Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2022


While Sony has been the undisputed leader in terms of the number of professional-grade mirrorless system lenses for many years, they are at least facing competition regarding the quality of individual lenses. Some of their 1st generation pro glass has been getting a bit long in the tooth. And one of these lenses was the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM - not a bad lens by any standard but it has its weak spots. And thus Sony reacted with the new Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II. As you may notice, the name specs didn't change but there are some substantial changes under the hood compared to its predecessor. The aspect that didn't change much is, of course, the pricing at around $2300/2400EUR but then nobody expects a GM ("Grand Master") lens to be truly affordable.

The most obvious difference is the size and weight of the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II. Compared to the mark I as well as most non-E-mount competitors, it is a very small and lightweight lens. Coming in at just 695g, it is 20% lighter. In fact, this is comparable to the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS which is one stop slower. The weight reduction didn't have any negative impacts on the build quality. While Sony may have replaced some metal parts with compound materials (aka plastics), the body feels very sturdy and there's no wobbling even when extending the lens to its 70mm setting. The lens hosts a number of small goodies like focus stop buttons, a dedicated aperture ring with a clickless option ("Iris lock/unlock") and a switch for controlling the stiffness of the zoom mechanism. Being a professional-grade lens, it is, of course, sealed against dust and moisture. A fluorine coating on the front element also helps in this respect. A petal-shaped hood with a filter window is also part of the package.

The lens features no less than 4 XD linear motors (Extreme Dynamic) for focusing. The result is a blazingly fast and noiseless AF. Smooth manual focusing works "by-wire" thus you are driving the AF motors when turning the focus ring. Some may regret that the lens doesn't offer a dedicated image stabilizer but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Lenses with IS tend to have a worse centering quality and fast standard zoom lenses are complex beings to start with. Namely, the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II has no less than 20 elements so it's probably a good idea to be a little conservative here.

Below is a comparison between the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 II (left) and its predecessor.

Optical construction22 elements in 16 groups, with 5x aspherical, 2x ED, 2x Super ED, 2xXA elements
Number of aperture blades11 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.21m(W)-0.3m(T) (max magnification 1:3)
Filter sizeφ82mm
Hoodpetal-shaped, bayonet mount, supplied
Other featuresfocus stop buttons, Nano AR II coating, clickless mode, zoom smoothness switch, dust- and moisture-resistant, fluorine coating

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