24mm is probably the least sexy focal length, and thus does not get enough attention in the lens world. I currently only have a 24mm when attached to my 24-70mm GM or 24-105mm f4 lens; however, that is about to change.
I often use a 35mm lens, regardless of camera brand, as my “go to” for single lens travelling. They tend to have a relatively normal field of view similar to what the eye sees and can be small and light for travel. 50mm is too tight for many applications, and most wider lenses are terrible for taking portraits. This Sony 24mm F1.4 GM will very likely become my new travel lens of choice.
At 24mm it is wide enough to shoot landscapes and tighter spaces, but not so wide that it will create terribly distorted people if they should find themselves in the shot. The very fast F1.4 maximum aperture allows for nice shallow depth of field despite the relatively wide focal length, and the 11 bladed circular aperture allows for amazing soft circular reproduction in the out-of-focus areas even when stopped down to F4 or F5.6 (read: bokeh). Obviously this lens will be great for shooting in slightly darker spaces also.
A couple of other noteworthy features include the external aperture ring which is a nice touch and harkens back to the old days when all lenses had this. It also has the ability to de-click the aperture ring for smoother aperture transitions when shooting video. Huge bonus if you need to make an exposure adjustment while shooting.
The coatings and arrangements of lens elements, without getting into painful detail, are also optimized to minimize flare so this will be a great choice for those shooting the night sky.
At 2.97 x 3.64" this lens is also reasonably small and when paired with the A7 or A9 series cameras will fit nicely in a day bag or photo murse/purse. In a month where Canon and Nikon have made serious commitments and in-roads to the mirrorless photography game, this gives those who committed to Sony something to be excited about too. While Canon and Nikon will no doubt become players in mirrorless, this shows how much further ahead Sony is. The quality and selection of lenses they have put out makes for a formidable offering. While the others are starting out, Sony is refining their game.
As soon as it’s available this lens will become a part of my kit.