Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G (SEL1224G) - Review / Test - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha (Full Format)

Sample Images & Verdict

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Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 24.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/1600s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 15.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 12.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/500s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 24.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 12.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/320s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 12.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/400s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 12.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/3200s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/10.0
Exposure 1/320s
Make SONY
Model ILCE-7RM2
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 15.0mm
Aperture: f/6.3
Exposure 1/640s

Competition

Among the mainstream offerings there are no alternatives that are as wide as the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G (to the left below). Natural in-house competitors are the new Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM (center below) - which is substantially more expensive - and the Sony/Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 OSS (to the right below) which is a very reasonable offering both in terms of quality and pricing.

If you like exotics, you may have a look at the Voigtlander prime lenses (10mm f/5.6, 12mm f/5.6, 15mm f/4.5). And there's the quite awesome Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 if 18mm are sufficient for your needs.

Visual comparison courtesy of camerasize.com.

Verdict

The Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G is a bit of a surprising lens in a couple of ways. Upon first contact, you will notice how small it is compared to similar (DSLR-)offerings. It's even more obvious in term of weight (565g vs 1150g for the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 HSM ART). Now you may expect that this comes with a couple of compromises but there are actually only a few. The resolution characteristic is very decent. It's already pretty good at f/4 (except at 24mm) and quite impressive between f/5.6 and f/8. At the wide end, you should avoid f/11 though. The quality is unusually harmonious across the focal length range. Lateral CAs as well as lens flare are also well controlled for such a lens. Vignetting is a bit of an issue though so you may prefer to take advantage of image auto-correction here. Image distortions are also less than perfect but they stay within the normal limits in this lens class.

The comparatively low weight has no real impact on the quality of the construction of the lens. It is built to professional standards including weather sealing. Sony followed the usual design principal of using a bulb-like front element thus you can't use front filters. Some users may not like the idea of a vulnerable front-element but please note that the fixed, built-in lens hood provides some protection at least. AF speed isn't really a major concern in an ultra-wide lens but Sony's DDSSM does a good and silent job here. Sony didn't implement an optical image stabilizer which we think was a good decision. Such lenses are very difficult to manufacture anyway and an OSS would have introduced additional complexity. Besides you can rely on Sony's in-camera image stabilizer anyway (in the current camera lineup at least).

A final word of caution - the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G is an extreme lens really. Such lenses are addictive, yes, but they are notoriously difficult to use at their widest settings. So before spending that much money just make sure that this is really what you need. However, if ultra-wide perspectives are simply your thing then the Sony is a no-brainer. Highly recommended!

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