DISCLAIMER: I am a Sony ambassador and I received the lens weeks before it was announced. This article is not called a ‘review’ but is simply a summary of my impressions when using this lens in the field.
After the release of the 12-24 f/2.8 G-Master lens I thought that that was it: Sony finally released my dream lens. But on a call with Sony a few weeks ago I was told that ‘something was coming, and it had my name on it’. And that could only mean 1 thing: The one and only lens that was still missing for me in the Sony lens line up was a fast wide angle prime. And I was correct: The Sony 14mm f/1.8 GM is here!
And I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking it as well: This thing must be big and heavy. But we have been surprised by Sony in the past. Sony seems to utilise their mirrorless cameras and lenses the best when it comes to portability and weight. Their G-Master primes have (almost) always been lighter than the competition and it seems that the engineers challenge themselves by keep pushing the bar. I remember I was shocked by the size and weight of the 24mm f/1.4. But the 14mm f/1.8 is on another level: It’s 460 grams only. And that's a lot lighter than the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 (DSLR) lens. I don’t know how they did it, but they did. I wonder if the Sony engineers ever take a holiday?
Its not just on the spec sheet, it really does weigh 460 (+1) grams.
Now Sony doesn’t make things easier with this lens. There are just so many great Sony native wide angle lenses on the market right now, and I love my 12-24GM. But what If I would bring the 14mm f/1.8 and the 24mm f/1.4 instead of the 12-24GM? All 3 lenses are great. And if you look at the total weight of the 14mm (460g) and 24mm (445g) which is just over 900gr, the difference is only 50 grams over the 850gr 12-24 f/2.8 GM. But it’s very nice and versatile to use the 12-24 instead of having to switch between lenses. This will be a tough choice for people I’m sure. But the bottom line is: With the 14mm f/1.8 Sony ‘completes’ an incredible native line up of wide angle lenses.
The 14mm f/1.8 GM (Left) next to the 24mm f/1.4 (middle) and the 20mm f/1.8 G (right)
Now when we look at the lens we can see it is compact for its properties. It fits well in line up of Sony’s primes. When we see it next to the 24mm f/1.4 we can see it’s only slightly bigger. Mounted on the Sony A7RIV body it doesn’t look big at all, and it’s simply a nice kit to walk around with.
Other than the size and weight, there are not much surprises when we look at this lens. It has a dedicated AF/MF switch, one extra button, and a switch to set the aperture to click-less. It looks like Sony implements this on all of their newer GM lenses which also makes them great for video.
The aperture can be set manually with the aperture ring and goes from f/1.8 to f/16 and then there’s the ‘A’ to let you control the aperture via the camera body.
The lens has a nondetachable hood to protect the front element from bumping into things. It has no filter thread, but surprisingly just like the 12-24 f/2.8 GM, there’s a possibility to use filters on the back of the lens.
Sharpness, Distortion & Bokeh
Let’s take a look at how this lens performs in the field. Someone interested in a wide angle prime like this is most probably going to use it for Landscapes, Cityscapes, Architecture, and of course: Astrophotography. Now over the last few weeks I decided to leave my 12-24GM at home and simply carry this lens with me to photograph.
To start off I photographed some Architecture. This was mainly to check the distortion and sharpness of the lens.