Two days with the Sony G Master 24-70 f/2.8 Lens

shhs

Two days with the Sony G Master 24-70 f/2.8 Lens

This week I was able to have two days in Miami, FL with the Sony A7RII, Sony A6300, Sony 85 1.4 G Master and the 24-70 f/2.8 G Master. Today I head home back to Arizona and while tired from getting only 6 hours sleep the last two nights, these lenses have inspired me to write about them. I showed a few out of camera samples from the 85 the other day, if you missed it, see it here.  Many asked for samples from the 24-70, so here you go!

As always, click the images to see them correctly. If you do not, they may look soft..

DSC00271

In the new G Master line of lenses, Sony has told me that they decided to create a NO COMPROMISE set of lenses. They are a full pro line lens, with pro build and optics and even some exotic techniques in making them. They are not cheap, but they are lenses that can go head to head against Canon and Nikon equivalents, and in my opinion, beat them. The build and feel is so nice, they feel and look like nothing Sony has ever released. They are stunning in person, and me, never being a zoom guy, actually really enjoyed the 24-70 2.8 for the two days I was able to give it a try.

While large and pricey we are talking about top-tier full frame glass, and we can not escape physics here. Full frame lenses that are high quality, have AF and are sealed, need to be large. Sony does offer a much smaller set of lenses, and the 24-70 f/4 is tiny in comparison to the new G Master 24-70 2.8.

Miami – 24-70 G Master f/2.8

DSC00515

Shooting in any situation the 24-70 2.8 never flared, never gave me CA and never gave me focus issues. It is fast to AF, accurate with AF and the detail/sharpness and overall rendering is quite beautiful. The way it renders the light is among the best lenses in the world. Truly beautiful.

Click for larger!!

DSC00414

As I was able to shoot all kinds of subjects I found this lens was really nice for portraits. Shooting a portrait with a fast f/1.4 lens can be fun, but challenging. Shooting a portrait at f/2.8 or f/4 is much better as we can get the entire subject in focus. The 24-70 is considered the jack of all trades, and if it’s a quality 24-70, then a master of MANY things. It is one of the most useful focal length ranges as we have a wide end at 24 and a mild telephoto at 70mm. In between we have the classic 35 and 50 focal lengths.

Click to see this in a much nicer version…

DSC00476

DSC00473

In the past few years I have used many zoom lenses..the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8, the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 and even the new Leica 24-90 zoom lens that was released with the Leica SL.

While the Leica SL 24-90 is probably the best zoom I have ever used, this Sony G master comes in a tight 2nd to that but the Sony is smaller, lighter, and less than HALF the cost of the Leica while giving 96% of the quality. With the new line of lenses from Sony, we FINALLY have true pro level optics to go with the awesome capabilities of the A7II, A7RII and A7SII.

Some details…click it!

DSC00281

I will say what I have said many times..IT IS ALL ABOUT THE GLASS!

When buying a really nice camera (such as the A7RII) my opinion is it would be a waste to slap on a cheap kit zoom as they are ALWAYS compromised. Either in speed, or sharpness, or contrast or color or just overall WOW factor. You truly need great lenses if you want your work to stick out. For example, these new lenses are going to be eaten up like mad by the wedding and portrait crowd, they are absolutely perfect for that situation. I feel these lenses will help propel Sony even farther and they are already growing very fast. Sony is leading the mirrorless revolution from what I see. I think because they are giving us what we want..they listen to feedback and offer a quality product that many are jumping to the A7 series ever day.

While DSLR sales are declining more and more every year, mirrorless is strong.

More and more are using these A7 cameras and today, with the G master lenses, they have “arrived” officially for the pro market.

DSC00382

DSC00498

What I have been seeing with these new lenses is fantastic balance…great color performance, contrast, bokeh and details/sharpness. They also can give off a little bit of magic in the way they render the light. I see sharpness from edge to edge and no faults. Keep in mind I only had it in my bag for two days, so further testing will be needed but in every day shots, real world use, this lens is perfect for anyone who is a fan of the 24-70 focal length.

DSC00322

DSC00325

DSC00303

All images here are pretty much right out of the A7RII as I did not have time or my main computer to work on, so what you see is what you get.

DSC00296

DSC00293

DSC00292

DSC00321

DSC00466

DSC00288

DSC00254

The beauty of the A7RII and a lens like this is that you can shoot at extreme ISO’s and still get beautiful results. I remember the days when shooting ISO 1600 would be an awful noisy mess. Today we can easily go to ISO 6400 without noise reduction and even higher with something like an A7SII.

DSC00034

DSC00279

So far so good. Sony has impressed me and all that were here with me that I spoke with about the lens felt the same. The 85 1.4, for me is the drool worthy lens but for many, this 24-70 2.8 will be their main go to lens for their A7 series camera. THE PRICE IS NOT CHEAP! But it is a pro lens, with amazing optics. To put it in perspective, the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 VR which is much longer and larger, is $2400. The Sony is $2200. The Nikon is 1″ longer and .35lbs heavier and $200 more expensive. So the Sony is not overpriced, at all. It is right in line with other pro 24-70 lenses. The Canon 24-70 2.8 is the least expensive at $1750 but it lags behind the Nikon and Sony for performance IMO (and many others opinions).

In any case, I can’t wait to see what Sony has up their sleeve next. I predict and A9 pro, new sensor, pro build, weather sealed, an EVF to beat the Leica SL, and the fastest AF speed yet. But that’s just a guess 😉 I have NO inside info, and it is not a rumor. Just a hunch.

I will be posting more from the G Master lenses soon, as soon as I get review samples. But believe me, they are the best Sony has ever made, ever. Even they say so. Stay tuned…

Steve

You can pre-order the Sony 24-70 G Master lens below:

AMAZON PRE ORDER

B&H PHOTO

Related Post

53 Comments

  1. Hello nice review! But what about optic quality vs Tamron 24-70 2.8? Because I Had it with Nikon D800 and sorry, but have thán no interest about Nikkor 2470/2.8, Tamron , maybe I had lucky with good one, but was the same or even better then Nikkor!!!, Now I have A7RII and thinking about Tamron vs Sony GM ,of course Sony will ,I hope, better, but is it equal this big price different to different in optic quality?!
    Thanks for your opinion!!! I am no profi, so speed of Af (tamron with for example metabones adapter) is not problém for me…weight cca the same
    Sttanley
    BTW. please , Steve, do review of new SLR Magic 35 1.2 FE!!!!!!!!:-)Main against Voigtlander nokton II 35 1.2 😉

  2. how the performance of this GM 24-70mm f2.8 with the body A7II in terms of Auto focus tracking, Eye – AF?

    I have tried on the GM 85mm with the Sony A7R11, the eye AF tracking pretty fast…

    thank you
    Alvin loh [from Singapore]

  3. I’ve only had the 24-70 f2.8 for 24 hours but some casual test shots instantly put a smile on my face with sharpness, color, and contrast using the A7R2. My copy seems to be a terrific lens. It has definitely met or exceeded my expectations so far though more extended use will be needed for a final verdict. It is big and heavy and not as inconspicuous in social settings as primes but is versatile and has great IQ. I’m sure I will use it a lot.

  4. I’m thrilled to have just received the 24-70 because this is my most used focal length range. Can’t report on performance yet but it is a big and heavy lens. That is OK with me because in some shooting situations, lens changes are not practical. The beauty of the A7 series is versatility. With the right lenses it can be small and light. The 24-70 will not replace my use of primes like the tiny Sony 35 f2.8, but I expect this premium zoom will play an important role for events and perhaps travel. The 24-70 f2.8 is a great option to have for the A7R2.

  5. Abe the A6300 is a very nice camera I got it on the 10th. Great for videos and action shots. I also have the a6000,a7s,a7 for interchangeable lense cameras and it is really an amazing camera tonight I am going to update my other cameras to the 3.10 firmware and see if autofocus is improved on older cameras. Right Now A6300 wins for Best AutoFocus.

  6. How do you think the Tamron 85 1.8 will compare to this and the batis?
    The design looks very similar to batis except it’s an alpha mount lense.

    • Jared,
      How long has it been since the new Tamron 35mm and 45mm lenses were introduced? Still no A mount versions! I expect an even longer wait for the new 85mm. A mount is not profitable for Tamron. Nikon and Canon are!, And I expect if they ever do introduce these lenses for A mount, production will be paid for by profit from the Nikon and Canon versions.
      Expect rendering to be similar to the rendering of the 35 and 45mm lenses for Nikon and Canon mount. And whether that is good or not is subjective. I would expect quite different rendering than the Batis and the GM. In any case the Tamron lenses are a very good value for the selling price.
      Kelly

  7. Steve, are you going to post a review on the a6300? I know when it comes to still photos there isn’t much of a difference from the a6000, but that Viewfinder seems attractive. For someone who shoot mostly Still images, is there a point in upgrading from the a6000?

  8. a HEAVY lens on a HEAVY DSLR!

    Yes, but this lens is heavier than the Canon equivalent….886 g vs 805g. You are back where you started.

      • I have a Nikon D810 and 24-70 f/2.8 (the old one without VR). That’s 980g + 900g for the lens, sum is 1880g. The lens balances perfectly with the camera. I can easily hold the camera by the small “cliff” over the lens which houses the built-in flash …
        The A7R II weighs 625g, the 24-70 f/2.8 is 886g, sum is 1511g.
        The difference is 369g. If you take into account the extra battery that you should have with the Sony this will even be less. We’re talking about saving 20% from the Nikon setup. Now while this is not nothing it’s not that much either (put this against a GX8 + 12-35 f/2.8, for example, just under 800g … now we’re talking saving weight!)
        If you throw in the 70-200 f/2.8, the argument about saving weight becomes next to irrelevant (the difference is now 13% of the weight of the Nikon). If I carry 3.4kg of equipment, or just 3kg doesn’t make a huge difference if you ask me. And I won’t talk about handling the heavy lenses on the smaller camera.

        If it is the weight you’re complaining about, switching from one full frame system to another is lying to yourself, if you ask me.

        Want another crazy comparison? A Nikon D750 + 28, 50 and 85 f/1.8 is 1190g in total. Sony A7 II + 28, 55 and 90 weighs 1683g … you’d actually gain weight (of course, the Sony 55 is technically better than the Nikon 50, but stopped down the difference is not that huge, plus the Nikon setup will also cost you less …)

        The Sony 85 f/1.4 is 225g heavier than the Nikon 85 f/1.4. If you put the 24 MPix bodies against each other this will basically compensate the weight difference of the bodies. With the higher resolution bodies, the difference is still negligible …

        What it comes down to is the other advantages and disadvantages you see in mirrorless vs. DSLRs. Or, if you want serious weight savings, your only choice in my opinion will be MFT (yeah, or Nikon 1 … rrrright …).

        I owned a Fuji X-Pro1 and X-T1 before the Nikon, so I’m one of those who went back from mirrorless to DSLR. I see the weight argument a lot from people coming from a setup with a D3 and the holy trinity going to a Fuji X and a few primes … hilarious! Compare them on a fair ground, and the weight saving even with full frame against APS-C still won’t really impress me (or my back) that much. It’s literally a bag of peanuts.

      • My apologies … posted something earlier which contained a bad miscalculation on my side (Nikon D750 + f/1.8 primes comes close to Sony, but of course isn’t lighter!) Also, I have to re-check prices here. Sony was ridiculously overpriced here, but things have changed since I last checked.
        So please just ignore my cr*p. Sorry.
        Still think the weight argument is nitpicking, though. 😉
        But size is a different matter, of course …

    • Perhaps it’s time to put things in perspective. The combined weight of two Loxia lenses, 35 and 50, and two Batis lenses, 25 and 85, is 1750 grams, twice that of the 24-70/2.8 which could reasonably replace them. Taking the Batis 85/1.8 out of the mix (475 grams) brings the total down to 1275 grams, compared to 886 grams for the f/2.8 zoom. The net cost for the 25, 35 and 50 lenses is $3500, compared to $2200 for the zoom.

      If Sony lives up to their promises, the term “equivalent” is probably misused with respect to the Canon version, apart from range and aperture.

  9. The Canon 24-70 is WHY I moved over to Sony…. I was tired of a HEAVY lens on a HEAVY DSLR! It made me rethink WHY I take pictures… so I went back to my roots in photography and started over with the A7RII and only three lenses a 35mm, 55mm and a 90mm – ALL Zeiss Primes. Today I’m getting a Nikon 180mm 2.8 ED Ais I bought off of ebay with an adapter. ALL very sharp and NOT a zoom between them… I couldn’t be happier 🙂

  10. Steve,

    Thanks very much for this review, and for all your reviews of Sony FE mount gear! Much appreciated! Seems like these will be great new lenses. I’ve waited a long time for G lenses like these! Unfortunately, they are the wrong mount! :-). I’d buy them in a heartbeat if they were A mount. The last G lenses for the A mount were the 28-70mm f2.8 G and 85-1.4G by Minolta, but screw drive lenses designed for Minolta film cameras. Minolta actually had an SSM design for the 28-70 G, but it never went into production before they sold their photographic division to Sony.

    Anyway, the point is, at least for me, these lenses are WAY too BIG and HEAVY for the little A7 series camera, but, would be a nice fit for my A99 (or successor) if they were A mount! For me the A7 mirrorless’s advantage is that it is small and lightweight — ideal for travel (especially by air) and that is what I use my A7 for.It has been ideal for that purpose, but with small lenses, like the FE 55 f1.8. Even the Batis 25mm f2.0, though a little larger, is a nice travel companion for the A7.

    These big lenses really have me scratching my head, wondering what Sony is doing? And I have to come to the conclusion that you are correct, there must be a larger camera body coming (A9?) maybe even a hybrid A-FE mount camera. So perhaps a camera the size of the A99 with native FE mount, but a new adapter for A mount which mounts more securely and with weather sealing — maybe even with an SLT mirror that can be locked up out the way for mirror less operation when needed with A mount lenses. I do notice that the current E-A mount adapters are being sold at significantly reduced prices.

    Or, A mount is dead! Like a lot of people are saying! 🙂

    Kelly

  11. Seriously considering this lens. I know 85mm f1.4 GM is more drool worthy, but my old minolta 85mm f1.4 is already perfect for me. Waiting for your full review Steve!

  12. Trust Sony to spoil us for choice. Before this came out it was fairly clear that primes are the way to go for quality on the A7RII. Now we have an interesting choice. Do I spend the money on this 24-70 f2.8 or go for several primes in that range? What would you do if you didn’t have the primes already?

    • The nice things about using primes with the A7Rii are image quality and compact size. The disincentive against using zooms was the serious hit in image quality. The 24-70/2.8 seems to have challenged that paradigm. The advantage of a zoom lens in this range for weddings and events is enough reason for me to take a chance and order the G master lens. Will I use it for landscapes and similar contemplative purposes? Time will tell.

    • Hmmm, nope. Never was into large and heavy cameras. The A7RII is half the size of a 5D or D800, and while these 2.7 lenses are large, sitting next to an equivalent Canon or Nikon set, will be much smaller. Even so, does not mean I will use these lenses personally, in fact, I would not buy teh 24-70 as I am a prime guy. Still, the lens is stunning for those that like this sort of thing. My main shooter around here is the RX1RII, plenty small. 😉

      • Agree with Steve here… i can see little reason anyone would buy one of these for the A7 system. The lens would be completely unbalanced on a smallish camera system. Sony must have a larger/full size camera in the works or this makes no sense.

  13. Great photos, Steve! I’m absolutely thrilled by the performance of these lenses. The new 85mm is on order, but I’m very interested in this lens as well. It seems very versatile. Looking forward to the full review down the road.

  14. The Canon 24-70 2.8 is the least expensive at $1750 but it lags behind the Nikon and Sony for performance IMO (and many others opinions).

    Whose? Never heard this at all. Where’s the data?

  15. Steve, You mentioned the 85/1.4 and it being “Drool Worthy”… I have the Batis. Is this new lens better then the Zeiss…or just different? I realize the new G is a little faster. I went from a Canon 85/1.2 to the Zeiss and couldnt have been happier. So its just not how much faster the lens is to me… Any comment?

    • Well, the Sony is 1.4, not 1.8, it is built to a much higher standard, has stabilisation and is sharper wide open at 1.4 than the Batis is at 1.8. It also has fantastic color and pop like the Zeiss with a different Bokeh signature. BOTH are top tier.

      • I spent a full day comparing the 85 batis to both the 90 FE (widely regarded as one of the sharpest AUTOFOCUS primes in existence) and the 55 FE (also one of the sharper primes). My test was shooting a pill bottle across the room then examining how legible the writing was. The Batis showed relatively no difference from the 90 fe, and corrected for perspective exceeded the 55. In fact when the 55 was on my a7rii and the Batis was on my a7s they still seemed comparable even with the massive difference in resolution.

        So, unless you have MTFs to prove it, I actually think you maybe overstating the sharpness of the 85 gm or understating the Batis. It will be interesting to see what Dx0 mark says, but I think it will rank very close to the 90 fe. Of course its always possible that I got an exceptional version of the Batis and you did not.

        As for built to a much higher standard .. Um.. Zeiss has demonstrated excellent quality control in almost all their lenses versus sony which has widely regarded poor QC (we just need to look at the 35 1.4, which although Zeiss approved is Sony manufactured. The Batis, flows from the heritage of the Otus. It is small, properly weather sealed with gaskets, light, has wonderful, cinematic contrast with great light handling thanks to Zeiss nano coatings (generally regarded as the best coatings in the world). The sony is bulky, heavy, has potentially inferior coatings, slow loud focusing.

        And though I don’t own the lens I wonder if you are incorrect about stabilization? I can find nowhere that suggests the 85 gm has it and the 85 Batis does. In fact it makes the older a7 series have a whole new life. It turns my a7s into a low light BEAST for portraits. Would the 85 gm? sure would. But unless its stabilized it will have stiff competition and will lose at hand held video work.

        I think the big thing for me is that the 85 batis renders light in a very special way. The only lens I found comparative is the 50 apo summicron. I used to shoot the mitakon on my cams and what I realized is that that the big aperture means almost nothing in low light. Sure it let in more light but the way it handled the light was gross. There was no definition around it. The Batis is hands down the best lens I have ever used in this respect. Confining and defining the light. On top of this even in low light it has superb contrast where most lenses get a more washed out look when there is a strong light source in the frame.

        If you could ever do a shot for shot comparison, I would love to see that.

        Cheers,

        Aaron Ashley

  16. Does aonybody know if the autofocus is as good on the “old” A7 with no R or S or Mark II ?

  17. Wow.. it seems Sony sure know about customer satisfaction! Interested to know, what was your impression of the G Master lenses used on the new 6300 body?

  18. Sony A6300 or Olympus Pen-F? Not strictly the same, but if the thought is to potentially add a bigger body later (EM1 II, 7RII or similar), which direction would you go?

    • Different cameras. Between those two, Id go PEN but depends on your style. If you want APS-C, top class 4K video, and fast tracking AF, the 6300 is your best bet. It’s quick, fast, uses any and all E mount lenses and is small. The PEN-f is a more “fun” camera. Video will not be as good, but fun factor is high. Just my opinion. The A6000 and A6300 are true bang for the buck cameras. There truly are no bad ones today.

  19. I would be incredibly surprised if the SL + 24-90 could outperform the A7RII + G24-70, given the difference in sensor resolution.

      • No you can’t made that judgement between lenses if two cameras applied..well beside resolution, there are color depth, pixel pitch, dynamic range etc that may affect image quality overall.

  20. Goodness, Steve! You make me desperately want to grab a Sony A7ii or A7Rii and this 24-70mm just to try out the combo. I’m a died in the wool µ4/3 user, but this new stuff is so tempting.

  21. Great images Steve, great lens judging by these. And, I sense a Michael Mann inspired theme here; staged scenes?

Comments are closed.