Review: Sony SEL2470Z

Introduction

In short, the Sony SEL2470Z is a Zeiss constant aperture zoom lens with dust and moisture resistance for the Sony E-mount full-frame cameras. Well, the short sentence more or less tells you that what is this lens is, and it is sure that the lens comes with a “matched” price tag (it is sold at SGD 1,599).

SEL2470Z
SEL2470Z

Pros & Cons

+ Good build

+ Constant F4 aperture throughout whole focal length

+ Dust and moisture resistance

+ Excellent Flare Control

– The lens is soft at 70mm

– Poor circular bokeh

– High distortion but correctable in raw processing software

Specification

Focal-Length – 24-70 mm

Lens Construction – 10 groups, 12 elements

Maximum Aperture – 4

Minimum Aperture – 22

Number of Aperture Blade – 7

Circular Aperture – Yes

Minimum Focus Distance – 0.4m (1.32 ft)

Maximum Magnification Ratio – 0.2

Filter Diameter – 67 mm

Image Stabilization – Optical Steady Shot

Dimension (d x l) – 73 mm x 94.5 mm

Weight – 426g (15.1 oz.)

Look & Feel

When I first holding it in my hand, it has similar weight as the Sony SEL18200LE (460g) but with better built quality, and of course much shorter focal length range.

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I like the fact that it has a mechanical control focal length and constant maximum aperture of F4 throughout the whole focal length range. The focus ring is smooth, and the little blue Zeiss logo give a premium feel to the lens as well.

Let’s have the usually technical review then follow by some sample shots below.

Sharpness (Infinity)

24mm

 The sharpness at 24mm center is good from F4 to F11, sharpness fall off from F16 onwards. The corner sharpness is best at F8 and F11, corner sharpness at f4 to F5.6, and F16 and smaller do not perform as well as its center sharpness.

35mm

Sharpness at 35mm is good at F4, and getting better when you stop down, but the sharpness fall off after F16. The corner sharpness best at F8, F11, and F16.

50mm 

The 50mm center sharpness is a bit soft at F4, and F5.6, and it has the sharpest results at F8, F11, and the F16 also has similar sharpness as F11. Center sharpness at F22 falls off significantly. Corner sharpness also soft at F4, and F5.6. Stop down to F8 and onwards have very good corner sharpness.

70mm

The center sharpness at 70mm performs similarly throughout the whole focal length, in another word, soft. The corner sharpness is soft at F4 and F22, but sharper at other aperture.

In overall, the SEL2470Z has better sharpness at its wide angle focal length, sharpness at 70mm is softer than other focal length.

Macro Performance

24mm

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35mm

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50mm

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70mm

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With a minimum focus distance of 40 cm, the SEL2470Z does not shine in macro shooting, especially at its wide angle.

Distortion

24mm

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35mm

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50mm

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70mm

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The SEL2470Z is…. suffering from distortion throughout the whole focal length range. At wide angle 24 mm, it shows the barrel distortion, from 35mm onwards, it shows pincushion distortion. The distortion is significant, but it is correctable in the post-processing software or in-camera (for jpeg).

Vignetting

24mm

The vignetting at 24mm is the worst, stop down to even F11 still can see significant vignetting at the corners.

35mm

Vignetting at 35mm is still bad, but not as bad as at 24mm. stop down to F8 the vignetting becomes very subtle.

50mm

Vignetting at 50mm is slightly better than at 35mm, vignetting at each F-stop is lighter than at 35mm.

70mm

Wide open at 70mm still shows the vignetting, but stop down to F 5.6 has greatly reduced the vignetting.

Well, the vignetting control of SEL2470Z is not very desired, but it can be fixed easily at post processing or in-camera (for jpeg).

Chromatic Aberration

24mm

Both center and corner at 24mm F4 and F5.6 show the magenta CA, and the center and corner at F22 also show some magenta CA.

35mm

At 35mm, only the center at F4 shows a little magenta CA, while its corner at F4, F5.6, F8, F16, F22 all show subtle magenta CA (seems only F11 does not have the CA).

50mm

The CA at 50mm was well controlled. the magenta CA only appears at the corner at F4, F5.6, and F22, and at the center of F4.

70mm

The magenta CA only appears at F4 corner at 70mm.

The SEL2470Z’s CA control is better at longer focal length (from 50mm onwards). Subtle magenta CA can be found at its wide angle especially at wide open and F22 in both center and corner.

Ghosting and Flare

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The SEL2470Z has excellent control at the ghosting and flare. Shooting at any focal length regardless of wide open (F4) or at F11, the light source (the sun in this examples) was well controlled and did not spread across the frame.

Bokeh Effect

24mm

Bokeh at 24mm is not smooth and not really in a pleasant circular shape.

35mm

Similar to 24mm, the bokeh at 35mm did not give a smooth and circular results.

50mm

When reached 50mm, the quality of bokeh was improved. It was smoother but the circular shape at F4 still not very “circular”.

70mm

As expected, growing of focal length improved the quality of the bokeh. At 70mm, the bokeh shows the best quality throughout the whole focal length range.

The Gold Coin
The Gold Coin
The Sitting Cap
The Sitting Cap

Although the lens did not produce good circular bokeh but the general bokeh is still smooth and pleasant as shown above.

Handheld Low Light Performance

When I was reviewing this lens, the only full frame camera I got was the Sony A7 II which has a great in-camera-body image stabilizer. Unfortunately, there is no way to switch off the A7II IS while having the OSS of the lens being turned on. Therefore, I actually mounted this lens onto my Sony NEX-6 in order to get a fair results for the lens’ OSS.

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When attached to the cropped sensor size NEX 6, the minimum recommended shutter speed of 70mm has to be times 1.5x cropped factor, so I started from 1/125 s and slower the shutter speed by 1 stop each time. In 1/125s and 1/60s, the shots at 70mm with OSS and without OSS have very subtle different. When come to 1/30s and below, the OSS show off its advantages over no OSS. Handheld at 1/15s (3 stops slower than minimum recommended shutter speed) still gave a blur free shot easily, 4 stops slower (1/8s) required very steady hand and not so easy to achieve blur free results.

Having an OSS in a Zeiss zoom lens is welcome and it really helps a lot to stabilize the shots at low shutter speed.

Sample Images

After the technical reviews above, there are some sample shots shoot by the SEL2470Z.

National Musuem
National Musuem
The Rocks
The Rocks
The Colourful Roof
The Colourful Roof
Spine Staircase
Spine Staircase
Giant Kites
Giant Kites
The Clays
The Clays
The Antique Bell
The Antique Bell
The Wall
The Wall
DSC00556_4_48
An Old Building
DSC00552_4_29
The Cycling Old Folk
The Tricycle
The Tricycle
The Mini Clock
The Mini Clock
DSC00492_4_26
The Special Shape Building
The Long Man Statue
The Long Man Statue
Dual Lift
Dual Lift
The Colourful Backstreet
The Colourful Backstreet

Bottom Line

The SEL2470Z is a full frame zoom lens with versatile focal length, despite of the Zeiss brand, the extra 4mm wider (24mm vs SEL2870’s 28mm) and the constant maximum aperture F4 are the major advantages over the SEL2870. The metal body built and weather seal also give a better match with the weather seal and alloy-magnesium build A7II camera body.

This lens is soft at telephoto side (70mm), and suffer from heavy vignetting and distortion. Although these can be fixed by post-processing software but we expected it to be better when it costs so much (SGD 1,599).

In overall, the SEL2470Z has good built and the unique Zeiss color and contrast (and of course the Zeiss T* coating), shooting it with the Sony A7II is a pleasant experience. The 24mm to 70mm has covered almost every essential shooting scenario, and the produced results are pretty and … pretty!

That’s all for the SEL2470Z review. Hope you enjoyed it and happy shooting!

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Contact me by email: jamesphotography2013@gmail.com

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