Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II is a reduced zoom for the pros

Sony got into mirrorless cameras before others, while Canon and Nikon are working on building their first generation of mirrorless lenses, Sony has already moved on to second generation designs and updates. Its latest lens, the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II is its newest, and it hits the market second only to the complementary FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM II OSS, a lens we reviewed last month. latest.

Both are part of the company’s highest performing lens class, G Master. The original GM FE 24-70mm F2.8 was one of the very first GM lenses released in 2016. We gave it a positive review, but in the meantime since its release, Sony has introduced focus motors. better performance and improved its optical design. prowess.

The result is a noticeably smaller zoom – at 4.7 by 3.5 inches, the Mark II cuts two-thirds of an inch from barrel height, and at 1.5 pounds it’s not too much to carry around. Among the full-frame competition, Sony has gone from the larger 24-70mm F2.8 to the smaller – the GM II is thinner than the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 and Nikon Z 24-70mm F2. 8.

We haven’t had a chance to familiarize ourselves with the FE 24-70mm GM II yet, so I’m not in a position to comment on how much of a weight reduction – that will have to wait for our review. But it’s impossible to ignore the on-paper benefits of a smaller, lighter lens, especially for photographers working on location. For field use, the zoom is sealed for all-weather operation and includes both anti-stain fluoride and Nano AR II Coating to reduce ghosting caused by internal reflections.

Despite the slimmer frame, Sony promises that the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II performs better optically than its predecessor. It uses a more complex formula, one with 20 elements arranged in 15 groups, with a mixture of aspherical, extreme aspherical (XA), extra-low dispersion (ED) and Super ED elements among them. Sony claims the formula provides better edge-to-edge sharpness, reduces vignetting, and avoids ugly onion ring bokeh. Autofocus is twice as fast as with the original lens – focusing is driven by two linear motors, a noticeable improvement over the original.

There are also some handling improvements. The GM II includes a pair of focus hold buttons, not just one, so you can more easily access control when holding your camera vertically for portraits. An iris lock is now included with the aperture ring to prevent unintended f-stop changes, and the zoom action features both smooth and tight tension settings. Macro focusing is also better – the new 24-70mm locks in at 11.8 inches for 1:3.1 magnification.

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Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II sample image (colored glass bottles)

Sample image taken with FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II, courtesy of Sony

Zoom tension is a plus for video work – filmmakers are better able to do slow, deliberate zooms with a bit more drag. The optics are also parfocal, which means that the point of focus does not change during zooms. It’s a plus for creative shots, and goes hand in hand with linear manual focus response and minimal focal breathing.

Pre-orders for the Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II open tomorrow, April 28 at 10 a.m. EDT, with an expected delivery date of June 24. Pricing for the GM II is $2,299 in the United States and $2,999 in Canada. The original edition of the lens is not going away – Sony will continue to offer it at a discounted price, but for now undetermined.

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