For many photographers, a mid-range zoom 24-70mm lens is their workhorse. With the release of the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM, a new standard in performance was set.
As an adventure and wedding photographer, I evaluated this lens with the eye of a do-anything lens. Something you expect to keep on your camera throughout an entire shoot.
Previous releases of similar lenses by Sony were adequate but nothing compared to the quality and precision with the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM.
Today we’ll be diving into the details of this lens and why I think it’s one of the best Sony lenses. We’ll also discuss some of its challenges of how it compares to other offerings.
Table of Contents
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Specs
- Best in class performance
- Built like a tank
- Wide focal range
- Designed to last
- Quite large/heavy
- Extends with zoom
- Focal Length: 24-70mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
- Minimum Aperture: f/22
- Number of blades: 9
- Optics: 18 Elements in 13 Groups
- Minimum focus: 0.38 m (1.25 ft)
- Weight: 1.95 lb / 886 g
- Dimensions: Diameter 88 mm (3.5″) and Length 136 mm (5.4″) – 3.45 x 5.35″ / 87.6 x 136 mm
- Filter thread: 82mm
Build & Ergonomics
When unboxing the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8, I noticed the substantial increase in build quality over my other Sony lenses. This lens feels like it was built to last!
The sturdy feel is accompanied by a substantial increase in weight over other equivalent lenses, but it really feels like Sony is doing this for a reason. Some of the complaints about previous 24-70mm lenses were about poor build quality and sharpness. This lens definitely sets the bar in terms of durability.
Being built like a tank, this lens feels solid in your hands. It feels smooth and precise like you would expect from a top of the line lens.
Although I usually prefer an internal zoom, I appreciate how this lens is able to be more compact when zoomed out to 24mm. It even comes with a locking switch so that the zoom doesn’t extend while you’re carrying it on a camera strap.
The ergonomics of this lens felt great – it’s on the heavier side but still feels balanced with the a7 series Sony cameras.
As expected the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 is fully featured with a af/mf switch, a focus hold button, and a zoom lock.
Overall, this is a top notch lens and you can easily feel how it exceeds the build quality and ergonomics of all the other offerings in its category.
Having experienced the somewhat slow focus performance of the Sony 24-70mm f/4, this lens was a welcome improvement.
The focus always felt snappy and silent with no lag, even in darker environments. It tracked moving subjects with ease and almost always nailed a tack sharp image.
I was impressed with how this lens was able to stay on target even while moving and zooming at the same time. I often try to shoot at particular focal lengths (i.e. 35mm or 50mm), and this lens didn’t hesitate to lock on to a subject even while I was constantly moving to adjust my composition and changing focal length.
As you would expect with a G-Master lens from Sony, the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM was a pleasure to work with. Using slow lenses can be so painful when the moment passes before you get the shot, but this lens never had that issue!
Although zoom lenses aren’t known for their image quality, the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM delivered! It is sharp, well-controlled in terms of croma and distortion, and creates beautiful bokeh at the telephoto end of the zoom.
Typically manufacturers have to make sacrifices when it comes to designing zoom lenses but Sony seems to have managed to balance their design really well. It may be a big and heavy lens, but that is a sacrifice worth making to get the stunning image quality this lens delivers.
I was impressed with how sharp the images came out – something that can quickly become an issue on the high megapixel cameras like the a7R series. If a lens isn’t sharp, it will be obvious when you zoom in to 100% on a 61 megapixel file from the Sony a7R IV.
Sony seems to be future-proofing their G-Master lenses like the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM, by making them exceed the capabilities of current camera bodies. As cameras get faster autofocus and higher resolution, this lens will able to keep up!
Honestly, in terms of sharpness, this lens rivaled some of the prime lenses I have owned! It’s that good!
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Sample Images
Check out these sample images taken with the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8.
Value for Money
If you want the best quality from a mid-range zoom lens, this is an excellent choice!
At over $2,000, the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is a big investment, but as I mentioned previously, I think it will last a long time! As someone who mainly uses prime lenses, this lens seems expensive, but when you factor in the huge range of focal lengths and the amazing image quality, this zoom lens is a great buy.
If you’re looking to have a one-camera-one-lens setup for traveling or minimizing gear, the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is a great option. It delivers the quality you expect from a set of prime lenses in one easy to carry, do-anything package.
I also love the simplicity of having one lens because you can create a variety of images so quickly. With that in mind, this lens is great value because you still get the best in optical performance.
If you’re on the fence about getting a Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM, I’d go for it. Quality glass holds its value so you can always sell it if you change your mind.
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Review | Conclusion
The Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM was a dream to work with, especially when I didn’t want to change lenses. It enabled me to be flexible and move quickly.
Because I tend to opt for the lightest/smallest equipment, this lens may not be in my bag regularly, but I think it’s a great option for someone that just wants one lens.
If you’re only going to have one zoom lens, this one is definitely the top of the line option currently available from Sony. It delivers everything you could want in terms of performance and has very few downsides.
Admittedly, it is somewhat heavy and expensive, but Sony isn’t making any sacrifices when it comes to their G-Master lineup!