Many thanks to Sony Pro Support for lending me the new Sony SEL1224G 12-24mm f/4 lens! I was excited to try it as 12mm is really – – – W I D E – – -! I already own the Sony SEL1635GM 16-35mm f/2.8 and was interested to test out the lens to determine if the wider 12-16mm range would be worth buying another lens.
I was on assignment to photograph some scenic locations in western North Carolina and brought both lenses with me to make some comparisons. On a rainy morning I headed out to Dry Falls which was a perfect subject for me to try out the Sony 12-24mm lens.
As soon as I put the lens on my Sony A7Rii camera, I immediately set it to 12mm. I crouched into a shallow cave behind this waterfall and used the 12mm field of view to frame the entire opening. I was impressed with the lack of distortion at such a wide angle. However to get even more cave detail I also tried to do a panorama at 12mm and was surprised to find the images would not stitch in Lightroom or Photoshop which was disappointing.
So obviously the Sony 12-24mm lens has the benefit of a wider field of view which makes new compositions possible. However I also wanted to compare the quality against my Sony 16-35mm GM lens at a similar focal length. Not surprisingly at a smaller aperture like f/11 the images were very similar in sharpness with the GM lens slightly better. However when I opened up the aperture to f/4 reduce the shutter speed so I could add myself in the frame the sharpness dropped of significantly.
I hadn’t previously considered this lens as a purchase for two reasons. First with a maximum aperture of f/4 and decrease in sharpness wide open it isn’t well suited for astrophotography work. Second the lens will not easily accept filters, especially the screw on filters I typically use.
Now that I’ve had a chance to use it I really enjoyed the wider 12mm field of view but it wasn’t enough to change my mind and buy it when I already have the Sony 16-35mm GM lens. I do a lot of travel photography and often need to limit the weight and number of lenses I bring with me on assignment and the Sony 16-35mm GM lens does many things well. Also when I want a wider field of view in a lens that can also do night photography I use the much cheaper, lighter, faster, and sharper wide open Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens. Therefore I’ll pass on the Sony SEL1224G 12-24mm f/4 lens and keep hoping for a fast ultra-wide angle lens <14mm to be released someday.
ONE MORE THING…Thinking of alternate lenses did make me recall I did own the Sony SEL1018 10-18mm Wide-Angle Zoom Lens three years ago when finding a wide angle lens for the Sony A7r was more difficult. While it is a crop sensor lens it will cover the A7r full frame sensor from 12mm to 17mm making it a lower cost alternative.