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Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G

The Canon 11-24mm f/4L is a unique lens that I’ve long desired to own, with the 11-15mm range simply awesome for some shooting.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G

But now that Sony has announced the about about $1698 12-24mm f/4 G, I think I’d rather take a hard look at Sony’s offering, since I expect a new Sony high-res camera late this year and I’d rather have such a lens on Sony anyway. At an amazingly lightweight 565 grams and exceptionally compact, this looks to be THE lens to have for hiking for extreme wide angle work on Sony. Assuming it performs. Those looking for a more moderate range are now well served by the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM.

The question is, is it as good as Canon’s offering? If it’s as good, it may be the first Sony G lens I actually buy and keep, assuming it doesn’t have the dreaded symmetry issues of so many G and GM lenses.

The use of 9 special elements, a modest aperture of f/4, and and all-new design for mirrorless holds out great promise for performance, even if the price is $1000 less than even the discounted price of the Canon 11-24mm f/4L.

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2 to f/22
  • 4 Aspherical Elements
  • 1 Super ED and 3 ED Elements
  • Nano AR Coating
  • Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave Motor
  • Focus Hold Button, AF/MF Switch
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Seven-Bladed Rounded Diaphragm

The 7-blade diaphragm is a curious choice and perhaps non-rounded would have been more interesting (I like sunstars on the sun and lights at night, and rounded blades tend to kill the effect).

No filter threads are available. While I don’t see filters as very useful for such a lens—there are exceptions such as sand and salt spray, so it is a distinct downside for harsh conditions. But the same is true for Canon and Nikon and Sigma offerings in its range.

As per Sony, the lens ticks off all the key boxes, and more:

  • High resolution at ultra-wide angles —Covering the widest range available in any full-frame E-mount lens, the FE 12-24mm F4 G zoom offers unprecedented expressive potential for landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, and other expansive subjects. Refined ultra-wide-angle optics capture sweeping scenes with dynamic perspectives plus outstanding resolution and clarity.
  • Excellent corner-to-corner resolution — Four aspherical elements in an innovative optical design effectively suppress optical aberrations that can be problematic in wide-angle lenses. This remarkable lens achieves excellent resolution that is fully consistent with the G Lens concept throughout its zoom range.
  • Super ED glass improves resolution and contrast — One Super ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass element and three ED glass elements are strategically deployed to minimize chromatic aberration. Effective reduction of chromatic aberration contributes to improved sharpness and clarity throughout the image area.
  • Fast, quiet AF for stills and movies — While autofocus speed and precision are essential to quickly capture and reliably track the subject, quiet operation is a must for movie recording. This lens features an advanced inner-focus mechanism driven by Sony's Direct Drive SSM (DDSSM) system for fast, accurate AF lock-on as well as smooth, quiet operation.
  • Clarity and contrast in any light — Sony's original Nano AR Coating suppresses spurious reflections that can cause flare and ghosting in backlit and other challenging lighting situations, for consistently high contrast and clarity. Freedom from flare over a wide range of incident light angles provides greater framing and composing flexibility. (1. Nano AR Coating / 2. Glass / 3. Transmitted light).
  • Compact, lightweight and mobile — A refined optical design significantly reduces the overall length of the lens barrel as well as the diameter of the front element size while maintaining the highest possible optical performance at all focal lengths and aperture settings. Compact dimensions and low 20-ounce (565-gram) weight make this lens ideal wherever portability and mobility are required.
  • Smooth, versatile operation — A customizable focus hold button that can be assigned other functions adds an extra margin fingertip control, and an AF/MF switch sets the lens's operating mode to suit the situation. Manual mode focusing is fast and responsive with almost unnoticeable lag.
  • Advantages for movie recording — With a constant F4 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range this lens makes it possible to achieve consistent exposure. Advanced AF with outstanding speed and precision contributes to reliable subject tracking at wide angles for impressive movie perspectives.
  • High reliability in harsh conditions — The overall design of this lens is dust and moisture resistant2for extra protection and reliable operation in challenging environments. Shoot with confidence in light rain or windy conditions.
  • Integrated lens hood — A built-in lens hood effectively blocks incident light that might cause flare and ghosting, maintaining optimum clarity and contrast even at the lens's widest angles. The supplied lens cap slips right over the built-in hood.
Optical design of Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G

A 1-year limited warranty is limited, and seems inappropriate for this level of lens. When will Sony step up to the plate with a credible warranty, like Nikon (1 year + 4 year extension upon registration = 5 years)? It is one missing piece of the pro puzzle.

Specifications for Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G
Focal length: 12-24mm
Aperture range: f/4 - f/22
Focusing range: 11.02 in / 28 cm
Angle of view: 122° - 84°
Number of elements/groups: 17 elements in 13 groups
1 SuperED, 3 ED, 4 aspherical
nano anti-reflection coating
Diaphragm: 7, rounded circular aperture
Magnification: 0.14X = 1:7.1
Filter thread: NONE
Weight, nominal: 1.24 lb / 565g
Weight (as weighed): TBD
Dimensions: Approx. 3.5 x 4.6 in / 88.90 x 116.84 mm
Street price: about $1698
Supplied with: Front Lens Cap ALC-R1EM
Rear Lens Cap Lens Case
Limited 1-Year Warranty

Description

Note clear is whether the integrated lens hood (“built-in lens hood”) is removable or integral to the lens and thus non-removable.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G

Ultra wide and versatile, the FE 12-24mm f/4 G Lens from Sony is a flexible zoom lens for full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras, characterized by its constant f/4 maximum aperture.

Benefitting the wide field of view is a sophisticated optical design that incorporates aspherical and low dispersion glass elements to control both spherical and chromatic aberrations for improved sharpness and clarity. A Nano AR Coating has also been applied to individual elements to reduce surface reflections, flare, and ghosting for greater contrast and color fidelity when working in bright, backlit situations.

In addition to the optical attributes, this lens is also distinguished by a Direct Drive SSM autofocus system, which benefits both stills and video application with its quick, quiet, and precise performance. The lens also sports a dust- and moisture-sealed design to support shooting in inclement conditions and a dedicated focus hold button and AF/MF switch.

  • Ultra wide-angle zoom designed for full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras, this lens is also compatible with APS-C models where it provides an 18-36mm equivalent focal length range.
  • Constant f/4 maximum aperture offers consistent performance throughout the zoom range.
  • Four aspherical elements are featured in the optical design to control spherical aberrations in order to produce a high degree of sharpness while also limiting distortion.
  • One Super ED and three ED elements are used to suppress chromatic aberrations and color fringing for improved clarity and color accuracy.
  • A Nano AR Coating has been applied to reduce surface reflections, flare, and ghosting for increased contrast and color rendering in strong lighting conditions.
  • A Direct Drive SSM system and internal focus mechanism provides quick, quiet, and precise autofocus performance and also contributes to more natural, intuitive manual focus control.
  • A dust- and moisture-sealed design better permits working in inclement conditions and rubberized control rings benefit handling in colder temperatures.
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