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Teardown: A look inside Sony’s $2,200 24-70mm G Master lens

Sony’s new G Master premium lenses are high-end optics designed with the A7-series full-frame mirorless cameras in mind. One of the first in this new series, the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM, costs $2,200, but what sets it apart from other lenses?

SGNL (pronounced “signal”), a Sony-sponsored web-based television show, did a full teardown of the 24-70mm so we can all see exactly what’s going on inside. It’s an interesting look inside an object that most of us normally never get to see. It’s also not something incredibly easy to do. In fact, SGNL notes in its video that they had to have some special tools shipped to them all the way from Japan just to get the lens open. That’s not surprising since Sony’s engineers are really good at making complicated electronics.

Related: Sony’s new Zeiss 50mm prime and 70-200mm zoom lenses will please A7-series owners

For example, in order to remove the ornamental plate during the first step, Sony had to provide a custom “ring wrench.” Ten tiny screws had to be removed before the first piece of glass even comes off. “It’s like surgery,” voice-over host, Trace Dominguez, says.

It is somewhat incredible how small the mainboard, a horseshoe-shaped circuit board, actually is. “This is what brings the lens to life,” Dominguez says. It controls the entire lens and communicates with the camera, telling the lens how to focus, or engage the image stabilization. For some of you, it may be a bit of a surprise that there is a tiny computer inside the lens at all, but it just goes to show how complicated digital cameras have become.

Once all of the shell and outer fittings were removed, we find ourselves looking at the lens assembly, which is much smaller than you would think given the size of the lens when it’s all put together. It truly is a far cry from those old manual focus lenses of the past.

Overall, there are 93 pieces that make up the 24-70mm G Master lens, and the video shows not only why it costs $2,200 (there’s a lot of work and expensive parts that go into building one), but why you should never ever try to repair one yourself.