Sony 24-70mm f/2.8

Full-Frame FE GM (2016-)

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Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM (metal 82mm filter thread, 31.3 oz./887g, 1.25'/0.38m close focus, about $2,198). bigger. I got mine at B&H. I'd also get it at Adorama, at Amazon, or at Crutchfield.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to my personally-approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Sony does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

 

February 2017   Sony   Sony Lenses   Zeiss   Nikon   Canon   Fuji   LEICA   All Reviews

ZEISS FE 24-70mm f/4 OSS

NEW: Sony 24-70/2.8 GM vs. Nikon 18-55 AF-P Comparison 16 February 2017

 

Sample Images

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Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

Pretty darn sharp; remember this is a round tree trunk so the sides aren't in focus:

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Sample Image

Palm Tree Trunk, 31 January 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 56mm at 1/125 at f/8 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

And yes, it's ultra-sharp even wide-open at f/2.8:

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Sample Image

Palm, 01 February 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 24mm at f/2.8 at 1/160 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Too sharp to handle:

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Sample Image

Granite, 02 February 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 50mm at f/8 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

And at f/2.8 it's fast enough with today's ultra-high ISOs to shoot handheld in abandoned mausoleums at night as you're running away from spooks:

Abandoned Mausoleum at Night

Abandoned Mausoleum at Night, 03 February 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 24mm at f/2.8 hand-held at 1/50 at Auto ISO 25,600. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Introduction

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Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

Good   Bad   Missing

Adorama Pays Top Dollar for Used Gear

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

I buy only from these approved sources. I can't vouch for ads below.

This Sony 24-70/2.8 is much nicer than I expected; it's an excellent lens and well made, too, with a high price to match its high performance.

The Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is ultra-popular because it's ultra-ultra sharp, much sharper than the less expensive ZEISS FE 24-70mm f/4 OSS at 24mm in the corners. It's big and expensive — and still wildly popular because of its great performance.

This 24-70/2.8 is ultra sharp, sharper than the ZEISS 16-35mm from 24~35mm and much sharper than the ZEISS FE 24-70mm f/4 OSS.

If you're serious about your full-frame Sony, this is the most serious wide to midrange zoom made by anyone for it. It's better than anything from ZEISS; it's as good as the ultra-pro Canon 24-70/2.8 L II and Nikon 24-70/2.8E VR.

 

Good

● Ultrasharp at every setting, especially f/2.8.

● Excellent bokeh.

● Fast f/2.8 for low light.

● Very fast and essentially silent autofocus.

● Focus lock button.

● Metal filter thread.

 

Bad

● $2,200.

● Big and heavy.

 

Missing

● No image stabilizer — but most Sony cameras do this internally with sensor shifting.

● No focus or depth-of-field scales.

 

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. bigger.

Format

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Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

This is a full-frame lens and I'm reviewing it as such.

It works great on APS-C cameras and you may make the usual inferences for them. I never suggest using full frame normal zooms on APS-C; you pay a huge premium in size and money for a full frame lens, and most of its image is simply wasted with cropped sensors of APS-C cameras. For APS-C cameras, use an APS-C lens like the ZEISS 16-70/4 which offers a wider zoom range in a smaller package for less than half the price.

 

Compatibility

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Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

This works on all Sony E-mount cameras, full-frame and crop-sensor. This includes all the NEX, A7, A6xxx and A5xxx series cameras.

It will not work on any Minolta MAXXUM or Sony 35mm SLRs or DSLRs. Those use the old A mount which was actually the Minolta MAXXUM mount from 1987.

 

Specifications

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Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

 

Name

Sony calls this the FE24-70mm f/2.8 GM:

    FE: Full-frame coverage, E-mount.

    GM: G Master, which is meaningless other than meaning that the lens is high-priced.

 

Optics

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens Construction

Sony 24-70/2.8 construction. "Extreme" aspherical, Super ED, ED and Aspherical elements. bigger.

18 elements in 13 groups.

3 aspherical elements.

2 extra low dispersion elements.

 

Diaphragm

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

 

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. bigger.

9 rounded blades.

Stops down to f/22.

"Nano" coating.

 

Focal Length

24-70mm.

When used on APS-C, it sees the same angle of view as a 35-105mm lens sees when used on a full-frame camera.

See also Crop Factor.

 

Angle of View

84º ~ 34º diagonal on full-frame.

61° ~ 23° diagonal on APS-C.

 

Autofocus

Internal focus.

No external movement as focussed, so no air or dust is sucked in.

 

Close Focus

1.25 feet (0.85 meters).

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio

1:4.2 (0.24 ×).

 

Stabilizer

None.

 

Filters

Metal 82mm filter thread.

 

Hood

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. bigger.

 

Case

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. bigger.

 

Size

3.45" maximum diameter × 5.35" extension from flange.

87.6 mm maximum diameter × 136mm extension from flange.

 

Weight

31.280 oz. (886.7g), actual measured weight.

Rated 31.25 oz. (886 g).

 

Included

Lens (SEL2470GM).

ALC-F82S front and ALC-R1EM rear cap.

ALC-SH141 hood.

Case & strap.

 

Announced

February 2016.

 

 

Packaging

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

Box, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. bigger.

 

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

Box, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. bigger.

Corrugated cardboard box.

Lens in bubble wrap inside included padded nylon fabric case.

 

Sony Model Number

SEL2470GM.

 

Price, USA

$2,198, February 2017.

 

Performance

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Format   

Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

 

Overall   Autofocus   Breathing   Bokeh   Distortion

Ergonomics   Falloff   Filters   Flare & Ghosts

Lateral Color Fringes   Macro   Mechanics

Sharpness   Spherochromatism

Stabilization   Sunstars

 

Overall

Performance          top

This Sony 24-70 2.8 is the real thing; one of, if not the sharpest zoom you can get for your Sony.

 

Autofocus

Performance          top

Autofocus is fast, and completely silent unless you hold it to your ear.

There is a single focus lock button that's a Godsend; hold it to lock focus.

 

Manual Focus

performance          top

Manual focus is electronic; the focus ring is only connected to the camera's computers.

Slide the switch to MF and you're in Manual Focus.

On most Sony cameras, set "DMF" as the focus mode (usually via your Fn button) and you'll have instant manual override just by turning the ring in what otherwise works like the AFS mode.

 

Focus Breathing

Performance          top

Focus breathing is the image changing size as focused in and out. It's important to cinematographers because it looks funny if the image changes size as focus gets pulled back and forth between actors. If the lens does this, the image "breathes" by growing and contracting slightly as the dialog goes back and forth.

I don't see any breathing, making this ideal for movies — if you can get around the odd electronic focus ring. I doubt you'll get good results with a pro follow-focus rig since the ring isn't actually connected to the focus mechanism and therefore won't reproduce the same focus as you return the ring to the same spot.

 

Bokeh

Performance          top

Bokeh, the feel or quality of out-of-focus areas as opposed to how far out of focus they are, is excellent. Backgrounds just melt away.

Here are samples at headshot distance:

Sony 24-70 2.8 Bokeh

Davis 6250 weather station, 02 February 2017. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolutions images properly).

 

Sony 24-70 2.8 Bokeh

Davis 6250 weather station, 02 February 2017. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolutions images properly).

 

Distortion

Performance          top

The Sony 24-70/2.8 GM has a lot of distortion - but Sony cameras correct it by default, so it's not worth worrying about. Every zoom has some distortion.

If you deactivate the camera's automatic correction, it's easy to correct with Photoshop's lens distortion filter — but the camera does a better job at the wide end.

These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.

On Full-Frame

Correction factor with uncorrected images

Correction factor as shot on A7II with its Correction ON

24mm
+3.00**
+0.50
35mm
-2.00*
-0.70
50mm
-3.70
-0.30
70mm
-3.20
-0.20

© 2017 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

* Some waviness remains after this correction.

** Much waviness remains after this correction.

 

Ergonomics

Performance          top

This is a big, fat, heavy lens, and works as we expect.

Zooming is somewhat stiff, ideally asking for two fingers to zoom.

There is a lock at 24mm, but I don't know why you'd need it. There is no creep.

Zooming is perfectly spaced; it's easy to set precise framing anyplace in the range.

Focus is an electronic encoder ring. It turns freely, and what it does depends on how you have your camera set.

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. bigger.
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. bigger.

 

Falloff

Performance          top

Falloff is invisible, even as I've greatly exaggerated here by shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background — even  for these uncorrected images

Leave the camera's default "Shading Correction" ON and it's completely invisible.

 

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM falloff without correction.

f/2.8
f/4
f/5.6
24mm
Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff
35mm
Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff
50mm
Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff
70mm
Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff Nikon MMmm f/FF falloff

© 2017 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

Filters, use with

performance          top

There's no need for thin filters.

Go ahead and use your standard rotating polarizer and grad filters.

I can use two standard 82mm filters and get only a little vignetting at 24mm, and none at longer settings on full frame.

Avoid polarizers at the 24mm setting; the sky's natural polarization may appear as a dark band across the sky.

 

Flare & Ghosts

Performance          top

There's more ghosting than in the Canon 24-70/2.8 L II or in the Nikon 24-70/2.8E VR, but you're only going to see it if you do something stupid as I've done here and put the direct disc of the sun in one corner and have a dark tree in the rest of the image against which to show any ghosts.

You'll never see it in normal use; don't worry about it. Many people want ghosts, and even use software to add them back in to modern lenses like this!

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 flare & Ghosts

Palm Dawn, 01 February 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 24mm at f/5 at 1/100 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Lateral Color Fringes

Performance          top

There are no color fringes as shot on Sony cameras, most of which by default correct for any that may be there.

 

Macro

Performance          top

Macro performance is very good; it gets very close and stays very sharp:

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Sample Image

Kienzle Flieger Automat 800/2843, 31 January 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 70mm at f/9 at 1/200 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Sample Image

1,200 x 900 pixel crop from above. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 70mm at f/9 at 1/200 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file.

If this crop is about 12" (30cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 40 x 60" (1 x 1.5 meters). You're seeing the actual texture of the watch face and case.

If this crop is about 6" (15cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 20 x 30" (50 x 75 cm).

It's super-sharp stopped down as shown above. Chromatic aberration, probably spherochromatism, appears wide-open:

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Sample Image

Kienzle Flieger Automat 800/2843, 31 January 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 70mm at f/2.8 at 1/2,000 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Sample Image

1,200 x 900 pixel crop from above. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 70mm at f/2.8 at 1/2,000 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file.

Again, if this crop is about 12" (30cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 40 x 60" (1 x 1.5 meters), and if this crop is about 6" (15cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 20 x 30" (50 x 75 cm).

 

Mechanical Quality

Performance          top

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. bigger.

This Sony 24-70 is made pretty well, with both metal and plastic on the outside.

Front Bumper

None.

 

Filter Threads

Metal.

 

Hood Bayonet Mount

Metal.

 

Front Barrel

Metal.

 

Focus Ring

Rubber-covered metal.

 

Mid Barrel

Section with focus lock buttons: plastic.

 

Zoom Ring

Rubber-covered metal.

 

Rear Barrel

Metal.

 

Identity

Little raised silver-lettered plate glued to top of barrel.

Dark gray paint on bottom rear of barrel.

 

Internals

Seems like mostly metal.

 

Moisture Seal at Mount

Not really; there is a gasket, but it doesn't mate with the mount of my A7 Mk II, so it provides no sealing.

 

Mount

Dull chromed metal.

 

Markings

Many are engraved and filled with paint in the metal (the filter size and close-focus markings on the front barrel and the focal-length settings on zoom ring), while others are simply painted on the mid- and rear barrels.

 

Serial Number

A sticker glued to the bottom of the barrel - not an acceptable way to serialize any product that sells for more than $10.

 

Date Code

None found.

 

Noises When Shaken

Almost silent.

 

Made in

Thailand, which is shamefully hidden in black letters molded into the black plastic flare guard at the back of the lens. It's only visible on close inspection with the lens off a camera and no rear cap on the lens.

Shameful is Sony putting a deceptively legible silver-on-black sticker on the outside of the lens near the certifications and model numbers that says Sony Corp., Japan.

 

Sharpness

Performance          top

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Sample Image

Fabric, 31 January 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 60mm at f/9 at 1/160 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file.

This 24-70 is ultra sharp at every setting everywhere in the image. You pay a premium for this, and this lens is sharper than any other lens for I've tested for Sony at 24mm. Yes, it's better than the ZEISS lenses.

The only limitations will be your skill as a photographer.

Here are Sony's MTF charts at 10 cyc/mm and 30 cyc/mm:

Sony 24-70/2.8 MTF
Sony 24-70/2.8 MTF
MTF at 24mm at f/2.8.
MTF at 24mm at f/8.

 

Sony 24-70/2.8 MTF
Sony 24-70/2.8 MTF
MTF at 70mm at f/2.8.
MTF at 70mm at f/8.

 

Spherochromatism

Performance          top

Spherochromatism, also called "color bokeh" by laymen, can cause colored fringes on out-of-focus highlights, usually seen as green fringes on backgrounds and magenta fringes on foregrounds with fast, long lenses shot wide open.

It is an advanced form of chromatic aberration in a different dimension than lateral color. Spherochromatism is most commonly seen in fast lenses of moderate focal length when shooting contrasty items at full aperture. It goes away as stopped down.

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Spherochromatism

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Spherochromatism. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 70mm at f/2.8 at 1/80 at Auto ISO 2,000. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Spherochromatism

1,200 x 900 pixel crop from above. See how the white letters take on color? Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 70mm at f/2.8 at 1/80 at Auto ISO 2,000. bigger or camera-original © file.

This Sony has a relatively strong dose of cyan/reddish-orange spherochromatism. This is great for portraits since it helps smooth blue and green backgrounds of sky and foliage, but bad for cinematography since it can lead to weird green fringes on out-of-focus bright areas and points of light.

 

Image Stabilization

Performance          top

It has no image stabilization, however most Sony cameras have built-in sensor-shift stabilization.

For instance, on a Sony A7 Mk II it works very well down to 1/8 hand-held at 70mm due to the camera's own internal stabilization.

 

Sunstars

Performance          top

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Sunstars

Palm Dawn, 31 January 2017. Sony A7II, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 33mm at f/22 at 1/13 handheld at ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file.

Due to its rounded diaphragm blades, this 24-70 makes almost no sunstars on brilliant points of light.

 

Compared

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Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

 

Versus the ZEISS FE 24-70/4

This f/2.8 and the ZEISS FE 24-70/4 are very different lenses. They don't really compete; the ZEISS is for day-to-day carrying around, and this f/2.8 is for serious shooting for people who don't mind carrying a lens that makes your mirrorless Sony just as big and heavy as a pro DSLR.

The Zeiss is smaller, lighter and only costs half as much.

The ZEISS is a mostly plastic lens inside a thin metal vanity shell.

This Sony f/2.8 is a much tougher lens.

This Sony is significantly sharper in the corners wide-open at 24mm than the ZEISS.

The Zeiss has an internal stabilizer, the f/2.8 does not.

This f/2.8 has a focus lock button, the f/4 ZEISS does not.

 

Versus Nikon and Canon

The Canon 24-70/2.8 L II and Nikon 24-70/2.8E VR are the professional standards.

This is sort of a dumb comparison, since the best lens to use is the one that fits your camera. Don't waste time with adapters since all they do is mess things up. For Sony, use this Sony lens.

This Sony is just as sharp and seems as well built as the Nikon and Canon lenses.

This Sony lacks a focus scale, present in both the Nikon and Canon lenses.

This Sony only has electronic manual focus-by-wire, while the Nikon and Canon both have real direct-connected manual focus rings with instant manual override — no menus or digital foolishness needed as with this Sony.

This Sony has one focus lock button, absent on the others.

Only the Nikon has internal image stabilization, while Sony cameras usually provide it with sensor shifting. Canon does without.

The Canon makes great 18-pointed sunstars, while the Sony and Nikon don't make much of anything.

Goodness gracious, this beast of a Sony lens is even bigger than the Canon lens:

 

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. bigger.

 

Versus the World

All 24-70mm Lenses Compared.

 

Usage

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Format   

Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. bigger.

Leave the slide switch at AF (autofocus). Use MF, Manual Focus, only if you want to disable autofocus.

On most Sony cameras, set "DMF" as the focus mode (usually via your Fn button) and you'll have instant manual override just by turning the ring in what otherwise works like the AFS mode.

 

Recommendations

Top   Sample Images   Intro   Format   

Compatibility   Specifications   

Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations

 

Overall

For serious pro use, this is the best midrange zoom available for full-frame Sony cameras.

Personally I carry this with my Sony A7R II in a Think Tank Retrospective 7 bag, which is the perfect size for this with the 16-35/4 and 70-200/4 OSS lenses and other accessories.

 

Protective Filter

The very best protective filter is the 82mm Hoya multicoated HD3 UV which uses hardened glass and repels dirt and fingerprints, and is also multicoated. This is a $2,200 lens, and filters last forever. so there's no reason to skimp on filters. This Hoya HD3 stays cleaner than the others since it repels oil and dirt.

For less money, the B+W 82mm 010 is an excellent filter, as is the multicoated B+W version and the basic multicoated Hoya filter, but the Hoya HD3 is the toughest and the best.

 

Where I got mine

I got mine at B&H. I'd also get it at Adorama, at Amazon, or at Crutchfield.

 

Thank you!

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Sony does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. I use the stores I do because they ship from secure remote warehouses where no one gets to touch your new camera before you do. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection.

Thanks for helping me help you!

Ken, Mrs. Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

 

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31 January ~ 07 February 2017