Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 G Master Image Gallery
June 13th, 2021
Sony in a very good place in terms of their lens catalogue on full frame mirrorless. They were the first of the major brands to transition to mirrorless, and they’ve had an extra camera generation or two to finetune their process and build their lens catalogue. It seems like now they have really hit their stride, and in the past couple of years we have seen one exceptional lens after another, with standouts including the 24mm F1.4 G Master (perhaps the best 24mm lenses thus far – my review here), the Sony 135mm F1.8 GM (one of the sharpest lenses I’ve ever tested – my review here), the awesome (and compact) 20mm F1.8 G (my review here), the 35mm F1.4 G Master (my review here), and, most recently, the Sony FE 14mm F1.8 (my review here). Each of these has proven to be one of the best (if not the best) lens in its class, and I haven’t even had a chance yet to test the awesome Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM. Sony has surely laid to rest the antiquated idea that the E-mount is incapable of supporting innovative wide aperture lenses, as it has received some of the very best in recent years. Sony is also ahead of Canon and Nikon in the sense that they’ve already got the basics covered, and that allows them to experiment more at the margins. It’s no accident that the Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 G Master came years before this most recent lens, as the 16-35mm focal length (or similar) is a tried and tested wide angle zoom range covered by most major lens makers. But what if your tastes run to something more extreme? Enter the Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 G Master lens, the big, heavy, and expensive extreme wild angle zoom for those that want more.
For years the defining lens on the Nikon platform (that made all we Canon shooters jealous) was the 14-24mm F2.8 G lens. It combined a very wide angle zoom range with a very wide F2.8 maximum aperture at a time when that just wasn’t being done. Every generation brings more innovation, though, and Sony has gone wider and sharper than the Nikon lens with the 12-24GM. 12mm is EXTREMELY wide on full frame, while 24mm gives you enough zoom to have a very wide variety of options for framing a scene. Here’s a look at the difference between the two extremes:
Composition between 12mm and 24mm is actually radically different, with the wide end posing more challenges in many situations, but the reward is dynamic perspectives on scenes that less extreme lenses cannot match…like this long exposure of a small plane arcing through the big sky.
The truth of the matter is that in many cases 12mm is wider than what is need for landscape use, as landscapes often involved, well, space. In many cases a longer focal length is needed to compress the scene and bring important features or details closer to the audience. But where ultrawide lenses like the 12-24mm are truly valuable is for real estate or architectural work – interiors – where space is limited. Take a look at this bathroom, for example.
At 12mm (#1), you can easily see the full tub design and pot light above. At 16mm (#2, and where many wide angle zooms start), there is much less in the frame and the space feels smaller. By 24mm (#3), it feels like a very cramped space. The reality is, however, that the 12mm photo is closer to the sense of space and perspective that I got while standing there. That’s the value of having a lens like the 12-24mm GM, and the ability for someone like a wedding photographer to have that flexibility to capture more of the context of a scene or interior when shooting posed portraits with the couple or bridal party.
So yes, this is more lens than everyone needs, and its more expensive than most want to pay at roughly $3000 USD. But for some photographers, the 12-24mm F2.8 GM will probably become the favorite tool in their bags. To discover more, you can read my review or just check out photos in the galleries below.
Thanks to Camera Canada for getting me a loaner of the lens. They are my personal source for my gear and have been great to work with. As always, this is a completely independent review.
Sony 12-24GM Build, Handling, and Features
Sony 12-24GM Optical Performance
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