Sony has created a new lineup of lenses for its full-frame cameras known as G Master (GM). These are the company's high-end lenses that sit above its 'G-series' lenses and, as you might imagine, command a premium price. The first three GM lenses include FE 24-70mm F2.8, FE 85mm F1.4 and FE 70-200mm F2.8 OSS.

In addition to the lenses, Sony also released a pair of teleconverters (1.4x and 2.0x) for use with the new 70-200mm F2.8 lens.

At the press conference announcing the new lenses the company placed enormous emphasis on the importance of high resolution and high quality bokeh. Says Senior Technology Manager Mark Weir: "Being a leader in image sensor technologies, we have a unique insight into where sensor and camera technology is going, and we put this insight into our lens design."


Technologies behind G Master lenses


Sony mentioned they're now designing G Master lenses to a 50 lines per mm standard, a step up from the 10 and 30 lines/mm MTF traces we're used to seeing. Regarding bokeh, Sony explained that the lifelike nature of an image in either still or video is determined by the nature of the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus areas, and that an abrupt shift between the sharp region and the background can look artificial. Their research shows that this often comes down to a lack of precision in the preparation of the lens elements, and less than optimal positioning the optical cavity. Sony indicated that G Master lenses can be shaped to within 1/100th of a micron of their design spec to address this problem. 11 aperture blades on the new 85mm and 70-200mm lenses also indicate a serious commitment to smooth out-of-focus areas.

Additionally, each G Master lens employs a different drive mechanism for optimal AF performance. The 24-70mm uses a Direct Drive Supersonic motor (SSM), which we've previously noted to confer incredibly fast, accurate, and silent AF to the FE 35mm F1.4 lens. Sony boasts this focus motor to offer 0.01mm precision of focus group placement. The 85mm F1.4 uses a ring drive. The 70-200 sports a dual implementation: two focus groups at either end of the lens are drive by different actuators. A ring drive SSM drives the front AF group while dual linear motors drive a floating rear group. The result is fast continuous autofocus and silent AF for video, as well as in impressive minimum focus distance of <1m.

Sony also emphasized their development of advanced simulation techniques that make it possible to control things like bokeh right from the design stage. Previously, it was difficult to judge the effects of optical design without first building the lens - simulation technologies now help Sony see the effects of iterations on the optical design.

These lenses feature dust and moisture resistance, and also dedicated control buttons like AF/MF and Focus Hold that will be ergonomically useful and make for a more DSLR-like experience. The 85mm F1.4 also has an aperture ring that can be switched between click and non-click functionality.

The first G Master lenses will be available in March, with the 24-70mm listing for $2200 and the 85mm listing for $1800 in the U.S. The 70-200mm will follow in May, with pricing yet to be determined.

Press release:

Sony Launches New G Master Brand of Interchangeable Lenses

Three new models including 24-70mm F2.8 Zoom, 85mm F1.4 Prime and 70-200mm F2.8 Zoom deliver unrivaled imaging experiences 

NEW YORK, Feb. 3, 2016 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today introduced their flagship G Master™ brand of interchangeable lenses.           

Sony’s new brand includes three new E-mount full frame lenses including a 24-70mm constant F2.8 standard zoom, an 85mm F1.4 prime and a 70-200mm constant F2.8 telephoto zoom.   Representing the ultimate blend of high resolution and beautiful bokeh, the new lenses feature Sony’s innovative optical element technology, design and calibration.  This allows them to produce still image and video content with a level of detail and expression that has never before been possible. 

“The new G Master brand represents the finest and most impressive group of lenses that Sony has ever brought to market,” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics.  “With our knowledge of what the future will bring for digital imaging, we have designed these lenses and can ensure that the G Master brand will inspire and ‘wow’ photographers and videographers for years to come.”

New FE24-70mm F2.8 GM Standard Zoom Lens

Featuring some of the most advanced lens technologies in market today, the new FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM (model SEL2470GM) is the ultimate choice for those seeking the highest possible optical performance for portrait, travel and event photography or even simple everyday shooting1

The new lens is built with three aspherical elements including a newly developed, extremely precise XA (extreme aspherical) element that reduces aberration and delivers the ultimate resolution throughout the entire zoom range and aperture range, as well as from corner to corner of all image files. Additionally, an ED (Extra-low-Dispersion) glass element and Super ED glass element keep chromatic aberration to a minimum while maximizing resolution and bokeh without any unnatural coloration. 

The lens features a 9-bladed aperture that maintains a near circular shape at all settings and is coated with Sony’s original Nano AR coating to suppress reflections and ensure spectacular contrast and clarity.    

The new FE24-70mm F2.8 GM lens has a direct drive SSM (Super Sonic Wave Motor) focusing system that works with incredible efficiency thanks to a new set of algorithms that positions the lens elements quickly and accurately. The motor is smooth and quiet, making it an ideal choice for shooting both still images as well as movies.

To maximize usability, the lens is dust and moisture resistant and features a compact, streamlined design that includes AF/MF switch as well as focus hold, zoom lock and hood release buttons.

Two new matching filters for the FE24-70mm F2.8 GM lens have also been introduced, including the VF-82MP MC protector and VF-82CPAM Circular PL filter..

New FE 85mm F1.4 GM Telephoto Prime Lens

Designed as the ultimate portrait lens, the long-awaited new FE 85mm F1.4 GM telephoto prime lens (model SEL85F14GM) strikes a perfect balance between resolution and bokeh in a compact package.

The lens features a new XA (extreme aspherical) element as well as three ED glass elements that work together to ensure that the in-focus areas are captured in extremely high resolution while the surrounding out-of-focus areas dissolve smoothly into a beautiful soft backdrop. It has a circular aperture with 11 blades – the most ever used in an α lens – that ensures bokeh is smooth and visually appealing.  Externally, the new model has Sony’s original Nano AR Coating, which is of particular importance in a portrait lens as it reduces flare and ghosting, even with backlit subjects or similarly challenging lighting conditions.

For accurate autofocusing, the FE 85mm F1.4 GM lens includes a ring drive SSM motor system that provides ample power and speed to drive the lens’ large, heavy focus group. It’s also equipped with two position sensors to support flawless focus control of the large, heavy lens elements.   

This new professional portrait lens is dust and moisture resistant and also has an aperture ring with on/off switchable click stops that can be adjusted based on whether a user is shooting still images or movies.  It also has an AF / MF switch and a focus hold button.2

New FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS Telephoto Zoom

Covering the frequently used 70-200mm focal range, the new FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS telephoto zoom lens (model SEL70200GM) offers extremely high rendering, AF performance and image stabilization, making it a versatile choice for shooting wildlife, sports, weddings and a variety of other events and locations1.

The new flagship telephoto zoom model delivers extraordinary sharpness and clarity throughout the entirety of its zoom range thanks to its three advanced lens elements including XA, Super ED and ED glass components, as well as its Nano AR coating. 

The new FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS lens features a floating focusing system – implemented in an α zoom lens for the first time – that contributes to an impressive minimum focusing distance of merely 0.96m and ensures AF performance is optimized during both still and video shooting. The lens includes a SSM (Super Sonic Motor) plus dual linear motors that work together to move large lens elements quickly - a task that requires a high level of drive control and ensures focus accuracy. The new model also has built in Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization for capturing sharp, blur-free subjects at all focal lengths and a rotating tripod mount that allows the camera to be quickly removed from a connected tripod as needed. 

The new 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens is dust and moisture resistant with an additional fluorine coating added to the front lens.  It also has a focus hold button as well as a focal range limiter. 

Sony has also announced new compact 1.4x and 2x Teleconverters  – models SEL14TC and SEL20TC respectively – that offer even greater reach while maintaining the overall streamlined design and feel of the 70-200mm lens.3   

Pricing and Availability

The new FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Standard Zoom and 85mm F1.4 GM Telephoto prime lenses will be available in March for about $2,200 and $1,800, respectively.  In Canada, they will be sold for $2,900 CA and $2,400 CA, respectively. 

The new 70-200mm F2.8 GM Telephoto Zoom Lens and its compatible 1.4x and 2x Teleconverters will be available in May.  Pricing is not yet available for these models. 

The new G Master Series of interchangeable lenses will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.  

1.      A software update may be required to provide compatibility of lenses with some cameras. See the Sony support site www.esupport.sony.com for additional details.

2.      Limitations apply to AF operation when shooting movies with certain camera bodies. A software update may be required to provide AF compatibility of FE 85mm F1.4 GM with some cameras during movie shooting. See the Sony support site for lens/body compatibility details.

3.      SEL70200GM is only compatible lens at the time of announcement

Sony 24-70mm F2.8 GM & 70-200 F2.8 GM OSS specifications

 Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GMSony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS
Principal specifications
Lens typeZoom lens
Max Format size35mm FF
Focal length24–70 mm70–200 mm
Image stabilizationNoYes
Lens mountSony FE
Aperture
Maximum apertureF2.8
Minimum apertureF22
Aperture ringNo
Number of diaphragm blades911
Optics
Elements1832
Groups1318
Special elements / coatingsOne extreme aspherical, one super ED, one ED element + Nano AR coatingOne double-side aspherical and one extreme aspherical element + Nano AR coating
Focus
Minimum focus0.38 m (14.96)0.96 m (37.8)
Maximum magnification0.24×0.25×
AutofocusYes
Motor typePiezoelectricRing-type ultrasonic
Full time manualYes
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleNo
DoF scaleNo
Focus distance limiterYes
Physical
Weight886 g (1.95 lb)1480 g (3.26 lb)
Diameter88 mm (3.45)88 mm (3.46)
Length136 mm (5.35)200 mm (7.87)
SealingYes
ColourBlackGray
Zoom methodRotary (extending)
Power zoomNo
Zoom lockYes
Filter thread82.0 mm77.0 mm
Hood suppliedYes
Hood product codeALC-SH141ALC-SH145
Tripod collarNoYes

Sony 85mm F1.4 GM specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typePrime lens
Max Format size35mm FF
Focal length85 mm
Image stabilizationNo
Lens mountSony FE
Aperture
Maximum apertureF1.4
Minimum apertureF16
Aperture ringYes
Number of diaphragm blades11
Optics
Elements11
Groups8
Special elements / coatingsExtreme Aspherical, Super ED, ED elements + Nano AR coating
Focus
Minimum focus0.80 m (31.5)
Maximum magnification0.12×
AutofocusYes
Motor typeRing-type ultrasonic
Full time manualYes
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleNo
DoF scaleNo
Focus distance limiterNo
Physical
Weight820 g (1.81 lb)
Diameter90 mm (3.52)
Length108 mm (4.23)
SealingYes
ColourBlack
Filter thread77.0 mm
Hood suppliedYes
Hood product codeALC-SH142