Sony’s New 70-200mm f/2.8 GM II

Sony’s high-end G Master lens line hosts some of the best photography lenses on the market today. Icons like the 12-24mm f/2.8, 16-35mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.2, and 100-400mm f/4-5.6 stand out as some incredible performers – and there are man more.

Sony’s G Master line has earned its top reputation. However, superb performance wasn’t always the norm. Older G Master lenses, like the 70-200mm’s and the 24-70mm f/2.8 don’t host the same impeccable quality as many of the new G Master’s.

That changes now – Sony just released a FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II. And we have also heard rumors of a new 24-70mm f/2.8 as well.

But, today, the focus is the new 70-200mm f/2.8. The lens should be a huge optical step-up from the mark I version, and it even has some new features we didn’t expect.

The 70-200mm f/2.8 should be one of the best 70-200mm f/2.8’s on the market, but Sony does have stout competition now, as Nikon’s new Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S grades as one of the sharpest lenses ever created.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II

Price: $2,799

Release: Early December

Key Specifications

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • One XA & One Aspherical Elements
  • Two ED Elements & Two Super ED Elements
  • Nano AR Coating II
  • Four XD Linear AF Motors
  • Optical Steady Shot Image Stabilization
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Eleven-Blade Circular Diaphragm
  • 3 lbs.
  • 77mm thread

The new 70-200mm f/2.8 II is an excellent addition to the G Master lineup. It’s definitely expensive, priced at $2,799, but we’ve come to expect high pricing for Sony’s highest-grade gear. As stated, it is an improvement over the mark I version in every aspect of performance. It is also considerably lighter.

This new lens has some interesting features, specifically for video creators, that we don’t really see on other 70-200mm f/2.8’s.

It features an awesome motor setup, which makes the lenses extremely responsive for a wide range of scenarios – stationary subjects, moving wildlife, conditions that require tracking, etc. The focusing performance alone makes this a huge improvement over the Mark I. A cool new feature is the inclusion of four Extreme Dynamic Linear Motors. This is the first f/2.8 70-200mm to feature four, and it results in a huge reduction of focus breathing and focus shift during zoom. Video creators will be happy to hear and experience that.

I personally welcome the new AR II coating for preventing flare and ghosting. The mark I had some very bad flaring. I have good experience with the AR II coasting and it works really well. I find Nikon has the best coating on their new Z lenses, but Sony is very close behind.

A user is always able to control manual focus via direct controls, and there is a fantastic linear response manual focus function that changes the speed and response of manual focus when the focus ring is rotated. That makes those iconic focus pulls much easier.

This is a super-fast, f/2.8 telephoto. It maintains f/2.8 throughout its range. I’ve seen early examples of the bokeh and shallow depth of field at f/2.8. It’s great, much better than the Mark I version. There are also some new aperture controls and motors that allow for enhanced operation, specifically for video applications.

The fast f/2.8 aperture also makes this lens a consideration for teleconverters. It works with Sony’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, making it a 98-280mm or 140-400mm. We don’t recommend 2x teleconverters because the loss in image quality and light is substantial. But, 1.4x can have good results with f/2.8 lenses.

The classic white Sony barrel has three programmable focus control buttons, an AF/MF switch, a focus range limiter switch, and Optical Steady Shot control switches.

Stabilization should be improved over the Mark I in this lens, and there is also a ‘Mode 3’, which helps stabilize the lens when tracking moving subjects, like wildlife.

Like all G Master lenses, the 70-200 f/2.8 II is sealed, is dust/moisture resistant, and has a fluorine coating on the front element to prevent water and oil droplets from sticking. Similar to the Mark I, there is a tripod collar/foot and a lens hood. I always recommend replacing the stock foot with a dedicated foot plate for easier ball head mounting.

Video users have a few new features that they will greatly appreciate. Focus control is improved by features such as full-time DMF (Direct Manual Focus), Linear Response MF, and a focus-range limiter. The aperture ring and iris lock also allow for greater control over exposure changes.

Overall, this new 70-200mm f/2.8 II is excellent and should slot in nicely with other G Master lenses. The 16-35mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, and new 70-200mm f/2.8 II should offer most photographers an excellent range for a wide-variety of scenarios. If longer reach is needed, look towards the 10—400mm f/4-5.6 GM or 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3.

There will be a new 24-70mm f/2.8 on its way shortly as well. Like this new lens, I expect it to be an improvement in every way over the Mark 1.

Matt Meisenheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin.  His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special.  Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image.

Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world.

As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.

You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com


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