|f/2.8 – f/22|
|87.6 x 136 mm|
Min Focusing Distance
Number of aperture blades
|18 / 13|
The Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM is a great workhorse lens for the Sony mirrorless E-mount cameras.
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.
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.