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FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


rvh23 wrote:
At landscape apertures, say F5.6 and beyond, there is no meanigful difference between these lenses that you would ever detect in any real world print.


Personally I use ~f/8 + focus stacking a lot for landscapes and some lenses are better than others. Both Sony and Sigma zooms perform better than most prime lenses, especially at the wider range. So, I agree that both zooms are too close in performance at small apertures to make a difference in real images.

The Sony 12-24/2.8 GM's differential is the higher resolution/contrast wide open compared to the Sigma and the extra 12-13mm range. I still don't know much about coma, flare resistance, sunstar definition and rendering differences yet.



Aug 18, 2020 at 11:26 PM
sismailian
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Yea I think I am going to try to do more focus stacking at these focal lengths with F/8. Normally I am at F/9-F/11 not focus stacked. It's been a while since I've shot ultra wide. Last time was with the sigma 14-24 dg hsm for DSLR that I got really awesome shots with but with mirrorless its such a better experience and I get better pictures.


Aug 19, 2020 at 12:53 AM
rvh23
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Fred Miranda wrote:
<font size=5>At 14mm</font>
EXTREME CORNER resolution/contrast comparison between Sony 12-24/2.8 GM vs Sigma 14-24/2.8 DG DN Art


I was looking back at the 14mm corner comparison with the Sigma and at F5.6 I think you might mean "now" rather than "not" optimal?



Aug 19, 2020 at 02:20 AM
Petegh
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Fred Miranda wrote:
Personally I use ~f/8 + focus stacking a lot for landscapes and some lenses are better than others. Both Sony and Sigma zooms perform better than most prime lenses, especially at the wider range. So, I agree that both zooms are too close in performance at small apertures to make a difference in real images.

The Sony 12-24/2.8 GM's differential is the higher resolution/contrast wide open compared to the Sigma and the extra 12-13mm range. I still don't know much about coma, flare resistance, sunstar definition and rendering differences yet.


From what I see here, if you're still shooting 42Mpix, there probably won't be any meaningful sharpness/contrast differences between these lenses. However, to my eye, Fred's 60Mpix examples show a significant advantage to the GM in the center and mid-frame, up to f5.6: whether you would see that in print or not depends on the size of the print (I believe you would in a large print). There's not much point talking about f8 and beyond as both lenses are diffraction limited on a 60Mpix camera.
We need to keep in mind that cameras and lenses are getting so good now, you can't just dismiss the difference between the GM and the Sigma as 'not significant', as this is representative of the level of improvement we're likely to see going forward; you guy's bought your RIV's for a reason, and that reason is visible in Fred's examples: to dismiss it seems to be a little self contradictory to me.



Aug 19, 2020 at 07:35 AM
Jman13
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Petegh wrote:
We need to keep in mind that cameras and lenses are getting so good now, you can't just dismiss the difference between the GM and the Sigma as 'not significant', as this is representative of the level of improvement we're likely to see going forward; you guy's bought your RIV's for a reason, and that reason is visible in Fred's examples: to dismiss it seems to be a little self contradictory to me.


I don't think anyone is dismissing anything...it's just that it's not nearly as clear cut as you seem to make it out to be. The Sigma looks slightly better at 14mm across the frame to me. The Sony looks better at midframe at 18mm, and at center and midframe at 24mm....when wide open, and maybe a very slight advantage at f/4.

However, the Sigma is better at the edges in those scenarios. Does the Sony have more situations where it has an advantage? Maybe, but it all depends on what's important to you in a lens. And ultimately, I do not often require ultimate resolution at f/2.8 or f/4, so those slight tradeoff differences don't matter nearly as much to me as if there was a stark difference at f/8 or f/11. You dismiss these apertures since there's slight diffraction effects there, but the point is: how often do you shoot for cross-field sharpness with an ultra-wide at f/2.8? Astrophotography is pretty much it. And for that I'd likely want the better performance of the Sigma at 14-16mm.

However, you also need to take into account cost, as well as width. If you need 12mm in your UWA zoom and want the best glass, then absolutely, the GM is the lens for you. If you don't need 12mm, I'm not seeing anywhere near enough of a difference here to justify over double the cost. We're talking a $1400 lens and a $3,000 lens, and they are trading blows, and where there are differences, they are generally extremely small.

It's about priorities here. $1,600 for a slight wide aperture lead in portions of the frame at some focal lengths is not exactly burning a hole in my pocket. And I can't recall taking an image with the 14-24 that left me saying 'aww, too bad that's not sharp.'

Edited on Aug 19, 2020 at 08:03 AM · View previous versions



Aug 19, 2020 at 07:52 AM
Chuck Coyne
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Fred, Thank you for providing such a fair and unbiased testing of these two stellar ultra wide angle zooms. For my money I think I will stick with the excellent Sigma 14-24. It is rare to need the 12mm focal length in my landscape and travel work but certainly the Sony is a very special lens. Like Joshua stated above, I will stick with the Sigma and if in a year or so the Sony is at a more reasonable price, maybe I'll consider a switch. But for now I'm very happy with my Sigma.


Aug 19, 2020 at 07:57 AM
Jochenb
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Thanks Fred.

Both the GM and Sigma look like very good lenses. The resolution you get from the Sigma at that price is amazing.



Aug 19, 2020 at 08:01 AM
rvh23
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Petegh wrote:
From what I see here, if you're still shooting 42Mpix, there probably won't be any meaningful sharpness/contrast differences between these lenses. However, to my eye, Fred's 60Mpix examples show a significant advantage to the GM in the center and mid-frame, up to f5.6: whether you would see that in print or not depends on the size of the print (I believe you would in a large print). There's not much point talking about f8 and beyond as both lenses are diffraction limited on a 60Mpix camera.
We need to keep in mind that cameras and lenses are getting so good now,
...Show more

At F5.6 and beyond you won't see the difference between the IQ of these two lenses regardless of the sensor you are using. To get an idea of what you would see in a 40" print from 60mp, you need to go to at most 50% views (probably smaller depending on your monitor) of Fred's comparisons. Even much larger sensors won't change that, because you need to zoom out more (on screen) to see what a 40" print would look like. The Sigma is so good in terms of sharpness that I don't believe further lens improvements will give us better 30 or 40" prints. How often do you print beyond 40"?

Also, I suspect many landscape photographers do indeed shoot landscapes at around F8 rather than much wider (unless it's essentially an infinity shot) because the number of focus stacked images you need becomes unmanageable. And if you're not focus stacking, lens differences are greatly reduced by DOF considerations in much of the frame. The only exception I can think of is astrophotogprahy where you are likely shooting the sky wide open. But in that case 40" prints look pretty awful anyway due to noise, and again in smaller prints you won't see a benfit due to the lens

What the new Sony does bring to the table though, is the very high level of UWA IQ that the Sigma introduced a year ago extended to 12 mm (if you allow for field curvature), which is very impressive. Whether that is worth the price difference, only you can decide.






Aug 19, 2020 at 08:57 AM
Tristan.W
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Thanks for the test! hard and valuable work!


Aug 19, 2020 at 09:20 AM
Petegh
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Jman13 wrote:
I don't think anyone is dismissing anything...it's just that it's not nearly as clear cut as you seem to make it out to be. The Sigma looks slightly better at 14mm across the frame to me. The Sony looks better at midframe at 18mm, and at center and midframe at 24mm....when wide open, and maybe a very slight advantage at f/4.

However, the Sigma is better at the edges in those scenarios. Does the Sony have more situations where it has an advantage? Maybe, but it all depends on what's important to you in a lens. And ultimately, I do
...Show more

We all can only judge based on our own eyesight and what we see on our computer monitors: smaller 4K screens that many use these days for example have too higher pixel density to accurately see differences in sharpness, so, with that caveat, and the assumption that you are looking at a high quality, calibrated screen - as I am, I'll address the point's you make:
1) I see no where in the center or the midframe of any shot where the Sigma's sharpness exceeds the GM, whereas the GM is sharper in the majority of cases.The GM also appears to have a deeper real-world depth of field at a given aperture also. I made no mention of the edges where I agree, the Sigma is generally better - if that's important for your astro - great.
2) "it all depends on what's important to you in a lens" Exactly! and this is why I think there is some confirmation bias creeping in to some of the comments here which I thought needed calling out.
3) "as if there was a stark difference at f8 and f11. You dismiss these apertures..." There is never going to be a stark difference at f8 or f11 because diffraction is the limiting variable, not the lens, and indeed Fred's examples show this: f8 looks the same to me on both lenses.
4) The cost difference you raise is a valid point, but my comments weren't speaking to that - just absolute quality.
5) "I can't recall taking an image with the 14-24 that left me saying aww too bad that's not sharp" Sharpness is a relative thing: none of the images I'd seen taken with the Sigma ever disappointed me either, but when seeing them side-by-side with the GM, the difference is there.



Aug 19, 2020 at 10:25 AM
 


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GMPhotography
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Looks very nice and a nice copy as well. Ill keep a eye on it but not really that interested in spending 3 grand either, not now at least.

Fred thanks for the test. I know the work involved



Aug 19, 2020 at 10:31 AM
Petegh
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


rvh23 wrote:
At F5.6 and beyond you won't see the difference between the IQ of these two lenses regardless of the sensor you are using. To get an idea of what you would see in a 40" print from 60mp, you need to go to at most 50% views (probably smaller depending on your monitor) of Fred's comparisons. Even much larger sensors won't change that, because you need to zoom out more (on screen) to see what a 40" print would look like. The Sigma is so good in terms of sharpness that I don't believe further lens improvements will give us
...Show more
Richard, I'm enjoying watching you try to talk yourself out of buying the GM! - I jest. Seriously though, as I mentioned in the
comments above, I thought I was seeing a little too much confirmation bias creeping into the summaries of Fred's tests by people who already own the Sigma 14-24 f2.8, and I thought it needed calling out. This is completely understandable considering the cost of the GM. I know from our previous discussions that it took you three samples to get a good Sigma 14-24, and I share your angst about having to do the same with a 5K (AUD) lens!
In response to your other comments:
1) "At 5.6 and beyond you won't see the difference between the IQ of these two lenses regardless of the sensor" To my eye, the GM reaches its best performance at f5.6 in most of Fred's examples (which isn't surprising really), so you should really be saying 'At f8 and beyond'. I know you mean this in the context of a 40x60 print, and I would agree with you from f8 or higher, but I believe a single or focus stacked image with the GM at f5.6 on the A7rIV would be superior and visible in a 40x60 print. (although I agree with you that in a single shot, the GM can only be better near the focal plane - the circle of confusion at the depth of field boundaries will stay the same between 42 vs 60Mpix.) As the old saying goes, the distance people judge the sharpness of a print is only limited by the length of their nose!
2) "you need to zoom out more" Evaluating images at anything other than 100% on screen is fraught with scaling issues, and as I mentioned in my comments above, 4K screens are not suitable for critical image analysis at 100% (unless very large)
3) "many landscape photographers do indeed shoot landscapes at f8...because the number of focus stacked images you need becomes unmanageable" Yes, I understand this, and I assume its why Fred says he often focus stacks at f8 - its the best compromise between quality and practicality in the field - even though a f5.6 stack would be sharper if possible.



Aug 19, 2020 at 11:08 AM
sismailian
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


I did a typical landscape setting shot today comparing it to my 16-35 GM. I am really impressed by how much more resolution you get out of the 12-24 GM especially wide open + step down 1 or two times and in most focal lengths. I think the 12-24 GM gets even better beyond 14mm. Also it has a slight warmer tone to the 16-35 which I like! I thought my 16-35 GM was sharp but damn this is even better. I still love my 16-35 due to easy filter usage with polarizers and once you get below 16mm it can give weird bluish skies (not that I use it much for shooting skies anyway).

I think if sony placed this at the mid or lower 2k range it would sell much easier, or those who have EDU discount will more likely buy it. Still, innovation is very expensive so I can understand the price.



Aug 19, 2020 at 12:31 PM
Justin Stone
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


It’s the chasm in price differential that makes these arguments in favor of the Sigma so compelling. They allow for people to claim that that Sigma’s value is unparalleled. We can argue for the use cases for the GM, but for most the 110% price difference is insurmountable. And yes, at closer to 2k the value proposition of the GM improves quite a bit.


sismailian wrote:
I think if sony placed this at the mid or lower 2k range it would sell much easier, or those who have EDU discount will more likely buy it. Still, innovation is very expensive so I can understand the price.



Edited on Aug 19, 2020 at 03:01 PM · View previous versions



Aug 19, 2020 at 12:44 PM
shadow9d9
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Honestly, I'd rather the 12-24 f4 than the Sigma in the case of price being of importance because that extra 2mm on the wide end is significant to me, whereas one stop is not.


Aug 19, 2020 at 12:56 PM
j4nu
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Well, if we take the assumption that all Sigma owners are biased, then there's not going to be much discussion here, as I think they consitute a big fraction of people interested in the GM .
Given previous tests and MTF reports, I actually expected the GM to win in every case gainst the Sigma (and I'd actually want that to happen as that would make it the ultimate unquestionable ultra-wide across systems ) ... but there are cases where Sigma is slightly better so I think it's unfair to declare the GM winner in every category (sharpnes-wise that is).
I still think GM is overall a better package (if not sharpness, then 12mm), but its price limits its audience and diminishes a lot of its appeal.
Hopefully Fred's further tests will provide more arguments to crown the winner here...



Aug 19, 2020 at 12:57 PM
sismailian
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


I am excited to see what kind of filter system we can use in the rear for this lens. I definitely wouldn't mind having a smaller filter system if I can avoid my 150mm sized ones. I've kinda grown over time to not use any filters anyway besides only polarizer but not usually with ultra wides. That's why I got 82mm filters for the sony 24-70 GM or the sigma 24-70 which I'll buy when I have to return the 24-70 GM to family member (who knows when ).


Aug 19, 2020 at 12:57 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


I may be able to test it against the FE 24/1.4 GM today if the weather cooperates. It looks like the sky won't be overcast tonight for a coma test. I wanted to compare it to the Sigma and 24GM.

In the meantime, here is a side by side comparison:











Aug 19, 2020 at 01:03 PM
Schlotkins
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


If only the 24-70 GM was this good....


Aug 19, 2020 at 01:42 PM
Editorrr
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · FM Review: Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM


Thanks for the tests, Fred.



Aug 19, 2020 at 02:25 PM
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