Sony’s new zoom lens shows it still has the edge on Canon and Nikon

Sony’s mirrorless cameras were way ahead of rivals Canon and Nikon – and its new zoom lens is a reminder that it still holds the edge over these two giants when it comes to glass.

Canon and Nikon have done well to bolster lens lineups for their RF and Z-mount cameras, which only arrived in 2018. They now have 26 and 27 lenses available respectively for their mirrorless cameras, although many of these lenses are out of stock. . Both companies also allow you to adapt lenses designed for their older DSLRs.

But Sony’s new FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II and the E-mount range it’s part of show that Canon and Nikon are still catching up. This new mid-range zoom is another stylish addition to its ‘G Master’ range, which are its high-end professional lenses. And, tellingly, it’s a second-generation follow-up to the original lens that Sony launched in 2016.

Canon and Nikon have an unrivaled heritage of DSLR lenses, but neither is yet at the stage of making polished sequels to their full-frame mirrorless lenses. The FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II is the smallest and lightest f/2.8 G Master lens in its range. And with this launch, this range of E-mount lenses now has an impressive 67 lenses.

Of course, it’s not just a numbers game, and some of these lenses need updating. But we were bowled over by the quality of Sony’s recent G Master lenses, from the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II to the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM, which we believe “sets a new benchmark for speed and optical quality”. And this new mid-range zoom, while undoubtedly pricey at $2,300 / £2,099 (around AU$3,700), promises to follow in their footsteps.

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If you missed the announcement, the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II weighs just 695g, which is 22% less than its predecessor and considerably lighter than its Canon, Nikon and Sigma counterparts. The design also promises to serve up delicious bokeh and be ideal for video shooters, thanks to the inclusion of four XD Linear Motors for quick and quiet autofocus and a handy zoom “softness” switch. to adjust the torque of the zoom ring.

Other bonuses include a “floating focus” mechanism to help control common issues like chromatic aberration and a fluorine coating to keep moisture at bay. We’ll wait to test the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II before drawing any firm conclusions, but on paper it looks like the best lens in its class for stills and video.

The E-mount family it fits into also stays ahead of Canon and Nikon, despite some bold claims from these two heavyweights about their mirrorless lens plans.

Analysis: Canon and Nikon in the wake of Sony

The Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art lens on a gray background

Sony cameras benefit from a wide selection of third-party lenses, such as the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art – which is a more affordable alternative to Sony’s new lens. (Image credit: Sigma)

Sony’s lead over Canon and Nikon isn’t too surprising considering it launched its first full-frame mirrorless camera in 2013, five years before its rivals. But Canon and Nikon haven’t helped themselves by refusing to open their RF and Z mounts to third-party manufacturers.

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In its bid to disrupt the camera world, Sony has let Sigma, Tamron and Zeiss make autofocus-equipped lenses for its E-mount. This means Sony camera owners now have a huge range of lenses to choose from. mirrorless lenses – and it’s a cake that Sony happily decorates with its own impressive creations like the new FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II.

That’s why Canon and Nikon recently made bold statements about their mirrorless camera lens roadmaps. Canon recently said it plans to maintain its pace of releasing eight new RF lenses per year for the next four years, while a few weeks ago Nikon promised in a plan that it would manufacture another 22 lenses at Z mount by 2025.

These are bold claims that, despite an inevitable pandemic-related slowdown, should see the two camera giants start to catch up to Sony in terms of numbers. Especially if they start opening up their mounts to third-party manufacturers, as Fujifilm recently did.

But for now, lenses like the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II show that Sony has no intention of letting its lead slip away – and the quality of these lenses should match all. cameras it had planned for 2022, like the rumored Sony A7R V.

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