Sony 24 70 f4. Sony 24 70 f4

Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS Review

The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS is a premium standard zoom lens for the Sony A7/A7R/A7S full-frame E-mount compact system cameras. It offers a fairly versatile focal range and constant F4 aperture, features 12 elements in 10 groups including 5 aspherical and 1 ED element, and is dust- and moisture-resistant. The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS has a minimum focusing distance of 40cm and a maximum magnification of 0.2x. It has a 7 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out of FOCUS areas of the image. A special Carl Zeiss T coating is applied to the lens elements to help reduce lens flare and surface reflections. The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens is available for £1059 / 1199 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens mounted on a Sony A7

Weighing in at 426g, the alloy-bodied Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS is quite a substantial, very well built FE E-Mount lens. Measuring just under 9.5cms in length, it is actually taller than a full-frame body like the Sony A7 body that we tested it with, as shown in the photos below., especially when it’s zoomed out to 70mm, where it measures nearly 12.5cms in length.

The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens mounted on a Sony A7

The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens mounted on a Sony A7, extended to 70mm

The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens mounted on a Sony A7

The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens mounted on a Sony A7, extended to 70mm

Build quality is excellent, but you’d expect that given the high price of the lens. The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS has a sealed dust and moisture resistant design and is a natural partner for the A7 and A7R cameras, feeling well-balanced and not front-heavy.

The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS incorporates a built-in optical image stabilizer which provides compensation of 3 f-stops, which partly compensates for the moderate f/4 maximum aperture.

The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens alongside the Sony A7

Front of the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens


Front of the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens, extended to 70mm

The zoom ring is smooth and well-damped, with a quarter-turn required to go from one end of the range to the other. As mentioned above, the lens barrel extends by 3cms when zooming to the full 70mm telephoto setting.

Manual focusing is possible via the slightly narrow, textured FOCUS ring when set on the specific camera body. The lens utilizes a linear motor to produce quiet and smooth focusing, making it well-suited to shooting video.

Front of the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens

Rear of the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens

The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens has a metal lens mount. It accepts 67mm filters via plastic threads.

Front of the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens

Rear of the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens

The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens in-hand

The lens ships with a soft case and a petal-shaped plastic lens hood (ALC-SH130), neither of which was provided to us for review.

Focal Range

At the 24mm focal length the angle of view is 34 degrees.

At the 70mm focal length the angle of view is 84 degrees.


The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens has quite a wide FOCUS ring. There are no hard stops at either end of the range, making it a little more difficult to set FOCUS at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 67mm filter thread doesn’t rotate on FOCUS.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS zoom is a quiet and fairly quick performer on the Sony A7 that we tested it with, taking about 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject.

We didn’t experience much “hunting”, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time, and it’s also a quiet performer thanks to the linear motor driven internal focusing, making it ideal for movie shooting.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are only notable by their almost complete absence from our test shots.


Light Fall-off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture, there is some light fall-off in the extreme corners, but it won’t affect your real-world shots too much.


The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS isn’t claimed to be a macro lens, offering a minimum focusing distance of 40cm and a maximum magnification of 0.2x. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash memory card.


Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-FOCUS areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens, Sony employed an iris diaphragm with seven rounded blades, which has resulted in quite appealing bokeh in our view. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we’ve included several 100% crops for your perusal.


In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Zeiss is forever || Sony Zeiss 24-70mm F4

Sony 24 70 f4

This is not a super-inexpensive lens, but it is certainly great. To see more information about the Sony A7r or read other lens reviews, see Trey’s Gear and Tools.

Sony A7r Review

Be sure to visit the full-on Sony a7R Review here on the site to read more about it and the other lenses I use!

Sony 24-70mm Review

The full name for this lens is the Sony SEL2470Z Vario-Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS Lens. Who the H E Double Hockey Stick knows what hell that means? Do Japanese guys sit around and come up with wacky stuff while they are blasted out on sake? How is any normal human supposed to understand that stuff?

Well, welcome to Trey’s Lens Review, where I won’t spend any time on that BS lens-nerd stuff and we’ll just talk about the awesome stuff. I Only Review Lenses That I Use. Life is too short for me to talk about lenses I don’t use. If I use it, then you know I Like It. In fact, let’s just say I Love It. I’ll go one more step, I LOLCats Lurve It.

One might say this review is very short of actual substance, and one would be right. But that will change forthwith (a bit).

Sample Photos

Nothing sells a lens like photos. Look at this one. Boom shakalaka. Remember you can click to zoom in to the full-rez version on SmugMug that is over 7,000 pixels across. Sweet sweet 36mp… riding the megapixel pony!

It’s the Autumn here in New Zealand. I took this photo only a few days after having the lens. Zoom in and look at the pin-perfect FOCUS and sharpness everywhere!

Sorry. Another reflection — I couldn’t help it! I happened to get this lens right in the middle of the Autumn, so I went a little cray cray. This one is at 37mm and F/10.


So, I do post-process my photos. I do this unapologetically! If you like what you see and want to know more, check out the full HDR Tutorial here on the site.

The Sony FE 24-70mm Lens

What I love about this is the extreme flexibility. I’m shocked how many portrait and landscape photos I take in this range.

I’d say I use this lens for 50% of my landscape photos now. The other 50% are with the NEX 10-18mm, although that will change when Sony releases an FE wide-angle lens. You can read more about this on my Sony A7r Review.

If you’re getting your first full-frame camera with the Sony A7 series, you’ll be surprised how wide 24mm really is. Naturally, when you aim the camera above or below the horizon, you’ll get some vertical lines bending in or out, but that comes with the territory. I think you’re gonna have a great time with this lens!

It’s also very light. Tiny and light. It doesn’t even compare to the giant lenses of the same range I had for my Nikon. Night and day. This is so svelte and nifty… like a fine lady’s pistol.

As I continue to release more photos for this (and other) lenses, just watch the Sony A7r Category on the blog!


A shortcoming for some people (not me) may be that the aperture does not get any lower than F/4. People that do low-light, handheld shots may not find the F/4 to be fast enough to get enough light into the photo. This may result in a higher ISO and more noise, but that sometimes is minimized by having a full-frame camera. Similarly, if you are using another one of the A7 series, then you may be able to wrestle enough clarity out of the F/4 alone.

Personally, I do all low-light stuff with the Leica lenses. See my Leica Lens Buying Guide here on the site for more! When I take landscape photos, F/4 is often fine for me since depth of field is not an issue. I can also use nice, long shutter speeds since I am using a tripod. Anyway, that’s all a long way of saying the F/4 is not a problem for me.

about Sony and Me

Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS Review

Images, and the devices that capture them, are my FOCUS. I’ve covered cameras at PCMag for the past 10 years, which has given me a front row seat for the DSLR to mirrorless transition, the smartphone camera revolution, and the mainstream adoption of drones for aerial imaging. You can find me on Instagram @jamespfisher.

The Bottom Line

The Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS is an upgrade from a standard zoom, but you’ll pay dearly for the performance boost you get with this lens.

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM II Review and Comparison VS Sony Zeiss 24-70 f4

PCMag editors select and review products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions, which help support our testing.


  • Compact.
  • Very sharp through zoom range.
  • Constant aperture design.
  • Optical stabilization.


The Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS (1,199.99) is a step up from the standard FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS (398.00 at Amazon) (Opens in a new window) for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras in terms of zoom range and sharpness, and it maintains an f/4 aperture throughout that range. But its price tag is more than twice that of the standard zoom, and the law of diminishing returns applies to the performance gains you’ll get for that price. It’s definitely a better lens, but whether or not it’s worth the cost is dependent on how important a standard zoom lens is to your style of photography. If you’re primarily a prime lens shooter and just want a zoom to supplement for the occasional shot, the 28-70mm can save you some money. But if you opt for this lens you can capture more detailed shots with a slightly wider field of view, as well as images with a shallower depth of field when zoomed in.

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. See how we test. (Opens in a new window)

The 24-70mm (698.00 at Amazon) (Opens in a new window) is fairly compact when you consider its zoom range, measuring in at 3.7 by 2.9 inches (HD) and weighing 15.2 ounces. It uses 67mm front filters and includes a reversible lens hood. It does extend a bit when zoomed, but the front element never rotates so using a circular polarizing filter is not a problem. The lens barrel has both a manual zoom ring and manual FOCUS ring, but there are no switches to adjust the FOCUS mode or toggle image stabilization. Instead, you’ll have to change those settings via the camera’s menu system. The 24-70mm can FOCUS as close as 15.7 inches. Its maximum magnification is 1:5, which doesn’t quite give it macro status.

Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS

I used Imatest (Opens in a new window) to check the performance of the lens when paired with the 36-megapixel Sony Alpha 7R (1,654.95 at Amazon) (Opens in a new window). At 24mm f/4 it scores 2,556 lines per picture height on a center-weighted sharpness test. That’s much higher than the 1,800 lines we require to call an image sharp, and it exceeds that standard through most of the frame. The outer third is a bit weak, with an average core of just 1,068 lines. Stopping down to f/5.6 improves the overall score to 3,145 lines, and edges sharpen up nicely to 1,613 lines. At f/8 the lens shows its best performance (3,392 lines) and edges are also solid at 1,950 lines. If you shoot in JPG distortion isn’t an issue, but there is some very noticeable barrel distortion (4 percent) when shooting in Raw. Lightroom 5.5 includes a profile for this lens, which corrects for distortion with a single click. At its widest 28mm focal length the standard 28-70mm lens scores about 2,125 lines at f/3.5, 2,422 lines at f/5.6, and 3,492 lines at f/8, with similar edge performance to the Vario-Tessar at corresponding f-stops.

At 35mm f/4 the lens is quite sharp at 3,130 lines, with excellent performance up to the edges and minimal barrel distortion (0.8 percent), even when shooting Raw. Stopping down to f/5.6 offers marginal improvement (3,206 lines), and at f/8 it manages 3,407 lines. The FE 28-70mm lens narrows to f/4 at 35mm and isn’t nearly as sharp; it manages 2,458 lines at f/4 and 3,000 lines at f/5.6 and f/8, with solid edge performance at each aperture.

At 50mm sharpness drops a bit to 2,853 lines at f/4, but it holds its own up to its edges. There’s improvement at f/5.6 (3,173 lines) and f/8 (3,313 lines), but if you’re shooting in Raw there’s about 1.9 percent pincushion distortion, which causes straight lines to appear to curve inward. The FE 28-70mm narrows to f/4.5 by the time it gets to 50mm and scores 2,770 lines, not that far off from the Vario-Tessar, but it doesn’t sharpen up when stopped down. Its edges are a little soft, and they don’t sharpen up until you narrow to f/8.

At 70mm the performance dips a bit, especially at the edges of the frame. The center-weighted score is still solid at 2,447 lines, and at 1,444 lines the edges are noticeably sharper than they are at 24mm. Stopping down to f/5.6 improves the overall score to 2,731 lines, but the edges hover around 1,575 lines. At f/8 the lens manages 2,931 lines, with edges that are still shy of 1,600 lines. There’s a lot more pincushion distortion, 4.2 percent, here, and the amount of in-camera correction that the 7R is performing on images likely shares part of the blame for the scores near the outer parts of the frame. The 28-70mm shows similar performance here as it did at 50mm, its edges also suffer, hitting just 1,400 lines at f/8.

This lens is a definite upgrade over the standard 28-70mm kit lens that Sony offers for its full-frame mirrorless system, but I’d like to see more consistent sharpness across the frame at this asking price. If you’re a Raw shooter the distortion is fairly easily corrected if you use Lightroom as your workflow application, and it’s something you’ll want to do as it is severe enough to detract from your images. The edge softness at the wide angle, and to a lesser extent the telephoto extreme, is not atypical for a zoom lens, but there are some zooms that avoid those pitfalls. The Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM (899.00 at Amazon) (Opens in a new window). which can be mounted on an Alpha mirrorless camera via an expensive Metabones adapter, is one of those, but it’s a lot bigger and heavier, especially when you consider the size of the adapter, and using it with an Alpha camera isn’t ideal.

The Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS is the best native standard zoom for the Alpha 7 family, but it’s not quite the equal of lenses available for SLRs that are priced in the same range like the Sigma lens. Sony has made some design compromises in order to keep the size of the Vario-Tessar manageable; some of those compromises are easily fixed via software, but others aren’t. The Vario-Tessar is an excellent lens, but it’s not quite worthy of being called Editors’ Choice. The two Zeiss primes that are available for the Alpha 7 family, the Zeiss Sonnar T FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (598.00 at Amazon) (Opens in a new window) and the Zeiss Sonnar T FE 55mm F1.8 ZA (898.00 at Amazon) (Opens in a new window). set the bar very high and walked away with Editors’ Choice honors thanks to impeccable image quality. The Vario-Tessar doesn’t match their near perfect quality, but it does add image stabilization and a zooming design. If you’re primarily a prime lens shooter and don’t often reach for a zoom, but want the convenience of one, the less expensive 28-70mm can be seen as an affordable alternative. But if you want to take full advantage of the excellent image sensors in the full-frame Sony Alpha mirrorless family with the convenience that a zoom lens offers, the Vario-Tessar is your best option.

Sony FE 20-70mm F/4 G

Sony has unveiled its new FE 20-70mm F/4 G lens which they claim offers no compromises in image quality, AF performance, and when shooting video.

Key features

  • Full-Frame | f/4 to f/22
  • Ultra-Wide Standard Zoom
  • Fast Internal Focusing System
  • Supports Micro-Step Aperture Control
  • Fluorine Coatings
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • Dust Moisture-Resistant Construction

Typically we have seen lens manufacturers releasing lenses with a 24-70mm focal range, but Sony has increased the range out to 20mm. The only issue with doing this is that the max aperture is F/4 and not F/2.8. There would have been no way to make a full frame 20-70mm zoom with an F/2.8 aperture without increasing the size, weight, and cost. Well, how about a 20-105mm F/4? Again, you would run into the same issues with increased weight, size, and cost.

As the 20-70mm F/4 looks to be primarily aimed at content creators who are looking for a wide-angle lens that they can use on small, compact mirrorless cameras, it wouldn’t have made much sense to make the lens larger, heavier, and more expensive.

Sony currently has the Vario-Tessar T FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS and FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lenses and the new FE 20-70mm F/4 G is not a replacement for the current FE 24-70mm, it is just another additional lens in Sony’s line-up. Sony also has the FE 24-70mm F/2.8 GM and FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II, but those lenses are larger, heavier, and more expensive.

The FE 20-70mm F/4 G tips the scales at just 488g / 17.21 oz. As a comparison, the Sony Vario-Tessar T FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS weighs 426g / 15.03 oz, and the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS weighs 663g / 1.46 oz. Sigma’s 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens for Sony E weighs 835g / 1.84 lb, and Sony’s own FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II weighs 695g / 1.5 lb.

According to Sony, there is now a greater demand for ultra-wide-angle lenses as a lot of content creators doing Vlogging or live streams, want a lens with this type of focal range.

The only other full frame zoom lens that I am aware of that starts at 20mm is the Tamron 20-40mm F/2.8 Di III VXD. Yes, that lens has a limited focal range, but you need to remember that it has a maximum aperture of F/2.8. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you don’t want to make a large, heavy, and expensive lens, then if you increase the focal range on the wide end you can’t have a fast aperture. Conversely, if you want a faster aperture then the focal range will be reduced.

The optical construction of the FE 20-70mm F/4 G consists of 16 elements in 13 groups, with a 9 blade aperture. There are 2 advanced aspherical elements and 3 extra low-dispersion pieces of glass. Sony claims that the lens has low distortion and low chromatic aberration. Sony also states that by using the latest lens design technology the lens has reduced focal breathing when using compatible Sony cameras that feature Lens Breathing Compensation. What you do need to be aware of is that if you are using lens Breathing Compensation, there will be a slight crop to your image.

The 20-70mm features two XD Liner Motors and the AF speed is claimed to be up to 60% faster with improved tracking performance over the current 24-70mm F2/8.

The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 30cm when using the AF and 25cm when used in manual FOCUS mode.

The 20-70mm doesn’t have any OSS, but you can take advantage of Sony’s Active Mode image stabilization in select cameras.

The lens has an aperture click switch so you can change between hard stops and using a clickless aperture. There is also a Focus Hold button, IRIS LOCK switch, and a manual FOCUS ring.


The 20-70mm features a dust and moisture-resistant design and the front element has a fluorine coating. The lens also has a 77mm front filter diameter.


There isn’t any direct competition because no one else makes a 20-70mm F/4 full-frame E-mount zoom. In saying that, you could make an argument that the following lenses are what people may be looking at as an alternative.

Price availability

The Sony FE 20-70mm F/4 Greatils for 1,098.00 USD.

Matthew Allard is a multi-award-winning, ACS accredited freelance Director of Photography with over 30 years’ of experience working in more than 50 countries around the world.

He is the Editor of and has been writing on the site since 2010.

Matthew has won 48 ACS Awards, including five prestigious Golden Tripods. In 2016 he won the Award for Best Cinematography at the 21st Asian Television Awards.

Matthew is available to hire as a DP in Japan or for work anywhere else in the world.

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