Sony G Master lens impressions: 24-70mm f/2.8 and 85mm f/1.4 GM lenses look promising
posted Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 12:11 PM EDT
With cameras continuing to increase their megapixel counts and overall resolving power, Sony decided it was time to change the way they develop high-end lenses and launched the G Master line of lenses earlier this year. Sony G Master lenses have a baseline of 50 lines per millimeter versus the industry-standard of 30. Bokeh has been an area of emphasis with the G Master lenses as well, with Sony utilizing advanced simulation technology for bokeh when designing the lenses.
At the A6300 event in Miami, I was able to shoot extensively with the G Master 85mm f/1.4 and 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses. These lenses captured sharp images with an overall pleasing appearance, although you'll have to wait for our full reviews of these lenses to get the details on their optical performance.
Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM
The 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens has a very nice build quality and overall feel. It isn’t small or light, with dimensions of 4.23 in. x 3.52 in. (107.5mm x 89.5mm) and weighs 28.92 oz. (820g), but it feels nice in the hand and balanced well with the A6300 and A7R II. The lens has an aperture ring near the body and has engraved aperture designations on the barrel. The focus ring is superb, making manually focusing the 85mm f/1.4 feel smooth and precise.
One area where I felt that the 85mm came up a bit short compared to the 24-70mm was focusing speed. I was often using the 85mm in low light conditions, but it still seemed as though the 85mm f/1.4 was hunting for focus more than the 24-70mm f/2.8 did in similar conditions.
Overall, I was impressed with the 85mm f/1.4 GM lens. It's sharp, renders smooth and pleasing bokeh, and has an excellent build quality with attention to detail. The lens will begin shipping at the end of the month with a price just shy of $1,800. Look for our review of this lens to get all the details on how this lens performs.
Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
The 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens is impressive as well. It is well-designed, well-built and seems very good optically. The zoom ring rotates very smoothly and you don’t have to cover a large distance to go from 24mm to 70mm.
I'm a big fan of the 24-70mm focal length and consider it to be a staple of any camera bag. It’s a versatile focal length that can work well for many photographic uses, including landscape and portraiture. I'll be very interested to see the test results for Sony’s new 24-70mm lens once we get our hands on it, but after using it last week, I’m confident that it’ll match up well against other 24-70mm lenses on the market.
The lens is sharp from edge to edge, even when shooting wide open. It gives a beautiful rendition of color and contrast. There is some light falloff when shooting wide open, but it is not extreme and can be addressed either by stopping down or through lens correction during post-processing. I found autofocus performance to be very snappy, thanks to the lens' Direct Drive Super Sonic wave Motor).
100% crops from A7R II images captured at 70mm. RAW images converted using ACR with default settings.
Click images for full resolution.
Like the 85mm f/1.4 GM lens, good build quality and performance comes with size and weight. The 24-70mm f/2.8 GM did feel well-balanced during use, but it does weigh just under 2 lbs. (886g) and is 5.35 in. (136mm) long with a diameter of 3.45 in. (87.6mm). The 24-70mm f/2.8 GM accepts 82mm filters.
I think that Sony E-mount shooters should be excited to try this lens out for themselves because it impressed me a lot. Of course, much more information on optical performance will be available in our full review. The lens will retail for just under $2,200 and will begin shipping at the end of the month.
For more gallery images using the new 85mm f/1.4 and 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lenses, head over to our Sony A7R II Gallery Page and search for images with "JGray" in the filename.
If you would like to preorder the new 85mm f/1.4 and 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lenses, please help support our site by preordering through the links below: