Before the E-mount Zeiss Touit 32 mm, people always asked about whether to choose the Sony SEL35F18 or the SEL24F18Z. Why? It’s because these were the only two lenses available for the E-mount NEX which are not too wide or too narrow for the angle of view, and the main concern is their price difference which is almost 2.5 times (SGD 629 for the SEL35F18 and SGD1,699 for the SEL24F18Z). I believe if the price difference is lesser then most of us will definitely go for the Zeiss.
However, we cannot do anything to their prices. Many websites have the individual review for each of them but not the comparison between both of them. So I decided to do a simple comparison for both of them here since I have the chance to test out both lenses. I hope that this post can help those who are frustrated/annoyed/hesitated about which lens is the one for you, and anyone who owns any of these lenses are welcome to leave your comment too here to help out those potential owner.
Below is the technical specification comparison.
35mm equivalent focal-length
Lens groups / elements
7 / 8 (2 aspherical, 1 ED)
6 / 8 (2 aspherical, 1 ED)
Angle of view (on APS-C)
Minimum aperture (F)
Number of aperture blade
Minimum focus distance
Maximum magnification ratio
Dimensions (Diameter x Length)
63 x 65.5mm
63 x 45mm
Look and Feel
Although the SEL35F18 has a longer focal length than the SEL24F18Z but it has a relatively smaller and compact size than the SEL24F18Z. It is also lighter in the weight.
Both of them have the same designed shape of lens hood. The SEL24F18Z’s lens hood is thicker and taller than the SEl35F18’s. It made the SEL24F18Z looked even larger and longer than the SEL35F18.
The SEL24F18Z comes with a matte black surface while the SEL35F18 has a more “shinny” black surface.When you hold them in your hands, the SEL24F18Z has a premium rock solid metal feel while the SEL35F18 gives you a solid but plasticy feel.
Despite of that, the little blue Zeiss logo on the SEL24F18Z makes itself not only feel but also look more premium.
The SEL35F18 wins in the more compact size and lighter in weight while the SEL24F18Z has a more premium look and feel.
Difference of the Focal Length
The SEL24F18Z and the SEL3518 are two different focal length lenses. From the same distance, the SEL24F18Z is able to capture more things into the frame while the SEL35F18 can capture a closer look of the subject. The shots below are captured by the SEL35F18 and the SEL24F18Z while the camera was mounted on the tripod, placed at the same spot, and shot in same settings.
When I was shooting with SEL35F18, I found that I was always in an awkward or even impossible situation for me to move backward or away from my subject. However, it is always easier for me to move closer to my subject when shooting with the SEL24F18Z. I won’t announce the SEL24F18Z as a winner here because it is all up to your shooting styles and preference.
I framed the subject with a same composition instead of shooting at the same spot so that we can have a fair comparison for the center and the corner sharpness performance.
The SEL24F18Z shines here. It outperformed the SEL35F18 from the wide open till the end and its sharpness is 1 stop better than the SEL35F18’s sharpness. The SEL24F18Z boosts up its sharpness from the F 2.8 which is as sharp or not better than the SEL35F18’s F 4 sharpness.
The SEL24F18Z’s corner sharpness performed slightly better than the SEL35F18 but not as significant as its center sharpness. As a wide angle lens, the corner of the SEL24F18Z does have some shape changed compare to the normal corner view of the SEL35F18.
The CA comparison also used the same shots as above but cropped from a slightly off center and the top right corner.
Both lenses have a purple fringing at the center area at theirs wide opens. Stopped down to F 2 will remove the purple fringing and it does not appear anymore.
The SEL24F18Z tends to have magenta fringing while the SEL35F18 has purple fringing at their corner shots. There are still having some minor fringing at the F 5.6 for both lenses but they disappeared when stopped down to F 8.
Both lenses have good CA control in their center area while having some issue when handling the CA in their corner area. It is glad to see that the cheaper SEL35F18 has a similar CA control as the much expensive SEL24F18Z or sad to say that the quality of the corner CA control of SEL24F18Z does not match its crazy price.
The SEL24F18Z has a shorter minimum focus distance of 16cm and larger magnification ratio of 0.25 times compare to the SEL35F18 30cm minimum focus distance and 0.15 times of magnification ratio. How do these figures differ in the real life shooting?
The NEX-6 was mounted on the tripod and being set to manual focus. From the images as shown above, the different of minimum focus distance is significant. You should be aware of this if you like to shoot close-up shots.
Besides, the magnification ratio also play an important role in the close-up shot. You can see how much difference of the close up subject look between both of the lenses.
Both lenses have a pretty good sharpness for macro shots. But the SEL24F18Z’s larger maximum magnification ratio gives you a larger view of subject so that you don’t need to take the risk to zoom your subject and lost its sharpness.
Both lenses exhibit heavy vignetting at their wide open at F 1.8 and F 2. Stopped down to F 2.8 will significantly reduce the vignetting.
Usually the longer focal length is easier to produce better bokeh effect. This applied to the SEL35F18 as well. Personally, I prefer the smoother and more creamy bokeh effect produced by the SEL35F18 than the SEL24F18Z. You can feel the difference of producing the bokeh effect immediately when you are trying both lenses together.
Both of them are able to produce beautiful circular bokeh effect even at F 2.8 (they started to show some polygon shape too). The polygon shape of bokeh become more obvious afterwards.
Ghosting and Flare
The spotlight was used to test the ghosting control here. 100% crops by different lenses were cropped from the shots below accordingly.
Both lenses have very good control for the ghosting and flare across the frame. However the SEL35F18 has some noticeable light blobs near the light source from F 4 onward while the SEL24F18Z has none of these.
Handheld Low Light Shooting
Theoretically the SEL35F18 needs a minimum of 1/50 second of safe shutter speed while the SEL24F18Z needs 1/40 second. However, the SEL35F18 comes with the Sony OSS image stabilizer which enable you to have a 3 – 4 stops slower of safe shutter speed. So will it outperforms the SEL24F18Z here?
By turn the OSS on, the SEL35F18 had the clear and sharp shots from its safe shutter speed 1/50 second to the 1/8 second. In the other hand, the blurriness start to appear on the shots of SEL24F18Z when the shutter speed fall below the safe shutter speed of 1/40 second. The shot by SEL24F18Z is still usable at 1/20 or even at the 1/10 second which is quite good for a lens without image stabilizer.
I did not perform the video recording comparison but an image stabilizer always is an advantage for the video recording. By having a solid OSS image stabilizer, the winner for handheld low light shooting is definitely belongs to..
Both of the lenses produce an accurate and saturate colour. The shots were captured from the same spot.
By the 100% crops comparison above, the SEL24F18Z shows that it has a deeper and more saturated colour than the SEl35F18 but they are insignificant and close to each other.
The SEL35F18 and the SEL24F18Z are definitely two of the best E-mount lenses. At the price of SGD 629, it is pleased to see that the SEL35F18 has a close performance with its more expensive brother SEL24F18Z which cost you SGD 1,699. Besides, it also has an effective built-in OSS where the SEL24F18Z does not own. If you are going to buy one of the lens after reading this review, please remember the following two points:
Firstly, test out both of them yourself if possible. Compare and find out which focal length suit your shooting style better. If you prefer to shoot landscape, shooting at some space limited place like restaurant, party, and etc, go ahead for the SEL24F18Z. If you do the video recording frequently, do not want to have any shape changed for your subject, like the smoother and more creamy bokeh, then go and grab the SEL35F18.
Secondly, forget about the sharpness, CA and etc performance difference and then go back to the first point. Both of them are sharp lenses and have close performance in other fields. Unless you are able to get the SEL2418Z with a cheaper price, otherwise the performance difference between these two lenses are really not enough to justify the difference of their prices.
Before the end of the post today, I would like to share some shots which taken by both of the lenses and hope you like them =)
This is the end of the comparison between the SEL24F18Z and the SEL35F18. Hopefully it can give a little help to clear your doubt for theses two lenses. If you have question about any of them, or you are the owner of any of them and would like to share your opinion, you are welcome to leave your comment here. Thanks for your reading, hope you enjoyed it and like it =)