Last Updated on 03/23/2021 by Mark Beckenbach
The Sony 24mm f2.8 G goes head-to-head with some strong contenders in this now oversaturated lens segment.
Lately, it seems as though every manufacturer is making small, relatively fast, and affordable 24mm prime lenses. Tamron released one not too long ago, and it costs $199. Sigma has one in their new I-Series of lenses with a price tag of $549. Now, Sony has decided to release a new 24mm f2.8 prime in their G series of lenses with a price tag of $599. With an all-metal build, weather sealing, and an aperture ring, the Sony 24mm f2.8 G stands out a little from the rest. However, is it worth the premium price that they’re asking for it? Find out in our full review.
Table of Contents
Too Long, Didn’t Read
The Sony 24mm f2.8 G is fun to use, though it does have some issues. At $599, it’s $400 more expensive than the plastic, weather-sealed Tamron 24mm f2.8. However, the Sony features a very nice weather-sealed metal body. Overall, the image quality is very good, and focusing is rapid. Still, it suffers from the same distortion issues as the Tamron.
Pros and Cons
- Retro styling
- The aperture ring
- Fantastic metal housing and lens hood
- Overall image quality is very good
- Rapid autofocus
- Silent operation
- Weather sealing
- No zone focusing scale
- Distortion isn’t controlled very well
- Some signs of green and purple fringing in high contrast scenes
- The lens is a little soft in the corners when shooting wide open at f2.8
- At $599.99, it’s $400 more than Tamron’s weather-sealed 24mm f2.8
There is nothing really innovative about the Sony 24mm f2.8 G. This is a standard prime lens that only stands out from the E mount crowd due to its all-metal build and aperture control ring.
All technical specifications were provided by Sony:
- 2 3/4” long and 1-13/16″ in diameter
- 7 groups, 8 elements
- Minimum focus distances – 0.78 ft (Autofocus) / 0.59 ft (Manual focus)
- Double linear motors (same motors found in the 50 G Master)
- Dust and moisture resistant
- Available on May 12th
- $599.99 US, $799.99 CAD
Sony 24mm f2.8 G – Ergonomics
The Sony 24mm f2.8 G is a small prime that will balance on any Sony camera body. But don’t let its size fool you. Sony has packed a lot into the design of this metal-bodied lens. The lens has a retro look thanks to the aperture ring, which you can see above. Sitting just in front of the aperture dial, you’ll find the manual focus ring. It’s a little small, but it gets the job done.
You’ll find the auto and manual focus control switch along with a custom function button on the left of the lens. Above that, you’ll find the G branded bling. You can better see in this image just how small this lens is.
The right side of the lens also has a switch. This toggle will control the aperture ring’s click and de-click feature. In this image, it might look like the switch is in an awkward position. However, it falls into place nicely and isn’t obstructed in any way.
The front element measures just 49mm in size. Like I said earlier, this is a small lens. Overall, I really like the styling of the Sony 24mm f2.8 G. I love the retro look and feel. It has been a while since a Sony lens has had this much design character. The buttons and switches are placed well. And the small size and weight make this a perfect lens to go on long photo walks with.
“Is it as weather-sealed as a G Master lens? No. Will it survive a light rain? Yes. You’ll have nothing to worry about.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Sony 24mm f2.8 G – Build Quality
The Sony 24mm f2.8 G might be small in size and weight, but it’s built solidly. In fact, part of the reason this lens is $400 more than the Tamron 24mm f2.8 is the all-metal build. This lens has a full metal body, a metal lens hood, and a metal mount. The aperture ring feels like it’s plastic, but the manual focus ring is metal. The switches give a satisfying thunk as you slide them into place. The aperture ring clicks nicely and also turns very smoothly when de-clicked.
The lens is also weather-sealed. I didn’t have the chance to take the lens into any rain. However, I have taken other G lenses into storms and have had no issues. Is it as weather-sealed as a G Master lens? No. Will it survive a light rain? Yes. You’ll have nothing to worry about. If you want to add a premium feeling 24mm f2.8 prime to your collection, this lens is for you.
Sony 24mm f2.8 G – Ease of Use
The Sony 24mm f2.8 G is a straightforward lens to use. Attach it to your camera, take off the lens cap, and you’re good to go. There are just a few controls on the lens itself. You have the aperture control ring, which is fun to use. However, if you do not want to use it, you can place it in A mode and control the aperture from the camera body. There’s a nice solid click as you twist the ring from aperture selection to A mode, and it will not disengage easily. This is a good thing as you don’t have to worry about accidentally bumping it into a different position.
There’s a custom function button on the lens. You can map this button to just about any camera function you can think of. The manual and autofocus switch is pretty self-explanatory, and so is the aperture ring de-click switch. No doubt videographers will love this option. I wish this lens featured a zone-focus scale. This would have completed the lens’s retro look and taken it over the top. Overall, nobody will have any issues using this lens; even beginners will hit the ground running.
“This lens’s autofocus performance makes it perfect for events, documentary photography, food photography, street photography, landscapes, and more.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Sony 24mm f2.8 G – Autofocus
Autofocus performance is stellar, but this doesn’t surprise us as we have come to expect this from Sony G lenses. In single focus, wide area, and tracking, the lens was flawless in great lighting. In low light scenarios, the Sony 24mm f2.8 G is still quick. However, there is a slight but noticeable dip in speed. Still, the lens remains remarkably accurate. Being a wide-angle lens, this 24mm f2.8 from Sony performs exactly how we expected it would. This lens’s autofocus performance makes it perfect for events, documentary photography, food photography, street photography, landscapes, and more. Overall, autofocus performance is excellent. You’ll have no complaints.
“Images are tack sharp from the center out to the edges. However, the corners are a little soft.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Sony 24mm f2.8 G – Image Quality
The Sony 24mm f2.8 G is a lens that will help you create excellent images. You’ll find that colors are quite muted when compared to other Sony lenses. You can create bokeh thanks to the close focusing distance. Your out-of-focus areas will be smooth but busy. There are problems with distortion and a slight issue with chromatic aberration. Let’s break things down further.
As mentioned above, you can create bokeh with the Sony 24mm f2.8 G. This is thanks to its close focusing abilities. You don’t really buy wide lenses like this one for its bokeh, though. What you’ll find here is that wide open when you’re close enough to your subject, bokeh will be pleasant, but still very busy. Of course, the busyness will be determined by whatever your surroundings are. Still, know that you can create nice subject separation if you need to.
The color rendition is nice overall. I found that colors were pretty natural and perhaps a little less saturated than other Sony G lenses I have used. This isn’t a bad thing, though. You can, of course, change how the colors look during processing. However, if you’re a photographer who likes to do it all in-camera, just know that colors won’t pop out of the image.
The Sony 24mm f2.8 G does have a few issues. First, we have to talk about distortion control or the lack of it. You’re going to find pretty significant amounts of bowing in your images.
While this is not uncommon in wide-angle lenses, I don’t remember seeing this with the Sony 20mm f1.8 G that I reviewed before. Look at the first image above. The top of the drawer has significant curvature. In the second image, you can see the distortion in the horizon. There was no lens profile in Lightroom or Capture One 20 to correct this distortion at the time of this review. Of course, you can fix it manually. Just be aware of this. It can be pretty jarring at times, as you’ll see in more image samples later on.
When it comes to chromatic aberrations, the Sony 24mm f2.8 G controls them very well. I had to look pretty hard to see evidence of purple and green fringing. Just glancing at images will not reveal it. If you crop a lot or just zoom into your image, you’ll find a small amount of evidence that it’s there. This is easily removed in post, though. So, I would not worry about chromatic aberrations.
Stop the lens down, and you’ll be able to create some pretty lovely sun stars with the Sony 24mm f2.8 G. When it comes to vignetting, there’s a little when shooting wide open at f2.8. By f5.6, it’s completely gone. Again, though, Look at the distortion in my fence and house. I sure hope my house doesn’t actually curve like that.
If you’re worried about sharpness, don’t be. If there is one thing this lens is, it’s sharp. I tested the Sony 24mm f2.8 G on the Sony a7r IV, and it performed admirably in this regard. Images are tack sharp from the center out to the edges. However, the corners are a little soft. Still, this is probably caused by the distortion. If you’re going to add this lens to your collection, keep in mind the distortion issues. Sooner or later, a profile will be released for the lens that will correct this during post. Just remember that it’s there.
Sony 24mm f2.8 G – Extra Image Samples
From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. You’re not showing what the lens can do. So we have a whole section in our Extra Image Samples area to show off edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.
“This is a solid yet pricey f2.8 prime lens. If you absolutely must have Sony branded lenses, the 24mm f2.8 G will serve you well.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Sony 24mm f2.8 G – Conclusions
- Small size and weight make this lens fun to use
- Rapid autofocusing
- Sharp images
- Weather sealing
- Great build quality
- Distortion is not controlled well
- It’s pricey for what it is ($599.99)
The Sony 24mm f2.8 G is a fun lens to slap on your camera and walk around with. In fact, I think it would be perfect to pair up with the Sony a7c. The metal build and weather sealing will fill you with confidence. Overall, I think the images will please most people. The lens focuses fast and is accurate. The aperture ring will remind you of days gone by and will make you feel more connected to the lens. It’s just fun to use. Is the lens worth the premium price over the $199 Tamron 24mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2, though? For me, no, it’s not. The Tamron is plastic, but it still has excellent weather sealing. Images are sharp, just like they are from the Sony lens. However, it’s worth noting that it too suffers from distortion, but then, it’s just $199.
You have to ask yourself if an aperture ring, metal build quality, and slightly faster autofocus performance is worth a $400 premium. If it is, then you’ll enjoy the Sony 24mm f2.8 G very much. If you’re okay with a plastic, weather-sealed lens that will give you similar image quality and leave more money in your wallet, go with the Tamron.
The Sony 24mm f2.8 G receives four out of five stars. This is a solid yet pricey f2.8 prime lens. If you absolutely must have Sony branded lenses, the 24mm f2.8 G will serve you well. Want one? Head on over to Amazon to see the latest prices.