Sony FE 14mm F1.8 G Master review

Sony FE 14mm F1.8 G Master review


With it’s ultra-wide 114-degree field of view on full-frame cameras, the Sony FE 14mm F1.8 G Master is designed to let you see the bigger picture. It’s eminently suitable for capturing sweeping vistas in landscape photography, cityscapes, architectural interiors and more besides. The fast aperture rating also makes it ideal for astrophotography and the lens is engineered to suit both stills and video capture. A notable competitor is the Sigma 14mm F1.8 DG HSM Art lens, which costs about the same price. However, the Sony is more compact and much lighter in weight, at 460g compared with the Sigma’s 1,170g, as well as boasting additional handling exotica.


Mount: Sony E (FE)
Sony product number: SEL14F18GM
Full-frame: Yes
Autofocus: Yes
Stabilization: No
Lens construction: 14 elements in 11 groups
Angle of view: 114 degrees
Diaphragm blades: 9
Minimum aperture: f/16
Minimum focusing distance: 0.25m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.1x
Filter attachment: Rear gel slot
Dimensions: 83x100mm
Weight: 460g

Key features

Top of the features list is the expansive viewing angle. Not just for shoehorning more of a scene into the image frame, it also enables creative expression, as you can get in close to subjects and exaggerate the perspective between foreground and background elements. The f/1.8 aperture makes it a fast lens, and it’s also super-speedy in terms of autofocus, utilizing dual XD (eXtreme Dynamic) linear stepping motors. Typical of the breed, the autofocus system is also virtually silent in operation, as well as enabling smooth transitions during video capture.

(Image credit: Sony)

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Despite its lightweight build, the lens packs 14 optical elements. Specialist glass includes two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements, one Super ED element and two high-precision XA (eXtreme Aspherical) elements, plus a regular aspherical element. The mix intends to maximize sharpness, contrast and clarity while keeping aberrations to a minimum. Nano AR Coating II is also applied to minimize ghosting and flare.

Typical of ultra-wide-angle lenses, the petal shaped hood is an integral part of the barrel and can’t be removed. This helps to give physical protection to the bulbous front element, with the usual downside that there’s no front filter attachment thread. This can be a drawback for landscape photography, where you might want to use ND Grad or high-density neutral filters. We wouldn’t advise using circular polarizing filters with such a wide-angle lens anyway, as the polarizing effect will vary across the image frame.

The fixed hood precludes the inclusion of a filter attachment thread at the front, but the lens features a gel filter slot in its mounting plate. (Image credit: Sony)

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Build and handling

The ‘Click On/Off’ switch enables smooth, stepless aperture adjustments when shooting video. (Image credit: Sony)

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Handling is sublime. The electronically-coupled manual focus ring has a smooth and precise action with a linear response that’s well suited to both stills and video shooting. A further bonus for the latter is that the manual aperture ring can be de-clicked via a switch located on the right hand side of the barrel. For stills, one-third f/stop click steps are available. On the left of the barrel, there’s an AF-MF focus mode switch and a function button which is nominally for AF Hold, although its action can be customized via in-camera menus.

The function button above the AF/MF switch is for AF Hold by default, but alternative functions can be assigned, like preview magnification for manual focusing. (Image credit: Sony)

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