As an elopement photographer in Colorado, the new Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II lens is an essential tool in my bag for highlighting the landscape, while also capturing those candid and intimate moments in the mountains. With its fast f/2.8 aperture, sharp optics, and advanced features, this lens is perfect for low-light situations and allows me to easily capture every detail of the couple’s special day from start to finish.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or videographer, or a serious hobbyist, the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II is sure to impress, ensuring beautiful images that truly tell the story of the special day. While it may be a pricier option than the first version, the investment is worth it for the lower weight & smaller size, and the image quality is top-notch. In this Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II Review, I’ll show you some of the beautiful images it creates that truly capture the spirit of a special day in the mountains.
The lens is also costly and probably overkill for a hobbyist but it is worth the investment for professional photographers seeking to produce high-quality and beautiful imagery. Its lightweight, high-quality optics, smooth and precise focus, advanced image stabilization, and durability make it a reliable and versatile option for capturing a range of photos from weddings and elopements to sports and outdoor landscapes.
Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II | Specifications
FOCAL LENGHT & ANGLE OF VIEW: 24-70mm, 84° to 34°
LENS MOUNT(S): Sony E mount (full-frame)
APERTURE & RANGE: f/2.8-22, 11-blade circular aperture
STABILIZATION: Sensor-based stabilization only (with capable camera bodies)
AUTOFOCUS: Yes, 4 XD (extreme dynamic) linear motors
MANUAL FOCUS: Yes (Linear response mode available)
OPTICAL CONSTRUCTION: 20 elements in 15 groups (5 aspherical, 2 high-precision extreme aspherical, 2 extra-low dispersion ed, 2 super ED elements, Nano AR Coating II)
MECHANICAL CONSTRUCTION: Mostly metal barrel; dust and moisture-resistant design
MAGNIFICATION & FOCUS DISTANCE: 0.32x magnification, 0.2 m (8.27 in.) close-focusing
FILTER THREADS & HOOD: 82mm filter thread, Lens hood included
SIZE: 3.5 x 4.7″ / 87.8 x 119.9 mm
WEIGHT: 695 g (1.53 lb.)
[Related: Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Review | They Said It Couldn’t Be Done!]
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II Review | Who Should Buy It?
The Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II lens is a premium zoom lens designed for professional use. Its fast f/2.8 aperture makes it ideal for capturing intimate and emotional moments in low-light settings during elopement events. The lens features advanced features and technologies that ensure sharp and detailed images, even when zoomed in to capture the intimate details of a couple’s special day.
It is a diverse lens, though, and works well in many environments. It will certainly be popular among landscape photographers who are looking for a wide-angle zoom lens, but it’s also great for wedding, portrait, and sports photography, where there is often no time to work with prime lenses. The Sony 24-70 2.8 GM II is certainly great for fashion and real estate photographers due to its incredible sharpness, and overall beautiful image quality. It’s an all-around banger lens that can be used to capture beautiful images throughout the photo industry.
Primary Focus | Wedding Photography
For my personal profession, I love that this lens has an extended focal range that doesn’t compromise quality. This allows me to adapt to different situations that the mountain might throw my way on an elopement shoot. I can start out wide for those epic panromantic shots and get close to those spicy details during the vow ceremony. This lens allows me to start back and work my way forward without trepidation. This is a must-have purchase for any elopement photographer.
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II Review | Pros & Cons
Overall, this lens is an absolute step up from the original, and produces some of the cleanest images of any glass on the market.
Sharpness – 9/10
The sharpness peaks around f/8, which is great for landscapes, but still offers very clean and sharp image detail all the way wide to f/2.8.
Bokeh – 8/10
Bokeh resulting from the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II will depend on your subject. I think it’s top-notch for anything nature-related. It takes a slight step back for portrait shots compared to a Sony f/1.4 GM prime, but I’ll have to save that for a future review! 😉
Colors & Contrast – 10/10
This lens produces images that are true to form. The color grading and editited images are truer than the first version, and that simply makes a photographer’s life easier.
Vignetting & Distortion – 8/10
If you shoot with its optimization profiles left on, (which is the Sony default on most cameras) then you won’t have a problem with distortion and vignetting.
Sunstars & Flare – 7/10
These special effects look good when stopping down to f/19 to f/22.
Macro & Close-Up Photography – 7/10
It’s hard to make a true comparison when Sony has better macro-focused lenses on the market, but it still holds up for those detail shots.
Design & Durability 10/10
Sony’s “GM” designation means, of course, that you are buying their flagship professional-grade equipment. It is specifically designed to be as sturdy as possible, even in the harshest conditions. So, in addition to being mostly constructed of metal, in the mount and barrel mechanisms, the Sony 24-70 GM2 is fully weather-sealed.
It is also worth mentioning that with four autofocus motors, not only is AF faster, (more on that in a bit!) …but the system will probably turn out to be more robust and have better longevity than the previous version.
Ergonomics & Portability – 9/10
As the specifications make clear, this lens is significantly lighter than its predecessor. Not only that but also, its weight balances in-hand much better, too; by saving weight at the very front of the lens, your wrist really notices the difference in a way that numbers just can’t articulate.
Simply put, if you do long days of hand-holding, whether wedding & portrait photography or other more adventurous activities, you’ll enjoy using this lens.
Autofocus Performance – 8/10
You may not be able to see it from the outside, but autofocus technology took a big leap forward with this “mark 2” lens. It’s hard to quantify, but simply put, it’s a little faster, a little more snappy, and responsive overall, plus, it’s more precise and consistent too.
Manual Focus Performance – 9/10
As with a few other of Sony’s latest flagship lenses, you can now activate a Linear focus mode, in addition to the standard (electronically controlled) manual focus mode. This makes the lens’ focus ring behave very much like a traditional manual focus ring. It’s a useful feature for those who use MF mode a lot, and the precision is impressive.
Features & Customizations – 8/10
In terms of additional features and customizations, the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II has almost everything Sony can offer. There’s a physical aperture ring, with both de-click and lockout switches. There’s an AF/MF switch, of course, as well as two customizable Fn buttons.
There is also one additional switch on the lens barrel, which controls whether the zoom is tight or smooth. On the detachable hood, there is both a lock switch and a sliding window for turning a circular polarizer.
Value – 9/10
As a name-brand flagship lens, the value of the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II is on par with its name-brand competitors. That is, it offers incredible image quality, as many professional features as possible, at just over $2K.
In fact, the Sony in particular is arguably a much better value than the Canon and Nikon alternatives, because of how many features it offers, and how incredibly lightweight and portable it is. We’ll talk more about the competition next.
The only more affordable lens that comes even close in quality is, of course, the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art. However, that is a third-party lens, so the difference in value may be seen by many as a draw.
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II Review | Compared To The Competition
If you loved the first version, you will love the second version even more, especially for those who are conscious of gear weight. I personally think the price increase is worth the lighter glass alone, (as someone who literally climbs mountains for elopement photography work!) …but when you take into account the higher quality and compactor size, this is a no-brainer for any gearhead.
You could buy the older version of the 24-70 GM if you are looking to save money, but with that comes a heavier and bigger lens that is also slower (to autofocus) and won’t produce the image quality the GM II will.
If you are truly on a tight budget, though, the Sigma (mirrorless-made, not the DSLR version) 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art is indeed a lot more affordable. Also, it does offer much sharper images than the original Sony 24-70 2.8 GM.
In our opinion, if this is going to be the primary workhorse lens that you literally pay your bills with, the best investment you can make is to get the flagship name-brand option. This doesn’t need to be the case for every lens you ever use, but at least the one lens you’re going to use the most!
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II Review | Conclusion
I have always loved the Sony 24-70 GM because of its versatility and image quality. It was always my go-to lens on elopements and adventures in the mountains but the portability needed an upgrade. The new version takes the quality of the old lens and somehow makes it better, lighter, and smaller. This lens is a top-tier get for any professional photographer and offers a wide variety of uses in any profession. It’s great for those who have disposable income, or those who can only afford one lens that “does it all”. An absolute A+ lens on the market.
The Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II lens currently is priced at $2,298 at the time of this review, and can be purchased at the links below.
(Adorama | B&H | Amazon)