Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II Lens Review
Lighter and sharper than its predecessor, does this versatile mid-range Sony G-Master lens deserve its high price tag? Read the review to find out.
For someone looking for the best quality 24-70 on the market for full-frame Sony Cameras, this is it.
The latest version of the mid-range zoom, the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II is an impressive lens.
Featuring improved quality over the last version in a lighter, more compact build, this lens is awesome. The only downside is the cost.
Versatile, lightweight and tack sharp. Impressive do-it-all zoom lens for your Sony camera.
As a professional photographer who shoots outdoor sports, this lens is a perfect match.
I love the flexibility of such a broad focal range when shooting action sports, and the lightweight design makes it easy to throw in my camera bag.
This lens is clearly aimed at the professional who wants the best in class quality and size/weight.
Read on to get all the details on my Sony 24 70mm f 2.8 GM II lens review to see if it’s one of the best Sony lenses of the year.
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II Specs
- Fast Aperture Ring
- High Quality
- Stabilized: No
- Weight: 695 g (1.5 lb)
- Size (Diameter x Length): 3.5 x 4.7″ / 88 x 120 mm
- Filter Diameter: 82mm
- Minimum Focus Distance: 0.21m (8.3 in)
Build & Ergonomics
As with any second-generation lens, there are significant improvements over the previous version of this lens. Most notably, the build quality is significantly better.
The new Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II is a wonderfully lightweight and compact lens. At just under 700 grams, this lens is nearly 200 grams lighter than its predecessor.
I really like how well it balances with the latest A7 series cameras like the Sony A7IV.
This lens is fully equipped, as you would expect from a newly released G-Master lens.
G-Master or GM signifies the highest quality of lenses in the Sony lineup. On the body of the lens, features include:
- de-clickable manual aperture ring
- smooth vs tight switch for the zoom ring tension,
- auto/manual focus switch
- two focus hold buttons (customizable function)
The one feature that really stood out to me as new/improved was the adjustable zoom ring tension. On other lenses, you might see a zoom lock switch that keeps the barrel of the lens from extending while you are walking around
While this lock is useful, it sometimes felt awkward to have to turn off the lock when you want to zoom the lens. The smooth/tight torque switch is a much better design because it doesn’t slow you down.
Although the manual aperture is nice, I rarely find myself reaching for this feature. It is typically faster to adjust on my camera body, but if you like to use tactile controls, this ring is fun to use.
While all these features are nice to have, the main quality I appreciated about this lens of the feel. As I mentioned above, it is well-balanced and I really like the firm feel of the zoom and focus rings.
The rubber grips feel great in my hand and allow me to hold this lens well, even with sweaty hands or gloves on.
I’ve used a lot of mid-range zoom lenses for Sony E mount, and this mark ii lens definitely stands out as the best for build and ergonomics.
Fast focusing with a Sony GM lens is to be expected. The Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II excels at locking onto subjects and tracking throughout the zoom range.
Whether you have the zoom ring at 24mm or 70mm, this lens will nail the focus every time. It really gets tough to compare modern autofocus lenses because they are all so good.
This Mark ii version now has four xd linear motors for focusing. This makes getting sharp focus very quick and responsive.
Years ago, when I first started as a professional photographer, autofocus was a real concern. I remember regularly missing shots because the focus wasn’t locked, but with modern mirrorless cameras, autofocus has almost become a non-issue.
With a new lens like this one, you can expect top autofocus performance at all focal lengths in all but the darkest environments. The only time you might notice issues is when the conditions are extremely dark.
The autofocus system is designed to work while zooming the lens and shooting up to 30 fps! This 24 70mm f/2.8 GM will keep up with any Sony camera on the market right now.
Some people may ask about focus breathing, and you will be happy to know that this issue is well controlled. When paired with the automatic corrections in the modern Sony camera, you won’t have any issues.
In addition to improving the build quality with the gm ii version, this lens also has a reduced minimum focusing distance. You can now lock focus at 8.3″ (21cm).
Lastly, manual focusing with this lens is quite smooth and predictable. I don’t use manual focus very often except when shooting video, but this lens doesn’t very well.
Image quality is another area where this lens excels. Creating a 24-70 mid-range zoom with excellent image quality is no easy task, but Sony GM lenses are known for exceptional quality.
With image quality similar to what I expect from prime lenses, this Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II standard zoom lens is superb. With 20 lens elements in 15 groups, this lens is not a simple design.
With five aspherical elements and two extreme aspherical elements, you can expect minimal spherical aberration, distortion, and onion ring bokeh.
Additionally, with super extra-low dispersion elements, this lens also does a good job suppressing chromatic aberration that sometimes plagues standard zoom lenses.
Top-of-the-line coatings and lens elements give this lens excellent clarity and color. I found the barrel distortion to also be minimal. For the price of this lens, you expect flare and other negative lens issues to be eliminated.
Although I typically don’t expect great bokeh out of a 24-70, this lens has very nice bokeh at the telephoto end. The eleven-bladed aperture ensures nice round bokeh when shooting at the maximum aperture setting of f/2.8.
All the details aside, my most important feature when it comes to image quality is sharpness. If a lens is extremely sharp throughout the focal range, the images will stand out.
I can confidently say that the sharpness of the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II is very good, even at the maximum aperture of f/2.8.
There is a slight improvement when stopping down to f/5.6 in the corner sharpness, but it’s very nice to know that you don’t have to worry about crisp images, even when shooting in low light.
At the minimum aperture of f/22, you will get beautiful sun stars. With the nano ar coating ii, the lens element won’t be creating any distracting ghosting or flare.
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II Sample Images
Here are some sample images taken with the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II, using a Sony A7IV and A7SIII.
By now, you may have realized that I think this lens is a clear winner in its category, but there are actually many alternatives to consider.
The Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II is an exceptional lens with one major flaw – this nearly $2300 price tag!
This is where you will want to evaluate alternatives. First up, the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM I lens (its predecessor) is a good choice. This lens is much bulkier and heavier but offers very good quality.
Another option to consider is going off-brand with a competitor like the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 DG DN Art lens. At around $1100, this lens is cheaper than the first-generation Sony and offers very good quality.
Lastly, you might look at the Sigma 28-70 f/2.8 DG DN or the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. Both of these lenses are a step down in price and quality. You’ll notice some focal length adjustments from the standard 24-70.
Note that 24mm is quite a bit different than 28mm while 70mm vs 75mm is minimal. The bottom line is you’ll be sacrificing on the wide end of the range and not gaining much on the telephoto.
If you’re even considering the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II, you likely have a larger budget and should probably opt for the best in quality despite the price tag.
If budget is a concern, go with the excellent Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 DG DN which is great value for money and quite similar
Finally, there’s also the Sony 24-70mm f/4, but you’re giving up a few stops there, so you may struggle in low light.
Value for Money
The Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II is an exceptional lens, except for the value proposition. At around $2300, this lens doesn’t come cheap. You get what you pay for when it comes to most things, and this lens is no exception.
As you consider the alternatives mentioned above, you’ll need to recognize the value this lens will bring to your kit. If this lens can replace several prime lenses and give you the speed to work quickly, maybe it is going to be a great addition to your camera bag.
If you don’t regularly use mid-range focal lengths, this lens is likely not for you.
Because I love the flexibility of this lens to capture a diverse image set without changing lenses, it is a great addition to my gear collection.
When I’m working in a harsh environment like a cold snowy mountain top, I want to be able to shoot wide and telephoto images without exposing my sensor to the snow/wind/dirt. This lens allows me to do that!
Why did the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II come out?
This lens was announced in April 2022, and was available for purchase starting in June 2022.
How much does the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II weigh?
This lens weighs 695 grams (24.6 oz).
Is the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II worth it?
In short, yes. This lens is the top of the line 24-70 and if you want the best, this is it. However, this lens is not cheap.
Is Sony releasing a new 24-70?
It will likely be a few years before Sony releases another 24-70 f/2.8 but I could see a new f/4 version being released in the upcoming years. The 24-105 is also getting older so it is primed for an update.
Is the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II weather sealed?
Yes. There is a rubber gasket at the lens mount and it performs well in adverse weather but don’t take it swimming ;)
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II Review | Conclusion
The Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM II is an awesome lens. As you may have noticed, this fully featured lens is very fun to work with, and I will be keeping it in my kit for important jobs.
It delivers professional-level quality and performs when I need it most.
A good standard zoom is important in fast environments when I don’t want to take the time to swap lenses and I’m glad to know that his lens offers top-of-the-line image quality.
At around $2300, this lens doesn’t come cheap, but if you want the best, it is well worth it.
Because this is such a high-quality lens, it will hold its value, so if you ever decide to downgrade, you won’t be losing a ton of money.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my review. If you have any questions or feedback, leave a comment below!
Versatile, lightweight and tack sharp. Impressive do-it-all zoom lens for your Sony camera.
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