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

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; 61MP61 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)
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.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 23
  • sharpness: 4.43
  • color: 4.78
  • build: 4.78
  • distortion: 3.96
  • flare control: 4.70
  • overall: 4.53 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania