Sony recently announced an 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, starry skies and architecture while providing extra mobility for active sports shooters who want to use ultra-wide angles. 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, combined with beautiful bokeh effects.
The introduction of the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM means that the F2.8 range of Sony’s G Master series lenses now extends all the way through from 12mm to 200mm and at 12mm, offers the world’s widest zoom at F2.8[ii]. At this focal length, it is possible to emphasise 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 tremendously 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 Yann Salmon-Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging, Sony Europe. “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.”
The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM benefits from a rich and innovative construction that delivers outstanding corner-to-corner image quality throughout the entire zoom range. It features three extremely precise XA (extreme aspherical) elements including the largest XA element ever made for an α(Alpha) lens. These XA elements, with the addition of a further 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 quell chromatic aberration and combine to deliver corner-to-corner clarity whilst minimising colour fringing.
A floating focus mechanism divides the lens’s focus group into two independently controllable groups. It is extremely effective at ensuring both outstanding close-up performance and maximum sharpness at any distance as it divides the lens’s focus group into two independently controllable groups. It also helps realise a constant 0.28-metre minimum focusing distance throughout the zoom and because it is an internal focus lens, its length remains constant and its centre of gravity varies very little, so it is always optimally balanced in the hand.
The signature bokeh effects of Sony’s G Master series lens have been 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 onion-ring effects 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 for each of the lens’s focus groups, autofocus is fast and precise and new control algorithms maximise the response of the XD Linear Motor system while achieving flawless synchronisation between the two focus groups. A further benefit is that operation is extremely quiet with minimal vibration.
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, minimises 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. In turn, this means that shutter speed and ISO sensitivity can remain consistent whilst 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, however, 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, providing a very useful zoom range for moviemaking.
Weighing only 847 grams, the FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM offers numerous features for full professional control of shots. These include a customisable focus-hold button, focus-mode switch, zooming ring and focusing ring that are positioned for easy operation whilst 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, 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 for expanded expressive capability. A cutting template for sheet filters is supplied.
The FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM is available in Europe from August 2020, priced at approximately €3300.