Review: Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS (Sony E, Full Frame)

The Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS lens has to be one of the system’s best walkaround lenses.

If you were to compare the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS to the company’s G Master lenses, then I’d feel like you’re doing it an injustice in some ways. Nevertheless, this is a comparison that will be made simply because every other manufacturer has an offering that rates it amongst their best lenses. Indeed, the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS is quite a great lens for the travel photographer, but it’s on G glass. It has weather sealing, but isn’t as sealed as some of the company’s other offerings. It has a great range, but maxes out at f4. For some photographers this will be a problem, but for photographers who travel, this is perhaps one of the best lenses you can get for your Sony camera.

Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Sharp image quality
  • Nice bokeh in the right situations
  • A bit of weather sealing
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Versatile range

Cons

  • Nothing really, I accept this lens for what it is.

Gear Used

The Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS was tested with the Sony a7 and Sony a7r III.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from our 24-105mm f4 G OSS news report

  • Corner to corner sharpness
  • Not a G Master lens
  • Constant f4
  • Silent AF uses electromagnets to move focus group
  • 663 grams
  • 4 aspherical elements
  • 3 ED glass
  • Focus group is in the back of the lens
  • Fluorine coating on the lenses
  • 17 elements in 14 groups
  • Weather and dust resistance.
  • Smallest in its class
  • $1,299.99

Ergonomics

Taken from our first impressions post

When you look at the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS you see a whole lot of what you may see from the camera brand’s competitors. The exterior is plasticky and made of a texture that ensures the user can grip onto it. But in addition to that, most of the gripping power may come in conjunction with the rubber rings on the lens. There is a rubber ring for zooming and for focusing.

When you look at the front of the lens, you’ll spot a massive front element. That’s really about it.

When zoomed all the way in, the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS becomes about half a big as it was when collapsed. If the lens shade is off, then the overall product looks much smaller.

Turn to the side of the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS and what you’ll see are the switches. These switches control the focusing mode (manual or auto) and the OSS–which is the image stabilization.

Build Quality

The Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS lens isn’t on par with the company’s G Master series of lenses–which if you’ll recall is designed to be the company’s highest end lenses. With that said though, we’ve taken this lens into light rain showers and through dust with little issues besides needing to wipe it down a tad. If you’re a photographer who is bound to take this into the thick and thin of the most unforgiving weather that the planet has to offer, then I’d look at the G Master series instead–or Pentax and Olympus. But for general use, I can’t help but recommend the build quality on the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS: it will satisfy the needs of many.

In fact, if you look at the back of the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS you’ll notice there is a very small amount of rubber designed to keep out any sort of moisture or dust. For what it’s worth, many other cameras have thicker rubber at the base. But Sony has said to me on a number of occassions that the seal is so tight it will be fine.

The lens has an exterior that feels nice when you grip it due to the rubber rings. It’s an overall chunky lens but it needs to be for what it is.

Ease of Use

The Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS has a number of switches on it. There is focus control and image stabilization control. For the most part, you’re essentially pointing, focusing, shooting and moving on. The lens has manual focus control but more often than not I didn’t use it unless I was shooting video on the Sony a7r III. If you’re using this lens for video, you may want to do the same thing unless you’ve got great lighting. Many of the videos on our YouTube channel use continuous autofocus on the face and it’s always kept my face in focus.

Something that I absolutely must speak to is the image stabilization on the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS when combined with a camera like the Sony a7r III. It allowed me to photograph a scene handheld to around 1/3rd of a second and get no effects from motion blur. I’m quite surprised at this, however I have to fully admit that Olympus still bests Sony when it comes to image stabilization. However, they’re dealing with a much smaller sensor.

Now that doesn’t mean you’re not going to get shake. In a later part of my review, I’ll show a scene I find beautiful but that surely has camera shake.

Autofocus

We shot this video with the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS lens and it kept our subject in focus while shooting on the Sony a7r III. Where I found it to be troublesome at times is with fast moving subjects. Trying to shoot your friend’s cat running about as it plays with a piece of string is bound to be tricky even when you go as far as selecting a focusing point manually. But for the otherwise general use that travel photography lends itself to, the autofocus on the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS is perfectly adept when using both the Sony a7 and Sony a7r III for stuff like food photography, candids of friends at events, etc. It will rarely fail you.

Image Quality

I’m going to be very honest here about the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS; there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but at the same time it lacks the magic that some of Sony’s primes have. I’m not talking about bokeh as much as micro contrast and overall smoothness of the focus falloff. The colors tend to be fairly neutral, which is just fine for the photojournalist style shooting that I expect done with a lens like this.

Bokeh

The bokeh from this lens is ideal when shooting on the telephoto end at f4 while focusing closely. It’s more than good enough for most portraiture. In fact, if you’re a headshot photographer this may be all you really need. The bokeh is very creamy when describing the instances that I stated above but otherwise you shouldn’t really expect a whole lot of it if you’re a photographer more used to shooting with primes.

Overall this is adequate bokeh, but I still yearn for some of the from the company’s G Master lenses. Granted, those are a much different price point.

Chromatic Aberration

When you shoot with the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS in high contrast situations, you’re not going to get any sort of fringing that will ruin your day and make you run to DPReview’s forums screaming the name of the devil. In fact, you’re not really going to get anything that will bother you. It also keeps distortion pretty low with the exception on the wider end and shooting close up to a subject–but you’ll need to expect that. In some ways, I don’t like that. I’d love for this lens to deliver more lens flare.

Color Rendition

Color rendition from the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS when combined with my method of white balancing to film kelvin levels can help you deliver some very beautiful images. The colors, for what it’s worth, aren’t very saturated at all. Instead, they’re more adequate. Some photographers may find themselves tweaking the contrast and the hues of specific color channels, but that’s it. Most will be completely satisfied here.

Sharpness

In my tests, I found the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS’s sharpness to be pretty darned good. It’s bound to hold its own with Sigma’s and takes the lead ahead of Canon’s offering. Canon’s offering has better colors in my opinion when it comes to working with skin tones and Sigma’s version has more vibrant colors. But when it comes to sharpness, Sony’s offering is winning the race.

Extra Image Samples

Conclusions

Likes

  • Sharp
  • Nice colors
  • Fast focusing in most situations
  • A bit of weather sealing

Dislikes

  • Not really a whole lot. Anything that I’m being picky about I can deal with.

The Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS is mostly designed for enthusiasts, but I can totally see how and why photographers would want to use it for more professional reasons. It can deliver gorgeous image quality and with the right lighting I doubt that anyone would really be able to fault the lens or the photographer. Combine this with the little bit of weather sealing, and I can totally see how this lens can be one that stays glued to your camera in most instances. It gives you quite a bit of zoom range to work with, reliable focusing in most instances, and good enough image quality that can be tweaked inside of the camera or in post.

The Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS gets four out of five stars. I like the lens, but it isn’t the pure magic that some of the Sony’s other lenses are. Want one? You’ll need to fork over $1,298 for one.