Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM Ultra Wide Angle Lens Review
The Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM lens is a speciality lens for astrophotographers. This bulbous lens offers great image quality and a unique field of view.
The Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM lens is a speciality lens for astrophotographers and the like. Another quality lens in the G-master lineup, this bulbous lens functions like a dream under the stars and beyond.
If you’re looking for a wide-angle low aperture lens and you have the budget for it, you should definitely consider the Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM.
I had a blast trying this lens out and testing its capabilities. When you want a great lens and you don’t want to make compromises you can indeed get everything you want in a relatively small package.
Excellent image quality and unique field of view for astrophotography and anything requiring an ultra wide angle.
For me, a wide lens like this that functions so beautifully in low light is in my opinion one of the best Sony lenses for astrophotography. As you’ll see, I didn’t find much to complain about other than its protruding shape that forced me to be a little more gentle and aware with my gear.
Let’s dive into the details, see what you think, and help you justify the cost of this Sony G-master lens.
Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM Specs
- Ultrawide View
- Very Sharp
- Fast Aperture
- Ideal for Astrophotography
- No Front Filter Mount
- Some Coma at Widest Aperture
- Focal Length: 14mm
- Maximum Range: f/1.8 – f/16
- Lens Mount: Sony E-mount
- Minimum Focus Distance: 9.8″ / 25 cm
- Optical Design: 14 Elements in 11 Groups
- Focus Type: Autofocus
- Image Stabilization: No
- Filter Size: rear filter (no threads on front)
- Dimensions (ø x L): 3.3 x 3.9″ / 83 x 99 mm
- Weight: 16 oz / 460 g
Build & Ergonomics
The Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM lens is of the excellent build quality we’ve come to expect from a G-master lens. It is relatively compact and lightweight for the focal length.
The lens comes with the standard focus and aperture rings seen on most newer G-master prime lenses from Sony. The aperture ring is de-clickable which is nice if you plan on adjusting your aperture while shooting video.
There is a AF/MF switch which is nice if you are shooting astrophotography and don’t want the focus to wander. Additionally, the inclusion of a focus hold button is handy. It can also be customized to serve other purposes.
The integrated lens hood protects the protruding front lens element and the lens cap is cup-shaped to protect the lens. Because of the lens shape, you can’t use traditional screw-on filters but the lens has an option to incorporate filters onto the rear side of the lens.
I’m sure there are also some third-party adapters available for front-mounted filters but I suspect many people will be using this lens for low light astrophotography where filters aren’t needed.
The Sony 14mm f/1.8 lens is a workhorse designed with functionality in mind. It is fully featured and handles well with comfortable rubber rings to grip. It also balances well on the Sony mirrorless cameras due to its smaller size.
The high-quality weather sealing made me unconcerned when using this lens in rain or snow.
The only downside was my concerns about the shape. I was worried about scratching the front element, which is kind of bulbous and the lens cap doesn’t easily slip into my back pocket due to the large shape.
You definitely have to be more careful with this lens, however, this is a character trait of most super-wide lenses so there isn’t really a good solution with other manufacturers.
As expected for a Sony G-master lens this lens focuses extremely well. When paired with a latest-generation camera like the Sony A7IV it tracks subjects very well. Of course, focus usually isn’t an issue with such a wide focal length.
Even at f/1.8 the hyperfocal distance to have everything in focus out to infinity is around 1.8m or 6ft. This makes getting landscapes sharp in your frame quite straightforward.
When shooting astrophotography this lens can be easily switched to manual focus with the included focus switch. Additionally, the manual focus ring can be combined with Sony’s focus peaking settings to quickly establish what elements are in focus.
Even at f/1.8 in low light situations it locks focus very quickly. Video shooters will appreciate the silent focus motors. And the manual focus ring has a smooth but firm feeling.
With a minimum aperture of f/1.8, this lens excels in low light. The Sony 14mm f/1.8 makes an excellent lens for astrophotography especially when paired with Sony A7IV or A7SIII.
As mentioned in the previous section, the lens also focuses quickly in low light. It does have a slight vignette at f/1.8 but that can be easily corrected in lightroom.
The sharpness of this lens is exceptional. It is extremely sharp throughout the frame and throughout the aperture range.
Many people are curious about the chromatic aberration and coma of this lens. Sony has claimed that they have mostly eliminated issues here but in my testing, there is still some coma at the minimum aperture of f/1.8. Despite this, it is still one of the best lenses on the market for astrophotography.
Overall I was very impressed with the image quality of this lens.
Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM Sample Images
Here are some sample images that were taken with the Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM.
Alternatives to Sony 14mm f/1.8
If you’re in the market for an ultrawide lens, the Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM is one of the best choices. It offers a very fast aperture and excellent image quality.
Sigma offers a 14mm f/1.8 lens for an equal price but it doesn’t have quite as many features and it isn’t native to the Sony system which I prefer.
Additionally, you might be considering the Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 or Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 which are both excellent lenses but they are much more expensive and let in two stops less light.
When compared with the competition, the Sony 14mm f/1.8 is definitely a clear winner.
Value for Money
At around $1,600 it is a bit pricey but as they say, you get what you pay for. Top-notch quality costs money especially when it comes to lenses and the cheaper alternatives won’t deliver the same performance.
If you need a fast wide-angle lens for things like architecture or astrophotography, this is it. Cheaper alternatives to this lens either sacrifice max aperture (go down to f/2.8) or focal length.
If you want top-quality and the widest, fastest aperture, this lens is the best choice.
Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM Review | Conclusion
The Sony 14mm f/1.8 is another stunning lens in the Sony G-master lineup. It offers everything you could ask for in a fast wide-angle prime. You get what you pay for, a quality lens without sacrificing aperture or focal length and fortunately, this lens will hold its value.
Given the price of this wide low-aperture prime, it is a bit of a speciality lens but it will be the prime choice for sony astrophotographers. Overall, I really enjoyed using this lens.
With that in mind, I don’t think I’ll be keeping this lens as part of my kit. I’m not a dedicated astrophotographer and having such an expensive speciality lens in my kit isn’t the most efficient use of funds. If I do get more focused on astrophotography I’ll likely be very interested in upgrading to this lens.