The FE 24mm f1.4 GM is Sony’s flagship 24mm prime lens and a good match for Sony’s mirrorless bodies. It is very sharp in close quarters and at longer distances, and produces a nice soft Bokeh rendering the background pleasantly blurred – as far as 24mm lenses go. It focuses quickly and reliably and its resistance against flare and glare in strong contra light is very good. Its only weakness are longitudinal CAs.
Let’s put this into perspective and have a closer look at how the Sony FE 24mm f1.4 GM compares to some alternatives.
Compared to Zeiss 25mm f2.0 Batis
I was able to shoot the Zeiss 25mm f2.0 Batis at the same time as the Sony 24mm f1.4 GM. The Zeiss Batis is a cheaper, smaller, and lighter alternative to the Sony GM without compromising on build quality. Its compact curved design fits snugly on the Sony A7 bodies and it will be interesting to see when Zeiss offers the same Batis design for the new mirrorless bodies from Nikon and Canon. It also features a unique OLED display, indicating the focusing distance and depth-of-field range at a glance. Optically it is almost as sharp as the Sony GM with a slightly softer center, a little higher coma and a little less longitudinal CA. The main weak point of the Zeiss Batis is its Bokeh: It suffers from the one stop smaller focal ratio and produces very visible onion rings. Not the best preconditions for a creamy Bokeh.
For more details see my Zeiss 25mm f2.0 Batis review where the lens earned a Highly Recommended
Compared to Sigma 24mm f1.4 Art
The Sigma Art AF 24mm f1.4 DG HSM came highly recommended in 2015 and is now available in E-mount. But the original DSLR design shows: The E-mount version of the Sigma Art is over 70% heavier than the Sony GM and almost 3cm longer. Plus the hunger for resolving power of modern sensors reaching 50MP and the advent of newer lens designs has not been kind to the lens: What was then a comparably minor deficiency in resolution, contrast, and coma outside the APS-C image circle in the meantime turns to a visible handicap when compared to the Sony GM lens. The Sigma Art still is a very usable lens and it has the benefit of producing less longitudinal CAs and costing much less than the Sony GM. So if you’re on a budget the Sigma Art is a worthy contender.
For more details see my Sigma 24mm f1.4 Art review.
Compared to Zeiss 28mm f1.4 Otus
A few years ago Zeiss produced three large aperture primes under the “Otus” moniker that are still at the top of their game even with the latest 50MP full frame bodies. Their 28mm f1.4 Otus is one of them as I summed up in my review where it has well earned a Highly Recommended: “Optical performance plus build quality: The Zeiss 28mm f1.4 Otus delivers sharpness, contrast, resistance against contra light, coma, loCA, purple fringing, Bokeh on a very high to exceptional level even at f1.4 and puts this in a package that exudes quality in every aspect of its physical presence.” But it has deficiencies too, especially compared to the Sony GM lens: It can only be focused manually, has an exorbitant price, and is very large and heavy: putting it via adapter on an A7 body simply shows that the Zeiss Otus is not made to be a good match for Sony’s mirrorless bodies. If we compare performance it is a clear testament to the qualities of the Sony 24mm f1.4 GM that it goes head to head with the Zeiss Otus with one exception: the longitudinal CAs of the Sony GM are higher than from the Zeiss Otus. But then the Sony GM is only one third of the price and weight of the Zeiss Otus.
See my detailed Zeiss 28mm f1.4 Otus review.
Sony FE 24mm f1.4 GM final verdict
The Sony FE 24mm f1.4 GM is a winner: Sharp into the corners of a full-frame sensor, light and small, with good resistance against flare, glare and ghosting and a nice background Bokeh. The de-clickable aperture ring, lockable lens hood, and focus lock button are a nice bonus. This together with its thorough weather-sealing supports Sony’s high-end claim of the G Master series. All in all the Sony FE 24mm f1.4 GM justifies its price and although I’d wish for less longitudinal CAs the lens clearly earns a Highly Recommended!
- Pretty small and light for an f1.4 lens.
- Very good resolution and contrast.
- Very good resistance against flare, glare, and ghosting.
- Very nice background Bokeh.
- Weather sealing, de-clickable aperture ring, lockable lens hood, focus-lock button.
- Longitudinal color aberrations up to f2.8.
- High price.
Check prices on the Sony FE 24mm f1.4 GM at B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!