Zeiss T* 24-70mm f/4 OSS
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.
NEW: Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM February 2017
Sample Images top
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.
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.
This is a full-frame lens and is reviewed as such.
You may make the usual inferences for use with crop-sensor cameras.
Very good optical quality.
Fast, silent auto and manual focus.
Not so sharp on the sides at 24mm.
Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 T*. enlarge.
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.
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.
Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 T*.
7 rounded blades.
Stops down to f/22.
Filter Thread top
Close Focus top
1.3 feet (0.4 m).
Maximum Reproduction Ratio top
1:5 (0.2x), rated.
Focal Length top
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.
ALC-SH130 plastic bayonet hood included.
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.
2.87" (72.9 mm) diameter x 3.72" (94.5 mm) long.
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).
ALC-SH130 plastic bayonet hood.
Price, USA top
$1,098, September 2015.
$1,198 at introduction in January 2014.
Box, Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4.
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.
AF is fast, silent and accurate.
It works great, even outdoors at night in the dark, on the A7R II.
Autofocus is super fast on an A7R II!
Just grab the focus ring anytime for instant manual-focus override — but only if you've set your camera to DMF focus mode.
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:
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.
© 2015 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.
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 FE 24-70mm f/4 T* at 70mm.
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:
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 (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 resistance is excellent. I see no ghosts:
Bright light on right. bigger.
There are some minor yellow-blue lateral color fringes at the longer end as shot on the A7R II.
Macro is reasonable. Here's what you'll get on full-frame:
Genuine Rolex Submariner at close-focus distance at f/8 on full frame.
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.
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.
Dust seal at mount
All engraved and filled with paint, except for the serial number and certifications at the bottom of the mount.
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.
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
Made in Thailand.
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:
10 cyc/mm, 20 cyc/mm and 40 cyc/mm.
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.
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:
These shots are at 39mm:
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.
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!
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