One of the primary reasons many have given for stalling in making the switch to mirrorless is the lack of solid fast aperture zooms. With the newly announced Sony G Master series and initial debut of a FE 24-70mm f/2.8, FE 70-200mm f/2.8 OSS, and FE 85mm f/1.4 lenses, not only are we getting the highly requested fast zooms, but we are getting some of the best precision optics overall for the Sony Alpha system.
Sony is proud to promote that the G Master series are setting “a new standard for a high-resolution future.” Using a newly developed XA (extreme aspherical) lens element, manufactured with refined simulation software and a 0.01-micron surface precision, the G Master lenses are attempting something much more than being wide aperture lenses. According to Sony, the precision optics in the XA element result in enhanced bokeh with naturally smooth transitions from in-focus areas to the soft backgrounds. There’s also the self-imposed baseline of 50 line pairs per millimeter in the G Master series, even while shot wide open.
FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
The Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is built with three aspherical elements, including one of the new XA lens elements, and two extra-low-dispersion elements to minimize abberations. Featuring a nine-bladed aperture with Nano AR coating, the blades maintain a near circular shape throughout the aperture range and suppresses reflections to maintain contrast and clarity. The new dust and moisture resistant 24-70mm utilizes a direct drive SSM focusing system with an updated algorithm for fast positioning of lens elements. In my short use with the lens, the autofocus was proven to be silent and very fast. On the outside there’s switches for AF/MF control, focus hold, zoom lock, and a hood release button.
The FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is priced at $2,200 and will be available in March 2016. You can preorder yours now from B&H.
FE 85mm f/1.4 GM
This one is sure to excite portrait photographers. The FE 85mm f/1.4 GM bring a strong balance between flattering fast-aperture boken and compactiveness that feels at home with Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras. The lens features the new XA elements as well as three ED glass elements. The 85mm f/1.4 has 11 blades, the most put into an Alpha-series lens. To reduce ghosting and flare in a variety of dynamic lighting situations, a Nano AR coating is applied. A ring drive SSM autofocus motor system is used to drive the larger and heavier glass. There’s also two position sensors to support focus control of the lens elements. As with the other G Master lenses, it is dust and moisture resistant. The 85mm GM has an on/off switch to control click stops, an AF/MF switch, and a focus hold button.
The FE 85mm f/1.4 GM is priced at $1,800 and will be available in March 2016. You can preorder yours now from B&H.
FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS
Another G Master lens that hurdles past a previous Sony FE offering, the 70-200mm f/2.8 GM will soon become a go-to lens for many photographers who shoot with Sony Alpha cameras. The lens features three advanced lens elements including XA, Super ED and ED glass components, as well as a Nano AR coating. The front lens also benefits from a flourine coating. The floating focus system design allows for the lens to be focused as close as 0.96 meters. The SSM plus dual linear motors work together to drive the large lens elements in the telephoto zoom lens. Like the f/4 version, this lens has built in Optical SteadyShot. While it is noticably heavier than the now available f/4 counterpart, it is nearly identical in size and shape.
The FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS will be available in May 2016 with pricing yet to be determined.
Alongside the 70-200mm GM, Sony is releasing two teleconverters made specifically for use with this lens. The 1.4x and 2x teleconveters will be launched at the same time as the 70-200mm GM lens and pricing is to be determined.