FE 24-70 f/4: Holding me back from going to A7x

Started Aug 26, 2015 | Discussions
rayharris51 Forum Member • Posts: 91
Re: FE 24-70 f/4: Holding me back from going to A7x

I have an A7 with both 24-70 and 16-35 FE zooms.

Agree 16-35 is excellent and definitely better than the 24-70. Having said that the 24-70 is not bad and is the only decent general purpose constant aperture zoom with OSS; for the A7 at least.

The 24-70 is better than the 16-70 I have for the 6000, and that isn't bad either.

If edge to edge quality is important to you then I would go with a prime, otherwise you'll find the 24-70 to be a very useful walk around general purpose lens. ( I got rid of the 28-70 I originally had but some say that's not bad either, but the 24-70 was visibly better for me.)

Hope it helps

Ray

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jaybr Senior Member • Posts: 1,591
Re: Some samples....

Nice photos jalywol,

I wonder how much better they would have looked with a better lens?

Seriously, it's difficult to assess a lens's performance with photos posted online in a forum.

The photos look fine, but I could grab my old 12 megapixel Canon IXUS, and the photos would look fine here as well.

If your happy with your FE 24-70mm, great, good on ya.

I'll stick with my FE 55mm, and zoom with my feet.

J

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jalywol
jalywol Veteran Member • Posts: 9,674
Re: Some samples....
1

jaybr wrote:

Nice photos jalywol,

I wonder how much better they would have looked with a better lens?

Seriously, it's difficult to assess a lens's performance with photos posted online in a forum.

The photos look fine, but I could grab my old 12 megapixel Canon IXUS, and the photos would look fine here as well.

If your happy with your FE 24-70mm, great, good on ya.

I'll stick with my FE 55mm, and zoom with my feet.

J

Sure, and I have some great shots with my smartphone and lots of good ones with my M43.

The point is, the lens is not poor.  You might well have gotten a poor sample, but there are enough users out there that have gotten decent copies of it that have and use the lens frequently that having examples of some average shots from a good copy might be actually useful....You can judge a lot about contrast, color, microcontrast, and what the lens output generally looks like even from a downsized forum image.

Perhaps you could post some of your poor quality results from it for a comparison?  Maybe some full sized ones so we can see what the problems were that you were having with it?  That would be very helpful.

-J

jaybr Senior Member • Posts: 1,591
Re: Some samples....
1

I tested the lens, then returned it. It wasn't for me.

Also, every reputable review I've read about it, does not rave about its performance.

To get optimal sharpness out of it, you need to stop down to F8. I noticed most of your photos were stopped down. Why, not sharp enough wide open?

Poor and nervous bokeh...

I just don't see too many reasons for buying it.

Here's another review for the lens:

https://photographylife.com/best-and-worst-sony-fe-lenses-for-a7-cameras

They compare the FE 28-70mm (kit lens).

J

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jalywol
jalywol Veteran Member • Posts: 9,674
Re: Some samples....
1

jaybr wrote:

I tested the lens, then returned it. It wasn't for me.

Also, every reputable review I've read about it, does not rave about its performance.

Absolutely...and nobody disputes that there is clearly significant sample to sample variation (especially in early copies). Those reviews have a fair number of users scratching their heads, as what they have posted doesn't really jibe with the results they are getting from their copies.

To get optimal sharpness out of it, you need to stop down to F8. I noticed most of your photos were stopped down. Why, not sharp enough wide open?

Um, if you hadn't noticed, most of them were landscapes that needed deep DOF? 3/12 were wide open at f4, 2/12 were at f5.6..... the rest ranged from f6.3-f11. In FF, I find that I need to stop down a whole heck of a lot more than I used to with smaller sensored cameras when I shoot nature, in order to get everything I want to be in focus actually in focus.....Or perhaps you haven't realized that? Not every image benefits from shallow DOF, ergo not every image should be shot wide open....

Poor and nervous bokeh...

Once again, I suspect you are using this lens in ways that it perhaps it is not designed for? If you want really great subject isolation, an f4 lens is not going to do it for you anyway....

I just don't see too many reasons for buying it.

That is abundantly clear.

https://photographylife.com/best-and-worst-sony-fe-lenses-for-a7-cameras

They compare the FE 28-70mm (kit lens).

Yes, and if you read the comments, you will see exactly what I have said: A good copy of this lens is very good, and a bad copy is terrible.  You clearly got a bad copy.

I bought the 28-70mm with my A7 when I got it.  It was awful.  Color rendition was nasty and murky (and I have seen that with other photos from the lens, not just mine), microcontrast is bad, my copy had awful halation on just OOF areas in front and behind the focal plane, and it's corners were as bad as my least favorite M43 zoom, the Panasonic 14-42mm (an awful lens).   I sent it back and got the 24-70mm instead, and was blown away by how much better the 24-70mm actually was.

So?  Moral of the story?  There are bad copies of the 24-70mm out there, but good ones really shine.

-J

jaybr Senior Member • Posts: 1,591
Re: Some samples....
1

You obviously like the lens, great.

I implore others to read some reputable reviews (and/or lab reviews) to gauge the performance of the lens, because it is seriously questionable.

Even hire or borrow before you buy (if possible).

DXO give the Sony FE 24-70mm F4 OSS a sharpness score of 15.

They give the Sony FE 55mm F1.8 a sharpness score of 29. That's almost twice as sharp!

http://www.dxomark.com/Reviews/Sony-Zeiss-Vario-Tessar-T-FE-24-70mm-F4-ZA-OSS-lens-review-Good-value/Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Vario-Tessar-T-24-70mm-F4-ZA-OSS-vs-Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Sonnar-T-35mm-F2.8-ZA-vs-Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Sonnar-T-55mm-F1.8-ZA-mounted-on-Sony-A7R-Respectable-performance-overall

This is one of the reasons I prefer the FE 55mm, and zooming with my feet.

So, the REAL moral of the story:

If you really want a zoom lens, get the FE 28-70mm kit lens.

It performs just as well as the expensive FE 24-70mm, and you'll save a fortune in the process.

J

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Wayne Brissette Regular Member • Posts: 418
Re: Some samples....

I'm with Jalywol on this one. Either we both got great lens or it's just not as bad as a lot people make the 24-70mm lens out to be. I'll need to sift through my images to find things shot with the lens, but I don't think it's as poor as it is being made out to be.

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jalywol
jalywol Veteran Member • Posts: 9,674
Re: Some samples....

jaybr wrote:

You obviously like the lens, great.

I implore others to read some reputable reviews (and/or lab reviews) to gauge the performance of the lens, because it is seriously questionable.

Even hire or borrow before you buy (if possible).

DXO give the Sony FE 24-70mm F4 OSS a sharpness score of 15.

They give the Sony FE 55mm F1.8 a sharpness score of 29. That's almost twice as sharp!

http://www.dxomark.com/Reviews/Sony-Zeiss-Vario-Tessar-T-FE-24-70mm-F4-ZA-OSS-lens-review-Good-value/Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Vario-Tessar-T-24-70mm-F4-ZA-OSS-vs-Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Sonnar-T-35mm-F2.8-ZA-vs-Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Sonnar-T-55mm-F1.8-ZA-mounted-on-Sony-A7R-Respectable-performance-overall

This is one of the reasons I prefer the FE 55mm, and zooming with my feet.

You can't zoom with your feet to get a 55mm to take landscape shots at 24mm.....

So, the REAL moral of the story:

If you really want a zoom lens, get the FE 28-70mm kit lens.

No, if you really want a cheap zoom lens, get the FE 28-70mm kit lens.

It performs just as well as the expensive FE 24-70mm, and you'll save a fortune in the process.

No, it does not. Here's a very comprehensive test video that shows the real world differences in the lenses. The 28-70mm isn't even close: (It's in German, but you can see the examples they give very clearly)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF47zvmEciw

-J

jaybr Senior Member • Posts: 1,591
Re: Some samples....

Heh,

A comprehensive test? in German which I can't understand, and a YouTube video which I can't clearly analyse or compare the images. Is that the best you can offer?

The photographylife link I posted earlier made a clear comparison test, which you seem to ignore. It actually states the FE 28-70mm performs better than the FE 24-70mm. So yes, if you want a cheap lens, get the FE 28-70mm, it also is (according to photographylife) the BETTER lens.

In respect to zooming with my feet with an FE 55mm, true, there is a small percentage of occasions (maybe 20%) when it wouldn't be possible to step back to fit a subject in the frame. That's why I have an FE 28mm F2, and a Voigtlander 15mm III. For 80% of the time, my FE 55mm does the job. Saying that though, there are going to be occasions your 24mm is not going to be wide enough either, so what do you do then?

Look, I don't expect people (like yourself) to admit a lens they purchased, is widely reviewed as a poor performing lens. Of course your going to say how good it is. Most reviews however, indicate otherwise. Your arguing against the general consensus of reviews. But as I said earlier, if your happy with your lens, that's all that matters to you.

J

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jaybr Senior Member • Posts: 1,591
Re: Some samples....

Wayne Brissette wrote:

I'm with Jalywol on this one. Either we both got great lens or it's just not as bad as a lot people make the 24-70mm lens out to be. I'll need to sift through my images to find things shot with the lens, but I don't think it's as poor as it is being made out to be.

"Either we both got great lens" and most of the reputable reviewers got the bad copies?

Sorry, that's just not really likely is it.

J

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FF Pro
FF Pro Senior Member • Posts: 1,429
Re: FE 24-70 f/4: Holding me back from going to A7x

I hike a lot. The 16-35 is my sweet spot. I use the 35/2.8 while actually walking to the destination to keep outside bulk down.

I have avoided the 24-70 and don't mind a bit.
--
http://www.14fps.tv - My YouTube channel with a focus on Sony cameras.

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jaybr Senior Member • Posts: 1,591
Re: Some samples....
1

Here is another thread comparing the FE 24-70mm and the FE 28-70mm:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3643121#forum-post-53341796

Also, another reputable review of the FE 24-70mm:

http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1654/cat/83

"With soft corners at essentially all focal lengths (and even stopped down), plus strong vignetting and distortion, the Sony FE 24-70mm ƒ/4 ZA OSS Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* didn't meet our expectations"

Yeah, it's a great lens <sarc>

J

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Mordi
Mordi Senior Member • Posts: 2,304
Re: FE 24-70 f/4: Holding me back from going to A7x
1

The Zeiss 24-70mm is a perfectly fine lens in its class. Like someone else said most of the negative reports come from people with little to no experience in the 24-70mm zoom lens area or repeating what they've without actually owning the lens.

A zoom lens is usually best in its mid-range and less so at the ends (24mm and 70 mm) but really shines from 35mm-60mm

The price of the lens is also what got people. The lens when released was more expensive than other F/4 zooms in its range and I think people thought it meant it should perform better then the less expensive Canon option.

Also this was the first native wide angle focal length option on the FE mount system. A lot of landscape and pixel peepers bought it to shoot at 24mm and complained not really having the knowledge that 24mm and 70mm would be the weakest focal length of this or most zooms.

There was then a split between who wanted an f2.8 lens and those that felt the lens was too big for the FE mount system (especially since the A7II and A7R-II were nowhere around yet and the A7/R bodies are so much smaller). So you had both sides feeling a bit unhappy. The 2.8 crowd and the size/weight crowd.

Lastly, the prime lens options at the time (35mm 2.8 and 55mm 1.8) are remarkable lenses - but are fixed focal lengths.

All this being said - I own the 24-70mm and for what the lens design and uses are for- I find it to be perfectly fine lens. Especially now you can find it for $799 instead of $1200 USD.

Where did you find a new 24-70 for $799? With a USA warranty? I've just rented one with an extra A7 body for a video shoot this week, and am likely to be charmed by it.

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Wayne Brissette Regular Member • Posts: 418
Re: Some samples....
2

With every response, you sound more shrill and I suspect most people are tuning out more. Go read through the responses on this thread and you'll see there are quite a few of us who are happy with the lens. You hate the lens, we get that. I do suspect that there must be some good and some bad copies out there. I don't think every one is going to fall into either category.I use the 24-70 as my main carry around lens when hiking myself and I like it.

Bottom line, some of us like our copy. You didn't like yours, we get that. We also get that the reviews have not been positive for this lens. That said, some of us are saying, the lens we have isn't as bad as the reviewers have said, if our copy was, then we would see major issues in our photos, and they just aren't showing up.

I think the best option for the person wanting to know how the lens works is to actually test it themselves (easier said than done these days I know). The results will speak volumes about should they or shouldn't they spend their money on it.

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ncsakany
ncsakany Senior Member • Posts: 2,214
It's a great lens, actually, when you get a good copy
4

I went through no fewer than 4 copies to get a decent one. Sony's quality control is atrocious, and unbefitting of the Zeiss badge the lens carries.

When one gets a good copy, however, it's phenomenal. The rendering style is very pleasant, it's got high contrast and is also very sharp, at least in the central area where it really matters, even wide open.

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jaybr Senior Member • Posts: 1,591
Re: Some samples....

Actually, I have stated a few times that if your happy with your lens, great good on ya.

It doesn't mean I agree it's a good lens, because there's plenty of reviews that state otherwise.

The OP in this thread (and other potential buyers) should not be misinformed by users about the poor performance of this lens.

J

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neatokino New Member • Posts: 22
Re: Some samples....
1

As is clear from this and many other threads here, personal needs and standards are big factors in lens choice. I have the Zeiss 24-70 f4 and a wide range of great legacy primes (Zeiss lenses in Contarex and Rollei mounts from 18mm to 250mm); I'm not a professional still photographer, but I'm a visual arts professional, so I know the difference, but I personally don't need perfection for the lenses I use to take still photos.

I've tested my 24-70, and maybe it just happens to be a decent example, but with the standard correction in Capture One, it looks good throughout the range, is nice and sharp at the corners, better of course stopped down than wide open but perfectly acceptable for MY needs (crucial distinction-- your needs are not mine) even at f4. I just use it as a general all-around travel/snapshot lens, and for those purposes it is excellent. If you're hiking and shooting landscapes, it's a serious option, and you should rent it or borrow it or find a way to try it for your needs.  Based on the example I have, I'm baffled by the hate this lens receives, as mine performs very very well, and its rendering of color and contrast are subjectively excellent to my taste.

Having said that, I find myself using my Sony FE 28mm f2 more often than the zoom as an all-around lens. I also have a good example of the Sony lens, but it's far from perfect wide open and can be easily criticized by some pixel peepers (though it does get great scores). I just find it to be a lightweight, reasonably compact lens, wide enough for landscapes, excellent for wideangle closeups of people, and almost as versatile as the 24-70, though it's of course a very different lens.

I'd always recommend a set of 3 primes over the zoom. With the Batis 25 (or Sony 28mm f2) and Batis 85 and the Sony 55 you'd be out a ton of $$$ but you'd have everything you'd ever need from the 24-70 only better.  You'll get sharper images and 2+ extra stops.  Changing lenses is not a huge deal and shouldn't be a factor.  Saving space and $ are more significant reasons to buy the zoom.

If you want a midrange zoom, I think you're OK with the 24-70mm; I'm very happy with mine for what it does.  Maybe mine happens to be a good one, but it seems to me this lens doesn't get a fair shake.

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Robgo2 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,040
Re: Some samples....

neatokino wrote:

I'd always recommend a set of 3 primes over the zoom. With the Batis 25 (or Sony 28mm f2) and Batis 85 and the Sony 55 you'd be out a ton of $$$ but you'd have everything you'd ever need from the 24-70 only better. You'll get sharper images and 2+ extra stops. Changing lenses is not a huge deal and shouldn't be a factor. Saving space and $ are more significant reasons to buy the zoom.

I am mostly a prime lens shooter, and what what works best for me is to change lenses as infrequently as possible. I choose a focal length for a given outing and stick with it. For me, it is usually either 35 or 50mm. Of course, I may miss some potentially good images at other focal lengths, but by the same token, I will get all that I can from that single focal length. It's a different mentality from using zoom lenses, and it does not suit everyone, but it can be enjoyable and very rewarding. BTW, I am not excessively rigid about this, and I do have a 90/2.8 legacy lens and an FE 16-35.

Rob

vett93
vett93 Senior Member • Posts: 4,514
Re: Some samples....

I must have received a good copy as well. I hesitated buying this lens because of some negative comments/reviews. Then I had this wedding reception to shoot. This is an event that one cannot zoom with his/her feet. So I thought that I would give it a try.

See attached full size picture below. The model's face is near the corner and is still sharp!

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Sony A7II | A6000 | RX-10
from 12mm to 500mm

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Tim O'Connor
Tim O'Connor Veteran Member • Posts: 5,406
Re: FE 24-70 f/4: Holding me back from going to A7x

I own the 24-70 - while it does have its flaws, describing it as 'poor' is overstating it IMHO.  I would describe it as decent, but not outstanding.

it is not sharp in the corners at 24mm at any fstop, that is probably its biggest weakness.  It would not be my first choice as a landscape lens for this reason, but I'm sure you could get wonderful results none the less.

really the only other area mine is lacking is wide open at 70mm.  Stopped down to 5.6 brings the sharpness right back again.

i am keeping mine

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