I make no secret that I like wide-angle lenses. Recently I’ve been out shooting with the Sony FE 12-24mm F/4 G on the new Sony a7R IV body. It has an ultra-wide perspective that adds a lot of drama and packs a lot of scene into the frame, but it manages to do it without the distracting parts that you often get at such extreme focal lengths.
The 12-24mm is an unusually wide lens. The 12mm end is comfortably down into full-frame fisheye territory. But where a fisheye will give you that distinctive and dramatic distorted look, Sony have drawn on some pretty impressive optical techniques to make this lens remarkably free of the usual types of flaws you’d expect of something this wide. Lines stay straight, not bowed and distorted. The lens is sharp at the edges and corners. And there’s very little in the way of chromatic aberration (purple fringing). On top of that, it’s a relatively compact lens, has a consistent maximum aperture of ƒ/4 throughout the zoom range, and is ruggedized against moisture and dust.
The maximum aperture of ƒ/4 isn’t notably fast, but on stellar low-light bodies like Sony’s full-frame Alpha series, that’s much less of an issue than it might be otherwise. It has a minimum aperture of ƒ/22. The 17 elements are arranged in 13 groups. The 7 rounded diaphragm blades keep the bokeh nice and round. You can use the switch on the side to move between autofocus and manual focus.
I’ve found the focus to be quick and smooth and very quiet. It’s an internal focus and zoom element, so the lens barrel doesn’t move. You do have to be a bit careful about scratching the front element, since it does bulge out, but the built-in lens hood provides some protection even though it’s not very big.
Sample Images Taken with the Sony FE 12-24mm F/4 G Lens on a Sony a7R IV Camera
Here’s a small selection of sample images I’ve shot with this lens. I’ve posted a much larger collection separately.
Zoom Range of the Sony FE 12-24mm F/4 G Lens
Here are some practical examples of the zoom range, from 12mm to 24mm.
[caption id="attachment_31042" align="aligncenter" width="678"] Zoomed to 12mm.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_31043" align="aligncenter" width="678"] Zoomed to 24mm.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_31045" align="aligncenter" width="678"] Zoomed to 12mm.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_31044" align="aligncenter" width="678"] Zoomed to 24mm.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_31004" align="aligncenter" width="678"] Photo taken with a Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G wide-angle zoom Lens on a Sony a7R IV zoomed to 12 mm and with an aperture of ƒ / 7.1.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_31005" align="aligncenter" width="678"] Photo taken with a Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G wide-angle zoom Lens on a Sony a7R IV zoomed to 24 mm and with an aperture of ƒ / 7.1.[/caption]
Things Worth Knowing
- You can’t add screw-on filters to this lens. The lens shade is fixed in place, and the front element bulges out. So there’s not much need to look for the lens diameter (that’s why it’s not marked). If you do want to add filters, you’ll need to go in the direction of a filter holder, and you can find some dedicated holders for this lens.
- There’s no in-lens stabilization. But this isn’t much of a problem if you use it on Sony’s Alpha cameras, which have their own built-in sensor stabilization.
- It comes with a dedicated lens cap. Try not to lose it–I’ve not managed to find a direct replacement for it. If you do lose it, one of the stretchy silicon lens caps would be a good place to start. The rear lens cap is easier. It’s the standard Sony ALC-R1 EM rear lens cap used on E-mount lenses.
- It weighs 1.2 pounds (565 grams) and measures 3.43 across and 4.62 inches long ( 87 x 117.4 mm).
- It doesn’t have stabilization built into the lens, but several Sony bodies have stabilization built into the sensor mechanism inside the camera.
This is a very impressive lens. Its ultra-wide perspective adds a lot of drama and packs a lot of scene into the frame, but it manages to do it without the distracting parts that you often get at such extreme focal lengths.
Where to Buy the Sony FE 12-24mm F/4 G Lens
Sony has set the MSRP at $1775.
B&H also has a version that includes an accessory kit that makes for good value—you can find it here.
- G Lens design for corner-to-corner high resolution
- Maximum magnification ratio (x) :0.14.Premium Optics; 4 aspherical, 1 Super ED, 3 ED glass elements
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