Howdy folks, today we’re going to be talking about one of my new favorite lenses: the Sony 24-105mm F4.
I recently picked one up for myself and “broke it in” (so to speak) by both taking it up on a roadtrip along Lake Superior and also covering a massive architectural photography event in my city.
Why You Can Trust Us
Chance (that’s me) has been practicing photography for 10 years and has been a paid professional for most of it. I bought my first Sony in 2018 so this website is the culmination of about 5 years of Sony experience (full site history). For this lens, I rented it for a couple weeks and covered a large roadtrip plus a local architecture/history event with it (read how I review/test gear).
Boy howdy, lemme tell you: this lens was awesome, I loved it! In this review, I’ll share a bunch of my sample photos and (spoiler alert), of course, tell you how great the lens was.
Let’s dive in.
- Extremely versatile focal length
- Good sharpness and image quality
- Quick and reliable autofocus
- Great G-series build quality
- One of the best do-it-all lenses
- Large/heavy (to be expected)
- Expensive (again, to be expected)
Another flagship lens from Sony that offers an incredible zoom range, solid sharpness, great AF, and typical fantastic G-Series build quality. A great catch-all lens.
Size & Weight
The Sony 24-105mm F4 stands as yet another testament to Sony’s engineering prowess (I apologize if that sounds a bit “over the top”).
Despite having a mega-useful focal range of 24-105, the lens still strikes a decent balance between versatility and size.
While not a compact lens by any means, it weighs about 23.8oz (663g) and measuring a length (unextended) of about 4.5 inches (or 11.5cm). So, not ultra-compact, but also not obscenely huge either.
In my time testing this lens, I found it to be fairly comfortable to lug around whether I was walking city streets or trekking up scenic overlooks. It balances fairly well on my a7iii (even though it was slightly front-heavy).
Is the lens well built?
As for actual build quality itself, this is a Sony G lens. Like, Sony has never made a G lens that wasn’t an absolute tank, and this one is certainly no exception.
The body is primarily metal/high-end plastic and it shows. In my short time of owning it, I managed to (lightly) bump it against a rock, drop it on a table, and subject the lens to other bits of minor/moderate torture.
Look, I may review cameras and lenses for a living, but I’m also unbelievably clumsy!
Now, beyond the lens itself, you also get your standard caps. One pinch cap for the front, and the typical twist-cap for the rear.
Now, what’s strange is that Sony doesn’t actually include a lens hood. I’m guessing they figured since the flare resistance is so good that they didn’t need one? Either way, you can buy it separately.
As for weather sealing, the Sony 24-105mm F4 offers full sealing (so long as you pair it with a sealed body such as the a7iii for example).
During my testing period, I took it on a multi-day roadtrip up the Lake Superior coastline. The air was thick with mist, and the waves were violent (anyone who lives along the Great Lakes knows). The sealing worked perfectly even when getting close to huge cascading waterfalls.
Heck, on one occasion, I was photographing Split Rock Lighthouse when a wave splashed up on the rock near me. I got a bit soaked and the camera/lens took a small hit, but lo and behold, it still worked!
Quick note: I don’t think Sony actually advertises it as “weather-proof”, but rather “dust and moisture resistant” which in my experience seems to be the same thing more or less.
Built to last?
A question I like to ask myself anytime I test a lens is as follows: “is this lens built to last“?. Unsurprisingly, I think I’d say yes.
In the Sony 24-105mm F4, we’ve got typical G-series build quality. The lens has a lot of heavy glass and a ton of metal, the zoom/focus rings turn smoothly and feel great, and the weather sealing gives me a LOT of confidence (especially after testing it first hand!).
I have no doubt that this lens will last you MANY years.
As far as ergonomics go, while the lens is a bit heavy, it’s designed in the sense that it’s “easy” to carry. Although it is a bit front-heavy, the rings are positioned in a way that allows you to use them as “grips” in a sense.
The zoom ring is easy to turn, but it takes just enough force that resting your hand on it (gripping the lens) won’t cause it to accidentally start zooming.
Speaking of zoom, the barrel does extend while zooming, but that’s to be expected when you cram this much focal range into a (reasonably) small body.
Ultimately, I was able to carry this thing around for a while without suffering from much hand fatigue and, even when I did start to get tired, it’s just the right size to slide straight into my camera sling.
Speaking of ergonomics, by the way, I should also mention that Sony included a customizable “focus hold” button. It’s a small round button that sits just in front of the focus/OSS switches.
By default, as I just mentioned, it’s bound to the focus hold button. However, just like the custom buttons on your camera body, this one can be bound to anything in the menus. I typically used it as an EyeAF trigger button.
Although you typically only see custom lens buttons on higher-end or larger glass, I always love getting the extra degree of customizability.
Now, you might think, “why do aesthetics even matter”? Subjectively, they really don’t, but some photographers (like myself) do at least somewhat care what their lens looks like. Performance over aesthetics, of course, but it’s still something to consider.
I personally think the 24-105 looks really nice. It’s a very clean design, featuring only what it needs to and not much else. The iconic Sony G logo shines on the side. I like it.
Next up, let’s talk about sharpness! For most of my zoom lens reviews, I’ll cover each major focal length, but weirdly enough, performance stays pretty much the same throughout the entire zoom range.
When shooting wide open, the lens offers excellent center sharpness but you’ll notice a decent bit of fall-off near the edges.
While this is largely the same over the entire range, you’ll notice it slightly more (if you pixel-peep to the extreme) near the wider end of the range.
Stopping down in most lenses causes corners to sharpen up and the entire frame to become more even, but that’s not really the case with this one. Sure, dropping down to F8 shows a mild increase, but it’s really not as much as you’d expect.
While this may be disappointing on the surface, it’s important to remember that this is a literal 24-105mm F4. You shouldn’t expect it to compare with a top-end prime lens or anything like this.
Frankly, although I do notice the corner softness when I crop in, it’s not enough for me to say, “down with this lens!”.
Optical Quirks & Flaws
So, now that we’ve covered image quality, let’s talk about any optical quirks and flaws the lens has, such as distortion, vignette, CA, flaring, etc.
First up: distortion. You’ll notice some minor bending of the frame when shooting at the wider end, but it’s really minor and easily fixed in post-processing.
Zooming in to the telephoto end, as you’d expect, shows substantially less distortion.
As for vignette, you’ll notice a bit of corner darkness when shooting wide open, but it’s easily fixed in either post-processing or by stopping down slightly.
I personally don’t find vignette to ever be a problem. In fact, I’m guilty of sometimes adding artificial corner darkening in post if I’m capturing center-focused subjects (as it draws your eye into the center of the frame).
Chromatic aberrations, although you may notice them if you look closely, are pretty minor.
One of my main tests is to photograph tree branches against a sunlit sky. In this test, I did notice some substantial purple fringing, but it was still mild enough to where a single click in Lightroom was able to resolve it.
Finally: flaring. Like I had mentioned earlier, this lens doesn’t come with a hood, but I think that’s largely because the flare resistance is so damn good.
Even shooting directly into bright light sources, I only saw extremely minor ghosting and almost no loss of contrast. I’ll drop some samples below.
For my fellow bokeh fanatics, you shouldn’t expect a ton out of an F4 lens.
That being said, at 105mm, you’ll get decent subject isolation and some fairly pleasing bokeh. It’s nowhere near a prime lens (I wouldn’t use this to shoot senior photos, for example), but it does the job for casual use.
Overall Optical Performance
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the optical performance of the Sony 24-105mm F4.
Sure, I’ll admit, the corner softness might be a bit dissapointing, but it’s important to remember that this is not a prime lens, but rather an ultra-versatile zoom. You shouldn’t except optical perfection (unless you’re looking at something like the 24-70mm F2.8 GMII).
Next up, let’s focus on focusing! (see what I did there?)
For stills photography, the lens performs as great as you’d expect from G-series glass.
Autofocus is stupidly fast, incredibly accurate, and completely dead silent. EyeAF is a breeze and subject tracking is virtually perfect.
If you’ve used any other high-end Sony lenses, you know there’s not much to go into here because it’s just so unbelievably good.
When it comes to video AF, you’ll find similar performance. Like I mentioned, autofocus is dead silent (like most Sony lenses) and is extremely precise.
For vlogging purposes, I found that AF-C/EyeAF was able to keep focus on my face with ease, and the lens doesn’t suffer from any focus breathing.
On the flipside, for those who like to take manual control, manual focus is about what you’d expect.
As with all modern lenses, it’s focus-by-wire, so you lack any sort of hard stops or tactile feedback.
Still, Sony did a decent job with “ramping” and “focus throw” (I use quotation marks because, once again, it’s all just simulated electronically). In my tests, I used MF only a few times, but it was typically a smooth and easy experience, especially with focus peaking/magnifier.
Although not directly related to focusing, I figured I’d mention that the lens also offers OSS.
Pretty much every Sony full-frame body is stabilized, but OSS works in tandem with IBIS, allowed for an even higher degree of stabilization. I found I was able to shoot a lot of 1/20th of a second exposures handheld.
My Final Thoughts
Before I round out my reviews, I do always like to offer up a few comparable alternatives. I’ll list a couple lenses that are even more versatile!
Sony 24-240mm F3.5-6.3
First up: the Sony 24-240mm F3.5-6.3 is a testament to pure versatility over everything else.
Covering a 10x zoom range, it’s a lens that can capture wide landscapes and distant subjects without a lens change. Its broad range does come with trade-offs: the variable aperture means it’s not the brightest lens, and sharpness can dip at the far telephoto end.
Still, its compact design for such a range and weather-sealing make it a practical choice for those prioritizing flexibility over absolute optical perfection.
Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6
The Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 presents itself as yet another versatile (and cheaper) alternative.
While it offers a respectable zoom range, it does sacrifice a bit in terms of optical clarity. You do get an F2.8 aperture at the wide end, but it tightens to F5.6 at the end of the zoom range.
A big advantage, however, is its price point, coming in lower than similar lenses in its category (such as the 24-105), making it a consideration for those seeking value without a hefty price tag.
The Tamron 28-200mm can be a solid pick if you want as much range as possible while still getting a fairly bright aperture.
Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8
The Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 caters to those who value bright apertures over everything. With its impressive F2.8 aperture at the telephoto end, it does well in challenging lighting conditions and provides a shallow depth of field for decent subject isolation.
A big caveat is that its starting focal length of 35mm means it’s not the widest option available, which could be a limitation for some landscape or interior shots.
If you value getting that coveted F2.8 aperture while still achieving versatility, this is probably going to be the lens for you. Just be aware that this thing is BIG (and expensive).
Frankly, if you can double your budget and don’t mind losing some zoom range on the wider end, consider going with the previously mentioned Tamron 35-150.
However, at the end of the day, the Sony 24-105mm F4 is a lens that offers a lot of great features: solid image quality, a great build, a versatile zoom range at a consistent aperture and, of course, a decent price.
If you’re looking for a do-it-all lens that doesn’t make many compromises, pick up the Sony. I’ll leave purchase links below (feel free to keep scrolling for more sample photos!). Thanks for reading.
Additional Sony 24-105mm F4 Sample Photos
If you’ve made it this far (through all my sample photos), thank you! Remember, if you want to support the site, buying through my link is the best way to do it. Thank you! 🙂