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

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published September 2017

Introduction

The Sony FE system is quite blessed by many lens options these days. While the third-party gang hasn't really started supporting the system, both Sony and its close ally Zeiss have been very busy beefing up the system lately. These days you also have several lenses to choose from in the ultra-wide segment. The latest and most extreme one is the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G. Being a G-class lens it is primarily targeting the semi-pro or "prosumer" market and it also means that you have to have fairly deep pockets regarding its price tag of 1700USD/2000EUR. While this may sound pricey, and in absolute terms it certainly is, it is just slightly more expensive than the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 HSM ART lens and much more affordable than the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4 USM L. Extremely wide zoom lenses are never cheap really. Compared to those two DSLR lenses, the Sony lens has one very obvious advantage - it is substantially more lightweight and compact. Thus it is fulfilling the mirrorless promise of providing smaller gear - something that we haven't always seen in the past.

The build quality of the Sony G lens is very good indeed. The lens body is made of very high quality plastics based on a metal mount. Sony also used a dust and moisture resistant design which is good news for outdoor lovers. The physical length of the lens does not extend during focusing or zooming although an inner lens tube is moving within the limits of the fixed petal-shaped lens hood. Please note that the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G has a "bulb"-like front elements that are common in this lens class thus you can't use front filters. Correspondingly the lens cap is also attached to the hood as you can see below. Both the zoom and focus ring operate smoothly. The new Nano AR Coating is supposed eliminate flare and ghosting - we tend to agree that it helps to reduce such issues.

The Sony lens uses a Direct Drive SSM for auto-focusing. It is silent, very fast and fairly smooth so that it is also feasible for getting used during movies (albeit most will prefer manual focusing in this case). Manual focusing works "by wire" thus you drive the focusing motor by turning the focus ring. However, the mechanism extremely precise and we certainly didn't miss a mechanically-linked focus ring.

Specifications
Optical construction17 elements in 13 groups inc. 1xSuper-ED, 3x ED, 4x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.28m (1:7.1)
Dimensions87x117.4 mm
Weight565g
Filter size-
Hoodbuilt-in, petal-shaped, bayonet mount
Other featuresFocus-hold button, weather sealing