Sony FE 24-105 f/1.4 G

When I ordered my A7III I had already researched, researched and over-researched potential 90% lenses for it. I came up with the 24-105 f/4 G as the prime candidate, mostly from the praise heaped on it by early adopters. When my A7III body was changed from 2-day shipping to 2-3 months, and my order for the 24-105 moved out to a month, I didn’t panic. Much. Instead, I started reviewing my options and was fortunate to find a reputable dealer with the A7III/24-70 kit for $200 more than the body alone. My thrifty nature said, “just wait for the body!” You’ll be happy to learn that my thrifty nature has since recovered from the injuries sustained as it was batted out of the way and the kit was ordered. The 24-70 kit lens was kept because of it’s compact size and surprisingly good performance. I was impressed for three whole weeks until the 24-105 came.

Look and feel

Unboxing the 24-105 f/4 G was done with the usual care and careful inspection and it passed the first test with flying colors. Pretty thing. Solid with Sony’s grippable rubber focus and zoom rings, AF/MF switch, Steady-shot on/off switch and a focus hold button. The hood is plastic but isn’t flimsy at all and mounts with a solid detent. It is not a dainty lens but it is also not as large as some of the reviews described. I’m sort of average height and have medium hands so consider that when I say that the lens balances very well on the A7III and doesn’t seem heavy at all. It is actually only slightly larger than the 18-105 f/4 G zoom I had on the A6300 as my daily lens, though it is about a half-pound heavier.

When mounted on the A7III, the pair out-mass the A6300/18-105 combo by about a pound. At the time of this writing, I have taken the combo out on a seven day cruise and many a morning at the pee-wee football games for the grandson and honestly, that pound isn’t really noticeable. Surprisingly, though a pound heavier, the 24-105 mounted on the A7III is only slightly larger than the A6300 with the 18-105 f/4 G mounted.

Closer then expected

On the camera

The A7III is very small for a full-frame camera but is very solid and feels substantial. In fact, the camera body weighs only 13 grams less than the lens. This makes the 24-105 balance very well when holding the camera in a normal two-hand grip, supporting the lens with the left hand. The zoom ring is smooth with a comfortable amount of resistance and only requires a 90° twist from 24mm to full zoom. The fly-by-wire focusing ring is smooth with a comfortable amount of resistance and feels very much like direct focus until you hit the closest or farthest point and it doesn’t stop. Autofocus is very quick and the 24-105 is very responsive when using face/eye tracking. It makes me wish it was available when shooting weddings in the past.

Image Quality

I am not a pixel peeper but I generally view a processed image on either a 27″ QHD monitor for landscape orientation or a 24″ 1080p monitor in portrait orientation. Both monitors are calibrated regularly and present images in print-like detail. The 24-105 does not disappoint. Images are crisp with fairly smooth bokeh for a zoom lens. Center sharpness is excellent and even at f/4, the corners are sharp. At f/8 it does a great impersonation of a dedicated prime lens over the entire zoom range. If you are a dedicated portrait photographer, it wouldn’t be my first recommendation but if you want to take a portrait with it, it won’t disappoint. It wouldn’t be my primary lens for dedicated landscapes but again, it is more than capable of producing landscapes with superb sharpness and depth. It can focus down to a little over a foot and will do a passible “macro” shot in a pinch at 105mm. Samples with captioning can be seen below.

Conclusion

The A7III is capable of taking excellent images under a wide variety of lighting conditions and paired with the FE 24-105 f/4 G, it has become my favorite combo to this point in my photographic life. My personal shooting practices make the 24mm – 105mm range just about perfect for 98% of what I normally shoot. When I’m out doing serious shooting I take along the A6300 with a complimentary focal length mounted on it, which means the 24-105 has only been off of the A7III a few times since it arrived. Zoom lenses were made for versatility and this is indeed a versatile lens that doesn’t give up much in the name of compromise.

Highly recommended with a caveat. It is an excellent, pro-level lens and is therefore not cheap. If the $1,400 price tag fits in your budget, it’s a no-brainer. If you can only afford the 28-70 kit lens when buying a Sony full-frame body, don’t worry. Remember what I said at the beginning of this article; I kept the kit lens as a compact alternative. It’s really quite good. That said, once you get your FF Sony and the kit lens, start brown-bagging lunch and skipping the second mocha-frappe-whatever and save up for the 24-105 G. You will not regret it.

Sample Images

Overhead booth light at Outback.

1/125 – f/4.5 – ISO4000 – 57mm
Window light and candlelight
1/125 – f/5 – ISO3200 – 105mm
Daytime in AF-C mode
1/1600 – f/8 – ISO800 – 84mm
Crop from the next image showing detail
1/125 – f/8 – ISO160 – 43mm
Full image from previous shot. I was pleased with the sharpness.
Pretty darned close

1/160 – f/14 – ISO 100 – 105mm