This is my now final review of the Sony SEL2470z.
Keep in mind that I do lots of landscape photography so I emphasize certain aspects others won’t find as important and vice versa.
This is the fourth lens released for the Sony FE-System.
In theory it should be good for many applications like reportage or travel photography. In this review I will try to assess how well it performs.
Size: (diameter x length): 73mm x 94.5m
Filter Thread: 67mm
Minimum Focusing Distance: 40cm
This lens has a good build quality, but it doesn’t feel as rugged as Carl Zeiss Lenses from the A-mount series.
I think the outer barrel is made from metal, as is is the filter thread, but I am not 100% certain here, might be high quality plastics as well.
The inner barrel is made from plastics and shows no play.
Zoom- and focus-ring operate smoothly but I would have liked some more resistance on the focus-ring.
The lens hood is rather heavy and has a nice feel to it, it also locks in quite steadily and needs a healthy amount of force to remove it.
I use a a7, so results might be different for the A7r.
AF speed is good but not on the same level as good DSLR lenses.
In a bright environment the speed is quite good as is the precision.
In a darker environment like a normally lit room (f/4, 1/50 Sek., ISO 3200) the AF is slower but still usable for people photography.
If it gets even darker it takes more than one second until the lens is focused but it still locks focus.
The focusing ring isn’t too well damped and I find its operation quite silly.
If you turn it fast you can change focus from 40cm to infinty by turning the focusing ring less than 30°.
If you turn it slowly you can change focus from 40cm to 50cm in 90°.
I could focus it precisely but I didn’t like the experience and would have preferred an speed independent implementation.
Image stabilizer (OSS)
I tested the OSS at 50mm and found that it made a difference of about 2 stops. While I got consistently sharp images at 1/25 sec. without OSS I would get sharp images at 1/6 with OSS activated.
This lens shows significant distortion, not as bad as that you have to correct it in any case but it is easily noticeable as soon as there are straight lines in the image.
The Distortion changes around 32mm from barrel to pincushion.
If you shoot JPG the image is automatically corrected and you won’t see any distortion. It is not possible to deactivate distortion correction.
It is also interesting to note, that the lens has a wider field of view than e.g. the Zeiss 2/24, I think the reason for that is that distortion correction will lead to a slight crop of the image, so the corrected image will have the same field of view.
Sadly but not unexpectedly I noticed onion rings in the bokeh:
What I also noticed was that even at f/4 the highlight discs aren’t perfectly circular.
These are from Sony and they are calculated with some rather questionable assumptions, so they are in no way comparable to MTF-charts from Zeiss or Leica. But they can be useful to compare this lens against other lenses from Sony and they show massive astigmatism at 24mm.
Most of the frame is super sharp and contrasty from f/4 with surprisingly little change as the lens is stopped down.
The corners and parts of the edges are rather lousy and stay lousy from f/4 to f/11. Sagittal structured are much sharper than tangential ones, so the lens shows astigmatism.
At f/4 the whole image is somewhat softer.
At f/5.6 most of the image is sharp with okayish corners.
At f/8 the corners improve a little, but they aren’t great.
Landscape Sharpness Test
I wanted to know how good the especially the corners would be for my typical landscape shot which is usually taken at f/11, so I simply photographed a line of trees
I used AF and OSS, so take the results with a grain of salt, but they are in line with my previous more vigorous testing.
For me the result is:
- I should avoid 24mm if corner sharpness is critical
- Focusing on the corners at 70mm will result in an unsharp center
- The lens seems to be weakest at 70mm
I think there are two ways to look at this lens: From the perspective of a people/reportage photographer it is a good lens.
About 70-90% of the image is sharp from f/4 and the center is super sharp. Only above 65mm it is necessary to stop down to f/5.6 for really good central sharpness.
The lens covers a super handy focal range, combined with the camera my setup is significantly smaller than a comparable FF DSLR, and OSS is also handy.
Looking from the perspective of a landscape photographer I am rather disappointed:
From about 30mm to 60mm the performance is quite good, most of the image is super sharp from f/4 and the corners are sharp stopped down. The corners aren’t as sharp as those of some of my better primes but they are good enough in my eyes.
The corners at around 24mm are lousy. Period.
I don’t mind if corners aren’t sharp at f/4 as I am shooting at f/8 or f/11 anyway, but they never get sharp.
Performance at 70mm isn’t to great either, at f/4 the images are somewhat soft, sharp enough for web images but not for bigger enlargements.
Central sharpness is good from f/5.6, but even stopped down it won’t be sharp from corner to corner.
Most standard zooms from others manufacturers aren’t any better but many are cheaper and I think this lens is overpriced by several hundred euros because it doesn’t deliver better image quality than much cheaper lenses like the Canon 24-105 or Nikon 24-85.
In the end I sold my copy because I would have had to trade too much image quality and cash for the convenience of this lens.
If you liked my reporting on this lens and consider buying it (or anything else), please use one of these links, so I can earn a small commission on your purchase without any additional cost for you.
Image Samples in full resolution
You can find all the test images I took in full resolution in this flickr set.
You can also see the following images in full resolution on flickr by clicking on them. These are processed images.
If you own a a7/a7r/a7s you really should at least try a manual lens, many offer much better across the frame sharpness than the FE 4/24-70 and they are a lot of fun to use. Check out my MANUAL LENSES ON THE SONY A7 – A BEGINNERS GUIDE.
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