Sony 24-70mm f/4 Lens Review
In-depth review of the Sony 24-70mm f/4 lens. Is this compact, versatile and great value-for-money Sony lens the right one for you?
With the release of so many amazing Sony mirrorless cameras, everyone is looking for a great lens to pair with their new body. For many people, a mid-range compact zoom is their first lens.
The Sony 24-70mm f/4 is a great option. It offers good value for money, renders good quality images, and feels great in your hand.
Sure, it’s not the highest performing in any one category, but it’s a great option for a wide variety of scenes and one of the more affordable 24-70mm lenses you’ll find.
The zoom range is applicable to shooting a lot of different subjects and the constant f/4 aperture makes it functional for a lot of different scenarios.
This is a lens I could keep on my camera and be ready for anything. Combined with the Sony A7 series cameras, it’s well-balanced and would be a great Sony zoom lens for travel, family, events, and adventures!
Sony 24-70mm f/4 | Specs
- Build quality
- Compact size/weight
- Well balanced with the A7 cameras
- Good value
- Convenient focal length range
- Slower to focus in low light
- Optical performance could be improved
- Retails for around $900
- Sony E-Mount/Full Frame Lens
- Aperture Range: f/4 – f/22
- Optical Image Stabilization
- Minimum Focus Distance: 0.4m (15.75″)
- Weight: 426 g (0.94 lb)
- Length: 95mm (3.74″)
- Diameter: 72mm (2.9″)
- Filter size: 67mm
Build & Ergonomics
The build quality on the Sony 24-70mm f/4 feels solid. It’s rugged and sturdy design feels much higher quality than the 28-70mm kit lens many people start with.
While the lens does feel like a mostly metal design, it maintains a nimble and balanced feel when mounted on an A7 series camera. The zoom and focus rings feel smooth and accurate.
It is a “focus by wire” design, so you might struggle if you plan on using the manual focus. I used it almost exclusively in autofocus mode with good results.
It does lack some of the controls (focus hold, af/mf switch, manual aperture, etc) that you find on some of Sony’s newer lenses, but in all honesty, I rarely use these features. Sure, they’re nice to have but definitely not necessary.
Overall the build quality exceeded my expectations, especially for a sub $1000 lens.
The focus performance of the Sony 24-70mm f/4 fell in line with what I expected. It was fast enough to not slow me down but not quite up to speed with the new G Master lenses.
With the mindset of this being a jack-of-all-trades lens, the focus performance was totally functional! It only hesitated in a few scenarios in very low light when the f/4 aperture wasn’t providing enough light for the camera to quickly grab focus.
In most cases, the focus locked quickly and I didn’t have any complaints. If you’re shooting outdoors during the day, you won’t have any issues here.
Additionally, I was really happy with how accurate the focus was on the 24-70mm f/4 when it locked on. It tracked well and created sharp images.
I subscribe to the “you get what you pay for” mentality, and this lens fits that description. It’s not a super high-end lens, so don’t expect top performance, but it’s no cheapy either. It performs reliably and consistently.
The Sony 24-70mm f/4 has a bit of a reputation as not being super sharp, especially at the telephoto end. In practical use, I found it to be completely adequate.
Sharpness is something everyone talks about but the reality is that most modern lenses are reasonably sharp.
Sure, this lens was a bit soft in the corners at the wider focal lengths and not tack sharp at the 70mm end – but most users won’t be pixel peeping enough to notice.
In the below image you can see that the middle of the frame was plenty sharp at f/4.
I found that as long as my subject wasn’t in the extreme corners of the frame, the images were sharp enough to make prints and deliver to clients.
Being an f/4 lens, the bokeh was not especially exciting with the Sony 24-70mm f/4.
I think the main benefit to the f/4 was keeping the cost and weight of this lens down. It is incredibly small and light for its performance!
I did notice some issues with purple fringing in high contrast scenes. The edges of backlit objects like tree branches had a bit of purple haze, something that can be somewhat corrected with lens profiles in Adobe Lightroom but not completely eliminated.
Distortion was present but is mostly eliminated once the lens profile is applied.
In summary, this lens might not be the highest performer in its class, but it’s a solid option if you’re not overly concerned about the technical details of your images.
Sony 24-70mm f/4 Sample Images
Check out these sample images taken with the Sony 24-70mm f/4.
Value for Money
Overall the Sony 24-70mm f/4 delivers on value. At around $900, it gives you a wide range of focal lengths in one relatively compact lens.
I rarely consider non-native lenses to pair with my A7 series cameras, but if you were looking for a newer and slightly higher performing lens at a similar price point, you could look at the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8.
My main issue with that lens is the reversal of the zoom and focus rings. It really threw me off when I used it.
Another alternative would be the Sony 24-105mm f/4. The main sacrifices would be size, weight, and a slightly higher price point.
If you’re not up for spending more than $2,000 to get the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lens, the Sony 24-70mm f/4 is a great choice.
It provides great value, especially if you don’t want to carry the extra weight of a faster lens and like the compact design. It also pairs well with the Sony 70-200mm f/4.
Sony 24-70mm f/4 Review | Conclusion
In summary, I think Sony 24-70mm f/4 is a solid zoom lens for a good price. If you’re looking for something small/lightweight that covers a wide focal range at a consistent aperture, this is your lens.
If you plan to travel and only take one camera/lens, this could be a great option.
For people that prioritize performance (especially if you have a high resolution sensor like the A7R series), this lens might not be up to your standards. You might want to look a the G Master lineup or a non-native brand like Tamron.
If you don’t care as much about minor details such as chromatic aberration and edge sharpness, then this lens is a good choice!
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