Sony Carl Zeiss FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS Vario-Tessar T* E-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 17   
reviewer#34775 date: Feb-4-2017
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 24-105mm
Minolta G 28-70mm
Sony FE 16-35mm f4
Sony E 16-70mm f4
Other zooms
price paid:n/a
positive:centres always sharp
good contrast
flare resistant
negative:corners and edges can be softer round 24-28mm
knurling on the zoom ring traps dirt
distorts, but is automatically corrected
comment:This lens receives so much bad publicity on the internet, and I have never quite been able to understand why, except that it has "Zeiss" in the name, and the price.

On my 12Mp and 24Mp cameras, from 28-70mm the frame is sharp when stopped down (e.g. f8 and beyond). At around 35mm or 50mm stopped down I would say it has near prime quality with a slightly loss of "bite" when looking at high magnification. Some people complain the 70mm is very soft, but I haven't seen this on my copy, which perhaps isn't bitingly sharp wide open but appears to offer fairly consistent performance across the frame when stopped down. Wide open it's always good in the centre, maybe not quite so good in the outer frame. Between 24-28mm it is harder to characterise - sometimes the results stopped down are very good, at other times the very outer ends on the long end of the frame never really "come in" and always look a little soft. At open aperture, the edges of the frame can look soft, but this is exaggerated by the generally always very good central core of the frame.

Contrast is very good, and flare resistance seems good too, even with sun in the frame. Any flare tends to be point source rather than contrast reducing.

As far as I can tell, colour is good (I find this type of phrase fairly meaningless on digital with modern lenses, though comparing models side by side can reveal colour signature differences - I've not made side by side comparisons to other models, so cannot comment). Generally colour seems good, perhaps neutral or a little cool - certainly not warm.

As with many E mount lenses, the design includes a profile embedded in the lens ROM, which is used in camera to correct distortion. Most modern raw development software will read this data from the raw file and automatically correct the image (Capture One, SilkyPix) - Adobe never used to, but that's a problem of the software, not the lens.

Focus is quick and silent.

Build seems quite solid though lens rentals reported one/some of theirs failing AF because the linear motor is glued to the focus actuator, and the glue failed. The external fit and finish is very nice, except for the knurling on the focus and zoom rings which like other E mount lenses is very finely ribbed, and attracts dust and dirt which can be hard to remove. The finish seems to scuff and mark despite fairly careful handling during 2 years use.

I purchased mine at a significant discount, at a price around what I think the lens is actually worth, rather than normal "list" price, which is too high in my opinion where I live.

Overall, I would rate this lens as a solid 4 stars - maybe 4.5 - on the A7s (12Mp) and A7/ii (24Mp) where I find the performance solid - it's nothing remarkable, it won't blow your socks off, but it's mostly consistently sharp and turns in decent images, especially stopped down. Wide open it's entirely usable too, especially where the outer field and corners are not so important (like most zooms at open aperture).

Maybe on 36-42Mp it's not so good - the 36Mp A7r sensor is particular "difficult" with some lenses in the outer field by all accounts, so maybe that explains a poor reputation. Independent third party bench tests I read always showed a fairly decent, competent lens, just one that isn't exceptional and so is perhaps a little over priced.

Overall, my most used lens on E mount, and one that I mostly trust to get the results I want.
reviewer#24474 date: Jan-24-2016
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 5
overall: 4.1
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Every lens I have owned..
price paid:950 Euro.
positive:The build quality is great.
It handles flare very well.
Very good contrast in the pictures.
negative:The lens could be smaller.
Not impressed by the Distortion.
It could be sharper, especially in the corners.
comment:In my opinion it doesen't live up to it's price tag. But it isn't as bad as some reviews has stated.
reviewer#20418 date: Nov-8-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SAL1670Z on A77
price paid:1200 usd
positive:Great walkabout lens.
negative:Even with FF format, I miss the 16mm flexibility of SAL1670Z.
comment:Lightroom easily corrects for slight distortion and vignetting.
reviewer#18340 date: Aug-30-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 28-78/2.8
Sony 16-105
Sony 16-80cz
price paid:600€
positive:small
light
fast AF
OSS
sharp at all appertues
negative:f/4 not f/2.8
comment:very versatile and usable lens.
DOF is sometimes to big (compared to f/2.8 lenses)

silent and efficient

a lens I would recommend
reviewer#12179 date: Mar-10-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:KM 28-75/2.8
price paid:EUR 1100
positive:+ Good image quality
+ Optical stabilization
negative:- The maximum aperture of f/4 can be limiting in some lighting conditions
comment:Nice general purpose zoom for α7 series.
reviewer#12087 date: Jan-10-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:28-70 kit lens
price paid:USD 750 (used)
positive:Color
negative:A bit heavy
comment:You will never go wrong with Zeiss.
reviewer#11963 date: Aug-27-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Canon 24-70 L II
Canon 24-70 L IS
Sony 24-70 Z
price paid:new
positive:Size
Weight
Weather sealed
Excellent optics
negative:No distance scale
comment:Very nice lens. Used it on my A7r and now on my A7s.

Nothing to complain about
reviewer#11821 date: May-12-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony FE 28-70 f/3.5-5.6
Minolta 28-70 f/2.8 G
Minolta 28-105 f/3.5-4.5
price paid:900 USD
positive:+ solid build, great feel
+ compact, not too heavy
+ always sharp in the center from f/4 on
+ great colors and contrast
+ flare resistance
+ good AF performance
+ OSS
+ prime quality at 35mm
negative:- extends a lot when zooming in
- distortion is strong but easily corrected
- somewhat pricey
- corner performance at 24mm and 70mm
comment:This is the single most useful lens for the A7, it's prime sharp at 35mm, very good throughout the range. Its weaknesses are the corners at 24mm which never sharpen up and 70mm where f/11 does the trick. OSS and silent AF are great for video. I compared the lens extensively to the kit lens and a couple of older Minolta lenses. For pure sharpness, the Minolta 28-70 may have a slight edge, but it's close (no OSS or SSM here), the kit lens only ever gets close in the center.
reviewer#11816 date: May-7-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 2
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 28-75
Minolta 28-135
Minolta 35-105 Original
Minolta 24-105
Minolta 24/2.8
Sony 50/1.4
Minolta 50/1.4
Sony 55/1.8
price paid:Part of a trade
positive:Sharpness (5 for a zoom)
Contrast (5 for a zoom)
Color
Size
Weight
negative:Distortion
comment:This lens is full of extremely high highs, and very odd lows. First, the facts:

Love the size of this lens. It appears large next to the a7, but the balance is spot on. This is an excellent lens in both size and weight, and epitomizes the philosophy behind the e-mount.

The highs:

The sharpness on this zoom less is top-notch. While not great at 24mm corner to corner, for the middle 90% of the image, it is stellar.

Contrast on this lens is up there with Zeiss primes (50/1.4 Planar, 135/2.8 Sonnar). Images will pop with that lovely micro-contrast that is a signature of Zeiss primes.

The color has a beautiful richness to it. The color, while almost neutral, still manages to appear to have a saturation to it that I find wonderful. I could not get this richness of color from my excellent 35-105.

The flare control is really controlled by the T* coatings. I use the hood only for protection or if I am using a filter.

The BAD: Distortion

This lens has the most significant distortion I have ever found on a lens. However, the in-camera correction is excellent for jpegs (and the a7 family corrects it beautifully), the RAW's show the distortion. However, I am finding that the lens compensation found in LR5 (as well as in DXO) correct it very well indeed. The corners are not extremely sharp compared to the center.

Conclusion: This is my favorite walkaround lens in all the world. Whether I am with family, hiking, vacationing, or even in the house, this is the lens on my a7 75% of the time. The OSS works well enough to shoot with a shutter speed of 1/15. Being able to lower the shutter speed so much offsets the fact that is an f/4 lens.
reviewer#11815 date: May-7-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:A99/2470ZA. It was expectable that the AF is much better on this combo. IQ wise it beats the FE2470 in almost every aspect - could be subjectively, but anyway.
However the weight advantage of the A7R/FE2470 combo is quite sexy. :-)
price paid:loan
positive:Top build quality, light weigth, very smooth operating.
Nice colors and snappy contrast. Well controlled CA.
Center is razor sharp, and borders are very good when slightly stopped down.
negative:Distortion is quite hefty. Only around 35mm it is on an acceptable level.
Although corner sharpness is a no-issue for my style, it was surprising that it does not improve significantly up to f11.
comment:I lent an A7R and the lens over a weekend to test it, because I aim to swap my E gear to FE gear. All in all the FE2470 is a desirable lens for the FE mount. Although the A7R is no "speed-beast", the combo worked sufficiently quick. The discussed "shutter-vibration" topic was not visible for me, although I tested the OSS by setting low shutter times.
reviewer#11812 date: May-6-2014
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 24-105 f3.5-4.5
price paid:$900
positive:I love the feel of the lens, build quality is nice..very nice, fast auto focusing on my A7, sharp at f4, smooth bokeh, great colors and contrast.
negative:The distortion, and edge softness is pretty bad, it never gets any better even stopped down..
comment:
Ive owned 2 copies of this lens now, and sold both, not happy with image quality at all. colors, contrast are nice..but distortion and edge softness are really bad.
reviewer#11791 date: Apr-25-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Better than the sony 28-70 kit zoom.
price paid:1200 CHF
positive:very well made and sharp for a zoom. Colour and contrast saturated as usual for a Zeiss lens.
negative:Distortion is very strong a 24mm, but well corrected by DXO. Pricy.
comment:A very good zoom to go with your A7/R, but pricy, yes.
reviewer#11772 date: Apr-15-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Canon 24-105F4 L, Minolta 24-105 f3.5-4.5D
price paid:1000
positive:Sharp and light weight
negative:expensive
comment:A must have for your A7/A7r
reviewer#11757 date: Apr-7-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 2,8/24-70 ZA with Sony LA-EA4
and a Sony LA-EA1.
price paid:$1200 us
positive:The lens balances well on the A7r. It is solid and well made but the focus ring is plastic.

Auto focusing is fast and accurate. Color saturation is fantastic. I have compared it to other Minolta, Sony and Zeiss lenses and it holds it's own.
negative:Non so far except for the plastic focus ring.
comment:I was surprised how well it worked with the EA1 with the newer A lenses. Thus far I am pleased with the results. Be aware that the image stabilization is in the lens and not the camera body. A tripod is essential for non stabilized lenses and this old man.
reviewer#11747 date: Mar-29-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:FE 55.
price paid:Euro 1199.
positive:Great lens after lens profile DXO.
On vacation must be very nice.
Center sharpness is great.
Nice combo with the FE 55 mm.


negative:Walk around lens, but having the shot is also important.
Then changing a lens.
FE 55 is better OK.
comment:Not so bad my 24 mm za is also not so a star in the corners.
And the 24-70 mm za also.
reviewer#11703 date: Feb-24-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony fe 35 mm 2.8
price paid:
missing
positive:Very Sharp!
negative:Very expensive!
comment:It's a very good travel Lens!
reviewer#11702 date: Feb-24-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony Carl Zeiss SAL 2.8/24-70mm
price paid:
missing
positive:Leightweight and rather small (compared to the alpha-eqv). Well built.
negative:Odd filter diameter.
comment:This is a very good walk around lens to the a7 / a7R cameras. It has some strange distorsions which is not autocorrected in Lightroom as there seem to be no profile for this lens yet.

Sharpness is very good but now that we compare to the awesome FE1.8/55mm it only get a 4.5. But for a zoom it is top notch I think.
reviews found: 17   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 17
  • sharpness: 4.47
  • color: 4.82
  • build: 4.82
  • distortion: 3.88
  • flare control: 4.82
  • overall: 4.56

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