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Sony E 15mm F/1.4 G Lens Review

Coupled with the Sony A5100, John Riley has been testing out the Sony E 15mm f/1.4 G lens - one of three wide-angle lenses recently introduced by Sony.


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Sony E 15mm F/1.4 G Lens Review: Sony E 15mm F1,4G Front Oblique | 1/8 sec | f/16.0 | 115.0 mm | ISO 100
 

 

Re-establishing their support of the crop sensor APS-C format, after a flurry of full-frame releases, Sony introduced three compact, high-performance lenses (11mm f/1.8, 15mm f/1.4 and 10-20mm f/4) intended for content creators, stills and video photographers and vloggers. Here we have the Sony E 15mm f/1.4 G lens, billed as aspiring to excellence even without the GM designation. This is a "35mm-format" field of view equivalent to 22.5mm, the extra 1.5mm over a traditional 24mm being quite significant. Coupling the lens up with the 24MP Sony A5100, let's see how it handles and performs, both in the technical tests and on location as we make a lightning visit to the Cotswolds.

 

Sony E 15mm F/1.4 G Handling and Features

Sony E 15mm F/1.4 G Lens Review: Sony E 15mm F1,4G On Sony A5100 | 1/5 sec | f/16.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100
Starting our tour of the lens at the front, there is a supplied bayonet fit lens hood. This clips cleanly into place and is not likely to be accidentally dislodged in use. Within the bayonet fit for the hood, we find a standard 55mm filter thread. The lens is well finished and compact at just 66.6mm long and 69.5mm in diameter. It weighs in at a modest 219g.

First up is a nicely damped and utterly smooth electronic focusing ring. It is an IF (Internal Focusing) system, so the front element of the lens does not rotate, making it far easier when using polarising or graduated filters. The silent operation will be appreciated by videographers.

The aperture ring is a splendid affair indeed, having one-third of a stop markings, firm click stops and a very firm final click stop to the A setting. The clicks can be switched off via a small switch on the lens barrel, after which aperture changing can be virtually silent. Although this may or may not be the case with all camera bodies, with the A5100 changing the aperture with the aperture ring, as opposed to using the camera body control wheel, is so much easier. The camera wheel is far too fiddly and settings are easily changed in error. This lens solves all of that.

There are three controls on the lens, two on the left and one on the right. The two on the left are an AF hold button and the AF/MF switch. The AF system is driven by 2 linear motors and operates swiftly, silently and with impressive accuracy. On the right, we have the aperture click on/off. Focusing is down to 0.20m (0.66') in AF mode, for a maximum magnification of 0.12x. In MF mode, focusing is slightly closer, at 0.17m (0.56') for a maximum magnification of 0.15x. There is compatibility with all the usual Sony AF/MF modes, selected via the camera menus.

Sony E 15mm F/1.4 G Lens Review: Sony E 15mm F1,4G Front Element View | 0.8 sec | f/16.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100
 

The lens is not compatible with teleconverters. There is also no OIS, so any shake reduction will be via the inbuilt SteadyShot, where available with the camera body.

Optical construction is 13 elements in 12 groups, including 1 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion), 1 Super ED and 3 Aspherical. The diaphragm comprises 7 blades, with a rounded aperture at wider values. The lens is dust and moisture-resistant.

In terms of size, the lens is equally at home on APS-C bodies and full-frame bodies, in the latter case in crop mode of course. The aperture ring is superbly well placed and makes handling very efficient. The actual focal length is a very useful one for most ultra-wide requirements, being wide enough to be useful and interesting but not so wide as to need overly careful handling.

 


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