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Sony FE 28-70mm vs Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 Lens Comparison

This is an interesting battle between the Kit lens and the Zeiss alternative for the Sony Full Frame Mirrorless cameras. Many photographers will start out with the Kit lens due to the inexpensive price and look at upgrading to the Zeiss later. This comparison will look to answer the The question of “is the upgrade worth it”.

Both lenses are weather sealed and feature a metal mount and image stabilization. Of course the Zeiss starts at 24mm and is a constant f/4 aperture. the Zeiss is also built to a higher standard. But the biggest question comes down to image quality differences between the lenses. I plan to test both lenses extensively in the future. For now, however, here is the comparison based on specs.

Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Pricing*

  • Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS - $499.99

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Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Pricing*

  • Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS - $1199.99

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*Pricing from Manufacturer's website - Current selling price may be different. Be sure to visit the links below for current pricing.

Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Advantages

Smaller

The 28-70mm lens is nearly a half an inch shorter than the 24-70mm lens. Diameter is nearly identical with the 28-70 only 0.02 inches smaller. This is a difference that most people won’t notice, but the extra half inch in length is quite noticeable.

Lighter

The 28-70mm lens is 0.3 lbs lighter than the 24-70mm lens. This is nearly half the weight of the 24-70mm lens.

Less Expensive

The 28-70mm lens costs $700 less than the 24-70mm lens. It is less than half the price of the 24-70mm and it is an even greater difference when the 28-70mm lens is purchased in the kit. The lens is an additional $400 over the body only option.

Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Advantages

f/4 constant aperture

This is a bigger advantage at the telephoto end since the 28-70mm lens aperture varies. As you zoom in the 28-70mm the max aperture drops from f/3.5 to f/5.6. This is a full stop difference at telephoto. This allows more light and shallower depth of field.

Better build quality

The 24-70mm lens has a more robust build quality that you can feel. This is why the 28-70mm lens weighs less than the 24-70mm lens.

Wider field of view

The extra 4mm on the wide side of the 24-70mm lens yields a significantly wider field of view. This is useful for architecture and landscape photography.

Conclusion

At the end of the day the best lens is the one you have with you. If you can’t afford the Zeiss, then the kit lens is better than no lens. But if you can afford the Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 the question becomes, “is it worth more than double the price?” Here is where things get a little challenging. I have not formally tested both lenses yet, but based on what I have seen, based on image quality samples alone there is not a big difference between the 2 lenses. So what are you getting for the extra cost with the Zeiss? From my standpoint here are the compelling reasons to look at the Zeiss over the kit lens:

24mm instead of 28mm focal length at the wide end

The difference between 24mm and 28mm may not seem like much but in the real world the difference is quite significant. The 28mm takes in a 75° angle of view while the 24mm takes in 84.1° angle of view. That is almost a 10° difference which is significant.

Constant f/4 aperture instead of variable f/3.5-5.6

At the widest focal length the kit lens is about 1/2 stop faster than the Zeiss, but once you zoom in a little bit the kit lens jumps to f/4 and then continues to stop down to f/5.6, giving the Zeiss a 1-stop advantage at the longest focal length. If you are looking to control depth of field, or working in lower light this becomes a big advantage for the Zeiss again.

So for now, if you need a constant f/4 aperture and/or 24mm focal length at the widest setting, then I would seriously consider the Zeiss. One way to know if it is worth the upgrade is to rent the lens and try it out for yourself. check out borrowlenses.com and let me know what you think in the comments below after you try it out.

Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Overall User Rating

4.33 out of 5

based on 174 user reviews online.

: 55% (96.12)
: 30% (52.02)
: 10% (16.9)
: 3% (5.94)
: 2% (3.02)

Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Overall User Rating

4.30 out of 5

based on 323 user reviews online.

: 58% (187.34)
: 24% (78.87)
: 10% (31.9)
: 5% (14.94)
: 3% (9.95)

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Specs

Spec Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS
Focal Length 28 24
Max Aperture f/3.5 f/4
Minimum Aperture f/ f/22
Minimum Focus distance 11.81 inches 15.72 inches
Maximum Magnification 0.19x 0.20x
Number of Elements 9 12
Number of Groups 8 10
Aperture Blade Design Rounded Rounded
Number of Aperture Blades 7 7
Filter Size 55 mm 67 mm
Diameter 2.85 in. 2.87 in.
Length 3.27 in. 3.72 in.
Weight 0.65 lbs. 0.95 lbs.
Lens Mount Construction Metal Metal
Tripod Collar None None
Weather Sealed Yes Yes
Distance Scale No No
Image Stabilization Yes Yes
Lens Shade Included Included