As the USS Potomac steamed across the bay into the golden hour and under the Golden Gate Bridge, I considered the technical aspects of Sony’s latest G Master lens. That’s because to truly benefit from the mirrorless technological leap, a lens must be constructed to operate in a much faster manner, like with electromagnets moving on a rail.
The 24mm F1.4 G Master Prime is constructed with a direct drive, solid-state motor that works sort of like a miniaturized maglev train moving back and forth every millisecond when the focus is locked and a subject tracked.
But then, after the first few pics, I was in the moment with each picture more brilliant than the next as the light got more golden.
Edge-to-edge sharpness with creamy bokeh in a fast wide angle is what you need to know about the 24mm F1.4 GM and how it’s tomorrow’s lens today for $1,400.
It’s the 30th lens in Sony’s lineup.
The technical details of how a lens like this works with the sensor, image pipeline and read/write speeds are important.
That’s what makes a mirrorless system so compelling.
It’s the shots, though, and taken mostly wide open. This is a lens for reportage, landscapes and attached to gimbal at a party for sweeping crowd shots.
When the Potomac docked at the Port of San Francisco and the evening cruise ended, I packed up my gear bag noticing how compact and light the lens was, at 3 x 3.64 inches and 15.7 ounces. Anticipating editing the photos back home in the studio, I wasn’t disappointed.
It’s fitting that Sony invited the press for a shoot with this lens on the Potomac, a yacht commissioned for the New Deal president. Sony certainly has established a new deal with its customers and that’s bringing the most advanced mirrorless technology to market.
Here’s what Neal Manowitz, vice president of imaging solutions at Sony told me about the lens.
“We are continuing to evolve our lens lineup to maximize the power of our innovative α camera lineup…The new 24mm prime brings an exciting new perspective to our flagship lens series. With its incredibly lightweight design and signature G Master quality, our 30th native full-frame mirrorless lens opens up a new world of creative opportunities for today’s photographers, videographers and multi-media creators.”
The press release is below.
Sony Expands Full-Frame Lens Lineup with Launch of
24mm F1.4 G Master™ Prime
New Large Aperture Wide-Angle Prime Lens is the most
compact and lightest in its class, with superb sharpness even at F1.4
SAN DIEGO, Sept. 20, 2018 – Sony Electronics, Inc. – a global leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer – has today introduced an exciting new addition to their acclaimed G Master series of full-frame E-mount lenses, a 24mm F1.4 prime lens.
Expertly engineered to deliver best in class performance across all aperture settings, the new FE 24mm F1.4 GM (model SEL24F14GM) utilizes Sony’s most advanced optical technologies to satisfy the needs of the most demanding photographers. The new lens is the most compact and lightweight in its class, measuring approx. 3.0 inches x 3.64 inches and weighing only 15.7 ounces, with a filter diameter of 67mm. Built to meet the strict standards of Sony’s flagship G Master series, the FE 24mm F1.4 GM offers exceptionally high resolution and beautiful bokeh, two qualities that are signature attributes of the G Master brand.
“We are continuing to evolve our lens lineup to maximize the power of our innovative α camera lineup, ” said Neal Manowitz, vice president of imaging solutions at Sony Electronics. “The new 24mm prime brings an exciting new perspective to our flagship lens series. With its incredibly lightweight design and signature G Master quality, our 30th native full-frame mirrorless lens opens up a new world of creative opportunities for today’s photographers, videographers and multi-media creators.”
Realizing consistently high resolution across the entire frame, even at F1.4, the FE 24mm F1.4 GM boasts a new optical design comprised of 10 groups with 13 elements, including two XA (extreme aspherical) and three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements. The incorporation of two XA elements effectively suppresses sagittal flare to ensure that point light sources like distant stars can be accurately reproduced, making the FE 24mm F1.4 GM a compelling proposition for astrophotography. For impressive clarity, Sony’s unique Nano AR Coating is applied to reduce lens flare and ghosting, even in landscape shots where the position of the sun can be problematic with a normal lens.
This outstanding performance is packaged in an extremely compact and lightweight body weighing it at only 15.7 ounces, a welcome relief for landscape or adventure photographers that are hiking, climbing or traveling over long distances. This advantage is further compounded when the FE 24mm F1.4 GM is paired with one of Sony’s award winning α7 / α9 cameras. The lightweight lens design has been realized in part by the development of a new high power DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) that delivers approximately three times greater thrust than the previous focus system, enabling fast response, high positioning accuracy and quiet operation for both stills and movie shooting.
This incredible lens is also a perfect complement to Sony’s APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras such as α6500 and α6300, and brings the total number of native Sony α E-mount lenses to 48.
In addition to its landscape and starscape shooting abilities, the FE 24mm F1.4 GM also has excellent close up performance of 0.24 meters (0.79ft.) and delivers soft and natural bokeh, a feature that is common across Sony’s entire G Master series of lenses. This is achieved by extreme control over factors like spherical aberration, and axial and lateral chromatic aberration, at the design and manufacturing stages, as each lens is individually tested and adjusted to achieve maximum performance.
The FE 24mm F1.4 GM also includes a number of professional controls that aide ease of operation for both stills and movie shooting. These include an aperture ring that allows direct, intuitive aperture control, and a focus ring that features Linear Response MF for fine, responsive manual focus control. There is also a customizable focus hold button, and a focus-mode switch that makes it possible to quickly select auto or manual focus to match changing shooting conditions.
Pricing and Availability
The FE 24mm F1.4 GM will ship in October 2018 for approximately $1,400 US and $1,900 CA. The lens will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.
A variety of exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new lens and other Sony α products can be found at www.alphauniverse.com, a site built to educate and inspire all fans and customers of the Sony α brand.