First Came The Camera
Having made one of my most treasured camera purchases earlier this year, the Sony A7RII, I began to look forward to my full Sony mirrorless migration. You see, although the combination of my A7RII plus Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art lens (connected via the Sigma lens adapter) was producing some fantastic results, I really wanted to start building my native E-mount lens collection. I haven’t used any other Canon EF-Sony FE lens adapters other than the Sigma one, and by all accounts, it does a wonderful job of letting you use your existing lenses with autofocus capabilities. However, for me, this is just a temporary solution, as I use a range of different lenses for different scenarios, and the autofocus results are inconsistent from one lens to another.
So question was, which lens do I invest in to marry my wonderful new Sony A7RII to? First, I had to do an inventory check. Let’s see what I had at that time: Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC USD, Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 VC USD, Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art, Canon 100mm f2.8L, Canon 70-300mm f4-5.6L and Samyang 24mm f1.4 AS UMC.
I found that there were two distinct omissions from my gear, namely a 50mm and/or an 85mm lens. And believe me when I say that I am still lusting after those! But surprisingly what I decided to do was commit myself just that little bit further and go for one of my wedding workhorse lenses, the 24-70mm f2.8. And what better timing than the imminent release of the Sony 24-70 f2.8 G Master lens, announced back in Feb 2016, and due to be released in the UK from late April.
So why choose the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master lens which is already covered by the Tamron? To be honest, I was having a bit of trouble with my Tamron 24-70 f2.8. I was experiencing soft focus issues, which could’ve resulted from back or front focus issues, perhaps it needed some micro adjustment, or maybe it was simply a bad copy. In any case, I had decided it had to go, and in it’s stead, would sit the much hyped, and sought after Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master lens. I was quite literally, excited beyond belief! After a good play with it at the Photography Show 2016 at NEC Birmingham, UK, I was sold. The only giant brick wall was the price, and at £1800 I knew I had to let some things go. Infact, with over-indulgence of gear, it was time to make a few decisions about what I really needed.
Time To Sacrifice Some Gear
Considering I was purchasing a Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens, it was easy to name the Tamron 24-70 f2.8 as the first to go. I also realised that although it is a beautiful piece of glass which has given me some wonderful shots of the moon, I rarely used my Canon 70-300 f4-5.6L for much else, other than the occasional long range pet shot. Next on the list was the Elinchrom D-Lite RX4 studio kit (as I also owned the cheaper D-Lite One kit, this seemed the better choice to go. Finally, my beloved Canon 7DMk2. At only 6 months old, it was a tough decision, but one made easier knowing that I would eventually be moving to Sony fully at some point. And then came the bad news…
“Sony was seriously impacted by the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake”
The Kumamoto earthquake on 14 April 2016 had effected Sony’s sensor manufacturing plant, resulting in it being shut down for a period of time. Not only did this have a knock on effect on it’s sensors, but also cameras and lenses. The April release schedule was pushed back into May, and then June. I had preorderd mine from my favourite UK retailer, Wex Photographic, who had the lens listed at its RRP of £1799. Towards the end of June, I visited the Sony UK website, to find a lovely surprise. The RRP of the lens had been dropped to £1600! I’d rushed to contact Wex, who also checked the website and confirmed that for some reason, Sony had decided to drop the RRP (perhaps as a sorry for the delay?) In any case, the lens was price matched for me, and I finally had delivery of my brand new Sony 24-70 f2.8 G Master lens!
My Thoughts On This Lens
That was 3 months ago. So, now having owned and used this lens for the past 3 months as my primary workhorse lens when paired with my Sony A7RII, I wanted to give some insight into what I think about this lens.
First of all, the weight of any 24-70mm f2.8 lens tend to be around the same, and if you are coming from using kit lenses, yes, you most definitely notice the difference. And you would imagine so, considering it is an f2.8, so meaning more glass, and the body has a matt black metal finish, again adding to the heft of the lens. But for me, I only really noticed how heavy it is when attached to the A7RII (or is that me noticing how light the A7RII is?) In any case, the combination is a little top heavy.
The front element has an 82mm filter thread. I’ve read many reviews saying how this’ll mean a much more expensive UV/protector filter for it, but if you shop around on Amazon, I don’t see why you couldn’t nab yourself a decent filter for about £30, mine being the Hoya variety.
The lens hood has a fantastic feature, whereby it actually locks into place so that it can’t accidentally unscrew itself. I wish all lenses would do this. There’s a dedicated AF/MF switch, but the A7RII can also do this in camera by using one of its custom buttons to do this. There’s also a focus hold button on the lens, but truth be told, I haven’t utilised this nearly as much as I should.
Finally, we get to the most important part, which is the lens image quality and performance. As I mentioned previously, my Tamron 24-70 f2.8 was not the best in optical quality, and it was noticeable. The first few pictures from this lens were nothing short of magnificent. The lens is so optically sharp, that when used together with the A7RII, I was getting fantastic results. And I was getting them more consistently. Maybe it has some part to do with the excellent autofocus system of the A7RII, and some part to do with its focus accuracy. I’ve now used this lens at weddings over the past 3 months, and I can say that I have been going home with many more consistently accurate shots than with my Canon 6D. Infact, I’ve been taking so many more in-focus shots that culling them has been made even more difficult! I can safely say that even after dumping a load of gear in order to be able to afford this lens, the trade has been well worth it.
The beauty of a 24-70 lens, specially on a full frame camera, is that it can be used as a general walkaround lens. I’ve taken it for trips and used it for landscapes, seascapes and portraits, and I can wholeheartedly say you will not be disappointed with its results. My main reason for buying this lens, however, is for weddings. I am a 24-70 and 70-200 shooter, plus I carry around my 100mm f2.8 and 35mm f1.4. Now while I still need my 100mm for macro ring shots, I found I wasn’t using the 35mm as much. Reason? The quality of images produced from the G Master lens! Yes, you cannot compare the bokeh of a f2.8 to a f1.4 lens, but Im talking about the overall look and quality of the images. I have been so impressed that I am seriously considering adding the 70-200mm f2.8 and 85mm f1.4 GM lenses eventually too.
Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens Real World Examples
As they say, a picture says a thousand words, so below you’ll find real world examples of images all taken by me with the 24-70 f2.8 GM lens on the Sony A7RII camera. Hopefully they will give some indication of the versatility and prowess of this lens. Any product shots of the 24-70 lens were taken using my Canon 6D and Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art. Have you used the 24-70mm f2.8 G Master lens? What are your experiences of it? Leave any comments below!