Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM Review


f/2.8 – f/22
87.6 x 136 mm
Filter Thread
82 mm
886 g
Max Magnification
Min Focusing Distance
38 cm
Number of aperture blades
9, Rounded
18 / 13
Optical Stabilization
Weather Resistance

The Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM is a great workhorse lens for the Sony mirrorless E-mount cameras.

Build Quality

The 24-70mm GM is a solid and professional lens. Weighing at 886g or 1.95lb, it is on the heavy side for the Sony mirrorless system, but that is a worthwhile tradeoff for zoom range and image quality.

Here is Charles carrying the combination of a7RII and the 24-70mm GM lens on his backpack strap with the Peak Design Capture Clip. The bubble level on top of the camera is the Foto&Tech hotshoe cover.

[Taken with Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8]

The lens balances well on the a7RII even without the grip, and it’s similar to the size and weight of the Sony FE 24-240mm lens that we had tried out for a while. We were concerned that the 24-70mm GM would be front-heavy, but it is very manageable for both of us. It can be handled by just one hand holding onto the grip, although generally it’s better to have the left hand resting on the lens for adjusting the zoom and for support.

The lens features a black metal and rubber construction that is rated to be dust and water resistant, with rubber gaskets around the lens mount. There is an AF/MF toggle as well as a zoom lock on the lens body. The focus hold button (right under the red “G” logo) on the lens is able to be customized to the eye autofocus functionality. The lens is retracted at 24mm, and it extends out the most at 70mm.

[Taken with Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8]


Lock-on tracking worked very well for faces and bodies. The lens finds focus very quickly, but particularly fast movements near minimum focus may prove challenging. This is more the limitation of the a7RII, which does not have the sports-level autofocus of Sony’s newer cameras, and not the lens itself.

The minimum focusing distance is 38cm or 1.25ft, measured in the distance of the object to the flange. So although it’s no macro lens, you can get up very close. The following photo of a small toy, which is about 3 inches long, was uncropped.

Image Quality

Our favorite way to test and evaluate a lens is to play with it. We took many photos at f2.8 to see what the lens is capable of at the widest aperture, but also stopped down the aperture to see how well it performs for landscapes. When combined with 42 megapixels on the a7RII, the camera and lens capture a ton of detail, dynamic range and color depth.

None of the photos in this review have been corrected for chromatic aberration (fringing), vignetting or distortion, but have all been processed in Lightroom with our standard color and lighting changes.

At 40mm to 70mm it is able to take great portraits with more blurred backgrounds, while at 24mm to 35mm it can take fine landscapes or environmental shots. The constant f2.8 aperture along with the flexibility of the zoom range make 24-70mm f2.8 lenses a popular choice for many event and wedding photographers.

The quality of the background blur is generally very smooth, although outlines can be seen in the bokeh circles. The circular highlights are round all the way to the edges of the frame. Here is Charles with his backpack that has the Peak Design Capture Clip visible.

The image quality of this lens is great throughout the zoom range. The GM lens should satisfy most people looking to replace a series of primes in the 24mm to 70mm focal lengths.

The lens controls flare very well in backlit situations. However, under extreme conditions, it will flare more strongly. The flares are generally small green light bursts. Sometimes there are more complex, rainbow-colored flare shapes and aperture halo ghosting when shooting straight into the sun.

There is very little chromatic aberration even in high contrast scenes.

There is some vignetting and distortion, which are correctable. You can see the slight vignetting and bending of the straight lines in the following uncorrected photo, which also has some of the worst-case flare.

The lens is great for landscape and nature photography. Sharpness remains even and consistent through the zoom range.

For those who are into video, the lens has no focus breathing. During manual focus, going back and forth from infinity to minimum, the field of view remains essentially unchanged. The lens is very close to parfocal, which was tested on a tripod by manually focusing on a stationary object at 70mm, then zooming out to 24mm, and the object was still very near critical focus.



  • Excellent build quality with gaskets and weather sealing
  • Silent, accurate and fast autofocus
  • No focus breathing and parfocal
  • Quite sharp even wide open at f2.8
  • Very sharp when stopped down a little
  • Smooth background blur with round bokeh balls out to the corners
  • Excellent chromatic aberration performance
  • Good colors and rendering
  • Close minimum focusing distance with .24x magnification


  • Very expensive at $2200
  • Somewhat heavy and large, although comparable to other 24-70mm f2.8 lenses
  • Some vignetting at wider apertures (correctable)
  • Can flare strongly in some situations

We have taken thousands of photos with the Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens. The flexibility of the zoom range combined with the fast aperture enable us to take many different types of photos, from wide landscapes to short telephoto portraits, and everything in between. Although not as exciting as prime or long telephoto lenses, this is a standard zoom lens that remains a great tool in our photography kit.

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38 responses to “Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM Review”

  1. Heri says:

    Thanks for the review. Beautiful images

    I still find the lens pricy, but I found the image of the child and bike to the right ( 20160401-3566.jpg ) quite interesting. It looks like the 24-70mm is able to separate him from the background, almost like he’s popping out. I have seen this 3D effect only in a few zeiss lenses like the Distagon 35mm or the Canon 135mm f2. But I haven’t seen this effect in normal zoom lenses yet.

    I’d be interested if you had more shots like this

  2. […] RoseAndCharles tested the lens and this is his Pros and Cons list: […]

  3. Huynh says:

    Can you compare it with Canon 24 70 f2.8L IS ii ?

  4. EvilTed says:

    The last shot missed focus on the eyes and hit the eyelashes instead.
    This was a complaint mentioned by Tony Northrup in his review…

    Also stating that a lens that is heavier than the 70-200 F4 balances well without the grip is ludicrous…

  5. Thomas says:

    I agree that it isn’t balanced at all. Holding it one-handed is fatiguing whereas my Canon EF 24-70 f2.8 ii on a 6D felt more balanced and less fatiguing in one hand. It requires two-hands for extended use.

    However, for me with a tilt screen, that is how I like to shoot, and is why I have a Sony over a Canon to begin with.

    I agree the eye-focus hit the eyelashes, but with f2.8 you will almost always have enough depth of field to get the the eye in focus too. It’s with a 1.8 or 1.4 where that miss can be critical.

    Also, it might not have been eye-focus missing as much as a slight kid movement right before shutter.

  6. Rose says:

    About the balance of the lens: I think it’s rather subjective. As a female I much prefer smaller and lighter lenses. The FE 24-70mm/2.8 is at the upper limit of what I feel comfortable with, but it is very similar to the FE 24-240mm that I was able to use one-handed. Also, I do have smaller hands, so maybe that is another factor.

    Regarding the eye AF: there is actually another photo that my husband took of me that has my eyes in much sharper focus, but I didn’t want to post it. 100% magnification without softening isn’t a good look on me. But I should update the photo with a less squirmy subject.

  7. Charles says:

    I found that it was very usable one handed. This was true when we tried the 70-200/4 as well. It is NOT true for an adapted 70-200/2.8 which was so front heavy I worried about the torque on the lens mount. To me this lens qualifies as balanced (if front heavy) and Rose indicated that is was very usable, though she almost always uses both hands for all of our lenses. I would not want to use it for extended periods one-handed, especially since I would be missing out on the ability to zoom, use the custom button, or switch to manual focus as desired.

    We do not have a Canon 24-70/2.8 to test, so we cannot comment on how it compares. We likewise do not have sufficient testing equipment to try to make claims about the differences since I expect them to be small. I expect we will see the similarity when DXO tests this lens.

    Regarding the focus, it is clear when viewing in Lightroom that both the eyeball, as well as the areas immediately in front (eye lashes) and some areas immediately behind ( corners of the eyes) are very much in focus. This may be less obvious from the JPG export. I find that unless the eyelashes are specifically out of focus, the eyelashes tend to draw the attention. This may be a perceptual issue.

    As for the 3D pop, it is definitely there on occasion, but may have more to do with the foreground-background elements and the relative depth of field than a specific lens. Post processing likely accentuates this effect as well.

  8. dao says:

    How do you assign the custom button to the lens? Does it show up after the firmware upgrade or is the assigned function synced with the camera body’s custom button?

  9. Hi Dao, it is the Focus Hold button, and we mention it briefly in our settings guide:

  10. […] is a detailed review of the new released Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Lens at the roseandcharles. They tested this new zoom lens on Sony A7R II and Sony A7 II and found so many […]

  11. Peter says:

    Hello! Thanks for your helpful. As a father of a two year old son, your reviews with real world sample pictures do really help. I am currently using the 35 F\1.4 Distagon with an A7Rii. I am planning to either get the 85 F\1.8 batis or the 24-70 F\2.8 GM but having a hard time to decide which one I should go with. As you are using both, if you would get only one more lens in addition to the 35 1.4 + A7Rii combination, which one would you get?

  12. Hi Peter, if you really love the 35mm F1.4 Distagon and plan to keep it, you should probably get the Batis 85mm. It is a fantastic lens and will complement your 35mm nicely. We had briefly considered this combination ourselves and had tried it out, but found that the 35mm focal length as a prime was limiting for our usage. The 85mm will give you a drastically different look to your photos and a shallower DOF than the 24-70mm GM can achieve, and I think that would be worthwhile especially as your son is getting older and running around.

  13. Peter says:

    Oh your last reply really did help. I also thought 35 sometimes is too narrow for landscape and a bit too wide for portrait. Would the 24-70 F/2.8 be able to substitute the 35 F/1.4 to some extent? If I am fine with moving too another lens, would 24-70 F/2.8+85 Batis a combination for taking pics of my son? And thanks for your helpful reply!

  14. We decided to do the 24-70mm/2.8 and 85mm/1.8 combo for now, and possibly expand to 135mm when there is a native E-mount option. If you desire the ultra low-light capability of F1.4, then the 35mm Distagon is a great lens. If you want to do landscapes and portraits (and environmental portraits) without switching out lenses, the 24-70mm/2.8 is a great option.

  15. Ben says:

    Hi Rose and Charles,

    Firstly, can I just say what an amazing site, with some incredible photos and great blogs/reviews!

    I am just about to embark on the bandwagon for the A7R II, and wanted to get your opinion on: If you only had the option of getting one lens to start with, which would it be? I appreciate that is a bit of an open-ended question, so to provide a bit more context the lens will be mostly used for landscape photography, but is also needed to create great DoF shots for a newborn (on the way v soon) :) I keep going between the lens in question here, the new 24-70mm F2.8 and then the latest 35mm / 55mm lenses, too.

    Looking at some of the photos you have against this review, I am actually pleasantly surprised at the bokeh when shot at 70mm – Great photo of yourself (assuming that is you, mind) above at 70mm.

    It would be great to hear your thoughts here! When money permits, I will certainly be looking at the recent addition to the G Series lenses – The 85mm 1.4, but for now, want to focus on an all-in-one solution to get the shots I need – Is this the one?


  16. Hi Ben, thank you for your compliments and comments!

    I believe that if you want “an all-in-one solution” for landscapes and portraits, the 24-70mm F2.8 will do just that. You can have this lens and do everything from wide angle to slightly telephoto, from shots of wider landscapes to shots of faces. Many photographers swear by the 24-70mm F2.8 lens (whichever manufacturer) as the one they keep glued to their camera.

    On the other hand, if you prefer something lightweight and compact, the 24-70GM might be too big and heavy. You could add the recently announced Sony FE 50mm F1.8 lens that will be released in May, which costs $250 and will be easier on the budget. It’s a great focal length on full-frame for taking indoor, low-light photos of newborns and kids with shallow DOF.

    Congratulations on your upcoming baby, and hope you enjoy the new adventures, photographically and with your family!

  17. Ben says:

    Yes, I did think the same to be honest. I guess I asked the question as I’m just unsure on the size of the 24/70mm :/

    I find that I take my RX100 M3 with me everywhere, just for the fact that I love how compact it is, fits into the pocket perfectly, and takes great shots for a 1 inch compact!

    I think I will end up going for the 24-70 and just having to deal with the size – That’s just the downside to very good, full frame lenses in fairness! Funny you mention the arrival of the new 50mm 1.8 though – After I sent this comment off yesterday I stumbled across this. The size of the 50mm looks perfect for what I would be after, and I imagine the quality coming out of the glass would be fantastic paired with the a7r ii! Out of interest, any ideas why the new 50mm addition is coming out at around $250, whereas the 55mm 1.8 is nearly 4 times the price?

    I read your review on the 55mm, and again that seemed to be a great lens, covering a great range for landscapes and portraits, so potentially I could wait and see what the reviews are like of the new 50mm? What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks for the best wishes – Cannot wait to start shooting the little one! :)

  18. Hi Ben, if you are concerned about the size and weight of the 24-70mm F2.8 lens, you might want to investigate the Sony Zeiss 24-70mm/F4, which is a lot lighter and more compact. You can get it used or gray import for a reasonable price.

    The Sony Zeiss 55mm F1.8 lens is a “premium” lens that is more in line with the Sigma Art 50mm or the Otus 50mm in terms of sharpness and rendering. They are for shooting wide open and still getting very sharp details, as well as for more high-end features like weather resistance. The 55mm can be had used or gray market for around $700.

    The new 50mm addition is coming out at $250 because it is generally what people call “Nifty Fifty” or “Plastic Fantastic,” in other words lower quality for a good price. These will be “good enough” for most purposes.

  19. Ben says:

    Thank you again for the feedback – Greatly appreciated!

    Yes, I have pondered over the smaller, more compact F4 – I just cannot bring myself to buy a 24-70 F4 unfortunately :) I think I’ll end up going for the new GM 2.8 24-70, but I may search for a small profiled prime alternative which I can take out and about as needed, without adding too much bulk – For those occasions where I’m just popping out and don’t want to add unnecessary weight, but still want to be able to take great photos!

    I was thinking of potentially going for the 24-70 F2.8 above, and possibly spending a little bit extra and getting the Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm 2.8. Have you used this one at all? If so, what are your thoughts? I’ve seen your recent review on the 35mm Zeiss Distagon, which looks amazing, but again too bulky for the purpose I’m after! I appreciate the Sonnar is a couple of years old now, but the reviews are superb, and great compact / size – Also going to be great quality given it’s a Zeiss product! Price wise I’m able to pick this up for a very reasonable price, too. Be great to hear your thoughts – Is it even worth having a 24-70 and a prime 35 in your opinion?

  20. Dennis says:

    Have you by any chance compared it to the Canon 24-70 F2.8 USM II?

  21. Charles says:

    Dennis, we don’t own that lens or a Canon adapter. Others have reported that its sharpness is at least comparable, and some have suggested that it’s better at 70mm. I can’t confirm this but can say that I am very impressed with the Sony lens.

  22. Filipe says:

    Great review! It was one of the reads that pushed me to buy it. Couldn’t be happier, thanks for the honest advice!

    How did you configure the focus hold button on the GM. I can’t figure out a way :(



  23. Karen says:

    You mentioned that the photos were processed in Lightroom with all your standard color and lighting changes. Can you explain what your “standard color and lighting changes” are? I just purchased the A7Rii and the 24-70mm GM lens. I use Lightroom CC for my processing as well. However, I am still in the learning stage as to how best to post process my photos….as well as learning the nuances of the camera and lens. I also have the Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8

    Your previous posts on the settings of the camera have been extremely helpful as well as your comments on this lens.

  24. Arno says:

    hey you,

    what a great review. i do have 35mm 1.4 Zeiss, 85mm 1.8 Zeiss and 15mm Voigtländer for my a7rII … will this lens performance wise keep up with the qualitity as an all over lens?

  25. Hi Arno, you have some great lenses there. I think with those three lenses, you won’t need the 24-70GM. The reason to have the 24-70 is for convenient focal length and not needing to switch lenses while out and about. But if you carry all of those lenses with you, you’ll have a great toolkit.

  26. Taylor says:

    Hey guys! Loved the post.

    Question, in the third picture I can see that your A7r ii has a base/bracket mount on the bottom of it that looks like it has an arca base plate built into it that clamps onto your peak design quick release clamp. What base/bracket is that? And do you like it? Ive been looking for something like that and it looks like an amazing solution!

  27. Hi Taylor, we got an L-bracket like this one, and then only used the bottom plate portion, which can connect quickly to the Arca Swiss style tripod heads or the Peak Design quick release systems.

  28. George M says:

    Hi Rose & Charles,

    Have you recently tested the Zeiss 24-70 f4? As a landscape shooter, I’ve been deterred by the heavy criticism it’s received for poor edge/corner sharpness. I’m wondering if the quality issues have improved now that it’s been in production for over 3 years. The 24-70 f2.8 GM certainly addresses the shortcomings of the Zeiss, but for me it’s a big compromise in weight and price. I also considered a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 (Canon EF) with Metabones adapter. This seems a good option optically, weight wise, and price. However, the Metabones adapter gets criticism for intermittent autofocus issues. So I’m in a bit of a conundrum. I could really use a good, relatively lightweight standard zoom that doesn’t break the bank. But I’m not sure it exists yet for FE mount. What do you think? Thanks for your time.


  29. Hi George M, if you’re into landscapes primarily you may want to consider the Sony FE 16-35mm F4. We had owned that lens for a year and loved it, but because we take photos of our kids more frequently on a day-to-day basis, the f2.8 was more important. The wideness between 16mm and 23mm really comes in handy. But If you really love the 24-70mm focal length, we have met a landscape shooter locally who does great work with the Sony FE 24-70mm F4 lens. Don’t let the pursuit of pixel edge perfection deter you from trying out a lens.

  30. SC says:


    Have you tried using A7ii with the FE 24-70 GM? How does it compared to the A7Rii? Thx.

  31. Hi SC, yes we have used the a7II with the FE 24-70GM. The combination performs very well, although the 24mp sensor is not quite as good as the a7RII’s 42mp sensor. I also frequently use the 24-70GM on the a6300 and a6500 bodies at work. It’s a great lens if you need the flexibility and speed of the focal length range.

  32. George M says:

    Hi Rose & Charles,

    I own the 16-35 f4 and agree it’s a great lens. But I do need more reach sometimes. I think I will try the CZ 24-70 f4. Can you share the name/website of the landscape photographer you mentioned? Thanks!

    George M

  33. Hi George M, there are lots of great photos from the 24-70 F4 on Flickr. You can see some samples at this pool.

  34. Urmishd says:

    Hi Thaks For Your Inputs On Lens…. Will It Work Great With Sony A6500?

  35. Hi Urmishd, yes, the 24-70 GM will work on the a6500, but with a 1.5x crop factor. I currently use the combination at work, and it does a fine job.

  36. Brian J. says:

    How did this kit feel when moving around using the Peak Design clip? I’m interested in a similar setup – actually found your great blog via your f/s post but was too late – and have some concern about the overall weight hanging from a shoulder strap. Are you getting out for reasonable hikes (5-10mi) like that or typically carrying in a different way?

  37. Hi Brian, thanks for stopping by our blog. Charles has done 5-7 miles hiking with the camera strapped to his backpack as pictured here. However, since he got the 16-35GM he has stopped using the 24-70GM altogether as he prefers the wider perspective. The 16-35GM is also a bit more compact and lighter in weight. That is why we decided to put the 24-70GM up for sale.

    If your primary usage is landscapes, and you don’t need to go wider than 24mm, there are some great reviews of the new Sony 24-105mm/f4 lens out there. We stopped by our local camera store and wanted to try it out, but they said that they couldn’t keep it in stock! We’ll see if we can get ahold of it next week to try it.

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