Review: Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GMaster

Over the last years Sony has been building up a divers product line of Sony FE-mount lenses. Most of the standard lenses have been available for several years but the both ends of focal lenght; wide and super tele`s were missing. During the years as FE-mount was maturing some of the gaps were filled by 3rd party lenses, especially on wide angle lenses.

Sony`s SEL14F18GM is 14mm f/1.8 wideangle lens offering bright, f/1.8 aperture. Lens was released in may 2021 with great expectations. Altought market was already filled with plenty of choices on fixed wideangle-lens market, this was the first lens available from Sony. I got my copy in early June from the first batch that arrived in Finland. This review is based on experiences gathered during the bright summer and early autumn; both architectural and nature photography.

Is this the best autofocus wideangle lens available for Sony FE-mount ? Read ahead, check my sample gallery and hear the verdict !

Features / Technical specification and experiences

SEL14F18GM is wide angle, autofocusing lens. 14mm focal lenghts gives you 114 degree angle of view. Distortion is low even on corners and lens maintains sharpness and contrast thru out aperture range, though some vigneting is present below f/2.8 but easily fixed on post-processing (when using raw; shooting jpeg and using in-camera correction its not visible). Maximum aperture is on par with Sigma Art 14/1.8.  Wide aperture means that lens is able to deliver light almost four time more (2 and 3/4 stops) than regular f/2.8 wideangle lenses.

Astrophotographers are interested how it performs wide open on the nightsky shots. There is some minor coma on corners but nothing to worry about, still lot lens than on other lenses.

First look amazes. Lens is compact and lightweight, especially compared to former king-of-the-hill, Sigma Art 14/1.8. Sony weights only 460grams, Sigma Art 1170 grams. Handling is balanced with Sony A7R4 and it feels safe to hold camera&lens-combination. When used on tripod less weight mean more balance and especially with smaller tripods. Other advantage of the compact size and weight is measured when startracker is used. Especially the smaller ones.

Other, almost default-features are customizable focus-hold button (possible to assign different functions to button), aperture ring with click-stop switch (click or declick-mode)

Minumum focusing distance is 0.25 meters, so its possible to user shallow DoF with smaller close range objects (etc. plants).

Bulging front element means that using threaded filters is not possible. Luckily some filter-manufacturers, for example Haida, produces rear filter-holder for small gelatin-filters. See: Haida Rear Lens adapter ring

Plastic body feels sturdy, Focus hold-button, Click/declick-switch for aperture ring. AF/MF switch. Lens cap locks over the petal hood with two release-buttons. Works smoothly.

Few words about focusing. Auto focus works as it should be, no complaints or negative experiences; its fast and accurate even on low light conditions. Using manual focus with large aperture needs some attention, especially when shooting nightskies. My tests revealed that focusing on f/1.8  set focus just on begining of infinity-range or try to get some bigger stars on focus using backscreen.  When focused on center of screen (again with f/1.8) might lead some coma-effect to stars on corner.

 

Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 G Master  (SEL14F18GM)
Focal Length: 14mm
Max Aperture: f/1.8
Min Aperture: f/16
Diagonal Angle of View: 114 degrees
Closest Focus: 0.25m
Dimensions(L x D): 99.8mm x 83mm
Weight: 460g

 

Product Images

Sample Gallery

Samplephotos were taken with Sony A7r4.

Pros:

  • Excellent optical quality
  • compact, lightweight and solid construct
  • Manual aperture ring
  • Sturdy, fixed petal-shaped lens hood
  • Weather sealing
  • Minimal lens flare even against direct light
  • Stars are sharp when focused manually to “beginning” of infinity.
  • Natural color rendering

 

Cons:

  • Somewhat big lens cap.
  • Manual aperture ring (like it or not)
  • price?

 

Verdict:

This is the best fixed focal lenght wide angle lens for Sony FE-mount so far. As a bonus maximum aperture is wider than on most 14mm lenses.. And its very hard to find really anything to improve. As I already said; lightweight and compact construction makes it a balanced combination with A7/A1/A9-series bodies. Suites very well for nature, astro- and architectural photography. Direct competitor is Sigma Art 14mm f/1.8 which has similar or nearly identical image quality. Considering the weight and handling I would choose Sony over the Sigma.

Near perfect lens but leaves room for some minor improments. I would like to see in future models:  Possibility to lock focus and aperture rings. But in overall, five out of five stars.

 

Links

https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/camera-lenses/sel14f18gm/specifications#features

https://www.fotonordic.fi/