Sony E 15mm F1.4 G Review
The Sony E 15mm F1.4 G is a compact, lightweight and fast wide-angle prime lens for Sony's range of Alpha branded APS-C cropped-sensor mirrorless cameras.
It offers a 22.5mm equivalent focal length in 35mm full-frame terms, making it ideal for vlogging, landscape and architecture photography.
This professional-grade E-mount lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.4, fast and quiet auto focusing thanks to the dual Linear Motor system, a physical aperture ring that can be de-clicked for video use and a customizable focus hold button.
The optical formula is comprised of 13 elements arranged in 12 groups, including one Super ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass element and two ED glass elements to subdue chromatic aberrations, and three aspherical elements to suppress distortion and aberrations.
Other highlights include a minimum focusing distance of 17cm and a maximum magnification of 0.15x, a fluorine coating applied to the front element to resist dust, oils, and fingerprints, and a dust- and moisture-resistant design.
The Sony E 15mm F1.4 G lens is priced at £750 in the UK and $750 in the US. It was launched in June 2022 and is manufactured in China.
Ease of Use
The Sony E 15mm F1.4 G is a fully weather-sealed wide-angle prime lens with a dedicated Sony E mount that is made of metal. Communication between lens and camera body is provided through 10 electrical contacts.
Note however that in order to take full advantage of the weatherproofing, you will need to mount it on a similarly weather-sealed body, unlike the Sony ZV-E10 camera that we tested it with.
The weather-proofing inspires confidence that the lens will survive all kinds of inclement conditions, while its sturdy construction and G-Master branding also gives it an air of high quality.
The E 15mm F1.4 G lens is well built, fully living up to the professional designation that Sony have given it.
Tipping the scales at just 219 g (7.8 oz.) and measuring 66.6 x 69.5 mm (2-5/8 x 2-3/4 in.) in diameter and length, the Sony E 15mm F1.4 G is a compact and lightweight wide-angle prime lens that you can carry around all day without noticing.
The Sony ZV-E10 used for this test proved to be a good match for the lens, offering pleasing balance and fast and near-silent auto-focusing.
The E 15mm F1.4 G prime features separate focus and aperture (iris) rings.
The aperture ring has 1/3ev stops ranging from f/1.4 to f/16 with an Auto setting for camera-based control. It can be switched between a smooth and notched rotation using the dedicated Click On/Off switch on the underside of the lens barrel.
This lens does not feature built-in image stabilisation, instead relying on the camera body to supply it, which will prove frustrating for owners of Alpha camera bodies without IBIS, again like the ZV-E10 that Sony sent us for testing.
You can quickly and easily use the focus mode switch to toggle between AF and MF.
Manual focusing is done in a traditional fashion, with the adequately sized focus ring electronically coupled to the moving lens elements and operating with linear-response, although there are no hard stops at either end. Focusing is fully internal and the 55mm filter thread does not rotate on focus.
With the E 15mm F1.4 G lens attached to a Sony ZV-E10 body, focusing proved to be satisfyingly quick in most situations thanks to the Linear Motor system which uses two separate motors.
This combination is capable of locking focus on a subject almost instantly, even when alternating between close and faraway subjects, and it's virtually silent too.
In extreme low-light situations you may experience a little focus hunting at the long end, although using the fast f/1.4 maximum aperture largely helps to avoid this.
The lens has a customisable focus hold button which keeps the lens locked to the current focusing distance, useful if you're auto-focusing and don't want the lens to try and find focus again. It can also, amongst other things, be usefully set to Eye AF.
Included in the box is a slim petal-shaped lens hood (ALC-SH171), which is easy to attach to the lens - simply line up the red line with the red marking on the lens and twist into place until it clicks. You can also reverse the lens hood for reducing the overall size when transporting the lens. This lens accepts 55mm front filters.
The 15mm focal length provides an angle of view of 87 degrees.
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are not too much of a problem with the Sony E 15mm F1.4 G lens, except in areas of very high contrast.
With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.4, there is some light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to completely prevent it.
The Sony E 15mm F1.4 G doesn't exhibit very much barrel distortion in JPEG files, as you can see in the photo below, thanks to in-camera lens distortion controls that are automatically applied (and which can't actually be turned off).
It's a different story for the Raw file, though, which exhibits lots of barrel distortion which you'll need to either correct in post-processing or apply a lens profile.
Sunstars and Flare
The Sony E 15mm F1.4 G is capable of producing nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/16, as shown below, although the lens is quite susceptible to flare when shooting directly into the sun even with the supplied lens hood fitted.
The Sony E 15mm F1.4 G is not really a macro lens, but it does offer a usefully close focus point of 20cm when auto-focusing and 17cm when manual focusing, with a maximum magnification of 0.12x for AF and 0.15x for MF.
Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.
Sony have paid close attention to this aspect of lens use, employing a 7-segment diaphragm with rounded blades, which combined with the fast maximum aperture allows for more pleasing bokeh.
In our view, their efforts have been fairly successful for a wide-angle prime lens - see the examples below to judge for yourself.
In order to show you how sharp the Sony E 15mm F1.4 G lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.