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Sony SEL1224G 12-24mm f/4 Lens Review

Many thanks to Sony Pro Support for lending me the new Sony SEL1224G 12-24mm f/4 lens!  I was excited to try it as 12mm is really - - - W  I  D  E - - -!  I already own the Sony SEL1635GM 16-35mm f/2.8 and was interested to test out the lens to determine if the wider 12-16mm range would be worth buying another lens.

 Sony 12-24mm G f/4 left, Sony 16-35mm GM f/2.8 right.

Sony 12-24mm G f/4 left, Sony 16-35mm GM f/2.8 right.

I was on assignment to photograph some scenic locations in western North Carolina and brought both lenses with me to make some comparisons.  On a rainy morning I headed out to Dry Falls which was a perfect subject for me to try out the Sony 12-24mm lens.

 Dry Falls at 12mm

Dry Falls at 12mm

As soon as I put the lens on my Sony A7Rii camera, I immediately set it to 12mm.  I crouched into a shallow cave behind this waterfall and used the 12mm field of view to frame the entire opening.  I was impressed with the lack of distortion at such a wide angle.  However to get even more cave detail I also tried to do a panorama at 12mm and was surprised to find the images would not stitch in Lightroom or Photoshop which was disappointing.

 12mm from inside the cave

12mm from inside the cave

So obviously the Sony 12-24mm lens has the benefit of a wider field of view which makes new compositions possible.  However I also wanted to compare the quality against my Sony 16-35mm GM lens at a similar focal length.  Not surprisingly at a smaller aperture like f/11 the images were very similar in sharpness with the GM lens slightly better.  However when I opened up the aperture to f/4 reduce the shutter speed so I could add myself in the frame the sharpness dropped of significantly. 

 f/11, 100% crop, Sony 16-35mm GM left, Sony 12-24 G right

f/11, 100% crop, Sony 16-35mm GM left, Sony 12-24 G right

 f/4, 100% crop, Sony 16-35 GM left, Sony 12-24 G right

f/4, 100% crop, Sony 16-35 GM left, Sony 12-24 G right

 Final image from the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 lens

Final image from the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 lens

I hadn’t previously considered this lens as a purchase for two reasons.  First with a maximum aperture of f/4 and decrease in sharpness wide open it isn’t well suited for astrophotography work.  Second the lens will not easily accept filters, especially the screw on filters I typically use. 

 Sony 12-24mm G f/4 left, Sony 16-35mm GM f/2.8 with circular polarizer right

Sony 12-24mm G f/4 left, Sony 16-35mm GM f/2.8 with circular polarizer right

Now that I’ve had a chance to use it I really enjoyed the wider 12mm field of view but it wasn’t enough to change my mind and buy it when I already have the Sony 16-35mm GM lens.  I do a lot of travel photography and often need to limit the weight and number of lenses I bring with me on assignment and the Sony 16-35mm GM lens does many things well.  Also when I want a wider field of view in a lens that can also do night photography I use the much cheaper, lighter, faster, and sharper wide open Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens.  Therefore I’ll pass on the Sony SEL1224G 12-24mm f/4 lens and keep hoping for a fast ultra-wide angle lens <14mm to be released someday.

 Rokinon FE14M-E 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens

Rokinon FE14M-E 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens

ONE MORE THING...Thinking of alternate lenses did make me recall I did own the Sony SEL1018 10-18mm Wide-Angle Zoom Lens three years ago when finding a wide angle lens for the Sony A7r was more difficult.  While it is a crop sensor lens it will cover the A7r full frame sensor from 12mm to 17mm making it a lower cost alternative.

 Sony SEL1018 10-18mm Wide-Angle Zoom Lens at 12mm

Sony SEL1018 10-18mm Wide-Angle Zoom Lens at 12mm

Thomas MoorsComment