Sony 24-70mm Review

Check The Latest Prices

This is not a super-inexpensive lens, but it is certainly great. To see more information about the Sony A7r or read other lens reviews, see Trey’s Gear and Tools.

Sony A7r Review

Be sure to visit the full-on Sony a7R Review here on the site to read more about it and the other lenses I use!

Sony 24-70mm Review

The full name for this lens is the Sony SEL2470Z Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS Lens. Who the H E Double Hockey Stick knows what hell that means? Do Japanese guys sit around and come up with wacky stuff while they are blasted out on sake? How is any normal human supposed to understand that stuff?

Well, welcome to Trey’s Lens Review, where I won’t spend any time on that BS lens-nerd stuff and we’ll just talk about the awesome stuff. I Only Review Lenses That I Use. Life is too short for me to talk about lenses I don’t use. If I use it, then you know I Like It. In fact, let’s just say I Love It. I’ll go one more step, I LOLCats Lurve It.

One might say this review is very short of actual substance, and one would be right. But that will change forthwith (a bit).

Sample Photos

Nothing sells a lens like photos. Look at this one. Boom shakalaka. Remember you can click to zoom in to the full-rez version on SmugMug that is over 7,000 pixels across. Sweet sweet 36mp… riding the megapixel pony!

Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

It’s the Autumn here in New Zealand. I took this photo only a few days after having the lens. Zoom in and look at the pin-perfect focus and sharpness everywhere!

Queenstown Gardens In The Autumn

This one is 25mm at F/16 to get that nice sun-star!

The View From The Barn At Lake Hayes

Sorry. Another reflection β€” I couldn’t help it! I happened to get this lens right in the middle of the Autumn, so I went a little cray cray. This one is at 37mm and F/10.

Way Above And Behind Wanaka

Again, by chance, 37mm at F/10.

Isabella On The Path

Here’s a photo of my daughter at F/9.5 and 47mm.


So, I do post-process my photos. I do this unapologetically! πŸ™‚ If you like what you see and want to know more, check out the full HDR Tutorial here on the site.

The Sony FE 24-70mm Lens

What I love about this is the extreme flexibility. I’m shocked how many portrait and landscape photos I take in this range.

I’d say I use this lens for 50% of my landscape photos now. The other 50% are with the NEX 10-18mm, although that will change when Sony releases an FE wide-angle lens. You can read more about this on my Sony A7r Review.

If you’re getting your first full-frame camera with the Sony A7 series, you’ll be surprised how wide 24mm really is. Naturally, when you aim the camera above or below the horizon, you’ll get some vertical lines bending in or out, but that comes with the territory. I think you’re gonna have a great time with this lens!

It’s also very light. Tiny and light. It doesn’t even compare to the giant lenses of the same range I had for my Nikon. Night and day. This is so svelte and nifty… like a fine lady’s pistol.

As I continue to release more photos for this (and other) lenses, just watch the Sony A7r Category on the blog! πŸ™‚


A shortcoming for some people (not me) may be that the aperture does not get any lower than F/4. People that do low-light, handheld shots may not find the F/4 to be fast enough to get enough light into the photo. This may result in a higher ISO and more noise, but that sometimes is minimized by having a full-frame camera. Similarly, if you are using another one of the A7 series, then you may be able to wrestle enough clarity out of the F/4 alone.

Personally, I do all low-light stuff with the Leica lenses. See my Leica Lens Buying Guide here on the site for more! When I take landscape photos, F/4 is often fine for me since depth of field is not an issue. I can also use nice, long shutter speeds since I am using a tripod. Anyway, that’s all a long way of saying the F/4 is not a problem for me.

More about Sony and Me

Sony doesn’t sponsor me or anything. They got me an early camera to test, but I also bought one. I also bought a bunch of Sony NEX-7’s and NEX-6’s when I switched away from Nikon last year. Nikon didn’t sponsor me either… I wrote a full story about switching from the Nikon to the Sony

  • Remarkable job of making that lens look good. It’s you, not the lens. Great in the center, horrible on the edges.

  • treyratcliff

    Oh thanks! Well yes… I’m not much of an edge-nerd on these things… I find that most of the time, 98% of viewers never even look at the edges… only photographers look at the edges.

  • Edward Nowak

    I have reason to believe that Sony had some quality problems early in the production run, and some poor copies got poor reviews while other reviews extolled its virtues. I was concerned about those poor reviews myself, so when I bought my copy, I set up a fairly rigorous resolution test using test targets, taking shots across the zoom range with my A7 at f/4. The corners on my lens are superb and I have the photos to prove it. For more details about my test setup, see the comments section at the end of the FE 24-70 review at I love using this lens. From what I can tell, I believe that Trey’s copy is, like mine, also a good one.

  • Hi Edward
    I resisted arguing about this in a public forum and we are all entitled to our opinions. Please see my blog about the 24-70 if you haven’t,
    The A7r is a considerably different camera from a resolution standpoint, and I would agree that the 24-70 performs well at 24mp and has outstanding center quality on A7r. Thanks!

  • Edward Nowak

    I understand that you regard your views as opinion. My view is not opinion, but instead based on real world results and genuine expertise and experience in high tech manufacturing. And your 24mp vs 36mp ideas are simply nonsense, not born out by any reliable objective data.

  • You did a nice test sequence, argued well. I hope you read some of my blogs. Thanks!

  • Cal Mukumoto

    So true, so true.

  • Daiku

    So I have a NEX-7 with the kit lens and a 18-200mm Tamron lens. Do these lenses work with the A7r? I am confused by the change in naming at Sony. Is the E-mount different from the current mount on the A7r?

  • Hamid

    I’m not an expert or anything. but I think you kind of have overrated the quality of this lens. clearly we love 24-70mm zoom lenses. they are one of most practical lenses for any photographer. but this particular lens on your A7r is not as sharp as you WANT it to be. i checked the review of this lens (if you don’t know about DXOMark, it provides very professional reviews of lenses and cameras that are not to be found elsewhere!) and found that it has only 15 Perceptual Megapixel! you have a 36 MP Camera and can only get 15 MP sharpness details. also this lens suffers from a lot of distortion. i see most of the pic you have taken by this lens have been taken on the longer side of it (upper than 40) and there’s one example here, the second photo, which is at 25mm. I think you had to do a lot of barrel correction in photoshop to get those trees look straight! (I actually checked out some samples pics taken by this lens on A7s at 24mm). but anyway please enlighten me if i am wrong cuz i am only a beginner.

  • Neroon

    They will but it will be cropped due to an image circle that is too small for full frame.

  • Hey Trey! Love your site. Great reviews. I just purchased the Sony A7R and now looking for a lens. This lens review seems to tell me it’s a great all around lens, but most of the pics on the page are landscapes. Would you recommend this lens for model / catalog work or can you recommend another Sony lens. Any direction is appreciated. Thanks!

  • Trey, I’m absolutely in love with your photography, and have been a fan since your time with the NEX 7. I’ve also been seriously mulling a trip on one of your classes. My question is this: I have the new A 7 II with this 24-70 lens. I’m looking for two things. A good but basic flash in the under $200 range that I won’t feel bad about banging around (I had no shame using a Yongnuo on my NEX 7)……and more importantly, an led ring light that would fit this lens. I’ve been scouring the web with no luck. If you or any of your distinguished followers have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it and will respond in kind. Thank you.

  • Hey Jenna! Thanks for the nice words. I don’t know anything about flashes, I’m afraid… I never use them, so I’m not a good resource for this! πŸ™

  • Late reply here, but I am interested to know more about if this “early batch” of 24-70’s has been remedied. Do you have any more info on this? I don’t see anything on SonyAlphaLab.
    I was looking into this lens, but reviews are so mixed, it’s hard to justify an upgrade from the kit 28-70. If there has been some improvement than that would certainly help sway me a bit more.

  • Edward Nowak

    Cheyne, I have no specific information that might help you. From my own experience in the field of industrial sensors and controls, I’m sure that a sophisticated manufacturer like Sony has the necessary resources to correct any quality problems. I think it’s a safe assumption that quality control for this lens has gotten better rather than worse. Here would be my recommendation if you’re considering buying the FE 24-70: Buy from a high volume retailer. This will help you to be confident that you’re getting a copy from recent production. And buy from a retailer with a good return policy, and be willing to return your copy if it doesn’t measure up.

  • Ok, thanks for the advice Edward. I’ll shop around a bit.

  • Sean-Micah Siegel

    Don’t hold DXO Mark to ANY GOLD STANDARD. They are a SOFTWARE company with the soul purpose of selling you DXO MARK. They do not publish any of their testing methods or open the process up for PEER review for accuracy. Think of DXO MARK as the equivant of when Diet Pills and Vitamins put “These statements have not be validated by the FDA” (and have no regulatory authority.

    Alot of people A) Jump on the band wagon and just repeat what other people say about a lens – Mob mentality. Or B) have tried the lens but know nothing of zoom lenses and go “eh – it stinks” with nothing really to compare it to.

  • Keith Davidson

    Hi Trey, You’ve convinced me to pick up an a6000, but I’m left very confused on lenses. I’m currently tossing up between going for the twin kit lenses (16-50mm and 55-210mm), or the Sony SEL1670Z Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS. I’d much prefer to buy a good lens now than a cheap one and end up buying a good lens later anyway, and the 16-70 seems like a great starting size, but I’ve found the reviews a mixed bag. So I am wondering if you’ve ever tried out this lens and if so what do you think? Is it as good as the 24-70?

  • Anys

    I highly recommend the Nissin i40. It is much smaller than the sony equivalent, and has a combo of auto and easy to use manual settings, Within your budget also

  • Alex

    If you’re in NZ, then these are a great catch :-

    I have a number of them, and while they’re not doing TTL (most of my stuff is off camera anyway) they do the job just fine if you’re good with manual. Work fine on the A7ii, off camera trigger (FT-16s) will set you back another $80, also works just fine with the V850

  • Lainer

    Can this lens be used on the A6000? Do you need an adapter?

  • It’s an E-mount lens, so it will work on the 6000 without an adapter.

  • Lainer

    Thank you, Luke. πŸ™‚ I thought I read it was FE lens. I’m confused. Are you sure? I think you are correct though. Don’t now much about the lens.

  • Actually, I’m seeing conflicting information. Let me dig around and get back to you.

  • Lowell Montgomery

    You don’t need an adapter to use the FE lenses on an APS-C E-mount body. The mounts are identical. That said, the zoom range is going to be less ideal on a crop sensor body (A6000), where the zoom range would be (in 35mm equivalent) about 36mmβ€”105mm; still a wide to moderate telephoto range, but missing the extra wide view that you would get from a native E-mount lens (at 16mm, instead of 24mm).

    Things to consider, then:
    * This lens can function (albeit not quite as ideally) on A6000/A6300.
    * This lens costs more (and is bulkier/weighs more) than a similar zoom range made for the A6000/A6300
    * This lens is more ideal on the full-format A7-line bodies (if you are planning to move up at some point or use both formats)
    * A cheaper APS-C lens will also work on your A7 (but may lack the weather/dust sealing and/or build quality of this lens)
    * There is now another Sony FE-mount 24-70mm f/2.8 (G-series, not Zeiss) which full-format shooters will want to be aware of (though I don’t think it is shipping yet, at least not here in Europe, and you should not expect it to be cheaper than the Zeiss, since it’s a stop faster and utilizes some new lens tech)

    Personally, I had this and returned it, but may buy a similar zoom again, in the future. Since I plan to mostly shoot with primes, except for odd events/occasions, I may just get a zoom made for APS-C (and use it on A7 bodies with a drop in resolution).

  • Lainer

    Thanks, I found that out through researching. I actually am using a Fuji X Series camera as I like their lenses better. Love the form of the A6000 body and speed, but the lenses are not as nice as the Fuji lenses IMHO. I don’t know that I want to spend a lot of money for a crop sensor body. I like the 24mp VS the 16mp on the Fuji though.

  • Paul Simon Carver

    Great articles Trey as always, you should never feel the need to explain why you post process your photos i do it all the time, really annoys me when people shun this, art is art doesn’t matter how you create it. Some people are too snobbish and narrow-minded to accept this and they will suffer for it as they are pigeon holing their potential.

  • Nino Xerri

    I just purchased the 24-70 f4. How do I know that it is a current “version” Purchased it from a reputable dealer with high sales volume. Still I would like to know if there is a way of finding out.

  • Nino Xerri

    Trey what Sony body did you use to take these images.

  • Stu – SIC

    Hey, it was the A7R. πŸ™‚

  • Stu – SIC

    You could email Sony support with the details of the lens. I’m sure they would be able to give some indication.

  • Nino Xerri

    Thanks for the feedback. I suppose on the a7ii it should not be that much different.

  • Nino Xerri

    Thanks I will do that.

  • Jim Hamilton

    Trey. Have you had a chance to try the newer Fe lenses? G 24 to 70, and the G 100 to 400? Your impressions?

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!