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Zeiss T* 24-70mm f/4 OSS
FE Full-Frame E-Mount (NEX, A7 etc.)

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

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Sony ZEISS 24-70mm f/4 FE

Sony Zeiss T* FE 24-70mm f/4 (Full-frame and crop-sensor coverage, metal 67mm filter thread, 15.0 oz./425g, 1.3'/0.4m close focus, about $1,098). enlarge. I got mine at Adorama; I'd also get it at Amazon or at B&H.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Sony's Zeiss boxes are not sealed in any way, so never buy at retail or any source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, store demo, damaged, returned or used product. My approved sources ship from remote automated warehouses where no salespeople or lookie-loos can ever get their greasy fingers on your new lens or drop it before you do. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

 

October 2015    Sony   Zeiss   Minolta   Nikon   Canon   Fuji   LEICA   All

NEW: Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM February 2017

Canon 24-70mm/2.8 L II vs Zeiss 24-70/4 vs Sony 16-50 OSS

Sony 28-70mm OSS

 

Sample Images         top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Recommendations   More

 

Palm, 11 September 2015

Palm, 11 September 2015. Sony A7R II, Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 at 24mm, f/5.6 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 100. Camera-original © JPG file. Remember that very little is in perfect focus.

 

Palm, 11 September 2015

Palm, 11 September 2015. Sony A7R II, Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 at 24mm, f/7.1 at 1/200 at Auto ISO 100. Original © JPG file. Remember that very little is in perfect focus.

 

Shell Wreath, 11 September 2015

Shell Wreath, 11 September 2015. Sony A7R II, Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 at 46mm, f/5 at 1/100 at Auto ISO 100. Camera-original © JPG file. Only some of the wreath is actually in focus; the slate is not.

 

Wall, 11 September 2015

Wall, 11 September 2015. Sony A7R II, Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 at 24mm, f/4 at 1/30 at Auto ISO 200. Camera-original © JPG file. Sides are fuzzy; that's what this lens does at 24mm.

 

Wall, 11 September 2015

Wall, 11 September 2015. Sony A7R II, Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 at 51mm, f/4 at 1/30 at Auto ISO 250. Camera-original © JPG file. Better than at 24mm.

 

Katie makes a Corvette at Ruby's — in her UCLA Bruins shirt! 11 Sep 2015

Katie makes a Corvette at Ruby's — in her UCLA Bruins shirt! (Sony A7R II, Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 at 52mm, f/4 at 1/125 hand-held, Auto ISO 160) Camera-original © JPG file.

 

Manhole Cover, 13 September 2015

Manhole Cover, 13 September 2015. Sony A7R II, Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 at 57mm, f/8 at 1/320, Auto ISO 160.) bigger or camera-original © JPG.

 

Latticework, 13 September 2015

Latticework, 13 September 2015. Sony A7R II, Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 at 57mm, f/8 at 1/320, Auto ISO 160. bigger or camera-original © JPG.

 

Ryan at the water park.

Ryan at the water park, 13 September 2015. Sony A7R II, Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 at 70mm, f/8 at 1/320, Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear V2. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Powell's, 13 September 2015

Powell's, 13 September 2015. (Sony A7R II, Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 at 32mm, f/4 at 1/60, Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear V2.) bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Bland Californian attempt at pizza making, 15 September 2015

Bland Californian attempt at pizza making, 15 September 2015. (Sony A7R II, Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 at 24mm, f/10 at 1/5 hand-held, Auto ISO 200, Perfectly Clear V2.) bigger or camera-original © file.

 

Introduction         top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Recommendations   More

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

This Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 is a compact, medium speed normal zoom for Sony's E-mount NEX and A7 series camera.

It's handsome and feels great. It's all metal on the outside and all plastic on the inside.

This zoom gets softer in the corners at 24mm and never really sharpens up as stopped down. It's very sharp in actual use and at other focal lengths, but nowhere near as sharp at 24mm on the sides as you'd expect.

 

Compatibility

This works on all full-frame and crop-sensor Sony E-mount cameras, which are the NEX and A7 series, among others as of 2015.

It will not work on any Minolta MAXXUM or Sony A-mount SLRs or DSLRs.

 

Format

This is a full-frame lens and is reviewed as such.

You may make the usual inferences for use with crop-sensor cameras.

 

Good

Very good optical quality.

Metal exterior.

Fast, silent auto and manual focus.

 

Bad

$1,100.

Not so sharp on the sides at 24mm.

 

Sony ZEISS 24-70mm f/4 FE

Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 T*. enlarge.

 

Specifications         top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Recommendations   More

 

Name       top

Sony calls this the Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar FE 4/24-70 ZA OSS T*.

   Carl Zeiss: Name of a German lens design company.

   Vario-: a zoom lens.

   Tessar: Zeiss' trademarked brand name for a four-element normal lens designed back in 1902. It still sounds cool, so Zeiss uses it today for other things, like this lens that have nothing to do with a 1902 Tessar.

   FE: Full-frame coverage lens for Sony E mount.

   ZA: Solidarity with South Africa.

   FE: Full-frame coverage lens for Sony E mount.

   OSS: Sony's trademark for its Image Stabilization: "Optical Steady Shot."

   T*: Zeiss' trademark for its multi coating.

 

Optics       top

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 internal construction

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 internal construction. Aspherical and ED.

12 elements in 10 groups.

5 aspherical elements.

1 ED glass element.

Linear stepper motor internal focus; nothing moves externally as focussed.

No Fluorine coatings on outer surfaces, no extra ability to repel water, dirt or fingerprints.

Claimed dust and moisture resistant housing.

 

Diaphragm       top

Sony ZEISS 24-70mm f/4 FE

Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 T*.

7 rounded blades.

Stops down to f/22.

 

Filter Thread       top

67mm.

Metal.

 

Close Focus       top

1.3 feet (0.4 m).

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio       top

1:5 (0.2x), rated.

 

Focal Length       top

24-70mm.

On APS-C (aka DX or 1.5x or crop-frame) cameras, it gives angles of view similar to what an 35~105mm lens would give on a 35mm or full-frame camera. See also Crop Factor.

 

Angles of View        top

34º ~ 84º diagonal on full frame.

23º ~ 61º diagonal on APS-C.

 

Hood       top

ALC-SH130 plastic bayonet hood included.

 

Case        top

Sony Zeiss FS 24-70mm sack

Included cloth-lined vinyl sack.

The packing bubble wrap is actually a much better case than this vinyl sack.

The bubble-wrap envelope protects the lens better than this thing, and lets you see what's inside.

 

Size       top

2.87" (72.9 mm) diameter x 3.72" (94.5 mm) long.

 

Weight       top

15.000 oz. (425.2 g), measured.

Zeiss specifies 15.0 oz. (426g).

 

Sony Part Numbers        top

SEL-2470Z (complete lens kit).

ALC-SH130 (replacement hood).

 

Announced       top

January 2014.

 

Includes       top

Lens.

Caps.

Vinyl sack.

ALC-SH130 plastic bayonet hood.

 

Price, USA        top

$1,098, September 2015.

$1,198 at introduction in January 2014.

 

Sony ZEISS 24-70mm f/4 FE

Box, Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4.

 

Performance         top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Recommendations   More

Overall    Autofocus    Bokeh   Distortion

Ergonomics   Falloff    Filters   Focus Breathing

Ghosts   Lateral Color Fringes   Macro   Mechanics

Sharpness   Spherochromatism   Sunstars

 

Overall     performance      top

The Sony Zeiss FE 2,8/24-70mm handles very well. It's a very practical lens.

It's swell throughout most of its zoom range, but is softer on the sides than I'd like at the wide end.

 

Focus     performance      top

AF is fast, silent and accurate.

It works great, even outdoors at night in the dark, on the A7R II.

 

AF Speed

Autofocus is super fast on an A7R II!

 

Auto/Manual Switching

Just grab the focus ring anytime for instant manual-focus override — but only if you've set your camera to DMF focus mode.

 

Bokeh     performance      top

Bokeh, the quality of out-of-focus areas as opposed to the degree of defocus, is swell.

Here are full-frame sample shots wide open from headshot distance. Click for the original © files:

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 FE bokeh

Shot at 24mm at f/4 on full-frame on an A7R II. Camera-original © file.

 

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 FE bokeh

Shot at 70mm at f/4 on full-frame on an A7R II. Camera-original © file.

 

Distortion     performance      top

The Sony Zeiss 24-70 4 has no visible distortion as shot on the Sony A7R II, which is probably correcting it.

For more critical use, use these values in Photoshop's Lens Distortion tool to correct them. These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.

On full-frame at 10' (3m)

Visible Effects

24mm
none (invisible barrel)
+ 0.5
35mm
none (invisible pincushion)
- 0.1
50mm
none
± 0.0
70mm
none
± 0.0

© 2015 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

Ergonomics     performance      top

Sony ZEISS 24-70mm f/4 FE

Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 T*.

Ergonomics are great. It's reasonably sized and most of the lens is the zoom or focus ring, and everything on the outside is metal.

It's a metal shell covering plastic guts.

The focus ring isn't connected to anything; it's just an encoder which hopefully will be interpreted properly by your camera to drive the electronic focus motors.

On my A7R II manual-focus is mediocre. It works, but it feels disconnected because it is.

Zooming is uneven, being faster at the wide end and slower at the long end. It's cut linearly, not exponentially as it should be.

It gets longer as zoomed:

Sony ZEISS 24-70mm f/4 FE

Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 T* at 70mm.

 

Falloff (darkened corners)     performance      top

Falloff is completely invisible as shot on the A7R II, which I presume is correcting much of it.

I've greatly exaggerated the falloff by shooting a flat gray target and presenting it against a gray background:

 

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 falloff on A7R II

 
f/4
f/5.6
f/8
24mm
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff
35mm
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff
50mm
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff
70mm
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff
Sony 28-70mm OSS falloff

© 2015 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

Filters, Use with     performance      top

There's no problem with vignetting even with a couple of normal filters, even on full-frame.

There's no need for thin filters; any regular thick or rotating filters work great.

 

Focus Breathing     performance      top

Focus breathing (the image changing size as focused) is mostly of interest to cinematographers who don't want the image changing size ("breathing") as the lens is focused among different subjects.

I can't see any focus breathing. The image stays the same size as focussed, making it ideal for video.

 

Flare & Ghosts       performance     top

Flare resistance is excellent. I see no ghosts:

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 ghosts

Bright light on right. bigger.

 

Lateral Color Fringes     performance      top

There are some minor yellow-blue lateral color fringes at the longer end as shot on the A7R II.

 

Macro     performance      top

Macro is reasonable. Here's what you'll get on full-frame:

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4  macro performance

Genuine Rolex Submariner at close-focus distance at f/8 on full frame.

 

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4  macro performance

Crop from above at 100%. If this is about 6" (15cm) on your screen, printing the complete image at this same high magnification would result in a 80 x 55" (6.5 x 4.5 feet or 2.1 x 1.4 meter) print!

This is super-sharp.

 

Mechanics     performance      top

Sony ZEISS 24-70mm f/4 FE

Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4. enlarge.

Yes, the mount is slightly pink!

The Sony Zeiss 24-70/4 is all metal on the outside and mostly plastic on the inside. It feels nice compared to plastic, but not as nice as an all-metal lens.

 

Filter Threads

Anodized aluminum.

 

Identity Ring

Engraved metal.

 

Hood Mount

Anodized aluminum.

 

Front Barrel

Anodized aluminum.

 

Focus Ring

Anodized aluminum.

 

Zoom Ring

Anodized aluminum.

 

Internals

Mostly plastic.

 

Rear Barrel

Metal.

 

Dust seal at mount

No.

 

Markings

All engraved and filled with paint, except for the serial number and certifications at the bottom of the mount.

 

Serial Number

Sticker glued on bottom of barrel.

It's simply stuck on the flat of the barrel; there is no indentation. It will probably fall off over time.

— also —

Engraved and filled with paint on front of lens.

 

Mount

Chromed metal, slightly pink.

 

Noises When Shaken

Sounds like there is a loose pencil inside, most likely some part of the OSS system flopping around.

 

Rear Light Baffle

Plastic.

 

Made in

Thailand.

Sony ZEISS 24-70mm f/4 FE

Made in Thailand.

 

Sharpness     performance      top

Image sharpness depends more on you than your lens, and lens sharpness doesn't mean much to good photographers. It's the least skilled hobbyists who waste the most time blaming fuzzy pictures on their lenses, while real shooters know that few photos ever use all the sharpness of which their lenses are capable due to subject motion and the fact that real subjects are rarely perfectly flat.

This Zeiss 24-70mm is sharp most of the time, but soft on the sides at 24mm.

I thought I must be crazy, but the MTF charts say the same thing. See how they plummet on the right of the charts at 24mm at f/4 and at f/8? That's Zeiss confirming that it gets softer at the sides at 24mm regardless of aperture, exactly as I saw. Hrmff!

It gets much better at longer focal lengths.

 

Sony's Zeiss MTF curves:

 

f/4

f/8

24mm

Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm MTF

Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm MTF

70mm

Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm MTF

Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm MTF

10 cyc/mm, 20 cyc/mm and 40 cyc/mm.

 

Spherochromatism     performance      top

It has a little spherochromatism, erroneously called color bokeh by laymen.

Out-of-focus highlights near the plane of focus may have slight color fringes, but these effects are minor.

By comparison, the much sharper Zeiss' 35/2.8 and 55/1.8 lenses have far more spherochromatism.

 

Sunstars     performance      top

Yahoo! This Zeiss makes great sunstars!

With its 7-blade diaphragm, this Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 makes great sunstars at just about every aperture.

The diaphragm is used to make f/4 at 24mm, so even wide-open at f/4 you can get sunstars:

Mortuary at night, Sep 2015

Funeral home at night, September 2015. Sony A7R II, Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 at 24mm, f/4 at 1/30 hand-held at Auto ISO 40,000. bigger or camera-original © file.

 

These shots are at 39mm:

Sony Zeiss 24-70 4 sunstars

Sunstar, f/5.6.

 

Sony Zeiss 24-70 4 sunstars

Sunstar, f/8.

 

Sony Zeiss 24-70 4 sunstars

Sunstar, f/11.

 

Sony Zeiss 24-70 4 sunstars

Sunstar, f/16.

 

Sony Zeiss 24-70 4 sunstars

Sunstar, f/22

 

Compared         top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Recommendations   More

 

All 24-70mm Lenses Compared.

Canon 24-70mm/2.8 L II vs Zeiss 24-70/4 vs Sony 16-50 OSS 18 September 2015

 

Canon and Nikon been doing this much longer, and their top 24-70mm lenses today are sharper — but bigger.

Sony's newest Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is twice as fast in low light and much sharper in the corners at 24mm, but is twice the size and price.

 

Recommendations         top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Recommendations   More

This is the best general-purpose zoom for Sony's full-frame E-mount cameras.

Sony's 28-70mm OSS is 33% lighter, half the price, and not that much worse optically.

Otherwise, these are about it for reasonably sized general-purpose zooms for Sony E-Mount. You can adapt other lenses, even MAXXUM lenses with full autofocus, but they will all be bigger — eliminating the whole point of Sony's E-mount cameras.

If you're reading this, just get one. Like a Porsche, there is no substitute.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you get yours via these links to it at Adorama; I'd also get it at Amazon or at B&H. When you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live, it helps me keep adding to this free website — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you take the chance of buying elsewhere. Unlike a bottle of milk or a CD, Sony and Zeiss don't seal their boxes at all, so you have no idea if you're getting a used, returned, incomplete or damaged product if you risk buying at retail. Never buy at retail. I use the sources I do because they have the best prices, service, return policies and selection— and they ship from secure remote warehouses where no customers or salesmen can get their sticky hands on your new camera before you do.

Thanks for helping me help you!

Ken.

 

More Information         top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Recommendations   More

Zeiss' 24-70/4 page.

Sony's 24-70/4 page.

Another Sony 24-70/4 page.

 

© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

 

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Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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September 2015