Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portrait Review: TFP Model Test Shoot with Audrey

sony 24-70mm portraits

When I first started taking portraits, I did research on prime lenses and zoom lenses. The experts all had different answers so I gave it a try for myself. Years later and hundreds of shoots in my portfolio, I can reasonable say the 24-70mm lens is great for portraits.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits

Yes, you can shoot portraits with a 24-70mm lens. The wide range in focal lengths allows for a diverse set of images without having to move from your position to recompose your shot. The 24mm wide end can help capture the subject and surrounding environment, while the 70mm telephoto length can isolate your subject and give you closer portrait shots and details.

Can you take portraits with a 24-70mm lens: Yes, and here is the sample gallery of images from my portrait shoot with Audrey.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey stairs wide of building
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 160 | @f2.8 | @61mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera right

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Portrait Photography

The 24-70mm has its advantages for shooting portraits, but instead of just explaining all the benefits, let’s take a look at a few different portrait shoots I’ve done over the years and see how this lens performs.

For these shoots, I used the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master lens paired with the Sony a7riii full-frame mirrorless camera and the Sony a7iii mirrorless camera.

Many camera manufacturers have 24-70mm f2.8 lenses, but I wanted to preface this so you knew I was using a Sony setup.

I own many prime and zoom lenses from the Sony lineup and the 24-70mm is one of my favorite lenses for shooting portraits and taking on my lifestyle portrait shoots.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey up close to flowers
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 160 | @f2.8 | @48mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera right

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 wide angle portraits

For my portrait shoots, I work with different subjects and creative concepts.

I chose the 24-70mm f2.8 lens so I could have the choice of wide compositions, or closer shots at 70mm to maximize bokeh and get all the details from my subject.

The zoom range provides a large variety of choices when shooting and setting up my compositions without me having to physically move around too much.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey side pose
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 160 | @f2.8 | @32mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera left

The wide angle is a fun choice when I want to distort the characteristics of my subject. I would shoot at low angles to capture the floor in the foreground and make my subject look taller.

The closer to the edge a subject is when shooting with a wider focal length, the more distortion you are going to get.

I keep my subjects head and body towards the center of the frame but have their legs or arms closer to the edge of frame. This creates a unique look for my photos.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey close up in alley
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 160 | @f2.8 | @60mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera left

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 portrait compositions

The more telephoto end (50mm-70mm) gives me a more traditional portrait look and composition.

I concentrate my focus on my subject’s eyes or small details in the face when shooting with 70mm or the top half of the body when shooting around 50mm-60mm.

The lens doesn’t distort the subjects features as much at these lengths so I know I will get a more natural looking shot when close up.

Shooting wide open at f2.8 aperture lets me maximize bokeh and subject separation.

This allows the subject to be clearly separated from the background and gives me a blurred look called bokeh right behind the model.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey twisted staris
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 160 | @f2.8 | @49mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera left

Advantages of the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 lens

  • Single lens means less equipment to carry on a portrait shoot – When your shooting by yourself and want to limit the amount of equipment you’re carrying on a shoot with you, the 24-70mm is a great choice. It pretty much covers
  • Wide focal range for diverse images
  • Quick composition changes without having to move around
  • 24-70mm f2.8 shoots great in lowlight situations
  • Sharp Lens and high-quality images
  • Zoom Lock (Sony)

Cons of Sony 24-70mm f2.8 lens

  • Heavy lens construction
  • Expensive price
  • Only zooms to 70mm (personal gripe)
Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portrait Lens
Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portrait Lens

Carry less equipment with a single Sony 24-70mm f2.8 lens

When shooting with prime lenses, I used to have multiple lenses with me at all times. This sometimes required me to have multiple cameras so I wouldn’t miss a shot.

I would have the 35mm f1.4 prime lens on one camera and the 85mm f1.4 on the other camera.

When I switched to using a single 24-70mm lens this allowed me to use just a single camera and still get the shot.

I could go wide or telephoto and use all the focal lengths in between to capture the best composition.

The Sony a7riii also has a crop mode function which crops into the sensor and turns your full frame lens into a tighter zoom.

The crop factor is about 1.5x so your 24-70mm lens turns into a 36-105mm lens still with plenty of resolution.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey on wall
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 160 | @f2.8 | @51mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera left

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Lens quality is high

For the high price, this lens does not disappoint on quality. Many of my images were tac sharp and retained a lot of details. Even when shooting against the sun, I was still able to get high quality images.

For most of this shoot, I was using the Profoto B2 strobe for added lighting and fill. After examining the images I was very impressed with the quality and colors.

The Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM lens performs great

I normally don’t have much issues when shooting with my Sony lenses. I have come across some lenses that have issues focusing against the sun in low contrast scenarios, but I didn’t experience this with the Sony 24-70mm lens.

I was able to use eye auto-focus to get crisp and sharp images. The lens does hunt sometimes in lower light scenarios, but this can be said of many lenses on the market. It captured focus fast when paired with my Sony a7riii, and that is what I wanted.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey close to stairs
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 160 | @f2.8 | @70mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera right

Shooting wide open at f2.8 with the Sony 24-70mm G Master lens

Just because you can shoot wide open at f1.8 or f2.8 doesn’t mean you should do it all the time. But going against my own recommendations, I shoot this entire shoot at f2.8.

My goal was to see how well it did wide open. After all if you are going to get a fast lens, then you will want to put it to the test. The Sony 24-70mm didn’t disappoint when shooting wide open.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Lens Price – $2,198.00

The Sony 24-70mm f2.8 can be purchased new for $2,198.00. The good thing is you can find used lenses on the 2nd hand market for much cheaper. I know I have seen this lens going for as low as $1700 now.

One of the biggest hurdles that you have to cross is the price of top quality lenses. It can be a big investment so make sure to do your research before purchasing. Again, make sure to do your research and save yourself a bit of money.

How much does the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 weight – 887g or 1.95lbs

The Sony 24-70mm f2.8 FE G Master lens weights in at 887 grams or 1.95 pounds. If you’re going to be shooting for a long period of time, this lens will put you the the test.

It’s metal construction is great for durability and strength but this also adds more weight to the overall build.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master portrait samples

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey on bench full body shot
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 100 | @f2.8 | @34mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera left
Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey close up
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 160 | @f2.8 | @33mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera left

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey full body
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 160 | @f2.8 | @36mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera left
Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey on rail sitting
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 160 | @f2.8 | @38mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera left

Would I recommend the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens for Portraits?

Yes, I would recommend the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 lens for any portrait photographer looking for a high quality zoom lens for portraits. The versatility of the zoom range is perfect for beginners who want control of their composition without having to move around so much.

The f2.8 aperture will allow for shooting in low light situations and giving you some beautiful rendered bokeh and subject separation.

Is the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 the only lens you need

The largest benefit of this lens is you won’t have to carry multiple lenses to get multiple focal distances. This zoom covers your traditional focal lengths such as 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 70mm.

This can be a big advantage over having to switch lenses as you have to do with primes on location to get the same focal lengths.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Portraits Shoot Breakdown - Audrey hand rail lean
Shot on Sony a7riii | Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master Lens | 1/200sec | ISO 160 | @f2.8 | @58mm | Profoto B2 Flash camera left

Alternatives to the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master lens

There are two other lenses I would consider for this same focal range. Sony also makes the 24-70mm f4.0 Zeiss lens. and Tamron has the 28-75mm f2.8.

The Sony 24-70mm f4.0 lens has had mixed reviews for professionals. I’ve only tried it out for video and not photography and had a good experience with it. You can find the lens in used condition for around $700 which makes this a very attractive price range for most photographers.

The Tamron 28-75 f2.8 doesn’t give you that extra 4mm but only you can decide if it is wide enough. The 75mm can make up for it at the telephoto range and this can come in handy when shooting portraits. You can also find this lens for $875 new and even more budget friendly prices on the used market.

What I learned from this Portrait shoot with the Sony 24-70mm f2.8

The versatility of a zoom lens comes in clutch when shooting outdoors. I can place my model in a single pose and get multiple compositions because of the zoom range. I also don’t have to change my off camera flash lighting as much and this saves me tons of time.

I am not a traditional portrait photographer in the scenes that I don’t always use longer focal lengths for my shoots. I like to shoot at wider ranges of 24mm to 35mm. This gives the portrait a foundation in the scene. I can capture the subject and all the things around her.

Conclusion on the Sony 24-70mm f2.8

When it comes to shooting with the Sony 24-70mm f2.8, I had no major issues and produced some amazing shots. The lens performed as expected and gave me a chance to experiment with the wider focal ranges to get close and full-body shots.

This focal range is a perfect tool for beginner photographers, but I understand the price may keep it out of some budgets. Don’t worry, you have options. Again, consider the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 and save the extra money for other lenses when you’re ready to get other equipment. As always, happy shooting!

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