Our Favorite Sony Lenses
Sony is known for their high-end consumer level cameras, and remain one of the most recognizable names in the industry year in and year out. To accompany Sony’s impeccable camera line, it is only fitting that they have a line of lenses to match. From both their G and GMaster Lens lines, Sony is known for producing high-quality, pristine glass for their cameras. The Gold or G series lenses were Sony’s first premium lens line for Sony Alpha cameras, which feature high-quality materials that reduce aberrations and increase sharpness. In addition to their fast, constant apertures which improve low light performance, they also produce smooth bokeh. However, the GoldMaster or GM lens has now superseded the G Line as the premium Sony Alpha mirrorless lenses. The GMaster lenses are a step up from the G line, as these lenses have been designed to focus faster in order to keep up with Sony’s increasingly fast focusing technology. These lenses are also more durable when compared to the G series, since their construction has been improved to resist dust and water. Additionally, the GMaster lens elements reduce aberrations even further, increase sharpness even more, and have better anti-reflective coatings. In short, the GoldMaster lenses are a slight step above Sony’s Gold line in terms of both quality and price point.
The "Gold Master" Line
Back in 2016, Sony launched their GMaster line of professional grade, high-quality lenses and never looked back. As big Sony advocates over here in the PolarPro offices, we decided to break it down in order to decide which GMaster lenses we can’t live without. With their GMaster collection Sony decided to redefine what the expected features of a lens are, by designing each one to perform at its highest level. Sony’s intention of creating the GMaster lens line was to strive to remain ahead of the curve by redefining their approach to lens technology. For instance, these GMaster series lenses feature extremely high resolution and exceptional bokeh which provides you with new creative possibilities when executing your content.
1. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
The FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is known as the classic do-everything GMaster option, as it is a super-sharp lens with a wide aperture that will work in a large range of situations. This is one of the fastest zoom lenses for the Sony FE mount, and in addition to its speed, it has complex optical characteristics. For instance, it has edge-to-edge resolution by employing three aspherical elements including one XA, one Extra-low Dispersion, or ED, element, one Super Extra-low Dispersion element. These three factors work to reduce all types of aberrations, and when combined with Nano AR Coating, can create an image of high clarity and contrast. This lens also features a nine-blade circular aperture for smooth bokeh and a Direct Drive Super Sonic wave Motor (DDSM) that will lock focus quickly and precisely. Like all the GMaster lenses by Sony, the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is for professional use and features both a rugged- dust and moisture-resistant body, making it the perfect addition to any creator’s photography adventure. In short, this lens fulfills a variety of photography/ videography purposes with ease-- everything ranging from wide-angle landscapes to tight portraits.
2. Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM
In a close second to the 24-70mm GMaster, the FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM is another one of our favorite GMaster lenses. This lens is the best GMaster option for landscape photography as the 16mm focal length provides an ultra-wide angle view of 107°, in addition to capturing narrower angles of view down to 63°. The 16-35mm GMaster lens is made of exotic glass that includes two ultra-high precision XA (Extreme Aspherical) elements, and considered Sony’s top quality wide zoom lens. Furthermore, this lens is sufficiently weather sealed, and also includes nano-structure coatings, and a keep-clean fluorine coating on the front element. There is also a constant and fast aperture of f/2.8, and when stopping down, the aperture remains sufficiently well rounded thanks to an 11-blade diaphragm. This 16-35mm zoom lens also has great corner sharpness and low vignetting, making your next landscape photography session worry-free of any unwanted noise to occur in your images. Additionally, this GMaster lens has amazing low light usability due to its large maximum aperture. It would also pair well for astrophotography since it has well controlled coma.
3. Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM
The Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GMaster is a prime lens that was designed with the full frame 35mm digital sensor in mind; yet it is also compatible with cameras using an APS-C sized sensor, which on those cameras the lens will produce a field of view of approximately 36mm. As a member of Sony’s supreme GMaster series, this lens is designed to achieve notably high resolution and sharpness through the correction of a wide variety of spherical and chromatic aberrations. The optical design of this lens incorporates three extra-low dispersion elements to reduce chromatic aberrations as well as two XA (extreme aspherical) elements, which significantly control spherical aberrations for a high degree of image sharpness and clarity. In addition, Nano AR coating has been applied in order to limit ghosting and lens flare for increased contrast and color fidelity when working in harshly lit environments. This lens also has the ability to give you great depth of field, and promotes your creativity since it forces you to actually have to move to get your shot, rather than relying on an automatic zoom. In short, this fast, versatile lens is well suited for the landscape, nature, or street photographer.
The "Gold" Series
Sony recently released two new flagship cameras into their crop sensor lineup with their A6600 and A6100 models, and with that debuted two new lenses to go with them. Unlike the lenses mentioned previously in this article, these two new lenses are part of their Gold or “G” series lenses, rather than GMaster. These G lenses are a step above the norm and more expensive than the base level lenses; however, they are one step below the GMaster lenses in terms of varied use case and price.
1. Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G
The Sony E 16-55mm is a APS-C standard zoom lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture, which offers superb G Lens image quality with exceptional all-around performance. For instance, this lens offers high corner-to-corner resolution throughout the zoom range, even at the f/2.8 aperture setting. This clear and high image quality is achieved by suppressing flare and ghosting by adoption of Nano AR coating. This new G lens features two AA (advanced aspherical) and two aspherical elements which suppress aberration for incredible corner-to-corner G Lens resolution, while three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements are used to reduce chromatic aberration and keep color bleeding to a minimum. Much like the GMaster lenses however, this 16-55mm lens is equipped with a XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motor, which is utilized for fast, precise, autofocus and tracking. This lens is also dust and moisture resistant in order to withstand difficult outdoor conditions, making it a welcome addition to any photographer’s camera bag. This lens would be an ideal option for both professionals and enthusiasts that strive to capture landscapes, portraits, and everyday snapshots.
2. Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS
The new Sony E 70-350mm is a super telephoto zoom lens which features an optimized mechanical and optical design that provides excellent image quality without compromise, throughout the image area, even to the maximum 350mm focal length. Even with five times the amount of zoom, this lens’ high optical performance is combined with the accessibility and mobility of a compact, lightweight design. It also includes built-in image stabilization, which allows for versatility and convenience when shooting out in the field. Much like the other G Lens that Sony recently released, the E 70-350mm has excellent corner-to-corner image quality, as well as features the XD Linear Motor technology for precise AF and tracking. This lens is made of three ED glass elements that are effectively arranged to suppress chromatic aberrations and control color blur even at the corners. This lens has excellent control and reliability between its stabilization features and AF/MF focus mode switch on the lens which makes it easy to transition back and forth from auto to manual focus in order to respond to the changes in your shooting needs. This new G Lens would best suit the workflow of a wildlife or landscape photographer due to its stabilization and zoom features, especially when paired with its rugged durability construction as well.
Protect Your Lens
After purchasing one of your new Sony lenses, it is of utmost concern to keep them protected, especially after paying a pretty penny for them. Our PolarPro Lens Defender was designed to be the protective first line of defense against dirt, moisture, and minor collisions. Our Defender- Lens Cover is compatible with most professional lenses on the market, and is sure to fit either your Sony G or GMaster Lenses. It has a dual-density construction which combines a hard, rigid lens plate and an easy to install flexible polymer exterior. Our custom engineered construction ensures a snug and secure fit compared to those standard plastic lens caps and flimsy universal lens covers.
Promote Creative Freedom in Front of Your Lens
After purchasing your new lens, it is without question that you will want to go try it out on your next shoot. The real question is, how can you maximize your gear in order to capture epic photos and videos? At PolarPro, we firmly believe that adding a ND filter to your lens when shooting is the best way to capture high-quality cinematic footage.
Types of Filters
QuartzLine filters are a quintessential addition to any creator’s camera bag, as they are made of fused quartz glass and built to withstand the harshest of conditions. With these filters hand crafted construction, they can prove to be a beneficial part of your workflow due to their optically pristine properties and ability to resolve up to 100 megapixels. The QuartzLine collection is offered in various filter types, and have the ability to block anywhere between 3 and 16 stops of light. Additionally, these filters will also help enhance your footage to make it look more professional and cinematic.
A variable neutral density filter, or VND is a type of ND filter that combines multiple filters into one. For example, instead of only being able to capture 3 stops of light with one ND filter, you can capture a range of stops by physically rotating the filter to control the amount of light that is let in. In other words, a variable ND filter combines multiple filter elements into one and eliminates the hassle of carrying numerous filters with you while out on location. Here at PolarPro, we teamed up with one of the biggest creators in the industry, Peter McKinnon, to engineer the highest quality VND filter on the market. Much like our QuartzLine filters, the Peter McKinnon Variable ND filter is made of our quartz glass technology which allows for increased durability and a reliable addition on any rugged adventure. Our Peter McKinnon Variable ND filter is available in both 2-5 and 6-9 stop options, making it easy for you to adapt to any outdoor environment.
Carly San Filippo
Copywriter at PolarPro