Sony’s smallest ever full-frame f/2.8 zoom is a powerful everyday lens with a small compromise

Sony has launched another full-frame lens for its mirrorless cameras, and this one’s a little different – the FE 24-50mm F2.8 G. It’s Sony’s lightest and smallest ever full-frame zoom lens with f/2.8 aperture, but with a more limited zoom range than the classic 24-70mm.

Boasting a constant f/2.8 aperture like the pricier Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 G OSS II, but in a compact body just like the Sony FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS (not to be confused with the more recent FE 20-70mm F4 G), the obvious trade-off in the new lens from those 24-70mm models is the reduced reach at the telephoto end, which only extends to 50mm. 

Besides weighing just 15.5oz / 440g and measuring 3.63 inches /92.3mm in length – which is practically the same as Sony’s 24-70mm F4 – other features include a dust and moisture-resistant build and a minimum 0.3m focus distance with maximum 0.3x magnification at 50mm – that’s excellent close-focusing capabilities. It’s also built for 2024’s hybrid shooters with a clicked aperture ring and twin linear motors for fast and quiet internal autofocus. 

Sony FE 24-50mm F2.8 G lens attached to a Sony A9 III

(Image credit: Future)

Shipping is from April 2024, and the new lens costs $1,100 / £1,150 (around AU$1,800 – pricing for Australia is TBC), which is somewhere between the 24-70mm F2.8 G II ($2,299 / £1,999 / AU$2,899) and the 24-70mm F4 ($899 / £749 / AU$1,209). For Sony that’s an attractive price point for a f/2.8 zoom. 

Something new, but is it a flawed concept?

I own a pro 24-70mm F2.8 lens, and I love the versatility of that classic all-rounder, even if it is a tad heavy. It ticks so many boxes, and has accompanied me on landscape photography adventures, and been my one and only lens for weddings, portraiture shoots and more. In fact it was the only lens I used with my mirrorless camera for years. 

Part of the reason why the 24-70mm lens is so good is its combination of focal length range and large f/2.8 aperture. That’s plenty wide enough for landscape photos and even for video, while it’s bright in low light and gives a shallow depth of field for portraiture, especially at 70mm.

Close up of the Sony FE 24-50mm F2.8 G lens front element in the hand

(Image credit: Future)

So is the reduced focal range worth it to get what is a significantly smaller and lighter zoom lens? I get into this question more in my 24-50mm F2.8 G review, but I think there’s a certain photographer and filmmaker out there for whom the focal range is perfect. And the new 24-50mm F2.8 G is much cheaper than the 24-70mm F2.8 G OSS II, plus it’s equipped with Sony’s latest design and autofocus performance, which the 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lacks. Sony has just released an intriguing addition to its mirrorless camera system. 

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