Sony FE 12-24mm F/4 G Ultra-Wide-Angle Zoom Lens Review

The Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G zoom lens 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.
Sony FE 12-24mm G f/4 Zoom Lens
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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.

Sony - FE 12-24mm F4 G Wide-Angle Zoom Lens (SEL1224G),Black
  • 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
Sony FE 12-24mm G f/4 Zoom Lens
Mounted on a Sony a7R IV body.

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.

Sony FE 12-24mm G f/4 Zoom Lens
The narrower ring furthest from the camera body is the manual focus ring. The larger ring next to it controls the zoom. There’s no aperture ring–that’s handled electronically with the camera’s controls.

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.

Sony FE 12-24mm G f/4 Zoom Lens

Sony FE 12-24mm G f/4 Zoom Lens
The aufofocus/manual focus switch. The round button above it is a focus lock button.

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.

Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Wide-Angle Zoom Lens Sample Image
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 / 5.6. Despite the dramatic angles created by the ultra-wide-angle perspective, the lines of the columns are still very straight.
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Wide-Angle Zoom Lens Sample Image
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 / 4.0. This is a scene I often test cameras and lenses with. It’s a good test of multiple things: sharpness, low-light performance, distortion, and chromatic aberration.
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Wide-Angle Zoom Lens Sample Image
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.
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Wide-Angle Zoom Lens Sample Image
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 / 4.0. Lots of detailed in this shot, including at the corners, making it a good test of sharpness throughout the frame.
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Wide-Angle Zoom Lens Sample Image
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 / 8.0.

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"]Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Zoom Range Example Zoomed to 12mm.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_31043" align="aligncenter" width="678"]Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Zoom Range Example Zoomed to 24mm.[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_31045" align="aligncenter" width="678"]Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Zoom Range Example Zoomed to 12mm.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_31044" align="aligncenter" width="678"]Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Zoom Range Example Zoomed to 24mm.[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_31004" align="aligncenter" width="678"]Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Wide-Angle Zoom Lens Sample Image 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"]Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Wide-Angle Zoom Lens Sample Image 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.

Wrap Up

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.

Sony FE 12-24mm G f/4 Zoom Lens

Where to Buy the Sony FE 12-24mm F/4 G Lens

You can find the Sony FE 12-24mm G lens at B&H Photo, Adorama, and Amazon.

B&H also has a version that includes an accessory kit that makes for good value—you can find it here.

Sony - FE 12-24mm F4 G Wide-Angle Zoom Lens (SEL1224G),Black
  • 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

You can rent them from BorrowLenses and LensProtoGo.

If you’re in the market for a used copy, you can sometimes find them at KEH.

Accessories for the Sony FE 12-24mm F/4 G Lens

Filters. Because of the dramatically curved front element, the Sony FE 12-24mm ƒ/4 G lens doesn’t take regular screw-on filters on the front. Instead, it has a filter slot at the other (or rear) end. You can use filters like these. Alternatively, you can add a 150mm filter holder for plate filters on the front, like this one.

Lens Caps. It takes a regular Sony ALC-R1EM rear end cap.

Lens Hood. The lens hood is part of the camera and can’t be removed. While it does help a little with lens flare, in practice, the effect of that is minimal with an ultra-wide-angle lens like this. Rather, its most important role is in adding some protection to the large glass dome that is the front element.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2021-09-22 at 11:39. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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