Sony has announced a new member of its high-end ‘G Master’ full-frame lens series: the 12-24mm F2.8. It’s currently the widest F2.8 constant zoom offered for full-frame, with a hefty price tag to match: $3000.
The 12-24mm is dust and moisture-sealed and weighs in close to two pounds (847g / 1.9lb to be precise). It’s a bit larger than Sigma’s 14-24mm F2.8, measuring 97.6 x 137mm. With such a large front element, the 12-24 provides a rear filter holder for cut-out gel filters. Sony provides a filter template to aid users in cutting gel filters to size.
Optically the lens comprises 17 elements in 14 groups, with three XA Extreme Aspheric elements (including the largest that Sony’s ever made), as well as one standard aspherical element. Two Super ED and three ED elements help reduce lateral chromatic aberration, which can be particularly problematic with fast wide-angles, due to the extreme angles at which light rays can enter the lens at peripheries. Sony claims that sagittal flare, or coma, is also well-controlled.
A newly developed Nano AR Coating II is used on the front element to reduce flare and ghosting, necessary due to the fact that the front element has most extreme curvature of any aspheric Sony has developed. A fluorine coating helps repel dust, moisture and fingerprints. The lens uses a nine-blade aperture, and minimum focus distance is 28cm / 11in throughout the zoom range, with a maximum magnification ratio of 0.14x. The zoom mechanism is largely internal, though the front element does move slightly within the petal-shaped hood.
Four XD linear motors move two focus groups independently in a floating focus mechanism, resulting in fast and silent autofocus. Focus groups can respond at 60 times-a-second to keep up with the autofocus speeds the Alpha 9 / II are capable of. For video shooting, Sony claims that focus breathing, focus shift and axial shift while zooming are well-controlled. The manual focus response is linear.
The Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM is slated to arrive mid-August and will sell for $3000.
Sony Electronics Grows Lens Line-up with Launch of 12-24mm G Master, the World’s Widest Full-frame Zoom with a Constant F2.8 Aperture
SAN DIEGO – July 7, 2020 – Sony Electronics Inc. today announced an exciting new addition to its full-frame lens line-up with the introduction of the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM (model SEL1224GM) Large-aperture Ultra-wide Zoom lens. This compact and versatile lens is ideal for shooting landscapes, astrophotography and architecture while providing extra mobility for active sports shooters who want to capture ultra-wide perspectives. As part of Sony’s flagship G Master series lenses, users can be completely confident that it delivers outstanding image quality up to an ultra-wide 12mm angle of view with F2.8 constant aperture and beautiful bokeh effects.
The introduction of the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM now extends the F2.8 range of Sony’s G Master series zoom lenses all the way from 12mm to 200mm[ii] and at 12mm, offers the world’s widest range of zoom at F2.8. At this focal length, it is possible to emphasize distance and create dynamic perspectives that are beyond the scope of the human eye, opening the door to new avenues of creative expression.
“We are excited to introduce the new FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM as the 57th lens in Sony’s E-mount line-up”, said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging Products and Solutions Americas, Sony Electronics. “It is important for us to continue to push boundaries in the industry to develop the best tools for our customers. By extending our range of G Master constant F2.8 zoom lenses out to 12mm, we are excited to see how these new innovations will help our customers create like never before.”
The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM benefits from innovative construction that delivers outstanding corner-to-corner image quality throughout the entire zoom range. It features three precise XA (extreme aspherical) elements including the largest XA element ever made for an α – Alpha brand lens. These XA elements, with an additional aspherical element, effectively suppress astigmatism, coma and field curvature right out to the image edges. Furthermore, three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements plus two Super ED glass elements, powerfully control chromatic aberration and combine to deliver corner-to-corner clarity while minimizing color fringing.
An extremely effective floating focus mechanism divides the lens’s focus group into two independently controllable groups, ensuring both outstanding close-up performance and maximum sharpness at any distance. The two independently controlled groups help realize a constant 11” (28 cm) minimum focusing distance throughout the zoom range, and because it is an internal focus lens, its length remains constant, so its center of gravity varies very little and is always optimally balanced in the hand.
The signature bokeh effects of Sony’s G Master series lens are achieved through the fine tuning of the lens’s spherical aberration characteristics during both the design and manufacturing process. At the same time, the extremely high surface precision of the lens’s XA elements effectively suppresses spherical aberration and, in combination with a 9-blade circular aperture, further enhances its exquisite bokeh.
The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM employs four original high-speed, high-thrust XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors to ensure that it is compatible with the speed performance of both current and future camera bodies. With two XD Linear Motors for each of the lens’s focus groups, autofocus is fast and precise. New control algorithms maximize the response of the system while achieving flawless synchronization between the two focus groups. Further benefits include extremely quiet operation with minimal vibration and lower power consumption.
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, minimizes flare and ghosting for clear, crisp imagery and despite the lens’s wide angle of view, Nano AR Coating II maintains high clarity and contrast throughout the entire image, even in difficult light.
The constant F2.8 maximum aperture at all focal lengths ensures that exposure is stable when zooming. As a result, this means that shutter speed and ISO sensitivity can remain constant while shooting movies. The creative opportunities afforded by shooting movies at a 12mm angle of view with F2.8 constant aperture in full-frame are boundless, and when used on an APS-C or Super 35 camera, the wide end of the zoom range becomes equivalent to 18mm, providing a useful zoom range for moviemaking.
Weighing only 1.87 lbs (847 g), the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM offers numerous features for full professional control of shots. These include a customizable focus-hold button, focus-mode switch, zooming ring and focusing ring that are positioned for easy operation while shooting. The Linear Response MF ensures that the focus ring responds directly to the most subtle adjustments when focusing manually so control feels immediate and precise. It is dust and moisture resistant[iii] and the front lens element features a fluorine coating that repels water, oil, and other contaminants, making it easier to wipe off any fingerprints from the lens surface. The rear filter holder accommodates standard sheet-type ND, color correction and other filters for expanded expressive capability. A cutting template for sheet filters is supplied.
Pricing and Availability
The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM is available in in August 2020 for a suggested retail price of $2,999.99 USD and $3,999.99 CAD.
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