Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G Review
Review Manufacturer: Sony
Price when reviewed
$598 Check current price
At last, there are some more compact lenses to complement Sony’s petite cameras. And despite its small size, the Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G delivers impressive image quality with excellent sharpness across the frame. The only fly in the ointment is the fact that raw files currently need to be processed in Sony Imaging Edge Desktop to deal with the barrel distortion. Hopefully, the correction profile will be rolled out more widely (or back-engineered) soon.
Compact and lightweight Aperture ring Weather-sealed
No stabilisation Maximum aperture ‘just’ f/2.8 Raw file distortion correction profile currently only available in Sony’s software
The Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G makes a great choice of lens for travel and landscape photography
What is the Sony FE 24mm F2.8G?
Announced at the same time as the Sony FE 40mm F2.5 G and FE 50mm f2.5 G, the Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G is a small, light wide-angle prime lens designed for use on Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras such as the Sony A7 III and A7R IV.
Whereas Sony’s past focus seems to have been on producing the best lenses possible regardless of their price and weight, the FE 24mm F2.8 G and its two friends have mid-range prices and are designed with portability in mind.
Product type: Wide-angle prime lens Announced: March 2021 Mount: E-mount Format: Full-frame Focal length: 24mm Maximum aperture: f/2.8 Minimum aperture: f/22 Construction: 8 elements in 7 groups with 1 aspherical and 2 ED (extra-low dispersion) elements Minimum focus distance: 0.24m/0.79ft AF, 0.18m/0.59ft MF Maximum magnification: 0.13x AF, 0.19x MF Stabilisation: No Number of diaphragm blades: 7 Filter size: 49mm Weight: 162g / 5.8oz Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 68 x 45mm / 2-3/4 x 1-13/16 inches
You can buy the Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G at Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Inside the Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G’s weather-sealed aluminium barrel is an optical arrangement of 8 elements in 7 groups. Among these elements, there’s one aspherical and two ED (extra-low dispersion) elements designed to deliver high image quality across the frame while suppressing chromatic aberration.
Sony has given the FE 24mm F2.8 G two linear motors and it’s compatible with the company’s Eye AF system.
When the focusing is left to the autofocus system, the closest focusing point is 24cm from the sensor, but this distance can be reduced to 18cm if the lens is switched to manual focusing.
While the FE 24mm F2.8 G has an aperture with settings running from f/2.8 to f/22 in 1/3 EV steps, it’s also possible to control the aperture using a camera dial when the ring is set to ‘A’. There’s also a switch that enables the aperture ring to be ‘de-clicked’.
Sony supplies a metal lens hood with the FE 24mm F2.8 G.
Build and handling
Sony was the first company to introduce a modern full-frame mirrorless camera and I remember being amazed at how small the A7 and A7R were. That compact size has continued with each new generation of camera. Even the flagship Sony A1 is impressively small – especially when compared with its full-frame flagship DSLR competition like the Nikon D6 and Canon EOS-1D X Mark III!
However, many of Sony’s recent full-frame lenses are big and built with optical excellence rather than size or weight in mind. The Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G, FE 40mm F2.5 G and FE 50mm f2.5 G suggest a shift in Sony’s approach and portability is a key consideration. Consequently, the FE 24mm F2.8 G is a very nice match for Sony’s mirrorless full-framers. In fact, it’s not too shabby on an APS-C format camera like the Sony A6600 on which it’s effectively a 36mm lens, making it a nice choice for street photography.
The FE 24mm F2.8 G’s aperture ring is a nice feature, I always feel it puts you in closer contact with your photography – but maybe that’s just me. When the ring is de-clicked it rotates smoothly and effortlessly without being slack. The click system also works well, keeping you in tune with the adjustments.
Thanks to Sony’s superb autofocus system it’s unlikely that the manual focus ring will be required very often, but it could be of use if you want to get the closest focusing possible. Again, the movement is smooth, requiring just the right amount of effort.
As it’s at the end of the lens, the manual focus ring is easy to locate and the tip of my forefinger falls on it quite naturally if I reach out. It only requires one finger to adjust the manual focus.
As soon as the ring is rotated a distance scale appears in the viewfinder or on the screen. Also, if the option is selected in the menu, there’s an enlargement of the area under the AF point.
Just above the AF/MF switch on the lens barrel, there’s a customisable focus hold button. Sony allows a considerable range of options to be assigned to the button and I used it to give a quick method of switching the subject detection between animal and human.
Currently, if you want to get the best results from raw files shot using the Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G, you need to process them using Sony’s free Imaging Edge Desktop software because that has the profile required to straighten out the barrel distortion. This information hasn’t been extended to Adobe or other software providers yet, but DxO PhotoLab 4‘s corrections work well.
Naturally, it’s not an issue for Jpegs as they are corrected in-camera and even with raw files, it’s only really a problem if you photograph a scene with lots of straight lines.
It’s a different story with vignetting as the in-camera corrections can be applied to both raw files and Jpegs if the option under ‘Lens Comp.’ is selected in the camera’s menu. Without the ‘Shading Comp.’ activated, there’s corner shading visible throughout the aperture setting range. Adobe Camera Raw’s vignetting correction isn’t satisfactory as it brightens the corners at the expense of colour saturation.
With the in-camera vignetting correction activated, there’s still some corner shading evident in images with a uniform tone shot at the wider apertures, but it’s not problematic. It’s negligible by f/5.6 and gone at f/8.
I used the Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G on the 61Mp A7R IV, and the level of sharpness at the centre of the images is very good. If you photograph something flat like a brick wall or a lens chart and scrutinise the results at 100% on a computer screen, you will see slight fall-off in sharpness towards the corners of the image, but it’s minimal and it’s not noticeable in real-world shooting situations or normal viewing sizes.
Further good news is that chromatic aberration and flare are both controlled well.
After shooting with the Nikon Z 24mm F/1.8 S, I missed the extra 1.3EV in the aperture and the additional blur it brings, but the Sony lens is considerably smaller and lighter. Also at f/2.8, you can get good separation from the background if you go close to your subject, it’s just not quite as blurred as at f/1.8.
That said, the out of focus areas captured via the Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G looks good and the highlights are round. I spotted a few examples of bokeh chromatic aberration, but they’re not obvious.
Mounted on the Sony A7R IV, the FE 24mm F2.8 G focuses very quickly and smoothly. It’s also silent – or at least I can’t hear it in action, which is great news for videographers. Focus breathing also kept under good control.
Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G sample images
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Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G Image Gallery
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You can buy the Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G at Amazon UK and Amazon US.
The Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA is one of my favourite lenses for the Sony system because it’s so compact and portable. Paired with the Sony A7R IV, it makes a great camera for travel or street photography – that 61Mp resolution also gives plenty of scope for cropping if you can’t get close to your subject.
So naturally, I’m very pleased that Sony has decided to introduce some more compact prime lenses. You lose a bit from the aperture in comparison with some other lenses, but you get a very portable lens at a reasonable price.
Of course, the small size and weight of the Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G wouldn’t matter at all if it couldn’t deliver decent results, but it’s very good. It’s disappointing that the in-camera adjustment doesn’t yet correct the raw file barrel distortion and that Sony hasn’t passed the profile onto companies such as Adobe, but hopefully, it won’t be too much longer. At least the correction is available in Sony Imaging Edge Desktop.