2.27.2017

Picking up a bargain lens. A used, Sony FE 28-70mm, f3.5 to f5.6. The full frame "kit" lens.

Sony FE 28-70mm OSS lens. Sitting on the front of my A7ii "beater." 

"I'm upgrading to some Zeiss stuff. Do have any use for a Sony kit lens? The 28-70mm FE?" That's how the conversation started. I hemmed and hawed since I already own the Zeiss 24-70mm f4.0. But then my friend tossed out a price that was less than half of the "new" price for the lens and I couldn't resist. After all, one can always use a good "back up" lens and the many reviews out on the web are mixed as to which lens makes better photographs. 

My friend is mostly a Leica user. He shoots with an S2, and just recently picked up an SL and a 50mm f1.4 Aspherical, but he'd decided to put a toe into the Sony waters, just to see what all the fuss was about, and just couldn't bring himself to use a "kit" lens. 

Next time I see him I'll thank him again. The lens is really very good and the combined image stabilization of the camera and lens is also a nice touch. 

I rushed into my initial lens selections when I plunged into the Sony system -- well over a year ago. I started off with the 70-200mm f4.0 G lens (which I think is spectacular) and the 24-70mm f4.0 Zeiss lens (with which I have been perfectly happy). Had I done a bit of research and tried both the kit lens and the Zeiss lens, side by side, over a long weekend I just might have returned the more expensive one and kept the cheaper one. But knowing my own butt covering propensity had I bought the 28-70mm I would start to think about the truncated wide angle capabilities of the kit lens and almost immediately started looking at wide angle zooms to supplement. In the end I would have spent much more money on a kit+16-35mm than I would have just sticking with the 24-70mm. And I know myself well, when it comes to lenses; I never shoot much at all that's wider than 24mm. I just don't "see" wide. The times I've splurged for something like the Nikon 17-35mm lens I ended up blowing the dust off of it a bit later and selling it at a loss. Just never use them. 

I do have a 14mm Rokinon sitting in a drawer ---- just in case wide is required. Rarely use that one either. 

Circling back to the 28-70mm. It's a nice lens. It's very sharp in the center and adequate on the sides and corners. In the old days I might have wished it had a faster aperture but I'm happy to apply more ISO if required and I'm more and more starting to savor a little more depth of field and sharpness in my photographs. A little context is kinda nice.  It feels nice and focuses quickly on the most recent A7xx bodies. It comes with a flower petal lens shade. Please don't put it on your lens backwards. Use your shade in its correct orientation or forever brand yourself a photographic moron...

The bottom line is: the kit lens is a nice companion for the A7ii body. Both are small and light and I can walk for hours or days without noticing the (light) weight. For the price I just didn't think I could go wrong. Ah, the power of rationalization...

Sony FE 28-70mm OSS lens. Sitting on the front of my A7ii "beater."

4 comments:

Peter F. said...

I too picked one up at an awesome price, and I don't even have a full frame Sony. Instead I am using it on my a6000. At an equivalent FOV of 42-105, for $250 it's been a very nice lens for photographing my grandchildren.

Joe Gilbert said...

I've always favored a fast 85. When I moved to the A711, I bought the Sony 24-70 f4 and was impressed; however, I mostly use the small ZM/M lenses: 1) 50 1.5, 2) 35 2.0, 3) 90 Tele-Elmarit 2.8. The focus peaking makes them so very easy to use. I've never been a "Wide" shooter, but when we planned a trip out west, I purchased the 16-35 Zeiss to make sure I captured the grand perspective. Wonderful lens, but hardly ever used now. For many years I stopped in pawn shops during my business travels and found great deals on old glass. Now days most wont even consider taking an old lens in pawn.... There must be a thousands of great old lenses sitting alone with no love.. Maybe we can start a campaign placing photographs of lenses on milk cartons and rescue a few? :)

Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Joe, I love your idea. Maybe have a clearing house where people can put old lenses up for adoption. I'll take a couple of those Zeiss lenses in foster care for you.....

Michael Abell said...

Kirk,
I have been using this lens on my A3000. Yes I know it everyones B/Child. When cancer hit and I could no longer manual focus with my left arm I was still able to hold, and shoot wtih my right hand (love the ergonomics of the A3000. I purchased the 28-70FE lens and it works wonderfully on the A3000. I rarely if ever shoot wide angle but I have used this lens at 28mm and panned it with 3or 4 frames and taken some excellent WA shots. I am now looking to add another longer tele FE lens. Great website for those of us who just like photography and taking pictures. Keep up the great blog I really enjoy and look forward to your bits of wisdom and advice.
Mike