Sony Carl Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8 ZA SSM Vario-Sonnar T* A-mount lens review by SineQuaNon

reviewer#38899 date: Jul-11-2017
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SAL1650
price paid:1,300 USD (Open Box)
positive:- high build quality; feels very sturdy
- excellent IQ, especially sharpness and micro-contrast
- focusing is very fast, accurate, and nearly silent
- 77mm filter size is common to several other high-end lenses
- focus-hold button
negative:- rather heavy
- no lens lock/ has moderate zoom creep
- significant price increase compared to next lower level of lenses
comment:I hesitated at purchasing this lens for quite a while, as I've been running an APS-C setup for quite some time. But as I plan to upgrade to full-frame in the next month or so, I finally decided to pull the trigger, and I'm glad I did.

I was decently happy with the results I was getting from my SAL1650 paired with my A77, but now that I have this lens, the 16-50 will be gathering dust until I sell it. The sharpness of this lens is just something incredible to behold, even wide open. And though it might not be at STF levels as far as bokeh, I was more than pleased with the smooth, pleasant way that the out of focus areas are rendered.

Yes, there are some drawbacks, but if you need/want some seriously high quality glass, and plan on printing LARGE, then those drawbacks probably won't deter you, as they didn't deter me.

The lens is pretty hefty, without a doubt, but I stopped using neck-straps ages ago. It is held up nicely on my shoulder strap by a capture clip, and so the extra weight is hardly noticeable.

Because of how I carry the lens (capture clip/clutch hand strap) the lack of a zoom lock leads to eventual zoom creep, but this was fixed with a simple LensBand.

The biggest deterrent, though, was obviously its price... But, everyone has a different budget, and for me, I decided it was worth it when I found a store-model open box being sold for $1,300. Would I have paid the roughly $2,000 for it new? Well, thankfully I didn't have to, haha.

Overall, I'm in love with this lens, and expect that it was be what I take 75%-%80 of my future images with.

Will update after I have a chance to use it on the A99ii I plan on picking up.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 140
  • sharpness: 4.84
  • color: 4.91
  • build: 4.84
  • distortion: 4.75
  • flare control: 4.61
  • overall: 4.79 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania