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Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Rolling Review
Finally, a chance to test out the brand new FE 24/1.4 GM, share my first impressions and show everyone some resolution/contrast results. Sadly the day my lens arrived, the weather determined that I'd have to hold-off on infinity tests for another day, but fortunately I have the results for you now.

Order the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM

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This is an Ongoing Review. Here is a summary with links to the tests and samples images:
  1. Infinity distance resolution comparison with Loxia 25/2.4
  2. Sunstar Rendering
  3. Flare performance
  4. Coma Performance (sagittal flare)
  5. Lateral CA correction
  6. FE 24mm f/1.4 GM (crop mode) vs RX1R II "rendering" comparison
  7. Final thoughts
  8. Sample images 1
  9. Sample images 2
  10. Sample images 3
  11. Sample images 4 (landscapes)
_________________


First Impressions:

When it comes to the Sony natives, shooting with all manual focus lenses like the Zeiss Loxia and Voigtlander primes, has really grown on me. They're great go-to choices for travel and landscape photography, plus the resolution, contrast, colors, flare resistance and sunstar rendering can't be beat.

However, for applications better suited for AF lenses, I like the characteristics of the FE 85/1.4 GM but was missing something for the wide range. After testing the new GM 24/1.4 for a couple days, I was happy to learn that it performs similarly to the 85/1.4 GM in terms of resolution, contrast and rendition.

There is noticeable axial CA, especially when shooting wide open but I believe "over-corrected" lenses lose something in their rendering, which is clearly not the case with the 24/1.4 GM. Out of focus bokeh is smooth at close and mid-distances. The transition zone is not harsh and the lens does not disappoint in contrast either. In my opinion, if you like the 85/1.4 GM's character, you'll probably appreciate the new 24/1.4 GM, since it has the same signature rendering.

Flare resistance also seems pretty good thus far, although it's not on the same level as the Loxia 25/2.4. Resolution at infinity is great with sharp corners even at f/1.4 and when compared to the Loxia. But, I do notice slightly higher astigmatism and LaCA towards the edges.
With everything in mind, overall I'd say the Loxia still has a slight edge in resolution and contrast, color rendition, flare resistance and of course sunstar rendering although the new FE 24/1.4GM is a very strong contender.

______

Let's get started and take a look at some crops comparing the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM and Loxia 25mm f/2.4 at infinity distance.

Here is the full image thumbnail showing the areas demonstrated at 1:1 magnification.



Distance: Infinity
Focus: Center - Best of three @ 12.4x magnification
WB: Daylight for both lenses
All Lenses perfectly centered using my decentering test
Software: Lightroom FM Default Landscape Sharpening. All other settings set to default
PS: Vignetting and distortion NOT corrected


Center, Mid and Extreme Edge crops for the FE 24/1.4 GM @f/1.4 and f/1.8






Center @f/1.4 and f/1.8 for Sony FE 24GM: Impressive resolution wide open and there is a noticeable improvement at f/1.8







Mid-zone @f/1.4 and f/1.8 for Sony FE 24GM: Looks pretty similar to me







Extreme edges @f/1.4 and f/1.8 for Sony FE 24GM: Slight improvement in resolution and contrast from wide open. The 24/1.4GM shows great performance at the extreme edges even at f/1.4 (wide open). Slight improvement at f/1.8, especially vignetting




Nov 01, 2018 at 03:39 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Now compared to the Loxia 25 @f/2.4 (Sony at f/2.5)

Notice that the Sony 24GM colors follow the trend of other GM lenses with a slight greenish/cooler bias whereas Loxia colors are slightly warmer and neutral in comparison. The crops between lenses have noticeably different color rendition even though captured under same lighting and practically at the same time. (Both using Daylight WB)



Center resolution comparison between Sony 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4:


Similar resolution for both lenses. The Loxia shows higher contrast and IMO better color rendition.





Center @f/2.4: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: At f/2.4 the Sony GM shows strong performance with similar resolution compared to the Loxia (The Loxia is wide open though). I still see higher contrast and more pleasant colors with the Loxia







Center @f/2.8: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Similar story @f/2.8 and both lenses improve slightly







Center @f/4: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Both lenses close to their peak with great resolution and contrast







Center @f/5.6: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Not much difference compared to f/4 for both lenses. I'd say both peak @f/4-5.6 at center







Center @f/8: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Both lenses show signs of diffraction







Center @f/11: Both diffract further but still show very good resolution




Nov 01, 2018 at 03:44 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Midzone resolution comparison between Sony 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4:


Resolution-wise, both Loxia and GM perform similarly up until f/4.
At f/5.6 and f/8, the Loxia crops look slightly better with more resolution and more tone separation due to its higher contrast. I believe the Loxia's improvement in resolution at smaller apertures is due to a larger depth of field masking its field curvature.





Midzone @f/2.4: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: I'd say they are pretty similar in resolution and contrast (Loxia is wide open). Keep in mind that the Loxia has higher field curvature and improves further if focused on mid-field







Midzone @f/2.8: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Similar to f/2.4 although the Loxia 25 starts to show its color rendition strength







Midzone @f/4: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Very similar but the Loxia shows slightly higher resolution and contrast







Midzone @f/5.6: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Not much improvement for the GM. The Loxia improves slightly.







Midzone @f/8: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Similar to f/5.6 with a slight diffraction effect







Midzone @f/11: Both diffract further but still hold great resolution




Nov 01, 2018 at 03:50 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Extreme corner resolution comparison between Sony 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4:


I see a bit more astigmatism on the 24/1.4GM crops but nothing alarming. We are just comparing extreme corners to what I think is one of the best 25mm lenses on the market. The Loxia edges look more crispy in comparison, especially starting at f/4 where it's noticeably better in contrast, resolution and color. The Sony FE 24/1.4GM is a great competitor but I still give the Loxia the edge here.

For landscapes and in regards to resolution only, I would not hesitate using the Sony 24/1.4 GM instead of the Loxia.





Extreme edge @f/2.4: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Slight astigmatism for the 24/1.4GM. The Loxia extreme corners look crispier from wide open. Higher vignetting for the Loxia and more LaCA for the GM.







Extreme edge @f/2.8: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Both lenses improve very slightly.







Extreme edge @f/4: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Both lenses peak. The Loxia is noticeably better with the GM showing some astigmatism in comparison. The GM is great and the Loxia is superb







Extreme edge @f/5.6: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Not much changes from f/4







Extreme edge @f/8: FE 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4: Both lenses diffract slighty







Extreme edge @f/11




Nov 01, 2018 at 03:51 PM
Holger
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
Extreme corner resolution comparison between Sony 24/1.4 GM vs Loxia 25/2.4:


Thanks!

Except for the extreme corners, I see both to be extremely close (differences in FOV make it hard to precisely judge sharpness differences; an optical bench test will reveal that clearly).



Nov 01, 2018 at 04:03 PM
ylimehajile
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Man o man. These lenses pull in so much information you can see what that family is having for dinner.

I still favor the Loxia - but can't wait to get my 24GM and try it on some stars. Too bad this lens wasn't released 6-months ago for the start of Milky Way season. Oh well - only 6 more months to go.

Thanks for the review Fred - awesome as usual.



Nov 01, 2018 at 04:10 PM
Chris_88
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Great, thorough testing as always, Fred. Thanks for that series and your evaluation. I handled a demo copy of the 24 1.4 in a store the other day (didn't have to time to try it out, though), and like others mentioned, the lens is indeed even more compact in real life than it looks on screen. Fortunately, the FL is too close to my Loxia 21, so I won't be tempted .


Nov 01, 2018 at 04:16 PM
pdmphoto
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Looks like you spent some time on post processing for the GM, but looks pretty good. The center of your GM looks hazy compared to the Loxia. I don't see that in my copy. Your extreme corners soften up quite a bit at F8 (evidently due to diffraction), which I also didn't see. I will re-test mine though when I have the time and a sunny day. I will take my Loxia 21 along.

Still, I don't think this lens is what Sony says about it in thier marketing hype. Take some pics with the lens on, but lens contacts not engaged.Then one can see the completely uncorrected CA.. As even with lens corrections off, files (RAW and JPG) are corrected some in camera. I'm not sure where they got that last sentence .
Two XA (extreme aspherical) elements in an optical design that meets stringent G Master requirements contribute to consistently high resolution throughout the image area. Three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements are also included to effectively suppress chromatic aberration.



Nov 01, 2018 at 04:20 PM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Always tougher for the fast lenses to measure up to landscape specialists and we see that here. Loxia is a clear victor where it counts, f5.6-f8. Few will shoot deep shots wider than f5.6, having paid up for the best in the mount at this rather important focal length.

You can't see the oft-repeated claim of 'all the same at f8' either, the Loxia powers away. The Sony does best in midzone here, but is humbled in centers and corners - the latter look sad at f5.6. Its res looks edgy (like over-sharpening) wher the Loxia is clean and smooth, Sony hill shadows look muddy. Detail to detail, the Zeiss has better front to back in the crops - see hilltop shrubs at f5.6. Highlights stronger for Loxia.

Some harsh corner CA on the Sony (chimney), all apertures too. Where it appears on the Loxia, just a thin strip. Color, no contest, Sony need to look at this for nature-oriented lenses, it's quite outlandish. Color helps shape the view over the scene, and this uneasy cyan cast is disappointing. It accentuates greens too, which can become astroturf at times. It also loses the critical green-red transitions and adds to apparent UV contamination. Thanks so much. PS Loxia peaks overall at f5.6, I believe, like all CZ slower Distagons.



Nov 01, 2018 at 04:50 PM
Holger
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


pdmphoto wrote:
Looks like you spent some time on post processing for the GM, but looks pretty good. The center of your GM looks hazy compared to the Loxia. I don't see that in my copy. Your extreme corners soften up quite a bit at F8 (evidently due to diffraction), which I also didn't see. I will re-test mine though when I have the time and a sunny day. I will take my Loxia 21 along.

Still, I don't think this lens is what Sony says about it in thier marketing hype. Take some pics with the lens on, but lens contacts not
...Show more

Disagree.

1) Resolution is high across the field, esp. for an f1.4 lens. Do you expect Otus performance in such a small package at this price point? That's ridiculous.
2) How would CAs look like without the ED elements? So why is the remark that CAs are suppressed (for me that means clearly _reduced_ contrary to completely eliminated), wrong?

I think this lens produces excellent IQ in a small and light weight package, optimised for general usage (including events!), not landscapes alone. Can you show me a better AF lens with an f1.4 aperture, at this size and weight at this price point in the market?



Nov 01, 2018 at 05:12 PM
 


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chiron
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


philip_pj wrote:
Always tougher for the fast lenses to measure up to landscape specialists and we see that here. Loxia is a clear victor where it counts, f5.6-f8. Few will shoot deep shots wider than f5.6, having paid up for the best in the mount at this rather important focal length.

You can't see the oft-repeated claim of 'all the same at f8' either, the Loxia powers away. The Sony does best in midzone here, but is humbled in centers and corners - the latter look sad at f5.6. Its res looks edgy (like over-sharpening) wher the Loxia is clean and smooth,
...Show more

I can see and appreciate every finely observed point you are making. On the other hand, these images are comparing a lens designed for landscapes to a lens not designed for landscapes by using landscape images at infinity.

On the other hand, if one looks at Fred's Halloween pictures (linked below), which I think are much more the type of images for which a 24mm/1.4 lens is intended, the images are beautiful to look at. Fred thinks they are in rendering and color like the Sony 85mm/1.4 GM, which is high praise. I'm less familiar with the 85/1.4, but I think the Sony 24/1.4's rendering of these scenes is similar to what I see in the Sony ZA 35mm/1.4 GM image thread, which is wonderful. The Loxia 25mm, with f/2.5 and manual focus, probably wouldn't do as well making these images, and I'm not sure how its rendering style would compare to the 24/1.4 for this content and lighting.

So, horses for courses.

The link to Fred's Halloween pictures:
https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1567944/3#14649118

Edited on Nov 01, 2018 at 05:38 PM · View previous versions



Nov 01, 2018 at 05:21 PM
GMPhotography
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Maybe this has something to do with LR but in C1 on my tests color was very close if not identical. Of course I donít have a lot of green in my test. Also at mid range around 40 feet away I found these lenses maybe a little closer match. Iím not going to test them together further as my Loxia is listed for sale. I need some other gear and going to let it go. Both really good lenses end of the day. I do like the Bokeh on the Sony at the wider apertures. But Iím not a dedicated landscape guy either anymore.

Great test Fred thanks for posting



Nov 01, 2018 at 05:21 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


I tend to agree with Philip here. The 24/1.4 GM is a very versatile lens but it's not a landscape specialist like the Loxia 25/2.4. It shows strong performance at infinity distance and it's a great alternative to the Loxia, although not quite matching the Zeiss in many aspects as described in my first post.

The GM's color rendering is consistent with other Sony lenses and resolution wide open is quite impressive from center to corner with minimal field curvature. Although it's a great alternative to the Loxia for landscapes, I think its biggest strength is wide open performance and rendering at close and mid-distances for different applications.



Nov 01, 2018 at 05:31 PM
Jannik Peters
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


I wholeheartedly agree with everything that Fred wrote but especially with that (and especially after reading phillip_pjs and pdmphotos statements):

"For landscapes and in regards to resolution only, I would not hesitate using the Sony 24/1.4 GM instead of the Loxia."

We are mostly talking about the last 10% of the image and not about mushy corners but just not as sharp corners. Furthermore, the midframe is excellent and that counts much more for me.

I clearly see where the Loxias shine and I still love these lenses. Nevertheless, the GM is the best replacement so far if you are not only looking for landscape qualities in the lens.

I was on a family trip today and was happy to capture environmental portraits next to landscape with the same lens and basically in the same time.



Nov 01, 2018 at 05:33 PM
hiepphotog
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


philip_pj wrote:
Always tougher for the fast lenses to measure up to landscape specialists and we see that here. Loxia is a clear victor where it counts, f5.6-f8. Few will shoot deep shots wider than f5.6, having paid up for the best in the mount at this rather important focal length.

You can't see the oft-repeated claim of 'all the same at f8' either, the Loxia powers away. The Sony does best in midzone here, but is humbled in centers and corners - the latter look sad at f5.6. Its res looks edgy (like over-sharpening) wher the Loxia is clean and smooth,
...Show more

Great interpretation of the results I say. This reminded me somewhat of the difference between the EF 24/1.4 vs. the Zeiss 21/2.8. One shouldn't expect a faster lens to perform as well or better than slower Zeiss wides for pure landscape sharpness, especially while being only a tad larger and heavier. Rendering-wise, it's up to the user to choose between GM vs. Zeiss; resolution+bokeh vs. resolution+contrast and the associated coatings.

If one wants to shoot landscape only at this focal length, the GM shouldn't even be considered given the fast WO aperture and slight difference we see here. But for mixed applications, the GM stands as a strong contender.



Nov 01, 2018 at 05:39 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


GMPhotography wrote:
Maybe this has something to do with LR but in C1 on my tests color was very close if not identical. Of course I donít have a lot of green in my test. Also at mid range around 40 feet away I found these lenses maybe a little closer match. Iím not going to test them together further as my Loxia is listed for sale. I need some other gear and going to let it go. Both really good lenses end of the day. I do like the Bokeh on the Sony at the wider apertures. But Iím not a
...Show more

The 24 GM's colors match other Sony lenses being cooler in temperature and bias towards the green/cyan tint. The Loxia vs Sony color difference is subject dependent, but when you have some foliage mixed with roof tops and some dirt, the difference becomes more apparent.

Having said all that, I don't see any real weakness for the 24/1.4 GM if used for landscape photography. The center, mid-zone and extreme corner look strong and just like with the Batis 25/2, I can't detect any field curvature or resolution dip. The Loxia does better for landscapes but cannot match the versatility of the GM.



Nov 01, 2018 at 05:44 PM
GMPhotography
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


I agree the Sony is probably the best 1.4 wide angle going why Iím keeping it and at itís wider apertures pretty much the most versatile lens around for commercial/ family/ people type shooters. Wedding guys may love this thing for receptions and such. For me itís a PR event machine but I can take it to the great outdoors if needed . I have more MF lenses to cover what I need for landscapes. But I will say given itís size and weight it can be a good travel lens too. Hey it fits in my Peak Design 5 sling thatís saying something.

Having said that I love the Loxia lenses for there output and some of the best Zeiss glass around. Iím a Zeiss zealot always have been. But you also need to fit your needs too.

This Sony 24 put me right back into another thinking mode and I should not even write this because I know myself too well Sony 24, 50 1.4, 85 1.4 GM. In all seriousness I was going to get the Batis 40 but may change my mind given what Iím reading and just go for the 50 1.4 instead. The 24 is also a 36 in crop mode add the 50 and itís a 50 than a 75 in crop mode. Bye Bye Tammy 28-75



Nov 01, 2018 at 05:50 PM
GMPhotography
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
The 24 GM's colors match other Sony lenses being cooler in temperature and bias towards the green/cyan tint. The Loxia vs Sony color difference is subject dependent, but when you have some foliage mixed with roof tops and some dirt, the difference becomes more apparent.

Having said all that, I don't see any real weakness for the 24/1.4 GM if used for landscape photography. The center, mid-zone and extreme corner look strong and just like with the Batis 25/2, I can't detect any field curvature or resolution dip. The Loxia does better for landscapes but cannot match the versatility
...Show more

Fred itís got to be the green for sure as I did not see it on Big Bronco which is predominately yellow/ red based with a touch of green. Interesting for sure. I do think in the middle range like Big Bronco it may tighten up the diffrence to on resolution as well. Why I said it seemed closer which kind of makes sense. Infinity is different . Kind of why I like both our tests as they cover the gamut. I did infinity test but did not run the Loxia against it. Actually bud I depend on your test more as you have a far better infinity spot than me.



Nov 01, 2018 at 05:57 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


Here is a size comparison between the Loxia 25, GM 24 and GM 85.
Hopefully tonight I will get clear skies for a coma test. :-)







Nov 01, 2018 at 06:14 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Review


GMPhotography wrote:
Fred itís got to be the green for sure as I did not see it on Big Bronco which is predominately yellow/ red based with a touch of green. Interesting for sure. I do think in the middle range like Big Bronco it may tighten up the diffrence to on resolution as well. Why I said it seemed closer which kind of makes sense. Infinity is different . Kind of why I like both our tests as they cover the gamut. I did infinity test but did not run the Loxia against it. Actually bud I depend on your test
...Show more

It's been slightly hazy around here (as indicated in my first post) but since I will keep both lenses, I will repeat this test when I get better weather. I do think the test is valid though since the same atmosphere was present for both lenses tested side by side.



Nov 01, 2018 at 06:21 PM
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