Meet the new ultra wide 12-24mm full-frame zoom from Sony.
Sony has announced the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM, a full-frame ultra wide zoom lens for E-mount cameras. The standout feature of the lens is its F2.8 constant aperture but it comes at a price: $3,000 USD.
The G Master series has always been priced a bit higher than other Sony lenses because of the well-engineered optics that produce high-resolution images with corner-to-corner sharpness and generally tasteful bokeh. While bokeh is usually subjective, the G Master lenses do mostly outperform other G series lenses. Based on example images, the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM is likely no different.
Optically, it's designed with 14 groups and 17 elements with 3 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) glass elements and 2 Super ED glass elements to minimize chromatic aberration and deliver that corner-to-corner clarity. It also features 3 XA (extreme aspherical) elements including Sony's largest XA element ever made for the Alpha brand. The XA elements, and additional aspherical element, aim to eliminate astigmatism, coma, and field curvature to the image edge. Essentially, vertical lines in the image will appear as straight as possible.
Sony says it has divided the lens focus group into 2 independently controllable groups, allowing the lens to have an 11" (28 cm) minimum focusing distance throughout the zoom range. The autofocus system carries on the G Master tradition by using XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors to ensure speed and accuracy. The lens has 2 XD Linear motors for each of the lens's focus group to maximize response time and synchronization while still being quiet.
The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM also includes Sony's Linear Response MF which responds to even minor adjustments when controlling the focus manually. This feature is great in practice, because it gives precision to the lens, especially when using a follow focus system. Plus, the response is more immediate and accurate than other Sony lenses without it. The lens also features an AF/MF switch on the barrel.
As one would want, the lens is dust and moisture resistant. There is also a rear filter holder for standard sheet-type ND, color correction, and other filters. Sony is including a cutting template for sheet filters with the lens, so let your creative flag fly. On top of that, Sony has slathered on a new Nano AR Coating II to suppress reflections and minimize flare. How much better it is will come with future testing.
Weighing only 1.87 lbs. (847 g), the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM is lightweight, and though it's designed for full-frame cameras, it's a 18-36mm equivalent on APS-C sensors.