14 December 2017
Sony’s G Master range is designed to offer the highest quality possible, and their ‘standard’ 24-70mm zoom lens was introduced to the line-up at the beginning of 2016. Before its release, Sony’s fastest 24-70mm zoom lens had a maximum constant aperture of f/4.
The FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master is perfectly suited as a ‘walkaround’ lens, giving you the flexibility of different focal lengths, whilst maintaining a wide aperture. Because of its flexibility, it’s a good option for a range of different subjects, such as landscapes, portraits, still life and documentary, to name but a few.
It features three aspherical elements, which includes a newly-developed and precise XA (extreme aspherical) element designed to reduce chromatic aberration, maintain fine sharpness and give you brilliant bokeh without looking unnatural.
A 9-bladed aperture has a near circular shape and features Sony’s Nano AR coating for minimal reflections and superior contrast and clarity. When it comes to focusing, the lens features a direct drive SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor), meaning that it is able to lock onto a subject quickly, accurately and easily. It’s also nice and quiet, which is good news for videographers. Although primarily designed for Sony’s full-frame models, such as the Sony A9 or Sony A7R II, you can also use it on its APS-C E-mount models, such as the A6500. If you do, the effective focal length will be 36-105mm.
Due to its complex construction of 18 elements in 13 groups, the lens is a little on the large side. In fact, it’s larger than some comparable DSLR lenses, but it balances reasonably well on Sony’s slightly larger camera models, particularly the A9. There’s the zoom ring in the middle of the lens, which has a ridged surface. Similarly, towards the front of the lens is the focusing ring, which also features a ridged surface – the focusing ring has a decent amount of resistance, making fine-tuning of focus quite easy, but there are no hard stops on either end.
As we see on a lot of Sony G Master lenses, there is a customisable focus hold button on the side of the lens. You can set this button to access all manner of different options from the main menu of the camera you’re using it with – it isn’t restricted to controlling only the lens; for example, you could set this button to control ISO if you so wish.
A handy zoom-lock switch can be found just behind the zoom ring – use this to prevent the zoom from accidentally expanding in your bag whilst transporting it. The lens features dust and moisture resistance, making it an ideal choice for all manner of weather conditions.
Simply put, the images that the 24-70mm f2.8 G Master lens is capable of producing are stunning, with beautiful colours and an extremely attractive bokeh. It’s not quite as sharp at the 70mm end of the lens, but still puts in an extremely impressive performance. It’s possible to see some light vignetting when shooting wide-open, but depending on the subject, it’s not always particularly noticeable. Stopping down to f/4 removes this problem, whilst in terms of sharpness, you’ll get the best results when shooting between f/5.6 and f/8. The lens does well to prevent chromatic aberration – I didn’t come across any noticeable or problematic issues, as you can see from the sample shots.