Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM Field Test: Is this bright and light lens the best ultra-wide prime for Sony?
posted Friday, June 4, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT
Click here to read our Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM Field Test
Sony's E-mount lens lineup is very developed at this point. Sony makes 64 E-mount lenses. Of these 64 lenses, 14 are G Master lenses. The latest member of the G Master family is the Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM. It is Sony's fastest wide-angle lens, and after going hands-on with the new prime, it's safe to say that it's one of Sony's best lenses, too.
It's not just the Sony 14mm f/1.8's performance that makes it a great lens, it's how Sony has managed to make it so compact, especially relative to the other 14mm f/1.8 lens available for E-mount, the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art. The Sony 14mm f/1.8 GM weighs only 460g (16.2 oz.). The Sigma lens, on the other hand, weighs 1,170g (2.6 lbs.) That's a huge difference, and it's due in large part to Sony being able to build its new lens from the ground up for its mirrorless system.
Sony also worked hard on the optical design of its new ultra-wide lens. The lens has a total of 14 elements in 11 groups. Among these elements are two extreme aspherical (XA) elements, including one at the front of the lens that is extremely curved. By employing exotic glass with precision-crafted curvature, Sony could deliver G Master image quality without using large glass elements. The lens also includes a pair of ED elements and a Super ED element. Combined with Sony's Nano AR II coating, the resulting image quality is superb. The lens is very sharp, even wide open, and exhibits excellent control over aberrations.
In the field, thanks to its compact and lightweight design, excellent image quality, and fast XD Linear Motor-driven autofocus, the Sony 14mm f/1.8 GM is a fun lens to use. Its 14mm fixed focal length is not the most versatile, but it's a great lens for landscapes and night sky photography. Unfortunately, the lens doesn't accept front filters, but that's a rather small – and expected – downside to an otherwise excellent lens.