Best 24mm lens for Sony mirrorless camera
Even though I’ve been shooting with a Canon DSLR for years, I’m writing this article because I’m now in the middle of a transition. I have decided to switch to a full frame Sony mirrorless camera to shoot my beautiful tropical landscapes. During this period of transition, I spent a lot of time searching, reading, comparing and analyzing all Sony FE lenses. I wanted to share with you the outcome of my research and the results that also personally helped me choosing my lenses!
After having talked to you in a detailed article about what I considered being the best choices of Sony wide angle lenses, I’m going here to speak about the best Sony 24mm lenses. You will probably ask: why a 24mm in particular? This focal length is well known in the photography world. It remains an ideal choice for various situations, especially if you want to highlight a detail while including context.
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Remember that 24mm on a full frame camera is equivalent to a wide-angle lens. Of course, you won’t get an extra wide field of view that you could get with a 16-35mm or a 14-24mm focal length, but a 24mm lens allows you to fit quite a bit into your image and to get a wide angle of view. It is particularly used for landscape photography, wedding, photojournalism, street photography or environmental portraits. This makes it then a rather versatile camera lens. Clearly, a focal length of 24mm will allow you to shoot quite wide and will help to include some background. Unlike a 50mm or a telephoto lens (85mm or longer) which will tend to blur more the background (and frame tighter), the 24mm will rather keep elements in the background. Even though most 24mm lenses have a large maximum aperture (usually f/1.4 to f/2.8), this type of focal length will not generally result in blurred backgrounds, which is fine regarding the type of photos you want to shoot. Finally, most 24mm lenses with a large constant maximum aperture (f/1.4 type) will allow you to take pictures in low light conditions.
If you want a narrower field of view and a lens more suited to portraits or street photography, I invite you to check out our complete guide to the best Sony 35mm lenses.
- Addition of the new Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN I C into the article, a new Sigma lens with a larger aperture than the existing f/3.5 version.
How to choose your 24mm - Which elements to consider?
Before mentioning what I consider as the best 24mm lenses for Sony cameras, I thought it was necessary to mention the elements to consider in order to make a well thought out choice. I will not repeat here all the elements you should consider when choosing a lens, but you can refer to the link above to have a good global view of the subject. For a 24mm, here are the elements you need to consider.
The maximum aperture
In my opinion, this is the first element you should think about when buying a 24mm lens. Even if a majority of 24mm lenses do offer large apertures, you will have to consider it if it is important to you. As a reminder, the aperture is the number behind the “f/”. The smaller the number, the larger the aperture and the more light your sensor will be able to capture. As a reminder, a larger aperture will allow you to:
- Get a more pronounced blur in the background (or foreground),
- Shoot faster (each time you open the aperture a stop, you can capture a movement twice as fast),
- Limit your ISO increase (both are related).
Of course, whether or not you choose a larger aperture will depend on your needs, your types of shots, the type of picture you want to shoot and certainly your budget. Remember that usually, the larger the aperture you choose, the heavier and larger the lens will be. It’s up to you to know if this is an important factor for you. This brings me to another important criterion.
The type of use
Indeed, everything will depend on the type of picture you are going to take. If for example you only want to do landscape photography, the interest of choosing a 24mm with a large aperture will be arguable since you will often choose smaller apertures to get the whole picture sharp (such as f/5.6 or f/8).
On the other hand, if you are going to use your 24mm in many situations, including street photography, weddings, reportage, travel, etc., then there is a good chance that you’ll need to highlight subjects. In this case, a lens with a large aperture will always be a plus, allowing you to isolate your subject more easily. If you shoot quite close to the scene in front of you (for example in a market, a wedding, an indoor scene, etc.), and especially if the subject is moving, a large aperture will also be interesting in order to freeze your subjects quicker without having to go up too high in ISO.
An interesting point to note is the focusing distance of some 24mm. You will see in the list below that some 24mm lenses do offer a very short focusing distance (around 10/11cm) and a magnification ratio of 1:2, described by some brands as “macro”. This can be very interesting if you are into proxy photography or even food photography, as the wide angle of 24mm allows you to include some context in your picture. The ability to get very close to the subject, coupled with the large aperture, will allow you to get nice bokeh in the background.
Finally, thanks to the large aperture of 24mm, you will be able to work much more easily in low light conditions, as it greatly limits the need to increase ISO or to go too low in shutter speeds (less worry about getting blurry pictures).
Why would we choose a fixed focal length rather than a zoom lens?
This is a question I personally asked myself during my research. Indeed, many classic zooms (such as 24-70mm, 17-28mm, 16-35mm) offer the possibility to shoot at 24mm. So, why choosing a fixed focal length instead?
The days when zooms were always worse than fixed focal lengths are over, and you will now certainly find zooms offering an image quality as good as a 24mm fixed focal length (or even better). However, few zooms offer a maximum aperture as large as the one you will find on a 24mm focal length, like f/1.8, and even less f/1.4. The artistic possibilities will therefore not be the same. Moreover, don’t forget that a classic zoom lens including the 24mm focal length will generally always be much heavier and more imposing than a 24mm fixed focal length lens.
As an example, I consider buying the Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD wide angle zoom lens. It does include the 24mm focal length, opens “only” to f/2.8, weighs 420g and is 10cm long. Conversely, I’m also thinking about the Samyang 24mm f/1.8 FE AF, which weighs only 230g, is 7cm long and opens at f/1.8.
The majority of 24mm lenses do not offer stabilization. It must be said that on wide angle and bright lenses, the interest is finally relatively limited. Moreover, these lenses will be able to take advantage of the stabilization of Sony bodies, at least the full frame mirrorless cameras. In APS-C, only the last Sony cameras offer stabilization (ex: A6600).
All-weather construction / Tropicalization
Here is another element to consider when making your choice, which will also influence the price of the lens to a certain extent. It depends on how important it is to you. If you shoot in difficult conditions (rain, snow, cold, etc.), then this may be an element to consider, some 24mm lenses offering seals to limit the risks.
For many people, this is an important criterion to consider. Indeed, not all 24mm lenses are equal on this point, and some (usually those with the largest aperture) will be heavier and longer. I’d say that it will depend on your use. If you mainly use your lens for landscape photography on a tripod for example, compactness will surely be less important than if you use it for weddings, travel or reportage, where weight and discretion will matter more.
Autofocus or manual?
This is a question to ask yourself, although it is secondary in my mind. The manual focus options mentioned at the end of this article can be just as expensive (or even more so) than those with autofocus. Choosing a manual focus lens and going without autofocus doesn’t seem pretty useful to me. But know that there is a list of 24mm MF lenses at the end of the article, summarized in a table.
Sony or third-party brands?
Last point. You have to know that there is a lot of 24mm choices, but not all lenses are equal. Sony offers today what I consider as the best 24mm of the moment for a full frame mirrorless camera (the Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM), but for a high price. Not everyone will be able to afford this lens and clearly, third-party brands offer excellent lenses for sometimes 2 to 3 times less (or even more). I’m thinking of the Samyang 24mm f/1.8 FE AF, offered at less than 500€ and offering an exceptional image quality, all with a large aperture at f/1.8.
The best 24mm AF lenses for Sony cameras
Here are the six 24mm autofocus lenses I consider being the best at the time of writing (click on the links below to go directly to the details).
- Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM
- Samyang 24mm f/1.8 FE AF
- Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2
- Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN I C
- Sigma 24mm f/3.5 DG DN I C
- Sony 24mm f/2.8 G FE
Of course, as you can imagine, this is a subjective ranking – but it reflects my thought and analysis, taking also into account the price, as it’s an important aspect to consider in your choice. If you want to compare these lenses between them, you can directly look at the comparative table below. For those wondering, none of the 24mm mentioned above has a curved front lens, allowing the use of classic screw filters.
The table below summarizes the main lenses characteristics detailed below.
|Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM||Amazon B&H|
|Samyang 24mm f/1.8 FE AF||Amazon B&H|
|Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2||Amazon B&H|
|Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN I C||Amazon B&H|
|Sigma 24mm f/3.5 DG DN I C||Amazon B&H|
|Sony 24mm f/2.8 G FE||Amazon B&H|
1 - Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM
You can search wherever you want, the Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM is simply the best 24mm available for the Sony FE mount. It is part of the very high end of the Sony range, the “GM” (G Master) range. It is also currently the only 24mm offering such a large maximum aperture (f/1.4), except for the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art – which I do not really recommend because of its weight and size. Remember that it is a lens for DSLR which has been then adapted for mirrorless cameras.
Sony managed to do it in a big way and offers a very bright 24mm, all in a light (445g), compact, all-weather and robust construction, mainly composed of metal and quality plastic. The optical quality is really superb. Worth noting that the lens has an adjustable aperture ring with/without click, depending on the type of subject (photo or video). This 24mm is not stabilized, but you can take advantage of the stabilization of Sony cameras or the f/1.4 aperture (which will also help in low light conditions).
Regarding the quality of the lens (sold with a lens hood), the center of the image is exceptional from the full aperture, and Sony has managed to offer a still very good image quality on the edges and corners (which is rare on a wide-angle lens of this type). Closing to f/2, then f/2.8, the image quality on the edges/extremes becomes really excellent.
There is very little distortion and chromatic aberration, but a very strong vignetting at full aperture – even if the automatic correction of the camera will manage it relatively well. Finally, the bokeh produced by this 24mm is said to be very good, and the fast AF totally silent. In short, we are on a very high-quality lens with an obviously high price. It is the best, but certainly the one that few people will be able to afford actually. The Tamron or Samyang below remain very good alternatives at much more affordable prices!
2 - Samyang 24mm f/1.8 FE AF
Here is a new lens from Samyang, freshly released in April 2021, in the already quite crowded world of the 24mm! Lightweight (230g) and very compact (in the same vein as the Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2), Samyang offers a very bright prime lens, perfectly suited for landscape and astrophotography.
Offering a maximum aperture of f/1.8 (brighter than the Tamron), this lens (sold with the lens hood) offers a good quality of construction in reinforced polycarbonate, an all-weather construction (5 seals) and a “Custom Switch” to control the aperture via the focus ring. A new custom switch also allows to maintain the focus and, with the help of an LED, to set the focus by default at infinity – but it can also be set to another distance such as hyperfocal. The focusing distance is short (19cm) and it will be possible to get nice bokeh (even if we rarely buy a 24mm for this reason). The first reviews also show a very good quality autofocus.
The image quality appears to be really good at full aperture in the center, and even more than correct on the edges. It improves again between f/2 and f/4 to become excellent. We can note some chromatic aberrations and distortions that are still quite acceptable and can be largely corrected automatically by the camera.
To conclude, you get a well-built, bright lens with a very good autofocus, a light weight, a compact size and all offering an excellent sharpness. For about 500€, it is clearly a great value for money!
3 - Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2
Released in October 2019, this Tamron has been the talk of the town. Obviously, we are not in the same range as the Sony mentioned above. This Tamron offers an aperture at “only” f/2.8, all in a very light package (twice as light as the Sony above) and a small size.
Tamron chose the name “Macro” for this lens offering a minimum focus of 12cm, which will be appreciated for proxy photography. Not stabilized and sold with a petal lens hood, it is mainly made of good quality plastic. There is only one manual focus ring and the autofocus is also said to be correct, even if a little slow in some situations, according to the reviews.
The image quality offered by this Tamron is excellent from full aperture at f/2.8, and very good at the edges/extremes. It almost rivals the Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM at the same aperture. Closing at f/4, the quality offered is superb throughout the image, as good as the Sony 24mm. On the optical side, there is some vignetting at full aperture. Chromatic aberrations and distortion are present but the automatic correction of the camera manages it without any problem.
In conclusion, the lens proposed by Tamron is a superb option, all for a price 5 times lower than the Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM. Of course, it is not as bright, but for an affordable price (only 400€ new), it is clearly a very good alternative to the Sony – especially if you don’t need such a large aperture.
4 - Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN I C
I decided to update this article with the recent release of a new Sigma lens for the Sony E mount, the Sigma DG DN Contemporary I series 24mm f/2. Sigma had already released another 24mm in this new I series, the Sigma 24mm f/3.5 DG DN I C which I detail below.
This new Sigma 24mm is however heavier and larger than the f/3.5 version, while remaining fairly compact. Note that unlike the f/3.5 version which offers a 1:2 ratio (proxy), this one has a longer focusing distance (24.5cm).
Regarding image quality, this Sigma provides better performance than the f/3.5 version. The sharpness at full aperture is already excellent, and even better if you close the aperture by one stop. The construction is solid (like all the I series lenses). The lens includes an AF/MF switch, an aperture ring (not removable) and an all-weather construction. There are very few optical flaws on this lens, which will be corrected without concern in post processing.
Available for around 600€ at the moment, I think this is a very good price. It is certainly more expensive than the Samyang (offering a larger aperture at f/1.8), but it is much better built. It is a very nice alternative to the Sony 24mm f/1.4 at 1350€ for a very similar quality.
5 - Sigma 24mm f/3.5 DG DN I C
This Sigma lens is part of the new “I” series from Sigma, offering quality lenses in a very compact format. Built in a set of metal alloys (even the lens hood), everyone agrees to say this is a very nice and solid lens. It has a very minimal weight and size (5 cm long for 230g). Note also the presence of a manual aperture ring as well as a button to switch between auto and manual focus.
It is important to note that the lens has a magnification ratio of 1:2, making it an interesting lens for proxy photography (like the Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2), with a very short focusing distance (11cm). The autofocus of the lens is judged to be very good, although it will sometimes be more complicated to focus in low light conditions, especially due to the small maximum aperture (f/3.5), which remains very rare for a 24mm.
About the image quality, it is excellent on the whole image and right from the full aperture (which remains certainly at f/3.5). The optical defects seem to be relatively well managed, despite a strong vignetting at full aperture.
We could be tempted to consider this small Sigma 24mm as a low-cost lens, but the brand offers here a very nice lens, both optically and in terms of construction and image quality. If you have no interest in having a large aperture in your photography, then this 24mm could be a very good choice. In my opinion, the price is still a bit high, especially compared to the cheaper Tamron which offers a better image quality and more artistic possibilities thanks to its f/2.8 aperture.
6 - Sony 24mm f/2.8 G FE
Released in March 2021, this new Sony lens got itself talked about. This lens, mainly built in metal, offers a very compact package: 6cm long for only 162g. It is sold with a circular lens hood consisting of a classic manual focus ring, a manual aperture ring and a button allowing to switch between AF and MF.
Image quality is said to be very good in the center, but a bit more behind on the edges and corners. Closing at f/4-5.6 does improve image homogeneity. However, there is a significant distortion and vignetting that can however be managed in post-processing, or automatically by the camera. Nothing to declare about chromatic aberrations, and the autofocus is very good. To a certain extent, by being close to the subject and opening your aperture, you will manage to get a nice bokeh in the background.
To conclude, this lens offers a very good image quality, all in a compact and very light package. However, we regret its price, much higher than the Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2 or the Samyang 24mm f/1.8 FE AF.
The characteristics of the 6mentioned lenses are summarized in the table below. As a reminder, you can sort them according to the different characteristics you want, by clicking on the desired column.
|Lens||Max. aperture||Filter||Dimension (D / L)||Weight||Min. focus distance||Best price|
|Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM||f/1.4||67mm||92 x 75mm||445g||24cm||Amazon B&H|
|Samyang 24mm f/1.8 FE AF||f/1.8||58mm||65 x 72mm||230g||19cm||Amazon B&H|
|Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2||f/2.8||67mm||73 x 64mm||215g||12cm||Amazon B&H|
|Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN I C||f/2||6mm||70 x 72mm||365||24,5cm||Amazon B&H|
|Sigma 24mm f/3.5 DG DN I C||f/3.5||55mm||48 x 64mm||225g||11cm||Amazon B&H|
|Sony 24mm f/2.8 G FE||f/2.8||67mm||45 x 68mm||162g||24cm||Amazon B&H|
What 24mm lenses alternatives to consider?
I won’t go into as much detail about these four lenses (with AF) I consider as being alternatives ones, and therefore much less interesting in my mind. They are here compared in a summary table.
I place first the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, which is basically a DSLR lens adapted for the Sony mirrorless format. Despite the very serious construction of this lens (no all-weather construction though) and the very good image quality in the center at full aperture (the edges/extremes are well behind), the lens remains heavy (665g) and quite large. In my opinion and compared to the other lenses mentioned above, it is not worth it. Indeed, it will be better to wait for Sigma to produce a version especially made for mirrorless cameras, which should happen soon, now that they have done it for their 35 and 85mm. Moreover, its price is still quite high.
Another recent alternative is the Viltrox AF 24mm f/1.8 STM FE. It comes in the dimensions of the Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G, both in terms of weight and size. The Viltrox offers very good image quality at full aperture, but really falls short, and even bad, on the extremes. When closed, things improve greatly, especially on the edges. In my opinion, for the announced price (around 450€), I think the Samyang 24mm f/1.8 FE AF would be a much better choice.
I cannot help talking about another lens worth considering for your 24mm purchase: the Samyang 24mm f/2.8 FE AF. This pancake lens features a really small size (6cm long for only 96g on the scale). The construction quality, essentially plastic, as well as an image quality well inferior to all the above-mentioned lenses make it a not so interesting lens in my opinion. You will have to close to f/5.6 to get a decent quality, especially on the edges. The autofocus is known to be relatively slow on this lens. However, it does have an advantage: its low price (around 250€).
Finally, the last 24mm (well, 25mm here) that can be used with a full frame Sony sensor is the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon T*. This lens, not stabilized, is superbly built (like the majority of Zeiss), has an all-weather construction and remains relatively compact (9cm long for 335g). Note the presence (as on all Zeiss Batis lenses) of an OLED screen on the lens, providing information to the photographer (such as focusing distance and depth of field). The autofocus works well, but seems to be sometimes quite slow in some situations. The image quality is good in the center, but deteriorates in the corners. We are still dealing with a quality lens, well-built and offering great possibilities in photography thanks to its relatively large aperture at f/2. The only drawback is its price, in my opinion very high compared to the other alternatives mentioned above.
Here are the characteristics of the four alternative lenses summarized below.
|Lens||Max. aperture||Filter||Dimension (D / L)||Weight||Min. focus distance||Best price|
|Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art||f/1.4||77mm||85 x 90mm||665g||25cm||Amazon B&H|
|Viltrox AF 24mm f/1.8 STM FE||f/1.8||55mm||70 x 85mm||341g||30cm||Amazon B&H|
|Samyang 24mm f/2.8 FE AF||f/2.8||49mm||62 x 37mm||93g||24cm||Amazon B&H|
|Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon T*||f/2||67mm||81 x 92mm||335g||20cm||Amazon B&H|
What about 24mm with manual focus?
Some 24mm lenses with manual focus exist. I will not go into details, as I consider these lenses generally less interesting. I’m not saying that some of the lenses mentioned below are not good, but considering the price, I think it’s a shame to do without autofocus – especially if you use this 24mm for street photography, reportage or to shoot environmental portraits.
Here are the 24mm lenses with manual focus that I found. Feel free to tell me if you think I’ve missed any lenses that should be included in the list.
|Lens||Max. aperture||Filter||Best Price|
|Zeiss 25mm f/2.4 Loxia||f/2.4||52mm||Amazon B&H|
|Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC||f/1.4||77mm||Amazon|
|KIPON Iberit 24mm f/2.4||f/2.4||49mm||Amazon B&H|
I’m coming to the end of this article about the best 24mm for Sony mirrorless cameras. I hope you enjoyed these tips, they did require a lot of compilation and research work. If you want to support our work and our blog, you can use the links in the article for your purchase. We earn a small commission (without it costing you more) and it allows us to maintain our blog independently, without advertising for example.
More articles will follow about Sony lenses as my research progresses. In the meantime, I invite you to have a look at our page dedicated to Sony FE lenses and to full frame mirrorless cameras. We have listed all the lenses for this mount, both from Sony and third-party brands, offering excellent alternatives and often for much less money.
See you soon and, as always, don’t hesitate to tell me what you thought of this article.
See you soon,