Sony FE 24-70mm Zeiss lens review: A stumble in Sony’s thus far excellent FE lens lineup?


posted Friday, March 28, 2014 at 4:41 PM EST


We've just published our review for the Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T*, the compact, Zeiss-branded zoom lens that was announced alongside the hot Sony A7R and A7 full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be quite up to the same standards as the FE primes we tested earlier, at least in RAW files captured with it.

This Carl Zeiss-branded lens features a very versatile 24-70mm focal length range making it suitable for landscapes, portraits and pretty much everything in between. The lens includes a variety of high-end features like Sony's Optical SteadyShot image stabilization technology, Carl Zeiss' T* coatings for reduced flare and boosted contrast, and a rugged build quality that's resistant to dust and moisture.

Like the other Sony FE lenses released so far, the Sony FE 24-70mm Zeiss has excellent build quality. The all-metal construction is dust and moisture ("spray") resistant and has a solid feel and slight heft, while still being compact, lightweight and relatively well-balanced on the A7/R cameras (there's a bit of front-heaviness to it, but it's not awkward to use by any means). The zoom and focus rings rotate very smoothly with just the right about of dampening -- not too stiff but not loose either to cause concern for lens creep.

As noted above, though, we felt the image quality of this particular lens somewhat missed the mark, especially when it comes to corner sharpness (even at 70mm). Other optical factors like vignetting and distortion didn't recieve high marks either. As noted in the review, though, it's possible that some of these issues could be significantly improved by in-camera processing of the JPEG files.

Jump on over to SLRgear to read our full Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* lens review to see our test results and read our current verdict, based on RAW file output. We'll hopefully have an update within a week or so, looking at how much the in-camera processing helps JPEG images.

This compact full-frame zoom lens ships with a bayonet-style lens hood, front and rear caps and a soft pouch. The Sony FE 24-70mm ƒ/4 ZA OSS Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* is currently available for purchase for a retail price around $1,198 - (Adorama, Amazon, B&H). By purchasing this lens, or any other product, by clicking on one of our trusted affiliates, you help keep these reviews coming!

In the meantime, check out some sample photos shot by our senior lens technician Rob Murray. You can view more sample photos, plus download the full-resolution files, over at our Flickr page.

Sony A7R: 70mm, f/4, 1/2500s, ISO 100
Sony A7R: 70mm, f/4, 1/1600s, ISO 100
Sony A7R: 70mm, f/4, 1/1250s, ISO 100