Sony is developing the lens line-up around the mirrorless full-frame cameras A7, A7II, A7ran d A7s and since March 2015 a so-called superzoom lens with a focal range of 24-240 mm is part of the line-up. The zoom factor 10 turns it into a potentially interesting lens for hiking and travelling. My local dealer was kind enough to let me stroll through the city for a couple of hours with the lens mounted on my A7, so that I can make a picture or two.It would need to take and use the following lenses in my photo cabinet to cover the focal range of 24 to 240 mm on my A7:
- Sony FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS
- Sony FE 28-75mm F3,5-5,6 and
- Sony SAL 70-300mm F4,5-5,6 G with the adapter LAEA-4
Including the Sony alpha 7 this would be 2.4 kg of gear in the bag. Starting at 28mm focal lenght would give the option to leave the Sony FE 16-35mm F4 at home and reduce the package down to 1.9 kg – still a little over 600 grams more than FE 24-240mm (780 grams) plus Sony alpha 7 (485 grams). Btw and No! This is not a desperate try to find reasons to buy this lens. Actually, this is the gear I use when we go hiking:
- Sony alpha 6000 with SEL 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS (678 grams)
- Sony alpha 7 withr LAEA-4 and SAL 70-300mm F4,5-5,6 G (1.474 grams)
This is an acceptable gear with a total of 2,150 grams which does not require to change lenses, additionally offers the possibility to extend to 450 mm focal length (full frame equivalence) by mounting the SAL 70-300mm on the alpha 6000 and allows to have the backup body at hand when needed. Sony alpha 7 together with the SAL 70-300 mm is hanging on the SunSniper which is quiet comfortable.
But enough about weight and comfort and let’s get to the pictures shot with the FE 24-240mm F3,5-6,3 OSS and the my personal verdict.
In the first place I was interested in the distortion because lenses covering a big focal range let me expect a great amount of distortion. Right in front of my favorit dealers shop I took a picture of the building opposite the street at 24mm. The first picture shows the image straight out of the camera, the second image is the version which I corrected in Lightroom manually because of missing lens profiles:
One further example regarding distortion:
Distortion is still visible a little a higher focal length, but not disturbing even without correction:
The last two pictures in above gallery (black and white) are shot with manual focussing, which is very easy with this lens. The focus ring provides a good grip and the focussing is instant. Setting the focus is very easy with MF support (enlargement) activated. I like the circled bokeh in the last image, which was considered when developing this lens.
Light fall off in the corners is varying depending on the picture, but it can easily be made visible when shooting against a blue sky at 24mm:
Light fall off is gone at 25mm:
Depending on the image the shading is not disturbing at 24 mm:
My personal verdict on this lens: I am not going to buy it, because:
- Superzooms never really work out for me and my way of photography. Actually, I rarely use focal lengths above 100mm when hiking or on travel. When I need those focal lengths it is for special situations like sports, portraiture or wildlife and for this I pack the adequate lenses.
- This lens is not really giving me a buzz for the price of a little below 1,000 Euro. Maybe 3 hours is not enough, but we did not build a relationship like I did with other lenses.
- I find this lens a little to heavy for a constant use on the A7 and to slow which was clearly showing when using with AF-Tracking on the alpha 6000 (sorry, but I don’t have the release for those pictures).
But – yes, there is one – if you are looking for the perfect allrounder to use on a Sony full-frame mirrorless and you are just starting to build your lens line-up, the FE 24-240mm F3,5-6,3 OSS certainly is a good alternative delivering brilliant image quality throughout the entire focal range. Of course, a superzoom is a trade-off, is a trade-off, is a trade-off.