Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS lens review with samples

One of the earliest full-frame zoom lenses for Sony’s E-mount mirrorless cameras has a pretty mixed reputation – let’s see how well it performs.

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All pictures taken by me on Sony a7R II and Sony a5100 cameras.

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45 thoughts on “Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS lens review with samples

  1. meh. I agree with the review. the lens is stupid expensive for what you get. I did find a good example for 300 so for that kind of money I'm fine with the purchase.

  2. There is probably one good reason to purchase a used copy of this lens: Infrared photography. It might make sense to use this lens for IR photography, since it does not have a so called hot spot in the middle of the frame. Unfortunately the 24-70GM and the 24-105mm are not really usable for IR photography because of an immediately visible hot spot.

  3. For the price This lens is very pricey.Wouldn't recommend at all.I sold mine.Now I want to buy new sigma 24 70 2.8 or even tamron 28 75 mm 2.8.

  4. So much hate for this lens. I bought it used for 500€ (actually, new) from a guy who got it in A7 kit and never used it. The Tamron was not an option for me as it's not stabilized and I have an A7 Mark I. Plus I prefer to buy native lenses (what about in camera corrections with a Tamron ?), I bought a Samyang 35mm F2.8 recently and got a little disappointed. The 24-105, good but too heavy and expensive. What's the point in having a compact FF camera if I buy a lens that is twice as heavy as the camera itself ? So I chose the Zeiss 24-70 F4, sold the 28-70 kit lens that I got with my A7 and never looked back. 

    This is such a step up, a night and day difference. With the kit lens, the borders were so soft (not even the borders, but I'd say 1/3 of the pictures) especially at 28mm. The Zeiss is not perfect either but hey, it's a zoom, don't expect a prime performance. At least it's MUCH better than the kit lens. From 28mm to 65mm, the Zeiss is very good even at F4, great at F8, and beats the 28-70 in every aspect. Color and contrast are great too. At 50mm F4, there's barely any difference with my Sony FE 50mm, at least you need to zoom like crazy if you want to see some. And at 35mm F4, it beats my Samyang, especially in color rendition.

    Maybe I had a very bad copy of the 28-70, and a good one of the 24-70. But I think this Zeiss zoom is the best weight/performance ratio you'll get for the A7. Of course there are better alternatives, but much heavier and more expensive. New it's a bit overpriced, but if you got a good copy used, it's worth every penny, especially if you're looking for a step-up over the kit lens and for an all-around lens, to travel for example.

  5. ….well done …..i'm missing a comparison to the Canon 24-105 mm F4.0 L IS. Do you have any comparisons available?
    kind regards…

  6. Serial numbers play a part with this lens the early copies started in 457 or 458, most issues are with those, plenty of people are happy with newer copies starting from 459 upwards. Sony have had quality control issues with the 24-105 as well being de centered. There's many pro landscape shooters who rate this lens, unfortunately when the A7 system came out these where probably whizzed out of the factory without the QC required.

  7. Not sure why Zeiss' quality has not been convincing the last few years or is it that other manufacturers have caught up like Sigma and Rokinon/Samyang.

  8. I'm planning to buy Sony A7iii and there is a offer in market in my country on it with this lens, its extra price 300$ for this lens, its recommended to buy this offer or recommend me buy the body only and buying Tamron 28-75 f2.8 from Amazon will cost to me about 950$?

  9. This lens is probably what will make me re-invest in Nikon, I'm considering going mirrorless and find the 24-70 f4 really compelling due to size and weight compared to old school 24-70 2.8's. Thanks for the warning, seing how bad this one is probably just saved me a bunch of regret down the line. Too bad, I'm curious to try a a7r2 but will likely go with the z6 instead to get a proper 24-70 f4. Thank you for another great and informative review!

  10. It is a little discouraging not to find enough information on sites like Dpreview or DxOmark to make a decision.

    The Sony FE Carl Zeiss 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS has in DxOmark a score of 31 (very good) with the Sony A7RII, and performs very well except in 70mm (but we have no idea on a Sony other than R, there is no 7II or 7III ), and there is no information about 24-105 …

    In Dpreview is worse, there are only tests with the Sony A7R, it is still looking good, except like on DxOmark in 70mm, but also no information from 24-105.

    For the information that can be obtained, the 24-70 is a very good objective, with an impressive level of sharpness between 35 and 50, and I have the doubts whether it will be better than 24-105 FE 4, because the price of this is higher , but that does not guarantee a better quality and I always have doubts when the zooms are long.

    Any clue…?

  11. Very underwhelming, not to mention overpriced, and surprisingly bad for a Zeiss. The Tamron 28-75 f2.8 seems to be a far better choice. The Sony 24-105 f4 G is great, too, but more expensive. So there's really no good and affordable 24-70 mm lens for Sony, the only good one is the Gmaster. I think Tamron has a good one for other mounts but for whatever reason they are not making it available for Sony.

  12. New 24-105 is what this lens was supposed to be like, but at least itl has a very nice color rendering and AF works very well and quiet and a premium feel while using 😁 My copy has only a biy of softness almost in all apertures, but only in the extreme corners. Its noticed only in 100% zoom crop.

  13. Got it for £400 used (nearly new) last month, mainly to upgrade from the kit lens. and I think there is definitely a case for it.
    Firstly, it is not as expensive as Tamron (£799) and yet is a native lens (well the AF performance of Tamron…), if got for around £400 it is a good middle ground between the Tamron and the kit zoom. Secondly, I did a side by side comparison with the kit zoom, and found it better in the majority of aspects that the latter offers, such as the centre and the corner at 28mm and 70mm (since the kit lens can't go any further than that..). If you don't go for the extreme end of 24mm and 70mm, it is actually not that bad (ie.67mm far better than 70mm). Thirdly, it is more versatile. You got a bigger aperture since 35mm (I think?), yet also wider at the wide-angle side. It can do things that the kit zoom can't.

    I think the negative reputation comes from three areas, firstly its initial price point, secondly its blue badge (well for those saying it is a 'real Zeiss' I recommend you go and look at the patent registration, that's where you should be learning about optics, not snake oils on forums and in reviews), and thirdly the performance of the kit zoom, they three together higher the expectation. And frankly speaking, I think it is definitely not worth the money above £400, but not all that bad if you can get it for £400. Could it had been better? Yep definitely.

    PS: For complaints about the price, yep on a pure market sense it is 'overpriced', but not from an engineering/costs perspective, given the intensive use of aspherical elements (3 of them!). The problem is tho, such intensive use of materials etc did not transform into a good result since the optic design just wasn't good enough. It is similar to other earlier FE zoom lenses (ie. 70-200mm f4). Hopefully, they will release a redesigned affordable standard zoom.

  14. Subscribed:
    – systematic, quick, relevant review style
    – that voice and accent, it turns my cup of coffee into tea

  15. How old is the lens example you reviewed? You had the serial number covered in the video? I don’t think your test results are very representative of the actual optical performance of the lens in question. I’ve own two examples myself and both give good center sharpness at F/4.0 zoomed all the way to 70mm, for extreme corner sharpness you’ll have to stop down the lens to around F/8.0. Prior to buying mine, I had an separate example in for testing and found no problems with that one either.

  16. One of the main reasons I don't feel like using Sony over Canon is the very large amount of distortion in their lenses. I know Sony autocorrects this with software, but it's something I really don't like. I care much less about vignetting that is easily solved in software.

  17. When you listen to Christopher frost about lenses you don’t give a shit about because it’s Christopher frost.

  18. A small 35-105 f3.5 or f4, with fast and silent AF, NO Ibis, and good image quality at the edges.
    That would be a street photographers dream, and also great lens for traveling, family shots, everyday use. In the 80's and 90's, every company had such a lens.
    Many people don't need more wide angle (or they add a 16-35/4), but they need more reach at the long end than those zooms that go to 70 or 75mm offer, and they want a smaller lens than the 24-105. Tamron, Sigma, are you listening???

  19. One of the worst lenes I've ever owned. I recently got the Tammy 28-75 though, and it is infinitely better at everything.

  20. I still think that you got a bad copy of 24-70 lens, sure, in terms of variability this lens are awful. Comparing my copy with lens I have, I see respectable sharpness, more so on long end. Only this zoom has stabilization – so I use it with sony a7s. Works great for me! I'd also love version II – smaller and with even better performance.

  21. The lense is not fantastic, but it is not big. Both Sony 24-105 and Tamron 28-75 are much heavyer and longer.

  22. Can you Please suggest a good Wide Angle lens that does not break my pocket. Please 🙏 , For Full Frame.

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