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- E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
- Aperture Range: f/1.4 to f/16
- Two XA Elements, Three ED Elements
- Nano AR and Fluorine Coatings
- Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF Motor
- AF/MF Switch; Internal Focus
- Focus Hold Button
- Physical Aperture Ring; De-Click Switch
- Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
- Rounded 11-Blade Diaphragm
Sony’s GM lenses are top flight optical performers with the added attractions of a real aperture ring (or control from camera dials), de-click option, focus hold button which can be programmed to activate Eye AF or regular AF, and dust and moisture sealing. No other brand of lenses for Sony can tick off all those desirable features, at least not that I can think of.
It is noteworthy that Sony calls out the FE 24mm f/1.4 GM as the “30th native full-frame mirrorless lens”—surely not an accidently inclusion, and a compelling reminder of how the late-to-the-party Nikon mirrorless and Canon mirrorless systems look to take years to get to half that number of lenses. By the time Nikon and Canon get to 10 native lenses, Sony will probably have 40. If Nikon and Canon are smart, they’ll heartily encourage 3rd-party lenses. I deem lens adapter a crummy solution in most all cases. The Sigma FE DG HSM Art lenses strongly reinforce that thinking even though they are native lenses—top-flight DSLR lens designs adapted to mirrorless are large and heavy and awkward (see Roy P’s comments at end).
As well, Sony surely will have a Sony A7R IV and other sibling out before long, which might well leapfrog the CaNikon offerings right out of the gate. Accordingly, I dislike the idea of buying into either the Canon EOS R system (30 megapixels = no way) or the Nikon Z7 (good but not groundbreaking) at this stage in the game, because both offerings will be outdated in a year (my prediction).
Full description further below.
New Large Aperture Wide-Angle Prime Lens is the most compact and lightest in its class[i] , with superb sharpness even at F1.4
SAN DIEGO, Sept. 20, 2018 – Sony Electronics, Inc. – a global leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer – has today introduced an exciting new addition to their acclaimed G Master series of full-frame E-mount lenses, a 24mm F1.4 prime lens.
Expertly engineered to deliver best in class performance across all aperture settings, the new FE 24mm F1.4 GM (model SEL24F14GM) utilizes Sony’s most advanced optical technologies to satisfy the needs of the most demanding photographers. The new lens is the most compact and lightweight in its class, measuring approx. 3.0 inches x 3.64 inches and weighing only 15.7 ounces, with a filter diameter of 67mm. Built to meet the strict standards of Sony’s flagship G Master series, the FE 24mm F1.4 GM offers exceptionally high resolution and beautiful bokeh, two qualities that are signature attributes of the G Master brand.
“We are continuing to evolve our lens lineup to maximize the power of our innovative α camera lineup, ” said Neal Manowitz, vice president of imaging solutions at Sony Electronics. “The new 24mm prime brings an exciting new perspective to our flagship lens series. With its incredibly lightweight design and signature G Master quality, our 30th native full-frame mirrorless lens opens up a new world of creative opportunities for today’s photographers, videographers and multi-media creators.”
Realizing consistently high resolution across the entire frame, even at F1.4, the FE 24mm F1.4 GM boasts a new optical design comprised of 10 groups with 13 elements, including two XA (extreme aspherical) and three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements. The incorporation of two XA elements effectively suppresses sagittal flare[ii] to ensure that point light sources like distant stars can be accurately reproduced, making the FE 24mm F1.4 GM a compelling proposition for astrophotography. For impressive clarity, Sony’s unique Nano AR Coating is applied to reduce lens flare and ghosting, even in landscape shots where the position of the sun can be problematic with a normal lens.
This outstanding performance is packaged in an extremely compact and lightweight body weighing it at only 15.7 ounces, a welcome relief for landscape or adventure photographers that are hiking, climbing or traveling over long distances. This advantage is further compounded when the FE 24mm F1.4 GM is paired with one of Sony’s award winning α7 / α9 cameras. The lightweight lens design has been realized in part by the development of a new high power DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) that delivers approximately three times greater thrust than the previous focus system, enabling fast response, high positioning accuracy and quiet operation for both stills and movie shooting.
This incredible lens is also a perfect complement to Sony’s APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras such as α6500 and α6300, and brings the total number of native Sony α E-mount lenses to 48[iii].
In addition to its landscape and starscape shooting abilities, the FE 24mm F1.4 GM also has excellent close up performance of 0.24 meters (0.79ft.) and delivers soft and natural bokeh, a feature that is common across Sony’s entire G Master series of lenses. This is achieved by extreme control over factors like spherical aberration, and axial and lateral chromatic aberration, at the design and manufacturing stages, as each lens is individually tested and adjusted to achieve maximum performance.
The FE 24mm F1.4 GM also includes a number of professional controls that aide ease of operation for both stills and movie shooting. These include an aperture ring that allows direct, intuitive aperture control, and a focus ring that features Linear Response MF for fine, responsive manual focus control. There is also a customizable focus hold button, and a focus-mode switch that makes it possible to quickly select auto or manual focus to match changing shooting conditions.
Pricing and Availability
The FE 24mm F1.4 GM will ship in October 2018 for approximately $1,400 US and $1,900 CA. The lens will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.
[i] Compared to other full-frame 24mm F1.4 auto-focus prime lenses. As of September 2018 press release, based on Sony research.
[ii] A phenomenon that results in an unnatural spreading of point light sources that appears somewhat like a bird spreading its wings and becomes more pronounced towards the image periphery. It is most common in large-aperture lenses.
[iii] Including converters, excluding discontinued models.
Roy P writes:
Regarding my statement that “The Sigma FE DG HSM Art lenses strongly reinforce that thinking even though they are native lenses—top-flight DSLR lens designs adapted to mirrorless are large and heavy and awkward”:
Very true, as I can attest to from my personal experience with the E-mount version of the otherwise superb Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art lens. The IQ is terrific, as it was with the Canon version I tried a year ago. But besides weight and awkwardness of use, there is one more issue: autofocusing. These modified DSLR lenses, which are essentially DSLR lenses with built-in adapters, are simply not spiffy enough to use, and that applies to the Sigma 135/1.8 Art as well.
The autofocusing in a Sony lens is optimized for both mirrorless and the Sony sensors. So the Sony lenses fully take advantage of the large number of AF points and the 60 AF measurements that the Sony cameras take, thanks to the integrated DRAM in the stacked CMOS sensors that enable a sensor readout much faster than possible in DSLR sensors. The Sony lenses have a completely new and different AF drive in them.
As good as the Sigma 135/1.8 Art lens is, I’ll be returning it, and waiting for the rumored Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM.
DIGLLOYD: I cannot speak to the autofocusing issue very well, and I though that Sigma had done something to optimize for Sony AF, but I am unsure. At any rate, the balance of DSLR lens designs on Sony is just not good and in the field I felt that I had to constantly walk around supporting the lens; see Sigma DG HSM Art Lenses for Sony Mirrorless: Ergonomic and Other Concerns.