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Sony goes double wide – aperture AND focal length

Sony has announced the world’s widest focal range f2.8 constant zoom lens for full frame cameras, the $5499 Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM (aka SEL1224GM).

(Now, is Sony being a little bit cute releasing a premium f2.8 lens the day before Canon is to announce  a set of full frame lenses with somewhat controversial f11 minimum apertures? Just askin’!)
Sony-12-24This lens takes Sony’s premium G Master range from 12mm through to 200mm and at 12mm, all with a widest aperture of f2.8.

‘We are extremely excited about the introduction of the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM as we believe that photographers and videographers using the Sony’s Alpha system will fall in love with this lens,’ said Jun Yoon, Head of Digital Imaging, Sony ANZ. ‘It is important for us to continue to push boundaries in the industry and by extending our range of G Master constant F2.8 lenses out to 12mm with such a technology-packed and high performing lens, we are excited to see the results of the new creative opportunities it offers.’

Sony asserts that the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM delivers outstanding corner-to-corner image quality throughout the entire zoom range. It features XA (extreme aspherical) elements including the largest XA element ever made for an Alpha lens. These XA elements, in combination with an aspherical element, ‘suppress astigmatism, coma and field curvature right out to the edges of the image’. Three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements plus two Super ED glass elements, ‘powerfully suppresses chromatic aberration and combine to deliver corner-to-corner clarity whilst minimising colour fringing.’

A floating focus mechanism divides the lens focus group into two independently controllable groups, ‘ensuring both outstanding close-up performance and maximum sharpness at any distance as it divides the lens’ focus group into two independently controllable groups.’ It also helps to achieve a constant 28cm minimum focusing distance throughout the zoom. As it is an internal focus lens, its length remains constant and its centre of gravity varies very little, so it is always well-balanced in the hand.

Sony says the the high surface precision of the lens’s XA elements effectively suppresses onion-ring effects and, in combination with the 9-blade circular aperture, further enhances bokeh.

The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM employs four high-speed, high-thrust XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors –  two for each of the lens’ focus groups – ‘to ensure that it is compatible with the speed performance of both current and future camera bodies.’

A brand-new Nano AR Coating II that can be evenly applied to large lens elements or highly curved element surfaces has been used for the first time on the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM. It suppresses internal reflections, and minimises flare and ghosting.

The constant F2.8 maximum aperture at all focal lengths ensures that exposure is stable when zooming. In turn, this means that shutter speed and ISO sensitivity can remain consistent while shooting movies. When used on an APS-C camera or with a Super 35 angle of view, the wide end of the zoom range becomes equivalent to 18mm.

The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM weighs just 847 grams. Professional control features include a customisable focus-hold button, focus-mode switch, zooming ring and focusing ring that are positioned for easy operation whilst shooting. The lens is dust and moisture resistant and the front lens element features a fluorine coating that repels water, oil, and other contaminants, while making it easier to wipe off any fingerprints from the lens surface. The rear filter holder accommodates standard sheet-type ND, colour correction and other filters. A cutting template for sheet filters is supplied.

It will be available late this month (July) at the rather large price of $5499.


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