Sony announces lightweight FE 24mm F1.4 G Master prime
Sony has taken the wraps off of its new full-frame 24mm F1.4 G Master prime lens. Despite that fast maximum aperture, Sony has created a remarkably small and light lens compared to its peers, with a weight of just 445 grams (15.7 ounces). Compare that to the Sigma 24mm F1.4 Art shown below, which is 50% heavier and considerably more bulky, albeit cheaper.
It's a departure from traditional GM lenses, which tend to be large so as to not sacrifice optimal performance. This lens bucks the trend by prioritizing both optical performance and size and weight.
|Sony's new 24mm F1.4 GM is significantly smaller than the Sigma equivalent to its left. In hand on a Sony body, it feels more like a F1.8 prime, which is really quite an achievement for a F1.4 lens, particularly one with the optical performance of the 24mm GM.|
The 24mm F1.4 GM has a total of 13 elements, including two XA (extreme aspherical) which significantly reduce coma, and three ED elements. Sony's Nano AR coating reduces flare and ghosting, and so far, we're impressed by the lack of distracting flare artifacts and high contrast images even when shooting into the sun. 11 aperture blades yield smooth bokeh and circular out-of-focus highlights even when you stop down to F2.8, as well as 22-blade sharp sunbursts if you stop down further with bright, pinpoint light sources.
Focus is is driven by a new, evolved Direct Drive SSM motor that deliveries 'approximately three times greater thrust' than the previous system, but with high positional accuracy, according to Sony. In our initial tests, it's faster to focus than the Sigma 24mm F1.4 Art, so we're impressed by the speed of focus considering its F1.4 maximum aperture.
Its manual focus ring offers a linear response: a rarity on mirrorless lenses and useful when shooting video. It almost feels like a mechanically coupled focus ring. An aperture ring (with a 'de-click' feature), customizable focus hold button and AF/MF switch are also available. As with all G Master lenses, the 24mm F1.4 is weather-sealed.
Focus is silent, and there's minimal focus breathing. That combined with the linear focusing behavior and small lightweight design makes this lens very suitable for video.
The Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM will ship in October for $1400. Stay tuned for in-depth analyses of the optical characteristics of this lens, but in the meantime you can judge the performance yourself from our sample images, linked below. And if you're itching to assess sharpness, have a look at our aperture progression of a cityscape at the end of our sample gallery.
Sony Expands Full-Frame Lens Lineup with Launch of 24mm F1.4 G Master™ Prime
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 classi, 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
Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM specifications
|Lens type||Prime lens|
|Max Format size||35mm FF|
|Focal length||24 mm|
|Lens mount||Sony FE|
|Number of diaphragm blades||11|
|Special elements / coatings||XA (extreme aspherical) + ED elements, Nano AR coating|
|Minimum focus||0.24 m (9.45″)|
|Motor type||Linear Motor|
|Full time manual||Yes|
|Weight||445 g (0.98 lb)|
|Diameter||75 mm (2.95″)|
|Length||92 mm (3.62″)|
|Filter thread||67 mm|
|Hood product code||ALC-SH154|
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