zeiss zooms: accidental opportunity?

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davidstock
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zeiss zooms: accidental opportunity?
5 months ago

I've been very interested in the various posts on this forum concerning the Zeiss 16-70mm (APS-C) and 24-70mm (full frame) zooms. My thanks to all the posters who took the trouble to provide us with their test results and impressions.

The consensus seems to be that both lenses are great, with the exception of the far corners at some focal lengths. This is not unexpected for zooms, especially at the ends of the focal range. For some purposes, like travel or portraiture, a bit of compromise in the corners seems quite reasonable.

But this is not true for many of the subjects I happen to photograph, and the sizes I like to print. (I personally find most Nikon-mount zooms unacceptable for use with architecture and urban landscape using my D800.) This makes me hesitate to buy an A7, since without the zoom there are big holes in the FE lens range that will take a long time to fill.

So I'm thinking hard about another approach: using the full-frame Zeiss zoom on my APS-C NEX-7 and, hopefully, the upcoming A6000. This would crop out the corners and utilize only the sweet spot of the lens, where it apparently shines.

Obviously, I would lose a lot at the widest part of the focal range, and gain at the long end. The 24-70mm would become a 36-105mm equivalent. That would actually work fine for me almost all the time. I already have some good NEX wide angle and fast lenses to use in other situations.

The biggest question mark might be that the 24-70 is larger and heavier than the 16-24. But actually, the difference doesn't seem to be all that much: 3/4 of an inch and about 115 grams. And the NEX-7 is lighter than the A7, of course.

If I'm willing to use a slightly bigger lens (and pay even more!), I could potentially end up with a camera/zoom combination that gives me 24 megapixels of absolute killer image quality: sharp from corner to corner at all focal lengths with low distortion. And OSS. As a bonus, the lens would work on future full-frame cameras (and should therefore hold its resale value too). Meanwhile, there is a good chance that the upcoming A6000 will not only focus faster, but come close to the low-light capability of the A7.

Has anybody tried this combination yet? I'm considering renting the 24-70 to try it out on my NEX-7, but would be interested in hearing from others too.

Nikon D800 Sony a6000 Sony Alpha 7 Sony Alpha NEX-7
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