GM 14 initial test, rear filter usage and sample images

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joger
joger Veteran Member • Posts: 7,168
GM 14 initial test, rear filter usage and sample images
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I finally got my copy of the GM 14 f/1.8 two days ago. As always I perform some basic checks for the lens to understand the capabilities and potential shortcomings since these are all tools and as usual with tools there are dos and don’ts

All images are from tripod with remote release and careful MFing on the subject in focus with 10x magnification. Images are edited to my liking in the very same way for compared lenses. Comments and critique are - as always - very welcome.

Disclaimer: I do not praise new gear for the sheer praising of new toys. I’ve sent back many brand new lenses since they did not fulfill my expectations - e.g the Loxia 85, Batis 18, FiRIN 20 and the Nokton 40 f/1.2 went straight back to the shops since they did not provide the image quality I expect from them wide open. An ultra wide angle lens doesn’t need to be fast to start with since basically everything is in focus all the time anyway more or less provided you use it for landscape and architecture. Yet there are occasions where speed matters e.g. for astrophotography or in case a tripod is not allowed.

I had tested the GM 12..24 and I own the G 12..24 - the GM 12..24 is a nice lens but it is nowhere near to the weight and size I’d want from comparable slow f/2.8 lens.

As elaborated before a wide angle lens needs to be sharp for landscape and architecture and for these situations I predominantly use something like f/7.1 anyway as my working aperture - this might change with an upcoming IMX555CQR equipped 102 MP Alpha body in the future. I am personally looking forward to such a camera since it renders any larger sensor format basically irrelevant provided one case use PixelShift - 4x PixelShift will yield in +1..1.2 stops more dynamic range and thus an image quality rivaling digital medium format at a fraction os the camera and lens size - plus there is no 14 mm equivalent lens in the small and large digital medium format anyway.

Here are some initial sample shoots and a comparison to the G 12..24 at equivalent apertures - mainly at the other areas of the frame since I fully expect lenses to be outstanding in the center of the frame - and most are - even the above mentioned canceled purchases had ben o.k.ish in the center ( the GM 50 beats the CV 40 by a huge deal ) Sony’s engineers has been very productive and very skilled with their latest releases. Enjoy the images!

1.) Sharpness and contrast

100 % view extreme side manually focussed at f/5.6 - G 12..24 vs GM 14

clearly the GM 14 wins - but opening the aperture the image quality fades away and compare to my previously purchased lenses the GM 14 is clearly not on the same level as the GM 35 and MG 50

At outer area the difference to the G 12..24 is negligible if visible at all

400 % view G 12..24 vs GM 14 - at f/5.6 no difference IMHO

2.) Size and weight

A bit smaller and a bit lighter than my G 12..24 - nothing to write home about - nice to hold away and much more attractive than the GM 12..24 - which is a no-go-zone for me for such a lens.

3.) Performance wide open

I have to admit that I hardly see any use case for a fast UWA lens - my initial tests showed that I find no real use case for the speed. It looks like the GM 14 is a one trick pony - astrophotography

4.) Sample images

5. Use with rear filter

Works very good with Haida rear filter kit ( from GM 12..24 ) and stopped down above f/5.6 the corners are sharp - at faster apertures the corners will get unsharp - to an extent I'd not be willing to accept

6. My personal verdict:

  • comparable lightweight
  • comparable small
  • sharp from f/4.0 and above
  • not much sharper (if at all) compare to my G 12..24
  • definitely the least attractive new lens from Sony - the GM 35 and GM 50 are the best one can buy - the GM 14 is a mixed Bag IMHO
  • one trick pony for astrophotography

I had tested the GM 35 and GM 50 and both are outstanding - I will keep the GM 14 for future astrophotography - which I do not pursue at this point in time - but my G 12..24 will be in the travel bag instead of the surprisingly disappointing GM 14 - I was close to sending it back but decided that I'll give this lens a 2nd and 3rd chance - not as thrilling as the previous new top notch primes.

This clearly shows how good the G 12..24 is. I'll rent again the GM 12..24 and compare it to the GM 14 and CV 15 and G 12..24 in a separate thread. In case you had been expecting sharpness king you will not benefit from this lens compare to the already good 12..24s zooms - personally I find hardly any use for f/1.8 in such a focal length outside of astro photography.

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 joger's gear list:joger's gear list
Sony a7R IV Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM Sony FE 14mm F1.8 GM +13 more
Sony FE 14mm F1.8 GM
Wideangle prime lens • Sony FE
Announced: Apr 20, 2021
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