Monday, August 23, 2010

Trying the new Sony Zeiss 24mm F2

I was invited by Sony USA to try out their latest lenses, cameras and video cameras. They brought us to Jackson WY for a few days of rodeo and landscape shooting.

One of the new lenses was the Sony Zeiss Distagon 24mm F2 SSM.

There has been a hole in the Sony lens line-up since the beginning, since the lenses jump from 20mm right up to 28mm. I'm glad they filled that gap with a Zeiss Distagon in the 24mm length.

The first thing to realize is what a great length 24mm is on a full-frame camera. For a lot of years 24mm was considered real wide, and the widest lens most photographers would own. A few had a 20/21mm but for the most part 24mm was it. This all changed as cameras switched from film to digital and the lenses became wider.

On a film body or a full-frame digital, the 24mm is as wide as most people need to go, and at F2 this lens is considered very fast for the length.

At first glance the lens seems to be about the size of the 85mm F1.4, and although it's a bit of a beast, didn't seem as heavy as the 85mm. The lens optical design has 9 elements in 7 groups and has a pair of extra-low dispersion glass elements to help with aberrations. It's also the first of the Sony Zeiss lenses to have the Super Sonic Wave Motor for quick, silent focus.

The lens has a 72mm filter thread which is one of the more common sizes so hopefully people already have Polarizer and Neutral Density Filters in that size, since they're not giving them away. If you don't have either buy the Polarizer first, it can double as a ND filter in a pinch if you need to slow down your shutter-speed to give water the "flow" look.

This lens was a dream to work with, although I found myself using it too tight for portraits where I should have been using longer glass. I think the architectural and landscape photographers are going to love this lens and maybe even the street shooters since it has such a fast aperture.

I hope to try a few more shots in the next week or so, I live near a waterfall so will head over if I get a chance.
This one was shot with the Sony A850 and the 24mm F2 using ISO 200 and F8

This one was shot on the A850 at F4 using ISO 200.

Rob Skeoch

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