Sony’s new 12-24mm F2.8 GM zoom lens
Today, Sony has unveiled a potentially groundbreaking new zoom lens, the Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM, a large-aperture ultra-wide zoom lens for Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras. The new E-mount zoom is a G Master series lens—its 11th G Master lens in the series and fourth G Master zoom with a constant F2.8 aperture—includes many of Sony’s latest mirrorless lens innovations and technologies. Moreover, Sony claims the new lens is the “world’s widest full-frame constant F2.8 zoom” in the market place, which, Sony also states in a promotional video, has an angle of view that is “wider than the human eye.”
In the world of ultra wide primes and zooms—that is, any lenses that has a focal length wider than a 24mm lens on a full-frame format digital camera—there are a few lenses that have either a 12mm (or wider) focal length or a constant F2.8 aperture. But Sony says only this new lens achieves both a wide-angle focal length of 12mm (which translates into a 10 degree angle of view advantage over primes and zooms with a 14mm focal length) and a constant F2.8 aperture (which takes in twice as much light as an F4 aperture lens).
Pricing And Availability
The Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM zoom lens will be available in mid-August for an expected street price of around $3000, which is very pricey for a lens, although ultra wide-angle lenses tend to be expensive across brands. However, despite the high price, the zoom might be one of the most sought after lenses of the year by every type of shooter, from street and architectural photographers to commercials and sports shooters as well as photographers of nightscapes and starscapes.
Specialized Optical Design
The optical design of the new zoom uses 17 elements in 14 groups, including 3 XA elements, 1 aspheric element as well as 3 ED and 2 Super ED elements. It also utilizes 4 XD linear motors for outstanding autofocus speed, precision and tracking, including Sony’s real-time eye AF. The construction of the lens also uses a floating focus mechanism.
The camera includes a variety of additional features, including:
- a lens diameter that was under 4 inches;
- a minimum focal distance of 11 inches;
- a 9-blade circular aperture mechanism;
- a relatively lightweight, compact design, weighing 1 lbs. 14 oz.,
- a new lens coating: Nano AR Coating II;
- a dust and moisture-resistant design;
- a focus hold button and manual-focus ring;
- and a rear filter holder (by the lens-mount end of the zoom) for sheet-type ND filters
Because it’s an E-mount lens, the Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM will also work on Sony mirrorless cameras that use APS-C-sized sensors, although it will effectively turn the zoom into an 18-36mm zoom lens.
Optimized For Video
Sony says the lens is also optimized for video, and is “optically designed to minimize critical issue of moviemaking,” including focus breathing, focus shift and axial shift while zooming. But Sony also noted the lens doesn’t include a power zoom on the lens.
Like many Sony wide-angle lenses, the Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM doesn’t have an optical stabilizer built into the lens since Sony Alpha camera bodies include an in-body image stabilization system.
For more information, visit Sony’s product announcement for the lens on its Alpha Universe website.