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Thread: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

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    Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    I know this is a tough thing to answer, but what's your opinion on the performance and value of the Sony/Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8 zoom?

    I'm primarily a landscape guy, so I'm looking for corner-to-corner resolution, primarily between f/8 to f/16. Maybe sometimes f/5.6, but not too often.

    I have what I think is a good copy of the Tamron 28-75/2.8 zoom; I tried two of them and kept the one that was noticeably better. I rented a ZA 24-70 for a long weekend last fall and wasn't blown away by it, but it might not have been enough time to learn the ins and outs of the lens. I do think I got the AF adjustment pretty well, even on the rental. Unfortunately I'm now starting to get even more neurotic about image quality -- which to my mind is a combination of resolution, color separation, and micro/macro contrast.

    Can anyone offer any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Mark.
    (cross-posted over on FM's alternative forum, as well)


    representative work, if you're curious:
    http://markhespenheide.com/landscape/landscape.htm

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Hi Mark
    I've used it for literally thousands of landscape shots and really like it. Sharp,contrasty and with excellent colour. FWIW!

    All the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Member picman's Avatar
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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Hi Mark,

    You can see some of the landscape pictures I took with this lens both with A700 and with A900 on http://www.zeissimages.com/index.php

    I just started uploading today.

    I really love this lens for landscape photography.

    Cheers, Bob.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    I am too considering buying this lens. Where does diffraction begins on this lens?

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    +1 re. Jono's and picman's comments. This is an excellent lens on FF. I have never shot it beyond ƒ11, so can't say where diffraction begins.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    I should have bought this lens from Kit.

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape



    Guy and I both are two of the most reliable resellers of top notch gear here!

    I substituted the excellent 50/1.4 and the Sony Zeiss 85/1.4 (and the Minolta 24/2.8). I am only using primes now, but that 24-70 Zeiss is as good as zooms get, in my experience, as good as Nikons 24-70/2.8. I could not pick between them, IQ-wise.

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    Member Quino Terceño's Avatar
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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    I think that ƒ11 is as far as you want to go before diffraction sets in.

    I rarely use mine since I rather shoot primes (35mm and 85mm FL). But as you can read everywhere it is fantastic at 35mm.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by MP7 View Post
    I should have bought this lens from Kit.
    I have Kit's lens. While I only started using it on my A900 for few days, I really like it. I agree with Kit that the Zeiss ZA 24-70/2.8 is as good as the Nikon 24-70/2.8 but with difference strength.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    As I've mentioned before, this lens is very good in its class. However, it does have corner issues in many circumstances at 24mm, so don't always expect corner to corner sharpness at 24mm.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    I got this lens so the 850 could act as a backup to my M9 - something I can throw in checked luggage to have on hand just in case. It's very good, about as good as these zooms ever get. Soft in the extreme corners at 24mm, but it doesn't take much zooming (magnification) to stop using that portion of the image circle. Maybe even before it gets to 26mm. Whether it's a problem depends on your needs; doesn't bother me. (My Leica WATE is also slightly soft in the extreme corners at 16mm, and it doesn't bother me either. I just never have significant image content there.)

    For me a 70-200 or 70-300 zoom is where a DSLR earns its keep. And the Sony 70-200/2.8 is great. I'm happy enough with the CZJ 35/2.4 Flektogon, Pentax SMC 50/1.4, Helios 44-2 (58/2), and other M42 lenses that I occasionally feel throwing the 35/2.4 and 50/1.4 in luggage for backup purposes might work just as well and I should really sell the ZA 24-70...

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Hi Kit,
    You sold the ZA135 and kept the ZA85, what makes you go this direction? I would like to know since I am also considering the 85mm as well. If the 85mm is due to shorter focal length compare to the 135mm, then how good is the Sony ZA85 compare to the Canon 1.2/85L?


    Jan,
    I agree with you regarding to the 70-200. My question to your is how good the Sony 70-200 compare to the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS Mark II?

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Hello MP7,

    For me and the work I am doing presently, the 85mm focal length just works better in the studio. As well, I have both the 100/2 and the 100/2.8 macro (the ƒ2 Minolta, and the ƒ2.8 "Sony". I find myself using the 85 for portraits, where it pretty much lives at ƒ2 (and I find it to be as good optically as the 135) and the 100 macro is used anywhere between ƒ2.8, where it is really sharp, to ƒ8, where it is as good as any lens I have.

    I have no experience with the Canon 85/1.2, so can't comment there—what I can say is that any differences in rendering cannot be viewed as "faults": all are superb lenses. Any will make great images, IMHO.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Thanks Kit

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    Tony Beach
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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    My copy was very good even wide open across its zoom range, and from 30mm and longer it was also very good edge to edge, but for edge to edge resolution wider than 30m I considered it pretty poor. I sold my copy and now shoot most of my landscape photography with a Schneider 28/2.8 Super Angulon PC.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Keep the Tamron and by the 16-35 CZ. You won't regret it.
    SONY A900
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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Beach View Post
    My copy was very good even wide open across its zoom range, and from 30mm and longer it was also very good edge to edge, but for edge to edge resolution wider than 30m I considered it pretty poor. I sold my copy and now shoot most of my landscape photography with a Schneider 28/2.8 Super Angulon PC.
    I would be very interested to hear more about your impressions of the super angulon, Tony. Thanks!
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  18. #18
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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    I would be very interested to hear more about your impressions of the super angulon, Tony. Thanks!
    At equal magnification, it matches my Sony 50/1.4 and Sigma 105/2.8. The shift function is great to have in the field as it allows me to set my tripod up level and then adjust the FOV while avoiding converging lines (except in relatively extreme circumstances). Flare is reasonably well controlled, and vignetting needs to be watched for as it is shifted past 8mm; by 10mm shift I'm at f/16.

    I have to watch the aperture and the focus rings though, because if they get inadvertently bumped a shot can be messed up without my being aware of it, same with the aperture lever which I sometimes forget to engage before taking a shot -- so I end up keeping a mental checklist when using it.

    My other niggle with the lens is that no EXIF data on the aperture used is recorded. I blame Sony for this mostly though as it would have been possible to manually put the maximum aperture and focal length in (which my D200 and D300 cameras allow) and then have the aperture recorded.

    For most users who are not routinely doing landscape and architecture, I would recommend the Zeiss 24/2 instead. The Super Angulon has no AF and it's relatively slow for an expensive prime (although faster than Nikon's 24/3.5 PC-E).

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Thank you Tony! Do you feel the Schneider has any special drawing style? Closer to Zeiss, Leica? In terms of micro contrast, 3D, resolving power?

    Cheers,
    Edward
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Thank you Tony! Do you feel the Schneider has any special drawing style? Closer to Zeiss, Leica? In terms of micro contrast, 3D, resolving power?

    Cheers,
    Edward
    No different than the Zeiss 24-70/2.8 (that I see) in that regard.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Beach View Post
    No different than the Zeiss 24-70/2.8 (that I see) in that regard.
    Thanks again, Tony. That sounds interesting because the 24-70 is perhaps the lens with the most Zeissness in the ZA line. I will have to do some more research about it....
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Thanks again, Tony. That sounds interesting because the 24-70 is perhaps the lens with the most Zeissness in the ZA line. I will have to do some more research about it....
    You're welcome Ed. As for the "Zeissness" of the 24-70, I just didn't see any differences at its wider focal lengths and other wide angle lenses that I have used, including the Schneider Super Angulon. I think part of that is that most of the wide angle photography I do tends to minimize qualities I find more easily distinguishable in a lens such as how it handles bokeh and flare -- I'm less certain what a drawing style really is and would be interested in side-by-side comparisons between lenses that demonstrates it.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Well, I have moved to Sony after two decades of using Zeiss lenses. The 24-70 showed the same 3D and high micro contrast rendering that I used to expect from my previous Zeiss glass. The 16-35 wasn't too bad either. Perhaps because both zooms are Contax N reincarnations. The 24/2 for instance has a different high micro contrast style, probably a higher frequency contrast, which gives it a rather Leica look than Zeiss. I have no comparisons to show, especially that I sold my zooms in favor of primes over a year ago, but these are my observations from using the lenses regularly over a period of time.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by picman View Post
    Hi Mark,

    You can see some of the landscape pictures I took with this lens both with A700 and with A900 on http://www.zeissimages.com/index.php

    I just started uploading today.

    I really love this lens for landscape photography.

    Cheers, Bob.
    Try this url instead

    http://www.zeissimages.com/picman

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by ryc View Post
    Thanks ryc, you are right , so much better

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Based on your input here, I'd rent the Sony/Zeiss 24-70/2.8 again and test it against the Tamron you already own. It should outperform the Tamron in most cases, but only you can determine that based on your requirements. I've found that methodology to be the only way to really figure this stuff out ... and often the differences are far more obvious than speculating based on other's opinions ... and sometimes they are not.

    If you are truly getting more mental about IQ, it may be time to move up to the lower end of Medium Format capture. As good as it is, you can only go so far with a small format capture before hitting the wall. Depending on your actual requirements and applications, throwing more and more cash at that wall in a search for higher IQ tends to eventually become be an exercise in futility.

    -Marc

    (BTW, I own two A900s and all of the Sony/Zeiss FF AF lenses, as well as the 70-200/2.8 APO, and while excellent for my wedding photography, wouldn't even think of using any of it for landscape, macro, or other commercial work).

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Hello from Milano, Marc:

    I can second your
    As good as it is, you can only go so far with a small format capture before hitting the wall.
    And the A850/900 with the Sony Zeiss lenses is (for my tastes, at least) as good as it gets in the smaller format.

    Slippery slope, indeed.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    Hello from Milano, Marc:

    I can second your

    And the A850/900 with the Sony Zeiss lenses is (for my tastes, at least) as good as it gets in the smaller format.

    Slippery slope, indeed.
    Yep, to all of the above.

    Prior to the A900s and Zeiss optics, I shot with a Canon 1DsMKIII & L lenses, CY lenses, and some Leica R lenses ... and then a Nikon D3X with all the best nano coated optics plus some stellar ZF lenses. Subjectively, the Sony/Zeiss just has the look the other systems couldn't produce.

    In short, IMHO the A850/A900 and Zeiss is "the wall" ... on the other side of that wall is Medium Format digital

    -Marc

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Utah View Post
    Keep the Tamron and by the 16-35 CZ. You won't regret it.
    This is the lens that I use for landscape work on my A900. It is really excellent and I use it in preference to the 24-70 CZ although the latter comes into it's own for more general work including a bit of street photography. I should add that the 24-70 does vignette a bit at 24mm whereas I have never experienced vignetting at any FL with my 16-35ZA.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    In short, IMHO the A850/A900 and Zeiss is "the wall" ... on the other side of that wall is Medium Format digital
    Still waiting for this: http://www.robertwhite.co.uk/images/...Shift_engl.pdf
    These lenses will almost certainly take 135 format photography to another level for landscape and studio photography.

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by dhsimmonds View Post
    This is the lens that I use for landscape work on my A900. It is really excellent and I use it in preference to the 24-70 CZ although the latter comes into it's own for more general work including a bit of street photography. I should add that the 24-70 does vignette a bit at 24mm whereas I have never experienced vignetting at any FL with my 16-35ZA.
    Still scared what Sony will do with their next gen FF sensor - if that is coming sometimes.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Still scared what Sony will do with their next gen FF sensor - if that is coming sometimes.
    Let's hope Sony doesn't do something stupid.

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    Quote Originally Posted by my_photography View Post
    Let's hope Sony doesn't do something stupid.
    I doubt it would, but it will almost certainly do something that we photo traditionalists are not going to like
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Sony ZA 24-70/2.8 opinions solicited re: landscape

    I think it's an excellent choice and I love mine, however it is big and bulky so may not be ideal if you need to cram loads of kit into a small backpack.

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