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Sony 24 -70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T Zoom Lens for Sony Alpha Digital SLR Cameras
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- Zoom range of 24-70mm for all-around versatility
- Brilliant large-aperture f2.8 design
- Carl Zeiss® T* coating to minimize lens flare
- Fast, silent auto-focus -- SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor)
- Aspherical lens elements to reduce spherical distortion
This product is available as Certified Refurbished.
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High-performance Carl Zeiss large-aperture zoom. The SAL-2470Z Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar f2.8 24-70mm Zoom Lens is a brilliant all-around performer -- with SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) design for fast, silent auto-focus, pro-quality Carl Zeiss T coated optics to reduce lens flare, and 17-element design with two aspherical and two ED glass lens elements to minimize distortion and virtually eliminate chromatic aberration. It benefits from the Super SteadyShot image stabilization built into every Sony Î± system DSLR -- and its wide-angle to medium telephoto range in compact, lightweight design is ideal for a wide range of shooting applications (35mm equivalent: 36-105mm).
From the Manufacturer
Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70mm F2.8 ZA SSM Zoom Lens
Brilliant performance in compact design. This superb Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Zoom Lens provides large-aperture f2.8 brilliance, all-purpose 24-70mm zoom range and fast, silent auto-focus with SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) design - plus aspherical and ED glass elements to reduce distortion for superior clarity and color (35mm equivalent: 36-105mm).
When changing your aperture to defocus the background, the light sources appear blurred. This ‘bokeh’ effect of the blurred background can be enhanced with circular aperture blades used in this lens. Conventional aperture blades have flat sides creating unappealing polygonal shaped defocussed points of light. α lenses overcome this problem through a unique design that keeps the aperture almost perfectly circular from its wide-open setting to when it is closed by 2 stops. Smoother, more natural defocusing can be obtained as a result.
ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass
As focal lengths get longer, lenses built with conventional optical glass have difficulties with chromatic aberration, and as a result images suffer from lower contrast, lower color quality, and lower resolution. ED glass dramatically reduces chromatic aberration at telephoto ranges, and provides superior contrast across the entire image, even at large aperture settings. Super ED glass provides enhanced compensation for chromatic aberration.
Aspherical lens elements
Aspherical lens design dramatically reduces spherical aberration while also reducing lens size and weight. Spherical aberration is a slight misalignment of the light rays projected on the image plane. This is caused by differences in refraction at different points on conventional spherical lenses which degrade image quality in large-aperture lenses. Specially shaped “aspherical” elements near the diaphragm restore alignment of light rays at the image plane, maintaining high sharpness and contrast even at maximum aperture and can also be used at other points in the optical path to reduce distortion. Well-designed aspherical elements can reduce the total number of elements required in the lens, thus reducing overall size and weight. Advanced Aspherical (AA) elements are an evolved variant, featuring an extremely high thickness ratio between the center and periphery. AA elements are exceedingly difficult to produce, relying on the most advanced molding technology to consistently and precisely achieve the required shape and surface accuracy, resulting in significantly improved image accuracy and quality.
Carl Zeiss T* (T-star) coating
Coated optics were pioneered by Carl Zeiss - and this superb lens features the Carl Zeiss T* (T-Star) coating that virtually eliminates lens flare, internal reflection and light scattering that can otherwise occur at glass-to-air surfaces. The T* coating contributes to outstanding image quality, with high contrast and uniformly excellent resolution right out to the image edges. Not simply applied to any lens - the T* symbol only appears on multi-element lenses in which the required performance has been achieved throughout the entire optical path, therefore guaranteeing the highest quality.
Focus hold button
Once you’ve adjusted focus to where you want it, pressing this button on the lens barrel will keep the lens locked to that focusing distance. The preview function can also be assigned to this button through the camera’s custom settings.
The distance encoder plays an integral part in ADI flash metering, which delivers high precision flash metering that is unaffected by the reflectance of subjects or backgrounds. The distance encoder is a lens component that directly detects the position of the focusing mechanism, and sends a signal to the CPU in order to measure distance to the subject. During flash photography, this data is very useful in calculating how much flash output is appropriate to the scene.
Only the middle groups of the optical system move to achieve focus, so the overall length of the lens does not change. Other important benefits include fast autofocusing and a short minimum focusing distance. Also, the filter thread at the front of the lens does not rotate, which is convenient if you’re using a polarizing filter.
SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor)
SSM is a piezoelectric motor that contributes to smooth and silent AF operation. The motor produces high torque at slow rotation, and provides immediate start and stop responses. It is also extremely quiet, which helps keep autofocusing silent. Lenses that feature SSM also include a position-sensitive detector to directly detect the amount of lens rotation, a factor that improves AF precision overall.
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All rights reserved. Sony, the Sony logo, Alpha, “α” and Super SteadyShot are trademarks of Sony. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.
Top customer reviews
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The craftsmanship associated with this lens starts right from the packaging - the lens comes lovingly cradled in cardboard packaging that is impressively constructed to withstand even the roughest delivery, and is accompanied by a hand signed inspection card.
The accompanying accessories are just as classy. The lens case looks luxurious and feels supple and soft, with an elastic drawstring, and decent padding along its sides and base. And, the lens hood is constructed well and screws on securely.
Then comes the lens itself, which feels as solid as a tank (and weighs about half as much). It is constructed well, with silky smooth zoom and focusing actions, powered by rubberized and grooved grips on the lens barrel.
And, let's not forget that much-valued discreet Zeiss label on the side!
The performance of this lens is just as you would expect.
++ Images with excellent color saturation
++ Smooth bokeh
++ Sharp images
++ No hint of vignetting that I could discern.
++ 24mm is awesome on a full-framer
++ Constant f2.8 across the whole range is the icing on the cake.
++ Very well balanced on an A99.
++ Compatible with the AF-D depth map assist continuous AF.
++ Focus-Hold button on the lens means that you now have yet another hard button at your disposal. I mapped mine to Depth Of Field preview - moving this function to a much more natural access location.
While deciding on this lens, I toyed with the idea of buying the Sony Zeiss SAL1635Z instead.
However, I ultimately decided on the SAL2470Z for the following reasons:
1) it is the closest to what might be considered a walkabout lens in the Zeiss stable.
2) at the telephoto end, it can be paired with the highly rated SAL70200G, without any overlap, or gaps, in focal lengths.
3) at the wide end, it can be paired with the excellent Rokinon FE14M-S 14/2.8.
I even considered the Sony SAL2875 (a rebadged Tamron A09M). I shortlisted this lens because of its lower weight (by about a pound) which puts it squarely in comfortable walkabout territory, and because of the much cited kurt munger review on its image quality.
I chose to discount the Tamron early in the process as it is not compatible with the A99's AF-D - a must-have feature, in my opinion.
In the end, I chose the SAL2470Z because of:
1) its superior build quality - I expect this lens to outlast many bodies.
2) its Super Sonic Wave Motor (SSM) focus mechanism - which is scary silent, making it great for video.
3) its better optical quality as evidenced by other reviewers and bloggers.
4) its speed - many reviewers considered the SAL2875 to be more of an f4 than an f2.8.
I also discounted the weight because good, fast glass is heavy.
So far, I could not be happier with my decision.
IMHO this is definitely the lens to get for the A99.
When combined with the superb SAL50F14, and with the mind blowing ISO range of the A99, the SAL2470Z's constant f2.8 makes low-light captures (almost!) easy.
I worried about the weight of this lens - and in many ways my fears were justified.
No two ways about it, this is a heavy lens, and I can feel it after about half a day's worth of shooting. However, had I gone with the SAL2875, the "what-ifs" would have been just as much a problem. This way, at least my shoulder strain is resulting in some amazing imaging :")
First impression: This is a massive piece of metal and glass. The illustration do not do it justice. It tips the scales at two pounds and it totally changes the balance of the camera. Long, fat and heavy, I had to shift my grip on the A77.
The zoom is smooth and firm, no creep. Focus is sharp and reasonably fast. I have only shot about 60 frames so far, mostly landscapes with a polarizing warming filter.
Shots so far have been clear, clean and crisp. I'm really enjoying having a slightly wider bottom than the Tamron 28-70. 4mm makes a huge difference in a crop sensor sometimes.
The lens has been used for some time now and it still does not disappoint. I got it used so this is a cautionary tale. There was an issue with the lens pulled in for full zoom. It turned out that there was some looseness, bummer. Fortunately I live in the SF Bay area and there is a local shop that was able to re-tighten the lens. Word to the wise, be careful about purchasing used lenses especially from private sellers.
With the lens repaired the mush I encountered earlier is now gone. Zoomed in to 70mm the image is tack-sharp and looking at the results the bokeh is pleasing.
This is my workhorse lens, the one I use for 75% of my shots or more. It shares pride of place only with the Tokina super-wide. Zoomed out to 24mm, 35mm effective in my A77 it is surprising how wide I can go with the lens. There are sometimes I still have to pull out the super-wide but not as much as before.
The penalty here is that I am carrying a much heavier lens than my old Tamron. The lens is still a beast and lugging it around all the live long day gets tiring. The weight also brings comments anytime the camera is lent out for a quick photo dual snap. Selfies are not an option with this lens mounted to an A77. I have even has shots ruined when the tripod was not tightened down enough. You really need to bolt down all the controls on a tripod because of the weight.
Overall, even with the need for the repair, the lens has been worth every penny pinched for the purchase.
As far as image quality goes, the difference between the two lenses is only marginal. I do like the faster 2.8, which came in very handy in a no-flash situation at a dark concert. Another significant advantage for the 24-70 is the rich bokeh, which rivals any prime lens. However, for landscapes and in bright settings, the cheaper lens will perform almost as well.
The downsides to this lens are of course its very high cost, its weight (a sacrifice for quality) and its sheer size. I don't look forward to hauling this baby on my next trek in the mountains. The 16-80 is a great travel lens because it's relatively lightweight and small, with a great range. The 24-70 is less versatile, heavier and much larger. Yes, you will get the best pictures possible on a Sony camera with this lens, and that's why I bought it, but for the money, the 16-80 is just as good, if not better (just buy the insurance).