Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 GMaster Lens

Ah, the sights and smells of summertime. New cameras and lenses are born into the world celebrating new life for the camera industry.

Yes, that was sarcasm. I am so over the semi-annual new gear introductions that are nothing more than incremental improvements, for the most part anyway.

So, Sony has announced. Their new FE 12-24mm f/2.8 G-master zoom which by all all accounts so far is a tour de force in optical design and engineering. An extreme wide angle 2X zoom with a rectilinear design that almost completely eliminates any of the normal distortion or “fisheye” effect that you would  get from such an extreme wide angle lens. At  f/2.8. The fast aperture itself offers moderate but good bokeh which, again, is almost unheard of in wide angle lenses that normally offer excellent depth of field characteristics. You don’t normally think of this type of lens as being any kind of bokeh beast. On top of all of that the lens has, effectively, no chromatic aberration or color fringing and almost zero noticeable vignetting. Amazing!

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This could be an architectural photographer’s perfect lens and it probably has a lot of use for  landscape photography. Of course it could be used for photojournalism and documentary work with prudence and caution. Actually it could find a place in almost. Any photographers kit – except for the price. 

$3,000.00

Wait what?

$3,000.00? That is just an absurd price – full stop. I do not care how “good” or “amazing” it is. I used to think Sony’s FE 24-70-mm f/2.8 G-master at over $2,000.00 (for what is essentially a “walk around” lens) was ridiculous but this far surpasses their previous idiocy especially since they also offer a 12-24mm f/4 “G” version for significantly less and is probably at least 90% as good as this lens.

Perhaps I am the wrong consumer for this lens because I don’t get the value proposition. If this were, say, a Leica lens, I would understand. I still wouldn’t be interested because I am not a Leica shooter but at least I understand their value proposition.

Sony is not Leica. Sony does not have a history of superior optical design and hand craftsmanship. Sony is, first and foremost, an electronics company that makes great digital cameras. Great in the sense that they work well, are well constructed and eminently useable. They offer a reasonably complete lens library and have a good amount of third party support.

In short, they have matured their camera division into a formidable force in the industry competing fully for market share with Nikon and Canon. This still does not merit a $3K lens. 

If that last bit sounded pretty cynical, well, it is. Even as a Sony shooter, who is familiar with their penchant for overpricing I am still surprised at this latest bit of ridiculousness. 

I doubt that sales figures for this lens will be stellar.

In the meanwhile – stay safe, see the world through your own eyes and thank you for reading.

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