If you could just have one lens for your Sony Alpha camera, which one would it be?
Chances are that the lens I’m going to talk about could be the answer.
Welcome to the Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Lens Review!
If you’re anything like me, you love lenses. They give a unique perspective of reality and help us express our creativity. The only downside (except being often expensive), is that they take up a lot of space in our bags.
So, even if you own a ton of lenses, sometimes you have to make a choice.
Let’s imagine you have to go for a walk around town with your family. You probably want to take pictures, but at the same time, you don’t wanna bring a backpack full of lenses with you.
That’s where all-around lenses such as the Sony 24-105 come in, as they offer a good range of focal lengths in a single product.
Weight & Dimensions
The Sony 24-105 F4 weighs 663g (1.46lbs), which is very similar to the weight of a camera. The Sony a7RIV for example weighs 665g
As per the dimensions, when collapsed it’s 113.3mm while when extended it’s 170mm.
In general, I’d say the weight and dimensions are in line with these kinds of lenses for mirrorless cameras, and it’s fairly portable. While if compared to all-around lenses for DSLRs, it’s much lighter!
To give you an idea of the weight of your kit, if you pair the 24-105mm with your Sony Alpha camera, the whole kit weighs about 1.3 Kg (2.86 lbs).
Sony does not state the material used to build this lens, but I believe it’s an aluminum-polycarbonate mix.
The Sony 24-105 F4 is nicely built, it feels solid and the material has a bit of a rugged finishing. It surely is a lens made to be used in all sorts of scenarios.
As the majority of the G-series lenses, the Sony 24-105 mm F4 has all the important features a good lens must have.
- Focus ring: smooth and silent, which makes it usable for videos too.
- Focus Hold Button: Super convenient for when you have to recompose shots, and it can be easily reprogrammed to do other actions too.
- Zoom Ring: The resistance is not super-uniform, in fact, at least in my unit, the ring gets harder from 70 millimeters onwards.
- AF/MF Switch: To quickly change from Autofocus to Manual Focus.
- Optical Steady Shot Switch: To quickly activate/deactivate the on-sensor stabilizer.
I always appreciate having such controls directly on the lens as, in this way, I’m able to do all the needed adjustments without taking my eyes off the camera.
If you think about it, this speeds up your operations and decreases the chances of you missing shots.
Other important features to mention are:
- Nano AR Coating: Reduces unwanted reflections and flare.
- Fluorine Coated Front Element: Helps prevent fingerprints, and stop dirt from sticking to the lens.
- Dust & Moisture Resistant: Not waterproof, but still. I’ve used this lens under light rain, and it performed great.
Field of View (FOV)
As you will see from the upcoming sample images, the field of view can vary a lot.
The field of view goes from 84° to 23°:
The lens uses Sony’s Direct Drive SSM, which is a linear focus motor. I’ve found the autofocus to be reliable and very silent, which is important for filming videos.
The minimum focus distance is just 38 cm (1.25″), and with the lens, at 105mm you will reach a maximum magnification of .31x
It’s not a macro lens, but it allows you to zoom in quite a lot, and that’s why I normally use this lens to shoot my product reviews.
It would have been nice to have the focus distance scale. It’s something that Sony doesn’t add to its lenses, not even on the GM ones, and I don’t understand the reason why. In fact, having a focus distance scale can be very useful for certain kinds of photography.
Besides this, the Sony FE 24-105mm F4 has everything you might need.
It’s now time to talk about how this lens performs in real life. I purchased it as soon as it came out in early 2018, just before I left for a 3-month trip in Asia. Before that, I used to have the Zeiss 24-70mm.
Even if I don’t use a telephoto lens for my photography, I felt that I was missing quite some shots by having a maximum reach of 70mm, and that’s why I decided to sell the 24-70mm and get the 24-105mm.
In hindsight, that was a great idea.
Having that extra reach from 70 to 105mm gave me a lot more versatility in terms of framing, composition, and kinds of photography.
I was able to take different shots than I was used to, and I ended up using this lens the most during that trip.
As you can see, it’s a very versatile lens! And of course, it’s not just for landscapes & travel.
In fact, it proved to be an awesome lens for product photography too. Here’s other sample images I took with it.
The sky’s the limit in terms of what you can do with this lens!
It’s now time to do some pixel peeping the most important aspects of this lens.
I’m extremely happy with the sharpness of this lens. Coming from the Zeiss 24-70 mm, I could see a big improvement in terms of sharpness!
The center sharpness is really high from f/4 up to f/16, with a slight decrease at f/22 due, of course, to diffraction. The edges aren’t as sharp as the center at wide apertures, but nothing major.
Here you can see the 100% center crops at 24mm:
While below you can see the 100% edge crops at 24mm:
The more you zoom, the more you have to stop down the lens to reach the best sharpness throughout the whole frame.
A range between f/8 to f/16 provides the best overall sharpness at all focal lengths.
Let’s now take a closer look at the distortions of this lens.
Based on the lab tests, it’s noticeable on the corners at 24 mm and it doesn’t improve by stopping down the lens, while it’s negligible from 50 mm onwards.
In real-life usage, I barely noticed any.
The Sony 24-105mm F4 lens has some barrel distortion at 24mm, which turns into pincushion distortion from 35mm onwards
Vignetting is very well controlled. There is -1 stop at 24mm, but as soon as you stop down your lens or zoom in, you basically have none.
At 24mm though, I did notice a very heavy vignetting at the extreme corners, which doesn’t really improve at higher apertures either.
Here are the 100% crops of the top right of the frame at F4:
Nothing major as it takes just a small portion of the frame and can be easily corrected in Lightroom.
The Sony FE 24-105 mm F4 G OSS is a much-needed addition to the Sony Alpha line-up, becoming, in my opinion, the best all-around lens of this system.
It gives a lot of versatility to your photography, allowing you to have a good range of focal lengths to choose from, and it does so while delivering solid performances.
In general, I think this is The Lens for travel photography.
If I would have to leave for a trip and bring just one lens with me, this would be my choice.
Of course, I would miss having a wider field of view than lenses such as the 16-35mm or the 12-24mm can deliver, but at the end of the day, I know the 24-105mm would offer me more shooting opportunities than a wide-angle zoom would.
I surely recommend this lens to anyone who is looking for a versatile lens for their travel photography, or to those looking for the 1st lens to pair with their new Sony Alpha camera. Thanks to it, in fact, you will be able to practice lots of different genres, and with time, you will understand which other lenses you might need.
Get this lens from your favorite shop at this link, and you’ll help support my work without paying anything extra (thanks a lot!).