Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master Lens Announced – First Look and Sample Footage

July 7th, 2020

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master zoom lens has just been announced. It offers an ultra-wide focal length with constant aperture while covering full-frame sensors. Weighing 847 grams (29.88 oz), the lens features minimum focusing distance of 28cm (11″), 9-blade aperture, and rear filter holder system for sheet-type NDs. The lens is available for around €3,300. Take a look at our short video with test footage.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM Lens. Image credit: cinema5D

Sony just announced a new full-frame G Master lens that aims to extend its range of constant aperture f/2.8 zoom lenses on the wide end. The Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM complements the previous 24-70mm and 70-200mm f/2.8 GM lenses and adds the ultra-wide-angle point of view. Let’s take a short look at the lens.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM

According to Sony, this lens (full model name – SEL1224GM) is the world’s widest full-frame zoom lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture. With the addition of this lens, Sony’s G Master f/2.8 series of lenses now cover focal lengths from 12mm to 200mm. The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM lens weighs 847 grams (29.88 oz).

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM Lens. Image credit: cinema5D

When it comes to the optical design of the lens, it features three XA (extreme aspherical) elements, an additional aspherical element, and three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements plus two Super ED glass elements. As Sony claims, this design enables the lens to minimise astigmatism, chromatic aberration, and colour fringing and deliver corner-to-corner clarity. As Sony claims, the used Nano AR Coating II should suppress internal reflections and minimize flare and ghosting.

The focusing mechanism consists of two independently controllable groups. The minimum focusing distance is 28cm (11″). It is an internal focus lens so its length remains constant when focusing and its centre of gravity varies only a little. Sony says they worked on good autofocus performance and there are four XD (extreme dynamic) linear motors in the lens.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM Lens. Image credit: cinema5D

The 9-blade aperture of the lens along with XA elements should, according to Sony, achieve a pleasing bokeh. Other than zooming and focusing rings, Sony also included a customizable focus hold button and focus-mode switch on the lens.

The lens is dust and moisture resistant and the front lens element features a fluorine coating that repels water, oil, and other contaminants and it is easier to wipe off any fingerprints from the lens surface. Because of the ultra-wide FOV of the lens, it is not possible to mount a front circular filter. Sony equipped the lens with a rear filter holder that accommodates standard sheet-type ND, color correction, and other filters. Sony includes a cutting template for sheet filters in the box.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM Lens – rear filter holder with ND-sheet. Image credit: cinema5D

First Hands-On Impressions

My colleague Johnnie has spent some time with the lens and he filmed a short documentary with it mounted on the Sony a7 III mirrorless camera. The idea was to only use this one lens to tell a story. Johnnie shot mostly in full-frame mode but he also took advantage of the APS-C mode of the camera to extend the focal length by 1.5x to 18-36mm (full-frame equivalent) for some shots.

Here are some of Johnnie’s thoughts about the lens:

  • Overall, a very nice full frame lens, can sometimes be a bit softer on the edges when wide open
  • Constant f2.8 aperture
  • The lens is great for tight spaces – it is VERY wide
  • Image is a distorted at the edges on the wider end (It is not a Zero-D lens). Personally I like this kind of distortion. For a non distorted image, you will have to zoom in
  • Its weight should be considered especially when it is intended for gimbal use (It’s a heavy lens)
  • It is a sharp lens, but it was limited by the Sony’s a7 III bitrate. I fill it would perform  better on a more advanced camera, like the FX9 for example
  • The rear filter solution is OK, but it can be cumbersome and can sometimes slow one down – it is not possible to use Variable ND filters
  • It looks like the lens is parfocal, which is good

In summery, I would definitely use this lens on locations when room is tight, or the opposite, when wanting to enhance the power of great locations.

The above Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 sample footage has been shot on the Sony a7 III. Graded with Lutify.me.  Music: epidemicsound

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM Lens. Image credit: cinema5D

Pricing and Availability

The Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM is available now for pre-order. The shipping should start in August 2020. The price has been set to approximately $3,000 (around €3,300 in Europe). The price is definitely in the premium segment of the market – mainly because of the ultra-wide focal length combined with the fast aperture.

What do you think about the new Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM lens? Do you have experience with other G Master zoom lenses? Do you use ultra-wide lenses for filming? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.

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 Alban Cousinié
Alban Cousinié
MemberJuly 8th, 2020

I beleive what makes the Sony lenses so costy is the internal focusing design way more than the other features, as stated. This is the big difference with Tamron or Sigma zooms, yet noone ever highlights it in comparisons.

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