What you'll find here is not a technical review, but a short, no-jargon, photo-based review for the everyday photographer. If you want something more in depth or more technical, there are plenty of other websites for that. What I aim to do here is give you my experiences on it and whether or not I like this lens.
With that said, here's the review.
That's the first word that comes to mind when I think about this lens – Pro.
Everything about it is pro. The build quality, the ergonomics, the sharpness, even the filter size – all with good reason; the G Master series is Sony's 'top of the range'. The best Sony lenses that money can buy.
This focal range is also the workhorse of all professional lenses. 24mm to 70mm is the most versatile range of them all, useful for almost every category of photography, and although I find anything from 36-55mm a little awkward for most of my uses, this focal length pretty much does it all.
It's a lens you absolutely must have in your kit if you're a professional, a serious amateur, or a hobbyist photographer with a lot of cash to burn.
Regardless of the skill level you're currently at, this lens will take your confidence to the next level with its outstanding imaging, creamy bokeh and fantastic build quality.
Once again – Pro.
Its hefty, metal construction with a matte finish, surrounded by rubber grips that encapsulate smooth-turning focus and zoom dials gives you the feeling this lens means business. It's meant to be a pro lens – and this thing has the heft to carry the sentiment – but really when we're talking this level, weight takes second place or lower compared to image quality or features. The weather-sealed G Master feels solid in hand, and is cone-shaped in dimension from base to tip – it starts smaller, giving you ample room to grip the lens as it enlarges in circumference towards the large 82mm filter thread.
Being a pro lens, the 24-70 GM also has some added extras. One of them is a focus-hold button that is ergonomically placed in your left thumb's position. This allows you to lock focus and recompose as you need. My only gripe here is that there's only one, and while this is great for landscape shots, I shoot a lot in portrait (for the grams, of course), and there's no focus lock button on the top of the lens like there is with the 70-200mm GM (there's actually 3, top, left and bottom).
One of the other nice extras is a AF/MF switch – really useful for switching between auto focus and manual focus without having to dig into the menus or fiddle around with the back of the camera.
It also comes with a really nicely-finished plastic/suede lens hood with a click switch that locks it into place. I don't really use it much, instead leaving it on in reverse to prevent any accidental damage from nicks and bumps (or accidental dislodgement from the body from waist height, swung really aggressively onto rocks 😭 yeah, that happened. I'm still crying, but the lens is a beast and works just fine 🙂 sans scratches).
Aside from that, the Sony 24-70mm GM doesn't have any other external features, bar of course the 'GM' adornment in a bright orange – to let everyone know it's a G Master, of course.
Let's get this out of the way first and foremost, as it's usually the biggest area of contention when it comes to zooms vs primes. Let's just say that I used to be all about that prime game – I love me them sharp, fast lenses. With the 24-70 GM, though, I'm glad I sold my Sigma 20mm f1.4, Batis 25mm f2, 35mm f2.8 and 55mm f1.8. I can literally replace those 4 lenses with this one lens.
I'm not saying it's prime level sharp – all of those lenses aside from the 35mm are ridiculously sharp – but it's not far from, and it's definitely good enough for most people. The argument of sharpness becomes a talk about diminishing returns and pixel peeping at this level. The resolving power of this lens is monumental, and the sharpness is far more than enough for me across the entire frame, throughout the entire range.
That being said, wide open, it does lose a little bit of sharpness out in the corners, but for me, it's not super noticeable. One other minor note is that from around 50mm onwards, wide open, much like other lenses in this range from different manufacturers, it's a little soft here, too. But again, not that noticeable, and both of these scenarios are solved by stopping down a little bit to f4.
In reality and for day-to-day use, I'm nitpicking, really. For me, it's more than sharp enough throughout the entire range, whilst maintaining that G Master character and fantastic bokeh.
Weight and size aside, the other argument for primes is dat #bokehlyf. But remember, it's not always a game of the widest aperture. F1.8 isn't always better at out of focus blur than f2.8, and in this case, it's definitely true. Sony has really focused on smooth, creamy bokeh with its G Master range and even at f2.8, the out-of-focus rendering produced by this lens is some of the most aesthetically pleasing bokeh I've ever had the pleasure of using and seeing. Of course, this is just my opinion, YMMV (but it probably won't).
…is fast. Native fast. As fast as your camera will allow it to mechanically go. For those of you who are on Sony bodies with adapted Canon or Nikon lenses, now is the time to swap. Your autofocus worries are over.
Other bits and bobs worth mentioning
Vignetting on this lens is decent and well controlled, with a more midfield look at the wider end that quickly dissipates as you stop down. Cleaned up very nicely in post, but to me the amount is actually really nice for JPEGS and straight out of camera shots to show friends and family.
Distortion and CA
By comparison to the other lenses in this range, there almost is none.
To nerd out just a little, the transmission on this lens is fantastic. It's exactly what it says on the tin, with a DXOmark-rated transmission of T2.8 (for those who don't know: f-stop doesn't always mean thats exactly how much light gets let in to the sensor – that's actually measured by T-stops).
The Sony 24-70mm G Master lens is a masterclass in design, quality, and imaging. It's one of those lenses that inspires confidence, and with its minimal design but robust feel, its one of those lenses that just gets out of your way to allow you to focus on what matters most – the images.
Not many lenses can do that, but this one certainly does, and it's certainly one that lives up to the pro expectation the G Master series was made for.
- Build quality is robust, solid and weather sealed.
- It's the sharpest zoom Sony (or any other FE producers) makes
- Bokeh is smooth and aesthetically pleasing
- Lives up to pro-level the G Master series is supposed to fill
- It's a tad soft from 50-70mm
- It's fine in weight for me, but some people will think it's too heavy.
All the images in this gallery are set to Sharpness 0, Clarity 0, and no Lens Profile enabled. They also don’t have any extra vignetting, or any other funny business. Just basic tonal changes and that’s about it. I tried to get as close as I could to how this lens actually looks like so that you can see the character it produces.
I tried to incorporate images from all genres. You’ll find street, portraits, landscapes, urban – everything. This lens really does it all.
Enjoy!Buy the Sony 24-70mm G Master from Amazon