Sony Launches NEW 12-24mm f2.8 G-Master Lens

Sony keeps on trucking. In the first of several summer announcements Sony today launched a NEW 12-24mm G-Master lens. I say new as there was already 12-24 non-G-Master that has been around for a few years. The old lens is designated as the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G Lens.

The Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G Lens I have owned since it was first available. Costing around 1773.00 it has been a fine lens. The only drawback is you couldn’t use screw-in filters. That is still present in the new lens but Sony does provide a template for cutting out filters to be inserted into the rear element area of the G-Master lens.

12-24mm G-Master Lens
12-24mm G-Master Lens

The 12-24mm lens has become a staple for my system kit. This kit consists of the 12-24mm, 16-35mm G-master, 24-70 G-Master, and the 100-400mm G-master. I use these on the a9, a7 III, and the a7riv. I also have the 70-200mm G-master that I pack if I don’t see the need for the longer 100-400mm lens.

The question is, in a time where I am trying to alleviate myself of issues associated with GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) do I really need a special-purpose 12-24 2.8 lens instead of the 12-24 f4 lens? The price is nearly double from 1773.00 USD to 2998.00 USD a $1225.00 USD price differenceYou can read about the lens below in the official Sony Press Release.

Rokinon 14mm lens

I find the times I have used this lens to be few compared to the other lenses in my kit mentioned above. When I do astrophotography I find I use wider lenses. However, I have settled in a 14mm Rokinon manual focus lens for most of that work. The focus by wire lenses can be a bit tricky finding true infinity while in the dark.

The 12-24mm lens has also been great for some landscape work but most of the time I have been in the 16mm or greater renege and when that happens I put on the 16-35mm G-Master. The wider the lens the more care needs to be used in using it. The perspective and distortion of subjects can be tricky for anything but straight on shots. If you practice though and then can also use a good RAW processor like Capture One you can easily do some amazing work with this focal length lens.

The rear filter in place

I will be receiving a review unit soon and Rachel Ross will also be providing us her impressions of the lens which she is already using. Her initial comment is that it checks off all the needed boxes. I’ll publish my impression of this lens here in the near future. For now, I will stick with what I have unless I am completely blown away by the review unit.

Template for cutting a rear filter
Template for cutting a rear filter

I will do some comparison images using both lenses and put them on this site for download so you can evaluate side by side yourself. Watch for that soon. Sony is also expected to announce the new a7s III this summer. Specs have already been released and they do seem to be impressive. Let’s see how the price and feature set match up once it is released. Stay tuned.

Press Release

SAN DIEGO – July 7, 2020 – Sony Electronics Inc. today announced an exciting new addition to its full-frame lens lineup with the introduction of the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM (model SEL1224GM) Large-aperture Ultra-wide Zoom lens. This compact and versatile lens is ideal for shooting landscapes, astrophotography, and architecture while providing extra mobility for active sports shooters who want to capture ultra-wide perspectives. As part of Sony’s flagship G Master series lenses, users can be completely confident that it delivers outstanding image quality up to an ultra-wide 12mm angle of view with F2.8 constant aperture and beautiful bokeh effects.

The introduction of the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM now extends the F2.8 range of Sony’s G Master series zoom lenses all the way from 12mm to 200mm and at 12mm, offers the world’s widest range of zoom at F2.8. At this focal length, it is possible to emphasize distance and create dynamic perspectives that are beyond the scope of the human eye, opening the door to new avenues of creative expression.

12mm view
12mm view

“We are excited to introduce the new FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM as the 57th lens in Sony’s E-mount lineup”, said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging Products and Solutions Americas, Sony Electronics.  “It is important for us to continue to push boundaries in the industry to develop the best tools for our customers. By extending our range of G Master constant F2.8 zoom lenses out to 12mm, we are excited to see how these new innovations will help our customers create like never before.”

The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM benefits from innovative construction that delivers outstanding corner-to-corner image quality throughout the entire zoom range. It features three precise XA (extreme aspherical) elements including the largest XA element ever made for an α – Alpha brand lens. These XA elements, with an additional aspherical element, effectively suppress astigmatism, coma and field curvature right out to the image edges. Furthermore, three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements plus two Super ED glass elements, powerfully control chromatic aberration and combine to deliver corner-to-corner clarity while minimizing color fringing.

Great for dramatic views
Great for dramatic views

An extremely effective floating focus mechanism divides the lens’s focus group into two independently controllable groups, ensuring both outstanding close-up performance and maximum sharpness at any distance. The two independently controlled groups help realize a constant 11” (28 cm) minimum focusing distance throughout the zoom range, and because it is an internal focus lens, its length remains constant, so its center of gravity varies very little and is always optimally balanced in the hand.

The signature bokeh effects of Sony’s G Master series lens are achieved through the fine-tuning of the lens’s spherical aberration characteristics during both the design and manufacturing process. At the same time, the extremely high surface precision of the lens’s XA elements effectively suppresses spherical aberration and, in combination with a 9-blade circular aperture, further enhances its exquisite bokeh.

The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM employs four original high-speed, high-thrust XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors to ensure that it is compatible with the speed performance of both current and future camera bodies. With two XD Linear Motors for each of the lens’s focus groups, autofocus is fast and precise. New control algorithms maximize the response of the system while achieving flawless synchronization between the two focus groups. Further benefits include extremely quiet operation with minimal vibration and lower power consumption.

A brand-new Nano AR Coating II that can be evenly applied to large lens elements or highly curved element surfaces has been used for the first time on the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM. It suppresses internal reflections, minimizes flare and ghosting for clear, crisp imagery and despite the lens’s wide-angle of view, Nano AR Coating II maintains high clarity and contrast throughout the entire image, even in difficult light.

Great for interiors
Great for interiors

Moviemaking

The constant F2.8 maximum aperture at all focal lengths ensures that exposure is stable when zooming. As a result, this means that shutter speed and ISO sensitivity can remain constant while shooting movies. The creative opportunities afforded by shooting movies at a 12mm angle of view with F2.8 constant aperture in full-frame are boundless, and when used on an APS-C or Super 35 camera, the wide end of the zoom range becomes equivalent to 18mm, providing a useful zoom range for moviemaking.

Professional Control

Weighing only 1.87 lbs (847 g), the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM offers numerous features for full professional control of shots. These include a customizable focus hold button, focus mode switch, zooming ring and focusing ring that are positioned for easy operation while shooting. The Linear Response MF ensures that the focus ring responds directly to the most subtle adjustments when focusing manually so control feels immediate and precise. It is dust and moisture resistant[ii] and the front lens element features a fluorine coating that repels water, oil, and other contaminants, making it easier to wipe off any fingerprints from the lens surface. The rear filter holder accommodates standard sheet-type ND, color correction, and other filters for expanded expressive capability. A cutting template for sheet filters is supplied.

Pricing and Availability

The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM is available in August 2020 for a suggested retail price of $2,999.99 USD and $3,999.99 CAD.

Exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new lens and Sony’s other imaging products can be found at alphauniverse.com, a site created to educate and inspire all fans and customers of Sony’s α – Alpha brand.

SEL1224GM, SEL1635GM, SEL2470GM, SEL70200GM

[ii] Not guaranteed to be fully dust and moisture resistant


Kevin Raber
July 2020
Kevin Raber
Indianapolis, IN

Photography is my passion and has been for 47 plus years. My career in photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet some of the most interesting people on the planet and see things I could never have dreamed of. My goal is to share the passion of pictures taking through photographs and teaching with as many people as I can hoping it brings them as much joy and happiness as it has me. I do this through photoPXL.com, this site as well as Rockhopper Workshops and other projects as well as teaching at my Gallery in Indianapolis.

Article Type: News, Columns, MISC

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