Sony has taken the wraps off its new FE 24mm f/1.4 GM wide-angle prime lens, which sees the brand's growing range of full-frame optics hit 30 models. The new lens is also the company's eighth high-end G Master lens.
The FE 24mm f/1.4 GM plugs one of the gaps in the company's full-frame lens range, which has been missing a dedicated fast wide-angle prime. Sony has designed the lens around four key criteria: resolution, bokeh, speed, and a compact and lightweight design.
Starting with resolution and bokeh, the FE 24mm f/1.4 GM features two of the company's XA (extreme aspherical) elements as well as three ED glass elements.
This has allowed for a completely new optical design, which Sony believes will enable the lens to deliver high resolution at all aperture settings, down to f/1.4. The inclusion of these two XA elements should also see the lens faithfully reproduce point light sources to suppress Sagittal flare – if you're an astrophotographer this will be music to your ears, as it means stars should be rendered much more cleanly.
Sagittal flare is a phenomenon that results in an unnatural spreading of point light sources that looks something like a bird spreading its wings, and it becomes more pronounced towards the image periphery. It's most common in large-aperture lenses.
There's also Sony's Nano AR coating to suppress reflections that can lead to flare and ghosting, while the FE 24mm f/1.4 GM features an 11-blade circular aperture which should see the lens render smooth and natural-looking bokeh.
The FE 24mm f/1.4 GM should also be pretty nippy when it comes to focusing performance, thanks to a new high-power Direct Drive SSM (DDSSM) which offers a combination of fast response, high positioning accuracy and quiet operation. For movie-shooters, focus breathing is effectively minimized by a precision internal focus mechanism.
Compact and lightweight
The FE 24mm f/1.4 GM tips the scales at just 445g (15.7oz). That's quite a bit lighter than Canon's 24mm f/1.4 (650g / 22.9oz), Nikon's 24mm f/1.4 (620g / 21.9oz) and Sigma's 24mm f/1.4 (665g / 23.5oz).
The lens also features a fluorine coating to help prevent fingerprints, dust, water and oil marking the lens, while it's also dust and moisture resistant.
The Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM will start shipping in mid-October, priced at $1,400 / £1,450. Australian pricing is still to be confirmed, but converts to roughly AU$2,580.
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Phil Hall is an experienced writer and editor having worked on some of the largest photography magazines in the UK, and now edit the photography channel of TechRadar, the UK's biggest tech website and one of the largest in the world. He has also worked on numerous commercial projects, including working with manufacturers like Nikon and Fujifilm on bespoke printed and online camera guides, as well as writing technique blogs and copy for the John Lewis Technology guide.