On my last blog, I put the cheapest lens of the Sony FE-Mount system through its paces. It was the light and plasticky 50mm f1.8. From my perspective it is still one of the greatest Full Frame lenses made for Sony. This post is going to be quiet different. It is about one of the most expensive Sony lenses, the G-Master 24-70 f2.8. I just wanted to see the difference and feel of two lenses from different ends of the lens spectrum.
All the shots you will see here were shot on the G-Master. I promised myself not to use any other lens for the whole trip. It is my learning process for pretty much every piece of equipment. Focus on it, use it as much as you can and then make a desicion if you really need it or not. Usually If I like an equpiment I make that decision in the first 1-2 days of use. I learned that I shouldn't buy anything if I have some worries about it. As a side note, I would highly recommend trying new stuff on, not very important occasions. If you are shooting a very important gig and you are shooting with a new tool you might get in trouble. This happened to me before when I switched to a new camera body and I thought I would be ok with it. Even the simplest change on camera button layout can take sometime to get used to. I learned this simple information the hard way when I struggled to get any usable picures at a product shoot.
So, I have this lens for a month now and this was not the first time I used it. I was already pretty comfortable with it in my hand and I already made the decision to buy it.
I have been in Death Valley many times and my number one advice to any photographer going there is, NEVER change your lenses inside the park. Whether you are in your car, on Sand Dunes or in a restroom you WILL get dust in your camera and probably on your camera sensor. There is always flying dust particles even if you don't see them while shooting you will see all those spots on your images while checking them on your computer screen. It is almost impossible to keep your camera sensor safe while changing lenses. Some people might have some techniques to avoid this but most of us don't. I hope one day some a camera manufacturer will make the completely dust free interchangable lens camera. Until that day I am not taking my lens off in dessert. This was the main reason why took my zoom lens out for this trip.
I had to be flexible. I knew I needed some wide and medium telephoto shots. Personaly, I find 24-70mm as the most boring focal lenght. 24mm is not wide enough to distort space and 70mm is not enough to compress that background to create some magical long shots. It is very challenging for me to get creative with it. But at the same time it touches both ends a little that you can fake a super wide or a long telephoto lens if you compose the image good. It all depends on your composition.
I have always chosen practicality over quality. Some of my greatest images came out of cheap, light and plasticky lenses or cameras. It is the way I shoot. I never wanted to look cool with my camera gear. There have been times that I was at the end of an incredibly long hike and I saw a photographer passing by with tons of heavy gear sweating like crazy. I never wanted to be that person. I usually study the locations before I go. I have to know what lens I will be using. I almost never take more than one lens with me on a hike. I don't find it fun. So, carrying a pretty heavy lens like the 24-70 f2.8 was already something I didn't like.
How did the Lens perform?
The most amazing thing about this lens is the auto-focus. It is by far the best Sony lens I have ever tested in that aspect. It can nail the focus easily pretty much in every scenario I need. Silent and fast auto-focus was something I have been missing with all my other lenses. If you ever tried a Canon lens with an adapter on a Sony body you know what I mean. I don't think I have ever used auto-focus for the past 2 years. This lens changed it completely. I can't write enough about it.
Built quality looks great. I haven't dropped the lens yet and hope it never happens but it looks like this lens can handle some small accidents. I love the feel of zoom and focus rings. They work great as they should be at this price.
Another amazing thing about the lens is the color rendition. You can see lots of people talking about the contrast and color of specific lenses. I actually thought they were exaggerating. When I watch a reviewer talking about a Leica Sumicron color and contrast for 10 mins I get bored. But I think now I can understand why it is very important for lots of people. This lens has some magical color. It gives a punch to skin color like no other lens. It has different contrast characteristics. I don't know how or why but I see it on Lightroom in every single photo. I love working with the Raw files coming out of this lens.
With all these great advantages it is still not the lens for me. I am a prime shooter. I don't like to classify myself but that's the way I enjoy photography. I would prefer carrying two bodies and put two different primes on them than using a zoom lens. I feel like I get lost in too many options while shooting. It literally distracts me to have too many options.
There is one down side of this lens that I don't see much about online. It has very heavy flare. If you are shooting into the Sun and want flare free photos, well good luck with that. I personally like using lens flares here and there so I try to use it as an advantage.
To sum up everything, I see myself using this lens for special shoots like events where I won't have much time to switch lenses. Maybe in a place that I have very short period of time to shoot. But for my regular landscape photography I will continue using my light primes.
It is a great time to be a photographer with all these amazing tools coming out like crazy. Every month there is a new lens or camera. Luckily I have the privilege to try pretty much all the new equipment and I learned that the most expensive gear doesn't always mean it is the best one for my needs. This is another great example. I could buy another Sony A7ii body and take a trip to Hawaii with the money I spent on this lens and I would still have some money left for some amazing Tacos and Craft Hawaiian Beer.
Thanks for reading.
Follow us on instagram @barparildar @bukeii