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Gear Announcements

G-Master Lenses | Sony Announces Three New Pro Lenses

By Anthony Thurston on February 3rd 2016

In addition to the a6300 rumors (made official today), we also heard rumblings of Sony’s G-Master series of pro lenses, and today the first of those lenses were also announced.

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Sony’s New G-MAster Lens Line Announced

We have all heard, over and over, about Sony’s lack of fast ‘pro level’ zooms and primes. Sony took their first steps towards eliminating that point of contention with the official announcement of their new G-Master line of lenses.

To kick off the new series of lenses, Sony started, in my opinion, exactly where the should have with a 24-70mm F/2.8, 70-200mm F/2.8, and an 85mm F/1.4.  I have heard a lot of wedding shooters say, “If Sony had this…I would switch,” well, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is because these lenses now eliminate that excuse.

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[REWIND: SONY ANNOUNCES NEW A6300]

Sony said that they would have some more lenses for us, and they delivered on that promise in a big way. These are exactly the sort of lenses that professional photographers have been clamoring for.

For pricing, as has been the story with Sony lenses, these will not be cheap. The 85mm f/1.8 will come in at $1800 while the 24-70mm is expected to hit the US market at around the $2200 range. Both of those lenses are expected to be available in March.

The 70-200mm is expected to hit the market in May, but no pricing has been announced for that yet. As of this posting, pre-orders for these new G-Master lenses are not yet available, but stay tuned and we will get you that information as soon as it is made available to us.

[Via Official Sony Press Release]

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. David Kalonick

    As a Canon shooter, I’m more jealous I’m not a G-Master.

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  2. Peter McWade

    If the mirrorless guys want light weight then just go get a pocket camera and be happy. The A7 series is not that. It is a serious camera for serious shooters. Pretty much all of us wanted fast lenses from the beginning. We have been waiting and during the wait we scooped up some nice OLD primes and have been using them. Now we can get down to business and put the fat bulky DSLR’s to pasture. One last thing for me is a dual card slot. That will put Sony at the top. I know of one other who switched from Canon and Nikon to Sony. Kudos for him. He tested my Sony and rented one and made the switch. Looking forward to the G series lens reviews. Im happy with the Zeiss Batis 85 I have but they failed to pull the 25mm at the same time to grab a good market share. Sony was smart brining out 3 hard hitters at one time.

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    • Enzo Scorziello

      Very well put Peter. I am looking forward to IQ comparisons between the Batis 85 and the GM 85

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    • adam sanford

      Respectfully, Peter, Sony has sooooo much farther to go to get to the top than add a second card slot. :-P
      .
      I actually don’t see Sony trying to say ‘BEST!’ so much as — Borg-like in nature — they are *systematically eliminating all the reasons why not to switch*. First it was the sensors, then it was adapting lenses, then it was working AF with CaNikon lenses, then it was IBIS, and now they’re finally ramping up their AF speed/spread/accuracy and offering some staple pro lenses.
      .
      To their credit, they are very shrewdly picking the right order of things to commercialize. But, great sensors be damned, they have only a fraction of the glass/accessories/track record/service/options of CaNikon and it will be that way for quite some time.
      .
      As it drives the industry to improve, I welcome Sony’s ascension and I wish them success, I really do. But I don’t think there is a single ‘at last!’ product release with the A7 line that will flip pros in droves. They need to steadily build, grow, and *earn it* over a long period of time.

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    • Jason Switzer

      Agreed. I don’t see pro’s switching in droves until AF point selection isn’t a 2-step process and there is a healthier selection of glass. I can’t speak for everyone, but the pros I know of who switch to mirrorless is due to the supposed reduction in WEIGHT (not size). Without the weight reduction, I have no reason to leave my DSLR. I have an A7RII, but it’s my travel/family/wedding backup camera. Why would I buy these new f2.8 zooms when I’ve had the same heavy things for my 5D3 for years?

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Your primary concern in weight savings, that is fine, but not everyone is in that boat. Some, myself included, prefer the mirrorless lifestyle over a DSLR for other reasons. For us, having access to faster lenses (whatever their size) is a positive move in the right direction from Sony.

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    • Mark Romine

      What is ‘gear lifestyle’? Please define.

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    • Stephen Glass

      which produces the better file under your most common circumstance?

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    • Peter McWade

      But you do realize that canon has been doing cameras for a very very long time. I see Sony just tromping and yes these cameras are right up there on top. I hear lots of little nit picking and those that do make the issues sound huge. Hardly. A double card slot is not a major issue for me but one I think should be incorporated since the so called top have them. I could be wrong but maybe the dual card slot is really not that huge of a deal for being considered professional. I remember quite well the old film cameras. I was actually surprised when I got my hands on my first DSLR Canon. Such a fat beast compared to the old SLR film cameras. Im so happy of the normal sized Sony Mirrorless. Lots of glass has been produced by these top companies in the early days and many of the lenses are not actually that good. Adequate but not great. Years and years of upgrading and making new and better glass. Well, it is still happening today. I won’t compare the new glass to yesterdays glass of years gone by. Sony is in my opinion king of the hill. I am also quite sure if Sony decided to do a Phase One equivalent they would be top dog without any question.

      Sony does not need a huge pile of glass to be considered top dog. They just need a great set that is well matched to what they are producing. And I can also put on all the old Glass that Canon has piled up in heaps. Many not being used any longer. Just heaped up. Canon is good, no doubt as is Nikon and others but Sony is in my opinion Top Dog now. Easy to handle cameras and excellent Glass. Yes, they do need a few more primes but others have made some nice manual lenses as well for the Sony Full frame that come in FE mount. I have some great Glass. Not exceptional except one. But great. A nice 55mm Canon 1.2 lens. Some old Pentax Super Takumar Glass and a couple Samyang. I don’t need piles to pick from. What is there works or me. These three will allow me to make some changes to what I do. Im looking for the 70 200 for my line up. Maybe the 85 as I’d like to pit it side by side with my 85 Zeiss Batis.

      Enough ranting. Getting off topic.

      Pete :)

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  3. Stephen Glass

    Someone tell me if I’m wrong here but I’m just going by what folks using the A7Rii are saying. They are not saying that it’s the weight that they like. They are saying they like the images better. Some are saying they like the ability to manual focus on the fly with some precision which DSLR’s suck at. I asked Parker Pfister if the A7Rii he loves so much was the same size as a D4S or a D750 would he still prefer the A7Rii and he said YES! So that’s saying a lot. Also the tilt/shift adpaters for any lens with the manual focusing features. I mean it sounds like it’s coming to just a better picture box? Any thoughts?

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    • adam sanford

      I’ve been saying this for a very , very long time
      .
      For about 1/3 of the FF mirrorless market, **it’s all about being smaller and lighter**. These are generally enthusiasts who marvel at a diminutive walkaround kit taking such stellar pictures. These folks want thinner bodies, less chunky grips and and aggregate construct much smaller than your FF SLR + f/2.8 zoom or f/1.4 prime attached.
      .
      For the other 2/3 of the FF mirrorless market, **mirrorless represents the future**. The upsides of an EVF, easy transition to manual focusing lenses, fewer moving parts, obsolescence of AFMA, no mirror slap, etc. will prevail over concerns about mirrorless AF and battery life (as those two things improve over time). These folks want to bolt everything and anything on to their mirrorless rigs — macro, tilt-shift, f/1.2 primes and 600mm telephotos. This is also a way for those fed up with their company’s relative pedestrian sensor improvements (i.e. Canon) to bolt their stellar L lenses on a world class sensor. **These folks wants as good or better performance and lens selection than CaNikon offers today.**
      .
      In APS-C, the camps are similar but the the math is quite different. It’s maybe 75% about being small and feature-packed (a6000, a6300) and 25% about taking better pictures than the SLRs (Fuji).

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    • Enzo Scorziello

      For me it was 25% portability and 75% about IQ and for the price has features that were not available at the time on other systems. I believe some one mentioned above that mirrorless are the future, and I completely agree. If I can get the low light capability along with great IQ and save a couple of ounces in the process sign me up.
      That having been said I will wait to see what the IQ is like on the 6300 and low light capabilities before I upgrade.
      My main gripe is still the price of their glass, I mean come on the Zeiss 885f1.8 is $1200, Sony has missed the mark pricing theirs at $1800. I will gladly save the $600.

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    • Stephen Glass

      So what is your feeling though. How do you know the breakdown of the overall market? What I’m interested in is your personal experience with a mirrorless as compared to a DSLR.

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    • Paul Nguyen

      The issues aren’t so much to do with the sensor or mirror slap or any of that stuff. Shooting is all about convenience. That’s why I use digital, that’s why I use AF lenses, that’s why I use DSLRs. They’re convenient and they get the job done. Mirrorless still feels like a piece of consumer electronics, more like a phone or TV than pro DSLRs, which feel like tools. The most important thing is reliability. If your camera locks up, you’re going to miss shots. The second most important issue is battery life, if your battery is dead, you’re not going to get shots. If you’re changing batteries whilst something amazing happens, guess what, you missed the shot. The third issue is lenses, if you don’t have the right lens for the job, you might as well just go home. These are all areas in which mirrorless flop. You cited Canon sensors, but ultimately, the sensor is one of the least important aspects of a picture. I used to shoot Nikon, with some of the best sensors, but I recently switched to Canon and to be honest, I don’t see any reduction in sensor quality at all. I feel like people need to stop worrying about technical specs that are easy, but don’t matter and focus on the real issues in photography.

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    • adam sanford

      Paul, I disagree with your priorities, but I fully appreciate your point.
      .
      I’m with Canon and I’m certainly not foolish enough to abandon all that they offer to shave 1-2 cm off of my body thickness or to get a 5-10% better sensor, and trade all that works at Canon for a sh–ton of missing things, issues, and frustrations.
      .
      But in a chess-like way, Sony is glacially slowly-but-surely closing the gap to the big two. It’ll take them 10 years to truly punch the same weight, but no one can refute that they are bulking up for the longer term fight.

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    • Stephen Glass

      are you saying you’ve shot a mirrorless and it locked up?

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  4. Enzo Scorziello

    As the proud owner of two a6000s, I have to say that this announcement is very disappointing. The price range on Sony glass is ridiculous, $1800 for the 85mm, Seriously? Especially when I knowZeiss can produce basically the same lens and it costs $600 less. Sure I lose 2/3 of a stop, but I save $600. Based on the scale the 70-200 is going to be well above $2500.

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  5. Paul Nguyen

    Sony, once again, misses the mark. Their 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is heavier than the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II and 70-200mm f/2.8 is the same weight as the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II. Really? Considering that the A7RII isn’t that much lighter than the 5DSr, especially when you have to factor in additional batteries, you’re not exactly getting any weight savings are you?

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    • adam sanford

      I hear you, but physics is physics. Lenses that fast *must* be heavy, or they have to be designed in nutty ways (plastic elements, diffractive optics, carbon fiber, etc.) that will utterly detonate the price or torch the IQ.
      .
      Also, remember who Sony is courting with these lenses: Pros, specifically the dyed-in-the-wool veterans that won’t touch a new system without similarly sharp, fast, top AF, well-built gear that can take a lifetime of abuse like they have with Canon and Nikon.
      .
      So I’m not shocked at the weight at all so much as the price. Those MTF charts had better look the 35L II for those prices…

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    • Anthony Thurston

      As adam put it, Sony can’t bend physics. Also, people need to get it through their heads that mirrorless is not just about weight savings. Sure, its nice benefit in some cases, but its hardly the primary reason to shoot mirrorless.

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  6. Michael Burnham

    Ummm… I got into mirrorless so I could tote a much light and more compact system around when I wasn’t shooting “professionally”, and still getting exellent results. If there is no size/weight saving I am going to just bring out my trusty reliable DSLR gear with the heavy fast lenses. Really, why buy essentially the same stuff all over again?

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    • adam sanford

      In the near term, there’s no upside other than for Canon folks to get that Sony sensor goodness — they can’t use their L lenses on it any other way.
      .
      In the longer term, however, mirrorless will be able to do a host of nutty, nutty things that SLRs cannot, like use the *entire* frame for AF, have EVFs that work so well in the dark that it’s practically nightvision, make manual focusing very straightforward, run ND grad filters in-camera with 3rd party apps + Liveview, etc. but we’re just not there yet.

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  7. Paddy McDougall

    Well done Sony for following through on their promise of more lenses. I hope Sony shooters get as much pleasure from these lenses as I get from the canon l equivalents. The mirrorless v dslr argument is getting abit old for me now.

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  8. Alex Petrenko

    85/1.4? 1800? Is there a typo?

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    • adam sanford

      85 f/1.4 = $1,800
      .
      24-70 f/2.8 = $2,200
      .
      70-200 f/2.8 OSS = No price listed; ask your waiter for seasonal pricing
      .
      Not a typo. They are gunning for L series dollars. These prices are (crudely) in line with the 85L, 24-70L II, etc. But all of those Canon lenses are 2nd or 3rd gen builds with epic track records and devoted followings. Sony has not earned that kind of rep with their lenses yet…

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  9. Stephen Glass

    The plot thickens!

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  10. Matthew Saville

    NOW will the “mirrorless is lighter!” crowd please shut up?

    The bottom line is, if you want the best optical quality, AND killer autofocus, …the there is no free lunch.

    I’ve been saying this for at least a year now. If you really want to save weight in your camera system, you have to lose the mirror AND a sensor size. In optics, there is no free lunch.

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    • Mark Romine

      Well, you don’t have to shoot with the heavy weight zooms, stick with primes and that will cut the weight factor in half.

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    • adam sanford

      Weight savings are a dead-end with same-sized sensor mirrorless — you save a few ounces perhaps, but you also need to cram your pockets full of batteries, which are not weightless.
      .
      In my mind, only *size* can mirrorless truly boast about (provided you aren’t strapping one of these new pickle jars on board). An A7 with a tiny f/2.8 prime is a great idea.
      .
      But if you want f/2.8 zooms and f/1.4 primes on a FF rig, they will be big and heavy and that’s that. For *this* camp of shooter — not the ‘keep it as small as possible’ camp — it’s all about performance, reliability, breadth of the supporting ecosystem and overall cost.
      .
      So time will tell if today’s announced lenses will start flipping pros in the numbers everyone is prophecizing. Color me skeptical for now.

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    • Mark Romine

      Well in my mind it’s not exactly a ‘dead end’ scenario as you say Adam. Have you ever shot a gig all day long raising your camera rig to you eye a few hundred times in that day? For example, in the Nikon world a 24-70 f2.8 is nearly 32 oz or 2 lbs. The 24 f1.8 is 12.6 oz, the 35 f1.8 is 7 oz and the 85 f1.8 is 12.4. Each of these is less than half the weight of the 24-70 f2.8. Add all three of them together and they weigh nearly the same as the 24-70. Any one of these three primes saves you more than a pound. Well a pound is not much until you shoot all day with a rig that has a light weight prime attached to it vs a two lb zoom. If you are raising a rig to your eye several hundred times a day that extra pound compounds significantly. Then multiple that by x-number of years that you have been working. So for me, when shooting weddings, I want the rig that I have in my hand to be as light as possible, OTOH I don’t care so much how my entire kit, or bag weighs because I only move it a few times during the day. Therefore, when the rig weighs a pound to a pound and a half lighter, it makes a big difference at the end of the day.

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    • adam sanford

      You misunderstand me, Mark.
      .
      I think weight *really* matters. You just won’t save much weight with mirrorless. If your solutions for saving weight involve choosing primes or f/4 zooms instead of f/2.8 zooms, you are 100% right… **but that same logic benefits SLRs as well**.
      .
      Since FF mirrorless lenses are basically the same size/weight as same-max-apertured SLR lenses, the only weight savings you see is in the body.
      .
      So, yes, every ounce you *don’t* have to carry counts, and mirrorless does have lighter bodies… but that advantage is effectively lost when you bolt one of these three new pickle jars on your A7:
      .
      5D3 + 28mm f/2.8 IS USM = 1,121g
      A7R II + 35mm f/2.8 + 2 extra batteries = 835g
      (this is a nice weight savings!)
      .
      5D3 + 24-70 2.8L II = 1,665 g
      A7R II + 24-70 2.8 GM + 2 extra batteries = 1,616g
      (mirrorless isn’t saving you much here)
      .
      I like the prospect of mirrorless, but weight savings are minimal when you swim with the sharks with pro FF glass.

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  11. adam sanford

    Shots of these lenses on A7 bodies for you are here: http://goo.gl/0M7svf
    .
    I’m imagining 2/3 of this forum going “Ooooooh” to these shots and rethinking their gear budgets for the year.
    .
    …and the remaining 1/3 shaking their fist and shouting “Nooooo!! Why?!”

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    • Jason Switzer

      I’m the dude screaming “Nooooooo! Why?!!!! ” I hope Sony or Zeiss comes out with 18mm f2.8 and 135 f2 primes (possibly f2.8 for the 135), otherwise I might need to sell my gear and go Fuji. :( I already have Canon pro gear. Don’t need a heavy mirrorless system too.

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  12. adam sanford

    [say in a 40s radio voice] This just in: Pros rejoice and small form factor lovers cringe as Sony joins the Big Pickle Jar lens arms race.
    .
    If you believe mirrorless is overwhelmingly about being smaller than a same-sensored SLR, look away in horror. This is where physics bites you in the a– and most of your size savings go out the window.
    .
    *However*, if you were waiting for a 24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8 before fully migrating to mirrorless, here’s your chance. Here’s hoping you have an iron grip to hold a 3.5 lb lens with a grip as large as a Canon Rebel. :-P

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