Sony’s all-in-one wonder: we review the 24-105mm f/4 OSS lens – Fstoppers

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Sony’s all-in-one wonder: we review the 24-105mm f/4 OSS lens – Fstoppers

A few months ago I switched systems, mainly due to work requirements. The system I upgraded to was Sony, namely the a7R IV, so I needed a versatile lens to start with to give me time to save up for another lens after emptying my bank account.

After reading numerous reviews and watching countless YouTube videos, the lens I chose was the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS lens. A versatile and reliable Swiss army knife of lenses according to reviews, so how did I fare with this lens and is it worth considering in my opinion?

Manufacturing quality

The lens feels solid in your hands, with a sturdy, dust- and moisture-resistant construction. Measuring 113.3mm when closed, the lens features a 77mm filter thread and weighs just 663g. The lens itself features a Sony Nano AR coating to eliminate flare and ghosting, while the front element is fluorine coated to prevent fingerprints and dirt from sticking. The lens is composed of 17 elements in 14 groups, including three ED elements, two aspherical elements and two advanced aspherical elements, and has a minimum focusing distance of 0.38m.

The lens body contains a focus hold button which can be programmed via the menu for other functions, an AF/MF switch and an OSS on/off switch which provide additional image stabilization in more than that of the camera. The zoom and focus rings are very well damped so you can make fine adjustments with precision.

Performance

The Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS lens does not disappoint in this area. With a focal range covering everything from wide-angle shots to mid-telephoto, it’s perfect for landscapes, portraits and street photography. The f/4 aperture may not be the widest on the market, but it is sufficient for most situations, which in my case are mainly landscapes. Plus, the built-in Optical SteadyShot (OSS) keeps your photos steady, even in low-light conditions. With this in mind, I can currently shoot comfortably at 1/20 second if I need to, with a few frames and very little breathing being able to be captured at 1/6 second. This is not something I intend to do; that’s what tripods are for, but I enjoy the challenge nonetheless. Autofocus is fast and quiet and works well with eye tracking for both stills and video.

Sharpness is good throughout the zoom range, with minimal distortion and chromatic aberration. Sure, GM lenses will be sharper, but for the price you’re getting a very decent lens that you can use in a multitude of situations, and the lens handles them well. For landscapes at the widest focal length, the corners may be a little soft. However, in saying that, I have yet to find it detrimental to the images I have taken so far. This is more of a general purpose all-around lens, so the softer edges at 24mm aren’t a deal breaker. You can leave your other lenses at home with this versatile lens and still be ready for anything. I found this very useful for longer, higher hikes where weight may be an issue with several different lenses. I’ve taken two lenses with me on recent hikes, this lens being one, and not once have I wished I had a different focal length with me. This allowed me to take wider photos and then zoom in to get more distant subjects. Additionally, with the Sony a7R IV’s 35mm zoom, I was able to extend the reach by an additional 52mm.

Benefits

  • Constant f/4 aperture throughout the range
  • Sharp
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile
  • Relatively low cost considering what you get for your money.

The inconvenients

  • After a few months of use, I can’t really say that I’ve found any that affect the photography I do
  • There will be cheaper lenses available with a similar focal range

Final Thoughts

It’s sharp at all apertures, it’s a versatile lens, and it’s great for just carrying a lens on long hikes because it produces the goods and does it very well. It won’t match the quality of GM lenses, and that’s why you pay higher prices for them; they do the job extremely well.

Can you go wrong with the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS lens? I don’t think you can. At $1,198, you get a versatile lens that can cover a wide shooting range, and it’s not big or heavy, so it fits very easily into your camera bag. I had carried the lens, a Sony a7R V and a Viltrox AF 20mm f/2.8 lens in my Peak Design Everyday Sling v2 and still had plenty of room, on some fairly high and long hikes. The lens returned the images I was looking for on these hikes, and they worked well considering I didn’t need to take my tripod with me. The Steadyshot in the lens, combined with the in-body stabilization, meant I didn’t have to worry about reducing my shutter speed for certain shots; although it is something I would like to practice.

So far it has proven to be the Swiss army knife of lenses, as some reviewers have mentioned, and for the images I shoot I can relax slightly in terms of savings for the other lenses. These reviews were decent in terms of versatility and sharpness, so if you are considering this lens while tearing your hair out at the price of the G-Masters, I would buy this lens. Of course GM lenses will be better, but this lens is surprisingly good at what it does and costs less.



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