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Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T E 24mm F1.8 ZA E-mount Prime Lens
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- Employs the legendary "Sonnar" optical design for standout image dimensionality and presence
- Seven aperture blades form a near circle, which results in a pleasing defocused effect on the background of your image when the aperture is set wide open
- Allows for 1/4 macro shooting with accurate focus as close as 6.2 inches (16cm)
- Direct Manual Focus (DMF) allows for direct manual focusing after autofocus lock-on without having to switch modes
- Lens operation is fast but at the same time smooth and quiet, minimizing noise and image jitter when shooting movies
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|Aperture Control Design||Aperture controlled by camera|
|Compatible Lens Hood Part Number||ALC-SH114|
|Compatible Mountings||Sony E (NEX)|
|Item Dimensions||2.48 x 2.48 x 2.58 inches|
|Item Weight||0.49 pounds|
|Lens Type||Prime lens|
|Macro Focus Range||0.16 m|
|Manufacturer Warranty Description|
|Maximum Aperture Range||F1.8|
|Maximum Focal Length||24 mm|
|Maximum Format Size||APS-C / DX|
|Minimum Focal Length||24 mm|
|Minimum Focal Range||24 mm|
|Number of Diaphragm Blades||7|
|Number of Elements||8|
|Number of Groups||7|
|Photo Filter Thread Size||49 mm|
|Shipping Weight||1 pound|
Compare to similar items
|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Compatible Camera Mount||Sony E (NEX)||Sony E (NEX)||Sony E (NEX)||Sony E (NEX)||Sony E (NEX)||Sony E (NEX)|
|Focus Type||Micromotor||Stepper motor||Stepper motor||Stepper motor||Stepper motor||Stepper motor|
|Item Dimensions||2.48 x 2.58 x 2.48 in||2.48 x 1.77 x 2.48 in||2.76 x 2.52 x 2.76 in||2.52 x 2.36 x 2.52 in||2.52 x 2.8 x 2.52 in||2.44 x 2.2 x 2.44 in|
|Item Weight||7.9 ounces||5.47 ounces||7.94 ounces||7.05 ounces||0.62 lb||4.87 ounces|
|Lens Type||Prime lens||Prime lens||Zoom lens||Prime lens||Prime lens||Prime lens|
|Maximum Focal Length||24 millimeters||35 millimeters||18 millimeters||28 millimeters||55 millimeters||30 millimeters|
|Minimum Focal Length||24 millimeters||35 millimeters||10 millimeters||28 millimeters||55 millimeters||30 millimeters|
|Photo Filter Thread Size||49 millimeters||49 millimeters||62 millimeters||49 millimeters||49 millimeters||49 millimeters|
This is the first Carl Zeiss lens to be released in the Sony E-mount lineup, employing the legendary “Sonnar” optical design for standout image dimensionality and presence. A spherical lenses located on either side of the aperture effectively compensate for distortion, while an ED element suppresses chromatic aberration. The overall result is excellent corner-to-corner sharpness even with the aperture wide open, for impressive overall resolution.
From the Manufacturer
Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA Wide-Angle Prime Lens
This high-performance Carl Zeiss wide-angle prime lens delivers superior corner-to-corner sharpness even at the maximum F1.8 aperture. It also focuses as close as 16cm providing an unusual combination of close focus and wide-angle perspective. The 24mm focal length is an excellent choice for general shooting.
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.
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.
2011 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony is not responsible for typographic and photographic errors. Features and specifications are subject to change without notice. Sony and Optical SteadyShot are trademarks of Sony. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.
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I'm using this on an A6300 and came from using the NEX5T with the 35f1.8, 18105f4, as well as the 16-50 kit lens. I learned quite a bit on the NEX5T and am still learning on my A6300 and while I'm not quite a beginner I am far from an experienced photographer.
I debated over getting this lens or the 1670 Zeiss. I like having all around lenses to reduce the amount of lens changes I have to do which is what I like about the 18105. The only issue there is the lens is fairly large but I'd say very sharp for my needs. Researching the 1670 garnered a lot of mixed reviews that focused on the lottery factor for getting a good version of this lens regarding the decentered nature of many peoples copies. I know a lot of people like the 1670 but considering the price point(which currently is the same as the 24f1.8 at ~$900) as well as the fact that I have the 18105, I decided I wanted to go with the 24 Zeiss.
While improved image quality was a factor for buying the 24 Zeiss, I also understand the nature of diminishing returns when it comes to buying a high priced lens like this. I have the 35f1.8 and it is plenty sharp with great image quality and spending money on it got me far better results than the kit lens but I knew I wouldn't see that same leap of improvement going to the 24 from the 35 if much at all. I'd say the image quality overall is actually noticeably better than the 35 but most people won't need it. I don't want to go through the spectrum of reviewing wide open, stopped down, and corner and center sharpness. If you're looking for that there are plenty of resources available for that review, this review is for the middle ground people but just know that you can expect great image quality at generally all apertures as well as corner and center sharpness.
So why this lens? What I really liked about it more than any improvements in image quality above the 35 was the wider focal length and the ability to find focus a mere 6 inches from the lens. Combine these two features with improved image quality and do I find $500 of value in this lens over the 35? I honestly don't know yet. I know that I really like the wider focal length because it means I'm not squeezing against a wall or in a corner to get everything I want in frame when shooting indoors, especially considering I can focus far closer than I could with the 35. I know that those attributes also make it a great walk around lens as well. I know that the construction of the lens feels great and the focus ring as utterly smooth and great to use, especially compared to the 35. Also, like the 35mm, the f1.8 on this lens opens up the use for excellent low light photography. There is no need to use a flash to get good pictures in a dimly lit restaurant or some of the poorer lighting conditions that you would normally have indoors, especially if you're using the A6000 and up which have great performance at ISO 6400. Not only that but the shallow depth of field produced makes a very nice bokeh. The bokeh balls aren't perfectly round but the blur is smooth and definitely some of the better I have seen in a lens at around this price range.
If you're on the fence between this lens and the 35 there are a couple of things you need to consider. Price and use. Currently the 24 is running for about $900USD while the 35 is going for about $400USD. While the 35 is a major improvement over the kit lens you will not see that type of improvement going to this lens. If you're going straight from a kit lens to the 24, you will see major improvement in image quality and will definitely appreciate the f1.8 and close focus abilities. Moving past the price and ratio of improved image quality to value, the most major difference for a lot of people will be the fact that the 24 does not have any type of image stabilization in lens. If you're shooting with A6300 or lower, this means no image stabilization. It is not a huge deal if you're only shooting stills and since it is f1.8 you can usually up your shutter speed to reduce any movement from lack of image stabilization if needed. If you're planning to shoot video, the difference between this lens and the 35 can be night and day and I would suggest the 35 if video is going to be a priority with this lens.
Considering video was not a major priority for me with this lens, the lack of image stabilization doesn't really bother me too much although you do notice not having it coming from a lens that did. If Sony released a 24mm lens with their OSS for ~$500, I probably wouldn't have bothered with this lens. My images would have been more than sharp enough, my focal length would be great, and I'd have the added benefit of OSS for less shaky shots and video.
I'm happy with my purchase. The lens offers great image quality, terrific build quality, great focal length, and great close focusing. If the price was around $600 I would happily and easily recommend it. Despite my 4*(which is only 4* because the price) review because it is a great lens, I only recommend it if the price isn't an issue and you understand what you're getting here. There are options from Sigma that will get your focal length at a much much lower cost and the 35 is a great lens for the price with the added OSS. Also, the 18105 is a fantastic lens with far more versatility from wider focal length to telephoto zoom with constant f4 at around $600 with OSS at the sacrifice of close focus and f1.8.
If you've read all of that and still want this lens, then by all means it is a great lens. However, if you're really on the fence and the price is bothering you, there are other options that are more versatile and even better in other ways. I'll update my review should I come across any issues or positive things to add. I'll add pictures of the lens on the camera if people want but I don't see much reason in attaching pictures taken with the lens on Amazon considering the loss of quality and size.
The Kit lens that came with the NEX-7, the 18-55mm, unfortunately shoots horribly when compared to my professional, Canon L lenses, and I started my search for a replacement lens. I was saddened to find a very small selection of available lenses for the NEX series (E-Mount lenses) that were of the quality I was looking for. Granted, the NEX-7 with its interchangeable lenses were far superior over the PowerShot S95 point-and-shoot, an excellent camera for its class, I previously used.
Carl Zeiss makes excellent lenses, and so I took a look at this Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA.
Aperture of f/1.8 would enable great bokeh (background blur), as well as better low-light performance. I hardly shoot with Flash when I travel, and this was an important plus.
The 24mm length, coupled with the NEX-7's 1.5x crop factor, would turn the lens into an equivalent 36mm lens on a full-frame camera, such as the Canon 5D. As my go-to lens for everyday shooting is the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, the 36mm falls nearly right in the middle of that range. It is also just shy of taking pictures at a 1:1 life-size ratio (which 50mm lenses do on a full-frame camera, or 33mm on the NEX-7, should Zeiss release one in the near future, as has been rumored.)
Being forced to shoot at 36mm (with no ability to zoom in or out) would require you to adjust the way you photograph. Not an impossible task, but something to be aware of. You'll have to learn to move forward or backward to "zoom" in and out. Be careful when you back up before you fall into a pool!
This lens is only slightly longer than the kit 18-55mm lens, and as such does not add any more bulk.
Pictures taken were very sharp, and when compared with those taken of the same subject in the same condition with the kit lens, the Zeiss is far, far superior in sharpness and color.
The bokeh (background) blur is creamy smooth, and what pleasantly surprised me is this lens' ability to shoot macro. What is Macro? The ability to shoot objects, such as a ladybug, at extremely close range. For example, for a recent wedding assignment, I tested this Zeiss to photograph the rings at extreme closeup. The jewelry was very, very sharp! You could not get the same sharpness with the Canon 24-70mm or Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L lenses.
Focusing in low-light was quite speedy, and so I am looking forward to using this lens with the NEX-7 on my upcoming honeymoon.
The biggest gripe with this lens is its cost. That's the price, however, that you have to pay in a market where there aren't that many good alternatives available for the NEX cameras. Perhaps the cost will drop once more quality lenses enter the market.
The only concern I have is that neither the camera nor the lens are weather-sealed, potentially allowing dust and moisture to enter the camera. This is true for most cameras with interchangeable lenses.
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