Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Lens Review

Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Lens

This Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM is a good lens choice for general-purpose uses ranging from landscape photography to portraiture, and the wide f/2.8 aperture extends utility into motion in low-light scenarios, including weddings.

  • Good general-purpose lens choice, including for low light
  • Wide aperture
  • Professional grade
  • Fast and quiet Direct Drive SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor)
  • Focus hold button
  • Moderately priced
  • Soft peripheral image quality at long end
  • Strong lateral CA at 24mm
  • Strong color fringing at 70mm
In-Depth Review

When I purchased my first Sony MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera), the first Sony lens I scheduled for review was the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens. Sony gained renown for their cameras, especially their sensor technology, before their lenses. The introduction of Sony's flagship G Master line (the "GM" in the name) was welcomed by Sony owners and turned heads of those considering a switch to the Sony camp. This GM lens, providing great image quality and performance along with a great general purpose focal length range, became the #1 option for me and #1 for most other serious Sony E-mount camera owners.

The arrival of the Sony 24-70mm G coincided with a photo trip to North and Middle Caicos where I was able to give the lens a good workout in the wild. And, I came away quite happy with the results.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Top View with Hood

Focal Length Range

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When determining what a lens is useful for, one of the most important considerations for that answer is the focal length range provided. Focal length especially matters because it drives focus distance choices which also determines perspective.

Covering the angles of view ranging from wide angle through normal and on to short telephoto, the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens's focal length range comfortably covers what I consider the important focal lengths to have in a full frame (Sony "FE" mount) general purpose lens.

A 24-70mm lens is an essential part of many landscape and cityscape photography kits. At the 24mm end, this lens provides a wide angle of view, able to show a strong perspective and create a sense of presence in an image. Still, 24mm is not so wide that composition becomes too challenging. By the 70mm end, smaller portions of a scene can be isolated and distant mountains will appear larger in proportion to closer elements. The splashing wave image shared below was captured at 31mm.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Sample Picture

A 24-70mm lens is often a requirement in a wedding photographer's kit and an f/2.8 version of this lens often becomes the most-used option in that kit. At 24mm, environmental portraits that include the venue can be captured and by 70mm, people can be framed tight enough for head and shoulder portraits while retaining pleasing perspective. This lens will work well for photographing a wide variety of events, from parents capturing informal birthday parties at home to photojournalists covering formal galas at large venues.

While architecture photographers are typically looking for linear-distortion-free lenses to keep their buildings and walls straight and zoom lenses nearly always have some distortion, this lens has good angles of view for such work. Selecting the lowest distortion focal length (around 28-30mm) takes care of the distortion problem (removal during post processing is of course another option).

Sports photographers able to get close to their subjects (such as basketball shot from over or under the net) or wanting to capture a wider/environmental view of their events appreciate this focal length range. This focal length range nicely complements a 70-200mm lens for sports uses. Those intending to shoot sports with this lens should read the autofocus section of this review prior to making that decision.

Fashion, portraiture, weddings, parties, events, documentary, lifestyle, sports, architecture, land/city/nightscapes, around-the-house needs, general studio applications including product photography and much more. I'm barely digging into the list of uses for this lens and the range of video uses for this lens is as broad as for stills.

Framing narrower on APS-C cameras (full frame 36-105mm equivalent angle of view), the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM's uses shift away from wide angle land/city/nightscapes and environmental portraits toward portraiture including more tightly-framed portraits. Most of the uses for this lens on an APS-C camera remain the same otherwise.

Here is an example of what the 24-70mm focal length range looks like:

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Focal Length Range Example

24mm | 35mm | 50mm | 70mm

Max Aperture

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As of review time, few zoom lenses have a maximum aperture opening wider than this lens and of those that do have wider max apertures, the vast majority are APS-C-specific lenses. None of these full frame options reach beyond 35mm. So, the f/2.8 made available over the entire 24-70mm focal length range is mostly best-available. This is a bright lens and it compares well in this regard.

A big advantage of a wide aperture is the amount of light transmitted to the sensor, allowing for lower ISO settings and allowing for shutter speeds capable of stopping camera and subject motion blur in low light. I typically recommend f/2.8 apertures as the minimum opening for indoors sports (this lens has good features for basketball for example).

A disadvantage of a wide aperture is the increased physical size of the lens elements. Larger lens elements come with heavier weight and higher cost.

Another big wide aperture advantage is the shallow depth of field available at the widest aperture, enabling distracting background details to be rendered out of focus if desired. He are a pair of examples showing (nearly) the maximum amount of background blur able to be created by this lens at its two focal length extents.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Maximum Blur Example

At 24mm, the background details are not enlarged enough for the trees and yard scene to become totally indistinguishable, but you might have a harder time determining what the blurred details were at 70mm without the 24mm illustration.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Front View

Image Stabilization

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The Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens is not optically stabilized, but Sony takes care of that issue with Steady Shot or IBIS, the acronym for "In-Body Image Stabilization". On a traditional DSLR with an optical viewfinder, IBIS results in an unstabilized view, meaning that stabilization was not helpful for composition or for providing a still subject to the camera's AF system. With EVFs being prevalent in Sony's lineup, the viewfinder and AF-based image are being read from the imaging sensor, which is stabilized. Therefore, the viewfinder image is nicely stabilized.

Mounted on a Sony a7R II with Steady Shot enabled, I was able to handhold this lens with a reasonable sharpness rate at about 1/3 to .4 seconds at 24mm. I had a few sharp images captured longer exposure durations, but the keeper percentage went down quickly. At 70mm, the 24-70 GM produced a decent sharpness rate at 1/6 second with a low sharpness rate at longer exposures.

This testing was under ideal circumstances (indoors, concrete floor) and your results will vary dependant on your own skills and the conditions you are shooting in. My experience showed a nice 3-4 stops of assistance being provide by IBIS for this lens.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Top View

Image Quality

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While this lens's focal length range was a sure hit and the wide, constant-max aperture also highly useful, a premium grade lens requires stellar image quality for success in the marketplace. Image sharpness is a top concern and one buys an f/2.8 lens because they need to use that widest aperture. Therefore, good f/2.8 image sharpness is paramount. Fortunately, this lens has that feature.

At f/2.8, this lens is sharp in the center of the frame over the entire focal length range. That said, on the test lens, I'll call 70mm the weakest (with 35mm just behind it) and the easiest way to see why is to compare the f/2.8 and f/4 image quality results to for each focal length using the site's image quality tool. The 70mm results (and 35mm results) show a nice center of the frame jump in sharpness even stopped down only 1/3 stop to f/3.2 (look at the left side top crop images in that comparison).

At f/4, this lens is razor sharp in the center at all focal lengths. It is unlikely that you will be able to discern a difference in the results at f/5.6 vs. f/4 and indeed, none is needed.

At 24mm, full frame corners have good sharpness at f/2.8 and a slight improvement is seen at f/4. At 35mm, the mid frame and corner results are slightly soft at f/2.8 and improve nicely at f/4 with especially the corners sharpening up even more at f/5.6. Appearing more similar to 24mm results, 50mm results are good in the corners and the modest improvement seen at f/4 results in sharp corner image quality. That is if you are looking at the right side of the frame (the side shown in the image quality tool).

The review lens appears to have some misalignment (probably tilt) and the left side of the frame is rather soft by mid-frame at 50mm. Improvement is seen at narrower apertures, but the left corners are not totally sharp until f/11.

I always try to succinctly summarize the performance of a lens, but sometimes there is complexity and I'm going to provide an addendum to the above as I'm seeing some variances from this lens at longer focus distances. Let's start with a comparison captured outdoors. These images were captured in uncompressed RAW format and processed in Capture One for Sony. Those who have been following this site know that I originally chose Adobe Lightroom for Sony RAW image processing, but ... Lightroom forces chromatic aberration (CA) correction for Sony lenses it has profiles for. While you may indeed want to correct for CA, this correction hides a lens's true colors.

Capture One processing settings include a natural creative style with a sharpness setting of "30" and no lens corrections. Sony a7R II RAW images were processed to 16-bit TIFF, cropped to show 100% resolution and output to 70-quality JPG images. The following examples are from the center of the frame.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Sharpness Comparison Example

24mm: 2.8 | 4.0 | 5.6  35mm: 2.8 | 4.0 | 5.6
50mm: 2.8 | 4.0 | 5.6  70mm: 2.8 | 4.0 | 5.6

For determining maximum sharpness in each image, determine where the plane of sharp focus falls (the area showing the least difference between the neighboring test result). I don't think that you will see any surprises in these results compared to my above performance description. The f/2.8 results at 24mm and 50mm are really sharp and the 35mm and 70mm results are sharp, but show more improvement at f/4. I didn't need to show the f/5.6 results as the primary difference they show over the f/4 results is increased depth of field.

Next I'll share extreme full frame corners captured and processed similarly.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison Example

24mm: f/2.8 | f/4.0 | f/5.6
35mm: f/2.8 | f/4.0 | f/5.6   f/2.8 | f/4.0 | f/5.6
50mm: f/2.8 | f/4.0 | f/5.6
70mm: f/2.8 | f/4.0 | f/5.6

Especially for a zoom lens, the 24mm corners (top-left shown) are looking quite impressive with a wide open aperture and at f/4, this lens is remarkable. The first set of 35mm results are also from the top-left corner and I would give these results the same review, but the next-shown bottom-right corner results are not nearly as remarkable. This copy of the lens is not producing even results at longer focus distances (the same results were seen in infinity-focused star images), showing some misalignment. At 50mm (top-right corners shown with a distant focus), the results are back to excellent. The 70mm corners (bottom-right shown) are also excellent, though when focused at infinity (stars at night), the right side of the frame did not perform as well as the left.

Overall, the lens is impressively sharp, but there are some quality control complications detracting from an overall perfect score.

Always seen in corners at wide apertures is vignetting (unless a full frame lens is used on an APS-C body). At 24mm, using an f/2.8 aperture results in 2 stops of corner shading quickly reaching 3 stops deep in the corners. Vignetting is reduced as the aperture narrows until f/5.6 where a still-sometimes-noticeable about-1.4 stops is reached and shading remains the same through f/16. At 35mm, shading starts at 2 stops in the corners and drops to its final amount of just-under 1 stop at f/5.6. Peripheral shading decreases slightly at 50mm and again at 70mm where just-under 2 stops through about .5 stops remains.

So, there is some corner shading to be considered for this lens, but the amount is relatively low for a lens with these specs.

The most easily recognized type of CA (Chromatic Aberration) in a lens is lateral (or transverse) CA. Lateral CA shows as various wavelengths of light being magnified differently with the effect being increasingly noticeable toward the image circle periphery, causing the most-effected area of the image to appear less sharp due to misaligned colors. Look for the strongest color fringing along edges of strongly contrasting lines running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii) near the corners of the frame, generally irrespective of the aperture used. Fortunately, lateral CA is easily software corrected (often in the camera and, as as-mentioned, always in Lightroom) by radially shifting the colors to coincide.

Zoom lenses generally have some LatCA and LatCA is generally worst at the two ends of the focal length range. Following are four 100% crop examples taken from the top left corner of the 24-70mm GM lens frame.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Lateral Chromatic Aberration Example

24mm | 35mm | 50mm | 70mm

At 24mm, there is a moderate amount of latCA showing. By 35mm, the color fringing is only slightly noticeable and the results at 50mm are similar. At 70mm, a modest amount of color is again showing.

A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light, or more simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration, but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to look for. Axial CA remains at least somewhat persistent when stopping down with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing while the spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.

In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.

This lens performs well from this perspective, especially up through 50mm. At 70mm, there are noticeable aberrations as shown in the 100% crops below.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Spherical and Axial Aberration Example

When is a silver bracelet not silver? As you can see, the highlight fringing color is different in front of the plane of focus vs. behind it, most notably so at f/2.8. The results show marked improvement in this regard as the lens is stopped down.

A lens with many elements (18 in 13 groups) is likely to show some flare with a bright light in the frame and this one does the same. However, the amount of flare is not bad from a relative standpoint. Flare effects can be embraced, avoided or removal can be attempted. If not embraced, flare effects can be destructive to image quality and it is sometimes extremely difficult to remove in post processing.

Coma is generally recognized by sharp contrast towards the center of an image and long, soft contrast transition toward the image periphery. Coma is most visible in wide aperture corners and significantly resolves when the lens is stopped down. The pin-point stars in the night sky are the subject that makes this aberration, along with some others including astigmatism, recognizable to me.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Coma Example

24mm | 35mm | 70mm

The 24mm crop is from the top-left corner, the 35mm crop is from the bottom-left corner (the right side is a bit soft in this test image), the 50mm image went missing and the 70mm image is from the top right corner of the frame. While the 70mm stars in the corner of the frame appear to be growing ears, the other results are quite good.

Linear distortion is another typical characteristic of a zoom lens. This lens has moderate mustache/wave distortion at the wide end. As the lens is zoomed in, the distortion transitions to almost no distortion from 28-30mm and then quickly goes into modest pincushion distortion at 35mm. By 50mm and through 70mm, the amount of pincushion distortion becomes moderate. Geometric distortion makes framing certain scenes with straight lines, such as a straight horizon over the ocean, challenging as there are no lines parallel to the edges of the viewfinder or viewfinder gridlines. Cameras with electronic levels have a big advantage in overcoming this issue.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Distortion Example

24mm | 35mm | 50mm | 70mm

Most modern lenses have lens correction profiles available for the popular image processing software and distortion can be easily removed using these, but geometric distortion correction requires stretching and this technique is seldom as good as using a distortion-free lens in the first place.

The Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens has a 9-blade circular diaphragm that creates nicely-rounded out-of-focus highlights even when stopped down. Although nicely rounded, these highlights do not have the smoothest interiors. Here is a variety of examples.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Bokeh Example

Notice the two 70mm examples? One is foreground blur and the other is background blur. You will notice that the out-of-focus highlights do not look the same (this is not unusual) and that the surrounding color difference is showing the presence of axial/spherical aberration as discuss earlier. I didn't notice anything unusual in real world bokeh created by this lens.

This lens has an odd-numbered aperture blade count and thus, distant point light sources captured with a narrow aperture and showing a star-like effect will have 18 points – double the blade count. The points on these stars are coming from the blades of the aperture. Each blade is responsible, via diffraction, for creating two points of the star effect. If the blades are arranged opposite of each other (an even blade count), the points on the stars will equal the blade count as two blades share in creating a single pair of points. The blades of an odd blade count aperture are not opposing and the result is that each blade creates its own two points. Nine blades times two points each create 18-point star effects.

Here is an example:

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Sunstar Effect Example

Technology in this lens includes one XA (extreme aspherical) element, two aspherical elements, one ED element, one super ED element and nano AR coating (to reduce surface reflections, flare, and ghosting).

While the out-of-focus highlight blurs are not as smooth as possible, the biggest issue seems to be in quality control related to lens element alignment (or lack thereof). Overall, the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens delivers excellent image quality and competes strongly with the best other-brand 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses available.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Extended View with Hood


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The 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lens's AF system utilizes Sony's Direct Drive SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor). This system is quiet and the lens can focus fast, though unfortunately in this case, the speed of focusing is in part controlled by the camera. The Sony a7R II (near-best-available if not the best Sony camera at review time) de-focuses the lens slightly before focusing on the subject, even if focusing at the same distance with the same subject, for an overall mediocre focus speed. Still, the lens focuses quickly and the focus speed is adequate for most uses.

Focusing is internal and consistently accurate. In AF-C (Continuous AF) focusing mode capturing action, performance was decent with a good majority of images being properly focused. While the lens and AF system appear ready for action photography, it must be noted that the EVF in the a7R II (and most of Sony's MILC cameras) is not. The viewfinder blackout time is far too long to permit the photographer to adequately track moving subjects and timing the first image in a burst is a good tactic at this point.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Side View with Hood

Unique to a lens of this type at initial review time is an AF hold button. While in continuous focus mode, this button can be pressed to lock focus at the currently selected focus distance, permitting a focus and recompose technique. This button also acts as a custom button (C5) and can be programmed to another function using the camera's menu. Note that the owner's manual indicates that "the focus hold button of this lens does not function with some camera models." It fails to mention which cameras are not compatible, but ... one would expect that latest models to support that feature.

FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported in Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) AF mode.

The manual focus ring is nicely sized, smooth, ideally dampened and the 138° rotation amount is just right for precise manual focusing at all distances. There is little change in subject size as focus is adjusted even to full extents, an attribute especially valued for photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus and anyone critically framing a scene.

While a distance window is not provided, a focus distance meter shows in the lower portion of the electronic viewfinder during manual focusing.

With a 15.0" (380mm) MFD (Minimum Focus Distance) and the related 0.24x MM (Maximum Magnification), the Sony 24-70 GM falls into the middle of the pack in its close-focusing capabilities. Still these are respectable numbers.

Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens8.3(210)0.30x
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E AF-S VR Lens15.0(380)0.28x
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens7.1(180)0.34x
Sigma 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary Lens7.5(190)0.22x
Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G Lens11.8(300)0.39x
Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II Lens8.3(210)0.32x
Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Lens15.0(380)0.24x
Sony FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS Lens15.7(400)0.20x
Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Lens15.0(380)0.31x
Sony FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 Lens11.8(300)0.16x
Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens11.8(300)0.19x
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens7.1(180)0.37x

The following image demonstrates the 24-70 GM's MFD:

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Maximum Magnification Examples

The black outline of the primary design feature in the above image measures 4.6" (11.7cm).

To reduce the MFD and thereby increase the MM, mount an extension tube behind this lens. Understand that infinity and long distance focusing are sacrificed with an ET in use.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Angle

Build Quality & Features

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The Grand Master lens series represents Sony's best-available lenses and this one qualifies for its GM badge.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Product Images

Select View:  MFD |    MFD |    w/ Hood:  MFD |    MFD |    Rotated        Compare »

This lens is relatively narrow at the mount with a substantial diameter increase not far into the lens. Several smaller diameter increases occur until the lens reaches its relatively wide max diameter at the objective end.

The zoom ring and, as already mentioned, focus ring are both smooth and in my preferred orientation with the zoom ring positioned in the back, closer to the mount. Typical for a zoom lens in this range is extension with focal length increase. The full extension measures 1.26" (32mm).

Unusual is that the serial number for this lens is on a thick plastic label under the mount end. The label can peel off and once a corner is raised, I can tell you from experience that it becomes sharp and uncomfortable to the left thumb while holding under the lens. Otherwise, this lens feels well built with no play in moving parts.

This lens is weather sealed including a mount gasket seal as seen below.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Mount

More specifically, the owner's manual states: "This lens is not water-proof, although designed with dust-proofness and splash-proofness in mind. If using in the rain etc., keep water drops away from the lens."

While a zoom lock switch is provided for use at the fully-retracted 24mm focal length, it was not needed on my lens. The zoom ring was firm enough to need gravity extend. Perhaps after long term use the will loosen, but again, I didn't need to use the switch.

This is a relatively large and heavy lens, as are most lenses in this class. It takes a relatively wide barrel to hold the lens elements necessary to reach f/2.8 over this focal length range and of course, large lens elements in a solidly-designed lens equal a heavy weight. Still, I carried and used this lens for long periods of time without issue – it is big and heavy, but not too big and heavy – if that makes sense.

ModelWeight oz(g)Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)FilterYear 
Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens31.8(900)3.5 x 4.9(88.5 x 125.7)822019
Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Lens28.4(805)3.5 x 5.0(89.0 x 126.0)822019
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens29.5(835)3.5 x 4.8(87.8 x 122.9)822019
Sigma 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary Lens16.6(470)2.8 x 4.0(72.2 x 101.5)672021
Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G Lens17.2(488)3.1 x 3.9(78.7 x 99.0)722023
Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II Lens24.5(695)3.5 x 4.7(87.8 x 119.9)822022
Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Lens31.3(886)3.4 x 5.4(87.6 x 136.0)822016
Sony FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS Lens15.2(430)2.9 x 3.7(73.0 x 94.5)672014
Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Lens23.4(663)3.3 x 4.5(83.4 x 113.3)772017
Sony FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 Lens5.9(167)2.6 x 1.8(66.6 x 45.0)40.52020
Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens10.4(295)2.9 x 3.3(72.5 x 83.0)552013
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens19.1(540)3.0 x 4.6(75.8 x 117.6)672021

For many more comparisons, review the complete Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Specifications using the site's Lens Spec tool.

A lens of this weight requires a good grip on the camera. The a7R II is made to be compact and, while it has a decent grip, there is not quite enough room for my medium-sized hand's fingers to fit between the camera and the lens. At the edge of the first diameter increase, the lens presses quite firmly into the first joint of my middle and ring fingers. Of course, the lens is not soft and the grip is not comfortable. The pressure is lessened if the lens is hanging downward from a loose grip or if I rotate my grip away from the lens, but ... that does not give me the grip assurance I would like to have.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Grip

Smaller hands avoid this problem.

Here is a visual comparison of seven 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses:

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Compared to Similar Lenses

Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM Lens
Tokina 24-70mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro FX Lens
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G AF-S Lens
Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E AF-S VR Lens

The same lenses are shown below extended with their hoods in place.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Compared to Similar Lenses with Hoods

Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens to other lenses.

Notice that the Sony lens appears to be positioned higher than those around it? The lenses in the comparison image are aligned on their mounts and the Sony has a shallow lens mount cap. While the smaller lens cap size does not affect the lens's in-use size, is does slightly impact storage space requirements when unmounted.

As seen in the chart above, 82mm filter threads are nearly a requisite for this group and the Sony 24-70 GM uses this size. This filter size has become much more common over the last number of years, so although 82mm filters are relatively large and expensive, they are more sharable than ever. Take note that using a standard thickness circular polarizer filter will slightly increase vignetting in full frame corners. A slim model such as the B+W XS-Pro line is highly recommended.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Extended Top View with Hood

The included, semi-rigid, petal-shaped hood is nicely sized and offers adequate protection from physical impact along with shading some light. The hood has a flocked interior for superior reflection avoidance and a push-button release makes the bayonet mount easy to use.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Case

Sony includes a nice zippered, padded nylon lens case in the box. This case has a belt loop sewn onto the back and a shoulder strap is provided.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Cap

The beveled outer rim of the lens cap makes it slightly harder to hold onto than I appreciate, but I do like the shallow mount cap.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Front View on Camera

Price, Value, Compatibility

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As you likely guessed by this point, the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens wears a premium price tag. While they work best on their own camera systems, the comparison is nonetheless interesting to look at: The Canon and non-IS Nikon equivalents cost moderately less than the Sony and the Nikon VR option is somewhat more expensive. Professionals using the Sony system will find this lens worth every penny of its cost. Of course, those on a modest budget may find the price tag to be an unsurmountable hurdle.

As an "FE" lens, the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras and comes with a limited 1-Year warranty. The review lens was obtained retail/online.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens on Tripod


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The Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II Lens is now available, and the successor is the top choice for comparison. I'll make this easy: unless the version II lens is absolutely not affordable, get the version II lens.

Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM I vs. II Lens

In the image quality comparison, the version II lens outperforms the version I lens, especially at the long end. The newer lens has slightly less linear distortion and controls flare slightly better.

The Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II Lens vs. Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Lens comparison at f/2.8 shows the new lens is 18% smaller in volume, measuring 11% shorter and 22% lighter, weighing 6.8 oz (193 g) less. The version II lens picked up two additional aperture blades, 11 vs. 9. The version II lens features a higher-performing AF system driven by Quad XD Linear motors vs. SSM, and it focuses closer for a higher maximum magnification of 0.32x vs. 0.24x.

The list price difference between the two lenses is $100.00 in the USA, but promotions will likely impact the street price difference until the version I lens becomes unavailable. Get the II.

While there were many 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses available, there were no other native E-mount options. However, many other lenses can be used on the Sony E-mount cameras via adapters. While I will not go into the issues with using adapters here, I highly recommend getting the Sony 24-70 GM over using any of the other lenses adapted.

If you already own one of the other lenses, it might be worth trying an adapter before spending the money for the Sony lens, but ... if you bought the Sony camera, this is a case where you should get the Sony lens too.

If your budget does not reach the Sony lens, other options will of course need to be considered. Sigma has a pair of options including the promising but not-yet-available Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens. While this lens should be among the best from an image quality standpoint, the price remains unavailable. Positive is that Sigma offers their own Sony E-mount converter, the Sigma MC-11.

Sigma's previous/current 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is another option (via an adapter). The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM Lens is significantly less expensive but the Sony lens's performance is in a different class.

Tamron was the first big lens manufacturer to offer image stabilization in a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, but ... that feature is not so important with IBIS. The Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens' price falls noticeable below that of the Canon/Nikon/Sony pricing and this lens has image quality good enough to garner attention. An adapter is required for use on a Sony E-mount camera, but ... this appears to be the best option without paying the higher price.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Extended Top View


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As I said in the beginning of the review, Sony gained renown for their cameras, especially their sensor technology, before their lenses. Many serious photographers using Sony cameras chose to adapt Canon lenses for their needs. At least in the 24-70mm range, an adapted lens is no longer the best choice. The Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens is at least equal to the Canon and Nikon lenses from the same era, and being native to the Sony E-mount, the FE 24-70 became the best option.

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Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Lens
Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Lens
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