaning.
This is a small (narrow) and light lens, especially for its class. The Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens is a pleasure to carry and use for extended periods of time.
|Model||Weight||Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)||Filter||Year|
|Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens||22.9||(650)||3.3 x 3.4||(83.5 x 86.9)||77||2008|
|Nikon 24mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens||21.9||(620)||3.3 x 3.5||(83.0 x 88.5)||77||2010|
|Rokinon (Samyang) 24mm f/1.4 US UMC Lens||19.4||(550)||3.3 x 3.7||(83.0 x 95.0)||77||2012|
|Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||23.5||(665)||3.3 x 3.6||(85.0 x 90.2)||77||2015|
|Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens||15.7||(445)||3.0 x 3.6||(75.4 x 92.4)||67||2018|
|Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens||7.1||(200)||2.5 x 2.4||(64.0 x 59.9)||49||2015|
|Zeiss 28mm f/1.4 Otus Lens||49.1||(1390)||4.3 x 5.4||(108.9 x 137)||95||2015|
For many more comparisons, review the complete Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens Specifications using the site's Lens Spec tool.
While this lens is very comfortable to hold and use, Sony's current MILC cameras (such as the a7R II, a7R III, and a9) provide an inadequate grip size for many photographers (such as myself). With many of Sony's lenses, inadequate space is provided for my medium-large-sized hand's fingers to rest between the camera and the lens. This one touches the first joint of my middle and ring fingers when the camera is solidly gripped, but the pressure is not enough to cause discomfort.
I always find it helpful to visually compare the size of lenses and here we see the Sony being obviously the skinniest in its group.
Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:
Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens
Nikon 24mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.
Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens to other lenses.
Notice that the Sony lens appears to be positioned higher than those around it in the above comparisons? The lenses are vertically aligned on their camera mounts and with a shallow lens mount cap, the Sony saves some space below the line. While the smaller lens cap size does not affect the lens' in-use size, is does modestly impact storage space requirements when unmounted, such as in a backpack.
The Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens' narrow width allows it to use common, mid-sized, and affordable 67mm filters vs. the 77mm size common to other lenses in this class. A standard thickness circular polarizer filter will slightly increase peripheral shading. A slim model such as the B+W XS-Pro or Breakthrough X4 is recommended.
Sony includes a semi-rigid, petal-shaped plastic hood in the box. The hood has a flocked interior for superior reflection avoidance and a push-button release makes the bayonet mount easy to use. This hood offers the front lens element reasonable protection from contrast-robbing, flare-inducing light and from impact including from light rain.
Sony includes a nice zippered, padded nylon lens case in the box. This case has a belt loop sewn onto the back and a shoulder strap is provided.
Sony's full-frame mirrorless cameras have been attractively priced. The compatible Sony FE lenses, however, have been priced considerably higher than the competition, and in many cases, at least balancing the comparisons. That this lens outperforms the competition in many regards and has a lower price definitely tilts the scales in its favor. The value is definitely there.
As an "FE" lens, the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras, including both full-frame and APS-C sensor format models. Sony provides a 1-year limited warranty.
The reviewed FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens was on loan from Sony.
There are many 24mm f/1.4 lenses on the market, though most are not available in a native Sony mount. Adapters can solve that dilemma. Let's make some comparisons.
I'll start with the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens. In the image quality comparison, the Sony lens is obviously the sharper lens. The Canon lens has stronger peripheral shading at f/1.4, but less at narrow apertures and the Canon shows stronger flare effects at narrow apertures. The Sony lens has slight pincushion distortion while the Canon has slight barrel distortion.
Looking at the specs and measurements, the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens vs. Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens comparison shows the Canon weighing noticeably more and having a wider diameter. The Sony lens has 11 aperture blades vs. the Canon's 9. The Sony lens has 67mm filter threads vs. 77mm. The Canon lens has 150° of focus ring rotation vs. 90°. The Sony lens has electronic manual focusing vs. mechanical. The Sony lens costs modestly less than the Canon. Get the Sony.
Nikon's current entry into this lens class is the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens and this comparison is going to sound like a repeat of the last. The image quality comparison shows the Sony lens obviously the sharper lens, showing better resolution and contrast. The Nikon has less vignetting, including when significantly stopped down, and it also shows more flare at narrow apertures. The Sony lens has slight pincushion distortion while the Nikon has slight barrel distortion.
Looking at the specs and measurements, the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens vs. Nikon 24mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens comparison shows the Nikon weighing noticeably more and having a wider diameter. The Sony lens has 11 aperture blades vs. the Nikon's 9. The Sony lens has 67mm filter threads vs. 77mm. The Nikon lens has 145° of focus ring rotation vs. 90°. The Sony lens has electronic manual focusing vs. mechanical. The Sony lens costs considerably less than the Nikon. Get the Sony.
Sigma has a high-grade entrant in this class, the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens and the story remains similar, but it's important to note that while Sigma offers an E-mount version of the lens for native compatibility, the following comparisons pertain to the Canon-mount version of the lens. The image quality comparison shows the Sony lens the sharper lens, showing better resolution and contrast. The Sigma lens has less vignetting when stopped down, and it also shows more flare at narrow apertures. The Sony lens has slight pincushion distortion while the Sigma has very slight barrel distortion.
Looking at the specs and measurements, the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens vs. Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens shows the Sigma weighing noticeably more and having a wider diameter. The Sony lens has 11 aperture blades vs. the Sigma's 9. The Sony lens has 67mm filter threads vs. 77mm. The Sony lens has electronic manual focusing vs. mechanical. Finally, a new difference to share: the Sony lens costs considerably more than the Sigma. If the price difference is affordable, get the Sony.
The next-closest lens in Sony's lineup is the FE 28mm f/2 Lens. If the 1-stop narrower aperture is not a problem, this lens is on the contenders list. As you might expect by this point, the f/1.4 lens is sharper than the f/2 lens even at f/1.4 vs. f/2. With the advantage of being stopped down one stop, the f/1.4 lens shows less vignetting at f/2, though the f/2 lens has a slight advantage in this regard at narrower apertures. The f/1.4 has slight pincushion distortion while the f/2 has slight barrel distortion.
Looking at the specs and measurements, the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens vs. FE 28mm f/2 Lens comparison shows the f/2 lens considerably smaller and weighing half as much. The f/1.4 has 11 aperture blades vs. the f/2's 9. The f/2 lens has 49mm filter threads vs. 67mm. The f/1.4 has a higher maximum magnification, 0.17x vs. 0.13x. That the f/2 costs 1/3 as much is going to be meaningful to many.
One more interesting comparison is against the Zeiss 28mm f/1.4 Otus Lens. Zeiss' Otus lenses define great image quality, especially image sharpness. The image quality comparison shows these two lenses competing very strongly. The Zeiss lens has less lateral CA. The Zeiss lens has less vignetting when stopped down and shows more flare at narrow apertures. The Sony lens has slight pincushion distortion while the Zeiss has slight barrel distortion.
Looking at the specs and measurements, the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens vs. Zeiss 28mm f/1.4 Otus Lens comparison shows the Zeiss lens being far larger and weighing three times as much. The Sony lens has 11 aperture blades vs. the Zeiss' 9. The Sony lens has 67mm filter threads vs. 95mm. The Zeiss lens has 120° of focus ring rotation vs. 90°. The Sony lens has electronic manual focusing vs. manual. The Sony lens is dust and splash proof. The Zeiss lens is more ruggedly constructed. The Zeiss lens costs over three times as much and that is a significant decision factor.
Create your own comparisons, but ... it is hard to exceed what the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM lens delivers in a similar focal length.
Due to the usefulness of the focal length and aperture combination, the 24mm f/1.4 prime lens is one of the most represented lenses in manufacturers' lineups and Sony's FE model entrant in this lens class is a big hit. This lens is compact, lightweight, and relatively affordable with the very impressive image quality, especially at f/1.4, sealing the deal.
The downsides? Chromatic aberrations are somewhat strong and landscape photographers especially are going to wish the vignetting was lower at narrow apertures. The lateral CA can easily be corrected and though peripheral shading correction adjustment increases noise, I would rather make this correction than attempt to sharpen peripheral softness.
In addition to being an excellent choice for landscape photography and general-purpose needs, this is an awesome night sky and low light event lens. It works great for family needs including spontaneous around the house use.
It is not surprising that the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens has been near or at the top of the best sellers list since its introduction over 6 months ago and at review time, this lens was still not obtainable from retailers. Unfortunately, Sony wouldn't let me buy the loaner lens (I tried). However, I eventually was able to source and purchase this lens for my kit
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