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Thread: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

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    Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    I was so pleased with the A7R that I got an A7 (with kit lens) to go with it. now I have electronic first curtain, a back up, greater tolerance to handheld slow speeds etc. I got the kit lens deal because with the decentered 35 Sonnar I returned, I wanted a native lens for a forthcoming trip/baptism.

    The kit lens has been a very nice surprise, for the following reasons:

    Its very light and balances beautifully on the camera. Its miles better than with my adapted CV 35 1.2 II, which is nose heavy.

    Build feels fine to me. Its the matt finish plastics, light weight and general lack of shiny stuff that IMO gives the impression its 'not of good quality'. I don't get the same impression. It all feels pretty smooth and tight to me, with good weighting to focus and decent/silent AF.

    Optically, it seems to be right at the top of the pile for a kit lens. Thus far I have shot it from 28-50mm using my faithful chequered rug and it is perfectly centered. I'll describe the outline findings:

    Wide open it is a touch soft around the edges and more so into the far corners, regardless of focal length, but very sharp on centre. Wide open performance is much better than I had expected.

    At 28-50mm, a stop down from wide open it is much tighter into the corners. By f8 it is superb. At F11, you are losing out to diffraction a touch across the frame, but its marginal. Both are very useable for general scenic shots and if you need f11 for DOF, then use it.

    Contrast/microcontrast appears quite reasonable. Not amazing, but not bad at all.

    Considering the saving you get when purchasing this lens as part of an A7 Kit, I'd say its a 'must have' for many buyers. Certainly, buying an A7 with the forthcoming 24-70 F4 Zeiss will result in a package price that is 850 more expensive in the UK and the Zeiss lens will need to be really, really good to justify that. After all, the difference allows you to throw in a top prime, or further down the road when third party lenses are available, possibly a pair of them. I know a lot of people got really excited by the A7R and Zeiss optics (myself included), but can't help but feel the humble A7 and kit lens deal is where this new system really shines for the average consumer. Further testing will tell, but I bet there's not much in it for, say, a 24" print between an A7R with Zeiss and the A7 and kit lens stopped down.
    Last edited by turtle; 4th January 2014 at 02:43.
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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Hi there
    Excellent summary. I must say I feel the same way. I was going to wait for the Zeiss, but the kit lens is such a good deal with the A7 and after Matt sent me some fine samples I thought 'what the hell'.
    I haven't really tested it, but it looks pretty excellent to me. As you say, the Zeiss f4 is going to have to be very good to be worth the extra.

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    I also feel the kit lens is underrated.

    It disappoints me only in low light AF. I'm going to see how it is for low light MF next time I have it out. I expect it to be pretty good due to the strength of the A7 MF.

    The Zeiss 24-70 lens will likely be killer. They well know the quality of the cheapo kit lens and won't want to be playing in the same ballpark.

    BTW, don't forget the weather sealing and OSS in the kit lens as a bonus. Hopefully, the Zeiss will be similar.

    -Bill

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Out today with the kit lens on the A7 (Amongst Others). This really isn't the kind of detail (right to the corners) that you expect with a relatively cheap kit lens - Sony have obviously made a real effort with this one. It seems to me to have some 'presence' about it (see Emma and the dogs in the second shot).

    The Zeiss f4 lens is going to have to be really good to be worth 3 times the price!



    28mm


    70mm

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Just went out and did some proper 'is everything as it should be' testing before a long trip and the standard A7 and this lens really impressed me once again. Sure, the A7R and 35 Sonnar are sharper, but not always in any way that matters. Judging from experience based on what I am seeing on my screen, the standard kit ensemble will, at the right apertures, provide 'perfect' A2/24" prints and extremely good prints in the 30"/A1 range. At these sizes, I dont think the A7R and Zeiss lenses will get have much of an edge once a stop or two down. You'll need print bigger.

    Testing today showed that at 70mm, there is a big jump in performance between f5.6 and f8, including on centre.

    Its also nice to see that at f11, there is an insignificant loss of resolution due to diffraction at the wide end, but (of course) a very useful jump in DOF for landscapes.

    In comparing the A7R combo, sure its sharper. It has more contrast. It has more microcontrast more importantly and colours are a bit punchier, but you know what, I think for most people most of the time (including for me), the A7 and lowly kit lens will do just fine. I am glad I have the A7R and I will be looking for top notch glass as I fully invest in this system, but the A7's first curtain shutter, the considerably lower price, the access to the kit lens, well, its a winner in my books.

    You are so right about the OSS. I got very nice sharp frames at f11 and 1/6s and did not try slower. Thats seriously handy for travel photography where tripods are a huge burden. It also has less CA than the 35mm Zeiss Sonnar!

    ... as an aside, its nice to see the A7 and R files so perfectly matched.
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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    I wonder, how much better can that 24-70/4.0 be ?
    Will it be worth the extra pennies ?

    Any ideas ?

    Kind regards.
    Bart ...

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Now you guys are confusing me again. I skipped the kit lens and got the A7 body only assuming that 24-70 will be much-much better. Now seeing these fine kit lens images, I have the same question - how much better and is it worth it?

    -- Eeraj

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Quote Originally Posted by Knorp View Post
    I wonder, how much better can that 24-70/4.0 be ?
    Will it be worth the extra pennies ?

    Any ideas ?

    Kind regards.
    Quote Originally Posted by jaree View Post
    Now you guys are confusing me again. I skipped the kit lens and got the A7 body only assuming that 24-70 will be much-much better. Now seeing these fine kit lens images, I have the same question - how much better and is it worth it?

    -- Eeraj
    Well, of course that 24mm will be attractive . . . I've actually cancelled my order for now (preordered for ages) because the kit lens is so good, and history relates that Sony/Zeiss lenses are not always stellar. If the 24-70 is a significant improvement I will of course get it, but the urgency is definitely off, so I'll just wait a bit and see what others think.

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Well, of course that 24mm will be attractive . . . I've actually cancelled my order for now (preordered for ages) because the kit lens is so good, and history relates that Sony/Zeiss lenses are not always stellar. If the 24-70 is a significant improvement I will of course get it, but the urgency is definitely off, so I'll just wait a bit and see what others think.
    Jono, that's just too bad: I really hoped for you to jump first ...
    Now I'll wait a bit too

    But the extra 4 mm (or is that less) on the wide end are very welcome indeed !

    Kind regards.
    Bart ...
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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Quote Originally Posted by Knorp View Post
    Jono, that's just too bad: I really hoped for you to jump first ...
    Now I'll wait a bit too

    But the extra 4 mm (or is that less) on the wide end are very welcome indeed !

    Kind regards.
    Well Bart - one thing is for sure - that kit lens is a bargain, and it's quite good enough for most photography - much better (for instance) than the 16-50 Pentax zoom at more than twice the price. Buy One Now!

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Quote Originally Posted by jaree View Post
    Now you guys are confusing me again. I skipped the kit lens and got the A7 body only assuming that 24-70 will be much-much better. Now seeing these fine kit lens images, I have the same question - how much better and is it worth it?

    -- Eeraj
    And how much bigger ? How much heavier ?

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Quote Originally Posted by Annna T View Post
    And how much bigger ? How much heavier ?
    From the specs It looks to be pretty much the same size, but a bit heavier. After all, it's slower at the wide end as well as being faster at the long end.

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Great news re the Sony kit lens.

    The 24-70/4 FE is likely to be better than the bigger ZA 24-70 zoom, going off the comparable MTFs. The biggest improvement will be edges and corners.

    It will be stronger at the long end, no doubt about that. The copious asph elements (5 of them) really help with CA and fine-tuning performance generally.

    It will make one heck of a kit - the a7r plus a (if they get it to work on a7r) stabilised 24-70, good to the corners...many users will be interested in this one, AF speed will be an issue for scrutiny also.

    It is 425 grams, so weighs the same as a 300 gram lens plus an adapter. It's just 25mm (one inch) longer than the 1.8/55 FE. Very different size from the C/N/S f2.8 'pro' mid-zooms and around 40-45% the weight!

    The whole kit of a7/r plus 24-70 zoom lens is just 890 grams - a Leica M and Summicron-M 2/50mm weighs 40 grams *more* than this setup, to give an example how it will feel in the hand.

    I want to look hard at it, for double duty on a7r plus a future a7 for the partner, who 'needs' AF and stabilisation.

    Here is a link to a video made with it and a still on previous page - from a pre-production unit:

    465g full frame sony - Page 38 - Overclockers Australia Forums (DanK)
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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    I think a lot will depend on your shooting. If you mostly shoot stopped down for landscapes, I doubt there will be much in it. If you want the best performance at wider aperture, there may be quite a bit of difference.

    As for CA, the 35 Sonnar has more CA than the 28-70, so I am not holding my breath for better CA on the Sony Zeiss zoom.

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    This thread made me think of potentially trade in my A7r for a A7. Reasons: the quality of the kit lens surprises me. The A7 sensor is more of a daily shooter than the demanding 36MP resolving monster which requires keeping shutter speed and thus iso up, therewith limiting its indoors IQ (to be on the safe side, 1/200 with the 55mm seems advisable). The A7 seems to work better with a number of m-lenses. We will see updated Sony FF compacts soon, with improvements on shutter noise and hopefully Olympus`IBIS technology which will justify upgrading and the loss on a A7 will be less steep.

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    I've had a really good mess around with mine on the A7R today, trying to get to the root of the high number of mis-performances. I had pinned this on the OSS but I think it is more complicated than that and quite possibly there are many factors at play. But most often, it is simple misfocus. An example: I just shot a distant shoreline in bright sunlight (about four miles away) at shutter speeds around 1/649th to 1/800th. Ten frames with OSS on and ten with it off Each shot was AF'd on a very clear string of buildings against a green mountain and between each focus, I defocussed the lens by pointing it a the ground nearby and touching the shutter until it beeped AF confirm. Then I framed my view, half pressed shutter til AF confirm, and fired.

    I gave each frame a rating for sharpness at the target. The average for the OSS frames was 3.6 and the average for the non-OSS was 3. But in every frame where the subject was either a bit unsharp or downright soft, a careful look at the frame showed that the camera had front focussed (there was detail all the way from me to the target so I could see where focus was).

    In other words, I am pretty sure that the lens tends to front-focus on the A7R. I will now try it with a '2 step' AF of half-press, confirm beep, repeat, shoot, which often helps an uncertain lens.

    Aside from this I still need to ascertain whether shutter slap is having some effect, even with OSS On, in the danger zone of shutter speeds where people find it to be a problem. And I need to us accurate MF to see if the OSS is sometimes causing a problem. And I need to get to the bottom of the way that the frame is sometimes soft at the sides and sometimes not, and that this varies at different apertures, focal lengths and subject distances.

    So: this might be that I have a poor copy, it might be that the lens is just too humble to stand up to the A7R, or it might be that some of its design compromises are showing and, when learned and understood, can be worked around.

    More to come!

    EDIT: I just did the second test (two touches of the release to give the focus a chance to confirm, and I added time for the OSS to 'settle' too) and got an average score of a series of 23 shots of 4.8 out of 5 which is pretty damned good. From now on I will always focus that way when using AF, and hopefully will now be able to flush out what other issues there may be - but I think this was likely the main one!
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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Thanks for your work in testing Tashley!
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Thanks Tim, enjoy your vacation anyway.
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Tim,

    In your most recent focusing test, unless I missed it, which focal length of the zoom lens were you at? As you well know shooting distant subjects at the wide end can often confuse the AF and requires precisely the (your) methodolgy of confirming focus at least twice before firing the shutter. In fact I've seen it where (in testing) that multiple half presses of the shutter on some cameras actually causes the camera's AF to settle on slightly differnt focusing distances each time and this can sometimes cause the softness you are observing if one happens then to press when most "off". Just a thought.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Well, I thought I'd do a brick wall test . . .
    I don't ever publicise these tests, because I'm not very good at them!
    These were hand held in a strong wind with the A7.

    The point really was to check whether the corners were acceptable at the extremes of the range.



    This is at 28mm and f3.5

    28mm at f3.5 Whole Frame


    28mm at f3.5 100% Centre


    28mm at f3.5 100% Corner

    This is at 70mm and f5.6

    70mm at f5.6 Whole Frame


    70mm at f5.6 100% Centre


    70mm at f5.6100% Corner

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    So: this might be that I have a poor copy, it might be that the lens is just too humble to stand up to the A7R, or it might be that some of its design compromises are showing and, when learned and understood, can be worked around.
    Well done Tim
    for what it's worth, I just shot 55 more shots on the A7 (funny that, I'm obviously a 55 shot man), without a single shot out of focus - some were grab shots of running dogs, some long distance etc. etc.

    I think that as someone else suggested, it might be the PDAF sites on the A7 which is the issue?

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I think that as someone else suggested, it might be the PDAF sites on the A7 which is the issue?
    Sorry that was me cluttering up the fun with thread as I didn't know this one existed. I think its possible that the lens is designed for PDAF and not CDAF. This would also mean that if the A mount PDAF lens profiles are on the A7 they would work better on the A7 with the LA-EA3 than the A7R.

    Then again I would assume that the PDAF wouldn't work in low light and the A7 would revert to CDAF. If I remember right Jono has already captured some low light shots with the A7 and the kit zoom. So maybe I have it all wrong.

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Just saw a pic from CES where a person was taking a pic of the A7r with the 24-70 attached to it, and the lens was in its extended position. I dont think i will be getting that lens, as it looks to extend 30mm or more.

    Last edited by ecsh; 11th January 2014 at 07:07. Reason: add pic

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    Does anyone know where there might be sample RAW files (preferably landscapes of some sort) taken with this lens and the A7 to download?

    Lee

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    Re: Sony FE 28-70 'Kit Lens'

    There's one somewhere in Sony website land of a basket of dried roses. It has soft corners, but looks good otherwise...

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