Sony FE 24mm f/2.8 G: The Anatomy of Consistency
Nilofer Khan reviews the Sony FE 24mm f/2.8 G, a new introduction in the company’s G series lineup. The wide angle prime lens can be used for a variety of genres.
Sony had introduced its trio of G series lenses that are compact and lightweight—the FE 24mm f/2.8 G, the FE 40mm f/2.5 G, and the FE 50mm f/2.5 G. Last month, BP tested the FE 50mm f/2.5 G, and we were quite impressed with its image quality and built. For this review, we will be putting the FE 24mm f/2.8 G on our test bench to see whether it is able to keep up with its sibling.
It is designed using 8 elements in 7 groups, the lens incorporates three aspherical elements and two ED (extra-low dispersion) glass elements. It has a minimum focusing distance of 24cm when shooting with AF and 18cm when focusing manually. The lens has a maximum magnification ratio of 0.13x when using AF and 0.19 x when using MF. It comes with two linear motors that deliver fast, precise AF with tracking performance. It includes a 7-bladed circular diaphragm and a 49mm filter diameter.
While the lens is designed for full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras; however, it can also be used with APS-C models where it provides a 36mm equivalent focal length. It has a fluorine-coated front element and is also dust- and moisture-resistant. Despite its wide view angle, the 24mm f/2.8 accepts filters. One can also attach circular polarising filters for landscape photography or ND filters for movies.
Measuring 68 x 45mm and weighing merely 162g, the 24mm f/2.8 is quite small, just like the 50mm f/2.5 G. For this test, I used the lens on the Sony Alpha 7 R III, and the 24mm felt as light as its sibling. The sturdy aluminium body can withstand a light drizzle too. It is quite easy to handle, and incorporates a wide zoom ring at the front and a narrow de-click aperture ring at the back. The aperture ring has markings on the barrel. There is a customisable focus hold button, a focus mode switch, and a switchable aperture-ring click stop button. The rings functioned smoothly throughout. The focus ring has a fly-by-wire mechanism.
This is a lens that can be used for a variety of purposes. I tested it for environmental portraits, street, event and architecture photography. While shooting indoors or outdoors, the overall performance of the lens is quite good, even at wide-open apertures. The colour rendition is accurate, and the lens can capture details really well.
With the Sony Alpha 7 R III’s eye-tracking capabilities, it was quick to latch focus on people, even in crowded places. Besides its snappy performance, the AF is near silent. This is quite useful when you are recording interviews indoors.
The 24mm is quite sharp at the centre at f/2.8 and provides pleasing defocused backgrounds. However, the edges at the wide-open aperture are soft. You don’t notice this until you zoom in. From f/4 onwards, the edges become sharper, with f/8 providing excellent centre-to-edge sharpness. You also get superb sharpness at f/11, but if you push further than that, you will notice a visible drop in quality, both at the centre and the edges.
As for vignetting, it’s visible at f/2.8. It improves from f/4 and completely disappears by f/8. In regards to lens distortion, the 24mm f/2.8 performs well. With the in-camera correction on, the processed JPEGs show excellent control over barrel distortions. The RAW files show some distortion but it is can be corrected. If you are shooting in a crowded space, you will notice some distortion towards the extreme corners even in processed JPEGs. The people in the frame will appear elongated. This is expected with a lens of this nature, so you’ll have to be a bit more careful with your compositions.
The lens is able to provide pleasing circular bokeh at f/2.8. If you stop down to f/4 or f/5.6, it leads to a polygonal-shaped bokeh, as the 7-bladed aperture has too few blades to retain a circular shape. For the bokeh, you have to ensure that your subject is closer to the lens to achieve this.
In addition to this, the 24mm also showed great control over flare, ghosting, and lateral chromatic aberrations. Just like the 50mm, this lens shows visible focus breathing issues. This can create issues for videography.
Just like the 50mm f/2.5 G, the Sony FE 24mm f/2.8 G is priced at Rs. 69,990. It is pitted against the Sigma 24mm f/3.5 DG DN | Contemporary (Rs. 48,000), and Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Rs. 32,000). While Sigma is a little heavier at 230g, the Tamron lacks an aperture ring.
On the other hand, with the 24mm f/2.8, there is very little to complain about. The lens provides excellent sharpness across the entire frame, offers pleasing, blurred background and bokeh, has good colour and detail rendition, the AF is pretty quick and silent, and it is extremely lightweight. Moreover, the aperture is de-clickable and it is weathersealed. The only issue is focus breathing, which some videographers may not like. It is a great option for any photographer who needs a lightweight lens that produces sharp images.
This article originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of Better Photography.
f/2.8, de-click mechanism, custom focus button
Good sharpness, quick AF even in low light, focus breathing
Sturdy, portrable, and weathersealed
Internal focus, good placement of buttons and switches
|Warranty & Support
Two year warranty, good service
|VALUE FOR MONEY||4/5|
|Who should buy it?||Event, wedding, street, and documentary photographers and photojournalists.|
|Why?||Well-designed, lightweight, and with good ergonomics, this lens has fast AF, and performes excellently.|