New 14mm f/1.8 Lens Designed for Astrophotography and Landscapes

Sony has expanded its E-mount lens lineup by introducing the FE 14mm F1.8 GM. This is a compact lens with a large f/1.8 aperture and ultra-wide focal length. It is specifically designed to capture landscapes, astrophotography, architecture, and even close-ups, due to its close-range focusing capabilities.

The new FE 14mm F1.8 GM features an extremely compact optical design, measuring just 3.9 inches in length by 3.3 inches in diameter, and weighing in at just 460g.

It offers advanced optical technology that delivers resolution and contrast that is “breathtaking”, according to Sony.The lens houses 14 elements in 11 groups. Notably, there are two XA (extreme aspherical) elements that maintain sharpness throughout the image area, even at corners. There are two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements, and one Super ED glass element. 

This combination aims to “suppress chromatic aberration and deliver excellent contrast at all apertures”, according to Sony. In combination with this, “the Nano AR Coating II effectively minimises glare and ghosting issues” that can sometimes plague ultra-wide lenses, says Sony. With a max aperture of f/1.8, this lens has been designed with low light in mind, making it possible to shoot in such conditions without having to use extremely slow shutter speeds.

This feature alone takes the 14mm 1.8 GM a stop faster than the Sony 12-24 f/2.8 GM, making it appealing for astrophotographers. 

Example Image From Sony 14mm f/1.8 GM By Carmen Huter

As with the whole G Master lineup from Sony, the lens has been designed to be dust and moisture resistant: an essential for most outdoor photographers whose kit will almost certainly face the elements.

The lens design features a linear focus ring, an aperture ring (complete with a de-click switch), an AF/MF switch, and a focus hold button which, like most Sony lenses, is completely customizable.As the front element is so rounded, it doesn’t lend itself to traditional filter mounting. For this reason, Sony has included a rear element filter mount that is much like the one found in the FE 12-24mm f/2.8 lens.

This mount is designed for the insertion of gel filters, for which Sony includes a template with the lens. This enables users to cut their own desired filters.Thanks to Sony’s infamously excellent autofocus systems, expectation is high for this model. According to Sony, it offers “fast, precise, quiet AF performance that maximises the speed potential of E-mount bodies.” 

“Focus can be accurately acquired and maintained even when shooting with narrow depth of field at F1.8”, says Sony. “The FE 14mm F1.8 GM enables quiet AF with minimal vibration for smooth focus transitions.” This sounds appealing for those who are using AF for video content creation.

The lens is capable of incredibly close focusing, as close as 9.8 inches at a 0.1x maximum magnification. When utilized with the wide f/1.8 aperture, photographers can explore creative compositions previously unattainable with any of the other wide-angle lenses in the Sony lineup.

The new FE 14mm F1.8 GM will be shipping in May 2021 and is available for pre order for $1,598 in the US and £1,399 in the UK from most high street retailers.

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Joe is a photographer, camera and drone operator with a focus on conservation and the natural world. Having worked for a number of wildlife and conservation NGOs, Joe is now working for the BBC NHU on an upcoming landmark series.

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