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Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens
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- E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
- Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22, Minimum Focus Distance - 1.24 ft
- Focal-Length : 24-70 mm, Maximum Magnification ratio : 0.24 x
- One XA Element, Two Aspherical Elements
- One ED Element, One Super ED Element, Nano AR Coating
- Please Note: Kindly refer the User Manual before use.
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From the manufacturer
Groundbreaking resolution in an F2.8 standard zoom
The ultimate choice for professional portrait, travel and event photographers seeking the highest possible optical performance. The XA element reduces aberration and delivers the ultimate resolution throughout the entire zoom range and aperture range, as well as from corner to corner of all image files.
Designed to achieve 50 line pairs/mm resolving power
It is not easy to achieve spatial frequency of 50 lines pairs per millimeter at a lens's widest aperture, but that is Sony's baseline for G Master design. Unprecedented resolution and other demanding design parameters yield outstanding reproduction of the most detailed subjects and scenes with superior contrast throughout every frame. G Master resolution is simply the highest in its class.
Previously unattainable surface precision
Built with three aspherical elements including a newly developed and essential ingredient for astonishing resolution - is a new XA (extreme aspherical) lens element with better that 0.01-micron surface precision. The extremely precise XA element reduces aberration and delivers the ultimate resolution throughout the entire zoom range and aperture range, as well as from corner to corner of all image files.
Constant F2.8 max aperture maintains exposure and depth of f
Constant F2.8 max aperture maintains exposure and depth of field regardless of the focal range you choose to zoom to. When changing your aperture to defocus the background, the areas out of the focal plane appear blurred. This ‘bokeh’ effect of the blurred background can be enhanced with circular aperture blades used in this lens.
9-blade circular aperture contributes to gorgeous bokeh
When changing your aperture to defocus the background, the light sources appear blurred. This ‘bokeh’ effect of the blurred background can be enhanced with circular aperture blades used in this lens. Conventional aperture blades have flat sides creating unappealing, polygonal shaped defocussed points of light. α lenses overcome this problem through a unique design that keeps the aperture almost perfectly circular from its wide-open setting to when it is closed by 2 stops. Smoother, more natural defocusing can be obtained as a result.
Direct Drive SSM (DDSSM) for quiet, precise focusing
High-resolution camera bodies demand absolute focus precision. The Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave Motor (SSM) focus system is more than up to the task for both stills and movies. DDSSM has the capability to position the large, heavy optical assemblies required by large-aperture lenses with pinpoint precision, offering advantages for manual focus as well as autofocus. Manual focus response is also natural and intuitive.
Nano AR Coating
Sony’s original Nano AR Coating technology minimizes flare and ghosting, for dynamic range that achieves lifelike detail and gradation with advanced camera sensors. This precisely defined regular nano-structure allows accurate light transmission, contributing to high-quality images, even more so than with lenses that use coatings with an irregular nano-structure. The reflection suppression characteristic of the Nano AR Coating is superior to conventional anti-reflective coatings, providing a notable improvement in clarity, contrast, and overall image quality.
Dust and moisture resistant for robust reliability
Sony’s standard lens sealing is augmented by a lens mount seal that maximizes resistance to dust and moisture for reliable operation in challenging environmental conditions.* Additional details like rubberized rings that are easy to operate in low temperatures, a zoom lock that prevents unwanted lens extension during transport, and a hood lock button, all add up to professional control and convenience.
ED and Super ED glass reduces flare and ghosting
ED (Extra-low Dispersion) and Super ED glass elements take axial chromatic aberration and chromatic aberration due to differences in magnification out of the picture, maximizing resolution and bokeh while leaving precisely rendered edges with no fringing or unnatural coloration.
Advanced simulation techniques control bokeh right from desi
The G Master series elevates resolution to unprecedented heights thanks to new technology specifically developed to accommodate the more exacting tolerances required in the face of continually evolving camera body performance. Sony has applied the most advanced optical technology available in innovative lens elements, optical path design, simulation, testing, and calibration, achieving image detail and sharpness that reveal the essence of every scene and subject.
Instant auto/manual focus selection
Instantly and quickly switch between auto and manual focus via an AM/MF switch on the side of the lens. This makes operation faster and easier as you let the camera and lens focus for you, or decide to take control and manually focus on the precise point you chose.
Focus hold button
Once you’ve adjusted focus to where you want it, pressing this button on the lens barrel will keep the lens locked to that focusing distance. The preview function can also be assigned to this button through the camera’s custom settings.
Internal Focus maintains lens dimensions
Only the middle groups of the optical system move to achieve focus, so the overall length of the lens does not change. Other important benefits include fast autofocusing and a short minimum focusing distance. Also, the filter thread at the front of the lens does not rotate, which is convenient if you’re using a polarizing filter.
Legal and Footnotes
2016 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony is not responsible for typographical and photographic errors. Features and specifications are subject to change without notice.
Sony, G Master, the Alpha logo and the Sony.
1 Although the design is dust and moisture resistant, absolute protection from dust and moisture is not guaranteed.
The Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Zoom Lens is the ultimate choice for those seeking the highest possible optical performance for portrait, travel and event photography or even simple everyday shooting. Built with three aspherical elements including a newly developed, extremely precise XA (extreme aspherical) element that reduces aberration and delivers the ultimate resolution throughout the entire zoom range and aperture range. ED (Extra-low-Dispersion) glass element and Super ED glass element keep chromatic aberration to a minimum while maximizing resolution and bokeh without any unnatural coloration. To maximize usability this lens also features a dust/moisture resistant design, AF/MF switch, circular aperture, Nano AR coating, compact, a direct drive SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) focusing system that is super smooth and quiet, making it an ideal choice for shooting both still images as well as movies.
Top customer reviews
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The lens is generally sharp but it DOES NOT HAVE CORNER-TO-CORNER SHARPNESS as was hoped for. As long as you ignore corner/extreme edges softness in most of the center sharpness visually matches A7R II’s 42 megapixels resolution – this is far from scientific though. Corner sharpness (or softness in the case of this lens) I tested with high F numbers (F8) on far away objects. High aperture technically should allow to both ignore focus plane curvature (as DoF becomes infinite at the far end at high aperture) and also F8 comes close to the sweet spot for this lens.
The lense certainly loses on sharpness to good primes like Loxias or even to better zooms like Canon 24-70 F2.8 L II.
Apart from corner/extreme edges softness the lens also has CURVATURE OF FOCUS PLANE that is quite noticeable and rather extreme at 24mm F2.8. Here is an example of what I mean: when I focused on a center object that was about 200 meters away I saw trees and lampposts closer to the frame edge popping into focus that were about 20-30meters away while objects at the same 200 meters were out of focus at the edges. This is what I call quite extreme focus plane curvature.
However, DXO Mark comparison shows that this Sony lens loses a lot on sharpness to Canon 24-70 F2.8L II.
Sony marketing raved a lot about the lens sharpness and the reality check in a DXO lab shows the claim to be not confirmed or at least losing to practically all competition from Canon and Nikon to Tamron and Tokina.
DISTORTION AND ASTIGMATISM
The lens is no miracle in this respect. It has very NOTICEABLE DISTORTION that moves from pincushion to barrel distortion as you move through the focal range.
Apart from barrel and pincusion distortion this Sony lens also has noticable astigmatism.
BOKEH: GREATEST DISAPPOINTMENT
This is the greatest disappointment for me. After all the marketing rave about bokeh of this lens I expected bokeh to be great. But it is not. At the center it is very close in shape to a circle but moving to the edges it becomes like squashed circle (not exactly ellipse as it develops two pointy ends). And in the extreme corners it is squashed hexagonal shaped. The inside of the bokeh has very NERVOUS ONION RING PATTERN both at the center and at the edges. The EDGE OF THE BOKEH LOOKS TOO SHARP with high contrast double border rather than smooth transition.
I would definitely never buy this lens for its bokeh. Though this depends on what you compare it to as if you compare to the F4 Sony FE mount zooms then those were way worse (but this only shows how bad those lenses are). But if you compare to the best lenses around from competition then this lens disappoints.
See attached images for bokeh samples.
Chromatic aberration is mostly well controlled but nevertheless result is SEVERAL PIXEL WIDE PURPLE FRINGING in the corners. See attached image.
On the positive side AF is silent and is fast.
On the negative side AF gives up focusing at F9 and above even in bright sunlight leaving you with manual focusing only. This is probably unfair to mention in lens review since the problem here is in crappy on-sensor autofocus implementation in A7R II what automatically means AF ability depends on aperture (and with this lens on A7R II it is the case). In low light it may give up focusing even at F2.8. Again that would be A7RII’s fallacy. I never had such autofocus giving up problem on Canon and Nikon in situations where Sony AF gives up.
The lens is BULKY. Be prepared. On its own this is not a problem except that Sony cameras are uncomfortably small with this lens and generally are too small for a good grip (e.g. I only get 2 finger grip on A7R II while on Canon’s and Nikon’s I get full grip). I really wish A7R II had a larger and more ergonomic body rather than bad ergonomics wise current design. With this lens A7R II becomes a bit longer than my wife’s Canon 6D with Tamron 24-70mm F2.8. But her Canon 6D is more ergonomic. I tried a full day shoot with A7R II with this lens and the hand gets tired way more than with Canon. This is a result of not enough grip (and 2 finger grip on A7R II is not enough). Adding vertical grip to A7R II makes the package way heavier than my wife’s Canon 6D package and still is not as comfortable as her Canon 6D without any additional vertical grip. And I keep running out of batteries which was never a problem with Canon and Nikon.
Though I would classify size issue as more of a camera issue than the lens. Sony needs cameras with better ergonomics and full grip.
You can see size comparison with Canon 6D+Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 in the attached images.
Quality control that was always an issue with Sony still seems to be not fully nailed. Decentering is one of the relatively common problems with this lens that I see in some of the forums. My sample does not seem to have decentering though based on Zeiss Siemens Star Chart test.
While marketing made it sound like some miracle of engineering it certainly is not that in a sense that it does not go over competition but nicely closes one gap on Sony's side. If you are tolerant of this lens issues (nervous bokeh and lack of corner-to-corner sharpness are the worst ones since they cannot be corrected unlike distortion) this lens may become a good companion especially if Sony in future will release a camera body with better ergonomics than the current lineup.
1) Generally sharp except edges and corners though worse than competition
2) Bokeh is close to circular except for edges and corners
3) Chromatic aberration is well controlled in the center
4) Fast and silent autofocus
CONS THAT CANNOT BE CORRECTED:
1) No corner-to-corner sharpness. Corners are soft. Loses a lot in sharpness to Canon competing lens in DXO Mark tests. Marginally worse than competing lens from Nikon. Worse on sharpness according to DXO Mark lan testing than even similar Tamron and Tokina lenses.
2) Extreme curvature of focus plane
3) Squashed bokeh at the edges and in the corners
4) Nervous onion ring pattern inside bokeh
5) On A7R II fails to focus at F9 and above in bright sunlight and in low light even at F2.8 in the absence of really high contrast. In these cases Canon and Nikon cameras do not fail to focus.
6) Bulky, Sony cameras do not match its size in ergonomics. Wish Sony had larger cameras with full hand grip (like Canon and Nikon do) to match this lens and to have better battery life.
7) No in-lens stabilization like in some competitor lenses.
CONS THAT CAN BE CORRECTED IN SOFTWARE:
8) Distortion (from pincushion to barrel) and astigmatism
9) Several pixels wide chromatic aberration in the corners.
1) Size comparison of A7R II with this lens (no in-lens image stabilization) against Canon 6D with Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 (has in-lens image stabilization). Ignore image quality - taken with a smartphone.
2) Bokeh just off-center. One can also see human hairs in focus.
3) Bokeh at extreme edge
4) Bokeh at extreme corner
5) Chromatic aberration (purple fringing) in the corner. This also demonstrates well softness in the corner.
6) Random image sample shot with this lens on A7R II.
DXOMARK COMPARISON TO COMPETITION
DXO Mark has finally tested this new Sony lens and compared it to the Canon and Nikon competition.
The most important aspect that cannot be corrected is the lens' optical resolution seems to be where Sony's claims come false and short and way behind in particular to excelent Canon zoom. In fact Canon 24-70 F2.8 LII shows better optical resolution on 22 megapixel camera than this lens on 36 megapixel camera which is quite a let down.
Sony transmission is better than competition but frankly the difference is negligible unlike the resolution gap where Sony loses almost twice to Canon. Disapointment after all the Sony marketing rave about 50 lines per mm, etc. Does not seem to stand up to scrutiny.
The Sony 24-70 F2.8 GM lens is also found to have siginificant astigmatism.
That being said, I have trouble believing this lens is worth maybe 20%+ MORE than the Canon 24-70 2.8L glass. All the better SONY glass seems to follow this pattern. I have a choice between a 1000$ macro or a 30mm Macro which is worthless even @250$ or whatever. I'm sort of wishing I hadn't sold ALL my Canon stuff to go 'mirrorless'.
Our first impression is that it feels like 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 image quality.
It 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 it would be front-heavy, but it is very manageable for both of us.
The lens features a black metal and rubber construction that is rated to be dust and water resistant. 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, which is extremely useful as the left hand is often resting on the lens for adjusting the zoom and for support. Lock-on tracking worked very well for faces and bodies.
Our favorite way to test and evaluate a lens is to play with it, so we took it with us on outings with the kids. We took many photos at F2.8 to see what the lens is capable of at the widest aperture. When combined with 42 megapixels on the a7RII, the camera and lens capture a ton of detail, dynamic range and color depth.
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 photographers.
The image quality of this lens is quite spectacular 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.
While the lens finds focus very quickly, 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 the new a6300, 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 quite close to something to take a photo of it.
The lens controls flare very well in backlit situations. However, there can be some loss of contrast.
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.
Background blur is generally very smooth, although outlines can be seen in the bokeh circles. The best part about the circular highlights is that they are completely round all the way to the edges of the frame.
There is some vignetting and distortion, which are correctable.
Excellent build quality with gaskets and weather sealing
Silent, accurate and fast autofocus
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
Good colors and rendering
Very expensive at $2200
Somewhat heavy and large
Some vignetting at wider apertures (correctable)
Can have chromatic aberration near edge of frame (correctable)
Can flare strongly in some situations
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