Zeiss 24mm f/1.8
Sony E APS-C Sonnar T✻
Presented in ultra-high resolution.
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March 2016 Sony Zeiss Canon Nikon Fuji All Reviews
Nori Neon, 04 March 2016. Sony A7S II, Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 at f/2 for 1/60 at Auto ISO 800. bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely can display these at full resolution).
Staircase, 05 March 2016. Sony A7S II, Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 at f/4.5 at 1/13 handheld at Auto ISO 100. bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely can display these at full resolution).
Yellow interior, 05 March 2016. Sony A7S II, Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 at f/2.2 at 1/60 at Auto ISO 100. bigger or © camera-original file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely can display these at full resolution).
This lens excels because of its perfect normal focal length (equivalent to 39mm on a full-frame 35mm camera), great speed, super-close focussing, great sharpness and superb bokeh. Its bokeh is always soft and smooth, easily superior to the bokeh of the $4,500 LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH FLE.
It's so sharp and its out-of-focus backgrounds (bokeh) so soft that sharp subjects pop out from their backgrounds, making photos three-dimensional.
It has an electronic manual focus ring, that if activated in a camera's menu system, can allow manual focus.
It's only an APS-C, not full-frame, lens.
While ideal on an APS-C camera, it's also wonderful on any of Sony's full-frame NEX cameras like the A7, A7R II and A7S II, which automatically self-crop and use the APS-C central parts of their sensors. The only silliness here is that you're wasting half the camera, but you are using all of the lens.
It does not work on DSLRs and DSLR-style cameras like the A99.
Sony Zeiss Sonnar T✻ 24mm f/1.8. bigger.
Sony calls this the Zeiss Sonnar E T✻ 1,8/24 ZA.
Zeiss: Brand name of famous German lens company. (Lens is actually made by Sony under license in Japan; it's not made by Zeiss.)
Sonnar: Zeiss' trade name from the 1930s for a simple, 3- to 5-element moderately fast normal to telephoto lens; no technical relation to this lens.
E: APS-C lens for Sony's NEX cameras.
ZA: Solidarity with technical advances in South Africa (think Dr. Christian Barnard).
T✻: Zeiss' trademark for its multicoating, standard on all camera lenses of all brands since the 1970s.
Sony Part Number: SEL24F18Z.
Sony Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 internal construction. Aspheric and ED Glass.
8 elements in 7 groups.
Two aspheric elements.
One ED glass element.
It's multicoated, which Zeiss calls T✻.
0.5 feet (0.16 meters) from the image plane.
Maximum Reproduction Ratio
1:4 (0.25 x).
Sony Zeiss Sonnar T✻ 24mm f/1.8. bigger.
7 rounded blades.
Stops down to f/22.
When used on an APS-C camera, it sees angles of view similar to what a 39mm lens sees when used on a full-frame or 35mm camera.
Angle of View
61° diagonal on APS-C.
Hard Infinity Focus Stop?
You have to let the AF system focus at infinity.
Infra-Red Focus Index
ALC-SH114 hood for Sony Zeiss Sonnar T✻ 24mm f/1.8. bigger.
ALC-SH114 hybrid metal & plastic bayonet hood, included.
Vinyl sack, Sony Zeiss Sonnar T✻ 24mm f/1.8. bigger.
Unpadded vinyl drawstring sack, included.
2.58" (63 mm) diameter by 3.40" (83mm) extension from flange, measured.
7.800 oz./221.1 g, actual measured weight.
Rated 7.9 oz. (225 g).
Made in Japan.
Sony's Model Number
March 2016: $1,098.
The Sony Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 is the only native choice for a fast wide-normal lens for Sony's NEX full-frame system, and it's excellent.
Autofocus is fast and accurate, no worries here.
It focuses by wire, and since autofocus is so great, I don't know why I'd use manual focus for anything other than to keep the focus locked.
Bokeh is superb. It's one of the main reasons to spend $1,100 on this lens.
It's so sharp, and backgrounds are so smooth, that it makes photos look three dimensional when a sharp subject pops against a soft background.
As shot on the Sony A7S II, the Zeiss 24 1.8 has minor to moderate pincushion distortion.
Zeiss 24/1.8 pincushion distortion (uncorrected). bigger.
It corrects in Photoshop's Lens Distortion tool with these , and most Sony cameras can be set to correct it automatically.
© 2016 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.
Sony Zeiss Sonnar T✻ 24mm f/1.8. bigger.
It feels like a thin metal vanity shell over a plastic lens.
Ergonomics are easy: the back half of the lens is an easy grab for mounting, and the front half is the electronic focus ring.
The dinky focus ring turns well, but it only does something if you set your camera just right.
Manual focus isn't as nice as a real focus ring; presuming you set your memories correctly, turning the ring simple tells the camera's computer how to move the autofocus motors.
Falloff is completely invisible as shot on the Sony cameras which correct it by default.
It's not a problem even in this extreme case of exaggerating it by shooting a gray field and showing it on a gray background.
You have to go out of your way to turn the camera's compensation OFF to see anything, and even then it's only mild wide-open and goes away a stop down:
Filters work GREAT. 49mm is much bigger than needed, so I can stack a few normal 49mm filters with no vignetting.
Go ahead and use all your standard rotating grad filters and polarizers; there's certainly no need for expensive thin filters here.
There are no ghosts and no flare — even with a Hoya HD filter on the front.
See samples under Sunstars.
There are some green/magenta fringes if you turn off the default in-camera correction, but even if you do, it's not that bad.
With the camera at its default corrections, it's not a problem.
Macro gets very close:
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 18 x 27" (45 x 70 cm) print! Camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely can display the full resolution).
Rear, Sony Zeiss Sonnar T✻ 24mm f/1.8. bigger.
The Sony Zeiss 24 1.8 is a metal shell protecting plastic innards. The metal outside is more a charade than a sign of durability.
Hood Bayonet Mount
Front Outer Barrel
Seem like mostly of plastic.
Engraved and filled with paint on metal ring inside filter threads, and on the barrel.
Dust seal at mount
Mostly engraved and filled with paint.
Grey model numbers on bottom of barrel just paint.
Serial Numbers1.) Engraved on front identity ring.
2.) Sticker from Sony with a different printed number glued to the bottom of the barrel..
Noises When Shaken
This is probably the most solid-sounding lens I've ever put on the shaker.
It's the least skilled hobbyists who worry about this and 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 Sony Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 is super-sharp, right out to the corners, even wide open.
We get our money's worth with this lens; sharpness is exemplary.
This Zeiss has very minor spherochromatism; much less than other similar lenses. For instance, it's much, much better than the Sony Zeiss FE 35mm f/1.4!
Spherochromatism causes slight color fringes on slightly out-of-focus highlights, usually seen as green fringes on backgrounds and magenta fringes on foregrounds. I doubt you'll ever see any with this lens, and if you do, no one recognizes it anyway.
There are no sunstars at moderate apertures; they are softer due to the curved blades.
We get pretty good sunstars by f/22:
Sunstar at f/4. bigger.
Sunstar at f/5.6. bigger.
Sunstar at f/8. bigger.
Sunstar at f/11. bigger.
Sunstar at f/16. bigger.
Sunstar at f/22. bigger.
There is no optical image stabilization.
With the sensor-based stabilization in the Sony A7S II, I get good results down to about 1/4 or 1/2.
This Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 offers near perfect optical and ergonomic performance on the Sony cameras. It's ultra sharp at every aperture, has smooth bokeh that makes images look 3D, focuses fast and super close, it's fast for low-light, and it has the perfect focal length for use on APS-C as tyhe only lens you'd need. Rememeber, fixed lenses take better pictures.
It's always better to get a great lens regardless of the price; economize on your camera, but never on your lenses.
The very best protective filter is the Hoya multicoated HD3 49mm UV which uses hardened glass and repels dirt and fingerprints, and is also multicoated.
Don't ever buy an exotic lens like this at a local, retail or chain store since it will have been played with by everyone before you pay full price for it as "new." Sony and Zeiss do not seal their boxes 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, dropped, damaged, demo or otherwise used product, a customer return or if the warranty has already been registered to someone else online. The approved sources I use ship from secure, remote automated warehouses where salespeople or other customers never, ever get to touch your lens before you do, and they have the best prices, selection, service and return policies.
© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.
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11 March 2016