Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Review – Lab, Real world, Photo, and Video! 8/31/2017 http://sonyalphalab.com/product-review/sony-fe-24-70mm-f2-8-gm-lens-review-lab-real-world-photo-and-video/ In this Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Review I will cover everything you need to know including lab testing, real world photography, and 4k sample video!
I took over 900 frames with this lens courtesy of the awesome Sony A9, which I just reviewed here >>, So I have a huge variety of images to share with you guys. I really want you to see what this lens is capable of up close and personal! In the video review portion of this review, I compare the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens vs FE 24-70mm F/4 OSS ZA Lens pretty good, so if your wondering my thoughts on that, check out the video style review and comparison illustration below…
To start things off I just want to go over some of the key features of the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens for reference.. The FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens is one of those lenses that you will most often find in a pro photographers bag. The f/2.8 aperture speed and GM optical quality provide what pros and enthusiasts demand. The speed allows for extra low light photography such as weddings, concert photography and more. The versatility of the 24-70mm focal range allows for group portraits, landscapes, and so much more without having to change lenses.
The price point is pretty darn high at $2198, but that is what you can expect to pay for a lens of this caliber with the Sony name on it! It just is what it is guys…
In this video style review I try to cover everything, but for you pixel peepers out there, the high res sample photos are down below.. Also, be sure to select the best quality possible when viewing the video.
Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens for $2,198 @ BHPhotoSony FE 24-70mm F/4 OSS ZA Lens for $1,198 @ BHPhoto
Lab Testing Sample Photos
Getting down to serious business first, lets hit up some Lab Testing Sample photos courtesy of the Sony A9 mirrorless camera.
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Aperture Run @ 70mm & Minimum Focus Distance In the Lab
I shot these images in raw quality and did not do anything in Lightroom other than add a medium tone curve adjustment for a little contrast.
The minimum focus distance aperture run in the lab is to show off how buttery the bokeh rendering is, and to show off the depth of field separation that is possible in this controlled environment. It’s great for comparing to other lenses for example…
Be sure to click on the images for the ~1200px higher res versions..
Sharpness & Distortion Testing in Lab @ Key Focal Lengths
All these sharpness testing photos were taken in raw quality and No Lens Profile correction was applied in Lightroom, so you can also see the distortion at each focal range..
24mm – Max Wide Angle View
Real World Sample Photos
I took a ton of sample photos with the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens courtesy of the New Sony A9 which I reviewed Here >> I’m going to pick out some of my favorite photos from the time I had with the lens that show off what it is capable of in a variety of real world situations…
I’ start off with this high contrast brick building scene with detailed 100% Crops for your pixel peeping pleasure. First the un touched raw file, then the corrected file for detailed comparison purposes…
Raw file straight off the camera:
Lens Profile Corrected Raw file:
I also pulled back the blown highlights and added a medium contrast tone curve.
Here is one of Layla on the deck and just look at how buttery the railing int he background looks! The separation you get @ 70mm, f/2.8 on a full frame camera is nothing short of awesome! Also note the excellent sharpness in the 100% Crop of the eyes…
Here is one of Jase that I thought came out pretty cool with the depth perspective and all. Also note in the killer sharpness and depth of field fall off this lens is capable of.
Bones Jones in the house…
Sunshine and some lens flare can be seen in this next frame.
A little lens flare can also bee seen in the top left corner of this image.
Here are a few depth of field fall-off style frames
A few more random photos I wanted to share…
Distortion and High Contrast Test using a window and blinds. This raw file is straight off the camera so you can clearly see the distortion at 70mm, and also how incredible the corner looks as far as chromatic aberrations and fringing is concerned…
Corrected version and minimum loss of the actual image after correction is applied.
f/2.8 vs f/4 – same scene
Vignette Test shooting at a random wall out of focus. First the original and then a corrected version via Lightroom lens profile. This test shot was taken at f/2.8, 70mm, and by f/4 most of the Vignette goes away….
4k Sample Video using the Sony A9 and FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens
In this section I will go over my thoughts by category…
Build Quality and Design I really like the design of the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens and the build quality is very good all around. I like the focus hold button and manual AF switch, but wish there was an aperture de-click switch as well. That feature is really nice for video! The lens itself feels mostly like plastic, so the weight is about 100 grams less than the A-Mount 24-70mm f/2.8 ZA Lens which has a lot more metal in the design, and has one less lens element. Honestly I think the plastic can be better for surviving a drop in some cases, because less weight equals less kinetic energy when falling, and the plastic also allows for the dissipation of energy better when hitting something. I think this, because I dropped my Sony E-Mount 55-210mm OSS Lens a few times and it just bounced a little and survived with no damage! That lens does have a metal skin, but all the internals are plastic pretty much. I’m not sure if that lens would have survived if it was heavier and all metal, but who knows… Clearly just my thoughts and I could be totally wrong. The way something falls and how it hits are also huge factors. I do prefer the metal build quality over the plastic for sure, lets not be mistaken! However, the plastic does offer some advantages in my opinion is all I’m trying to say, and the weight savings is the big one. The filter thread is metal on the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens encase you are wondering! The lens hood is awesome, especially with the locking switch as you saw closely in the video portion of this review. It locks on very securely and really should offer some quality protection if the lens was ever dropped or bumped into for example. The zoom and focus ring offer a very nice rubbery texture for gripping and no slippage was had by me. The zoom was fairly easy, but not so easy that the lens creeps on it’s own when facing up or down. The focus ring was very smooth and buttery feeling. Not quite as silky smooth as the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 lens I reviewed here, but certainly very smooth! This lens does not have the Aperture De-Click feature unfortunately, and is worth noting if you are a video shooter.
The colors are very natural looking, but the lens does not offer quite as much contrast as the T* Zeiss lens coatings found on the more affordable Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens in my opinion. Straight off the camera raw photos look slightly flatter on the GM lens, although that can easily be bumped up in post, so it’s really not an issue more than an observation. I also used the Sony A9 which does have slightly different colors than my A7r which was used to test the FE 24-70mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens which is worth noting. Otherwise the colors are rich and the contrast is very good. Sharpness is exception on the this lens corner to corner even at f/2.8! Notable better than the more affordable FE 24-70mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens. Most noticeable in the corners when comparing head to head. The lens flare situation is very well controlled when the sun is around and also maintains deep contrast. Fringing and chromatic aberrations in the high contrast areas are barely noticeable and easily correctable in post. Distortion is noticeable at all focal lengths, but it’s not horrible. Again, the more affordable FE 24-70mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens is far worse in this regard. The distortion is easily corrected in post and you don’t lose much resolution from the correction if you are concerned about that.
The auto focus on this lens is extremely fast, accurate, and pretty much silent. So for action is an excellent performer and also in video mode the focus transitions are super smooth and silent on the recordings. The focus sensitivities can be adjusted on the cameras depending on the model as well for reference.
So the price is high and the output quality is also high. Do you get what you pay for? Well, I would say for the most part yes. I would rather have more metal in the lens design for that extra solid feeling you get. The plastic just has that that slight give to it that metal does not have. It really does not affect anything in the real world, but the feel of the lens is a factor I would say.
Is the f/2.8 speed really worth the extra weight? I’m not sure if it would be considering the #1 advantage of going mirrorless is the weight savings. With that goal in mind, all the E-Mount lenses are made to be as lightweight as possible. The images produced by the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens are optically phenomenal at the end of the day in my opinion. I would not mind having this lens in my stable at all! If I were shooting weddings for example with the Sony A9 or Sony A7r II, I would certainly have this lens mounted most of the time for my style of shooting. When I was shooting weddings years ago, I would use my Canon 24-105mm f/4 L Lens most of the time, because I enjoyed that extra reach it offered, but I always missed the f/2.8 speed. The other lens I would use was the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS Lens. That left me yearning for the 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens, but I never bite the bullet and stopped shooting weddings anyway, so I never ending up getting that lens. So this lens is really great for pro’s doing wedding work, concerts, and coverage like that in particular. Otherwise the much more affordable and lightweight FE 24-70mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens will do the job.
So that is about it for my Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Review. I really hope you got what you were looking for in this review and please let me know what you think down below in the comments area. Good or bad feedback is welcomed and encouraged, because I want my reviews to be the best they can be. If I missed something that you needed for example, please let me know! This way I can fix the review if possible, or note for next time…
If you are interested in purchasing the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens, please consider using my links below, so I get the referral credit at zero cost to you!
I’m also on Patreon, which is a creator support platform that allows you to help the cause and support the lab! Thank you in advance for any consideration in this regard as the help is really appreciated and needed! Have a great day, Jay