I (finally) managed to obtain my own Sony 24mm f1.8 Zeiss NEX (SEL24F18Z) lens. This was and is still a lens that Sony cannot manufacture enough of as it really the only lens that can match the 24 megapixel sensor in the NEX-7 camera. There are other good lenses such as the 50mm f/1.8 which I own and the forthcoming 35mm f/1.8 OSS and 10-18mm f/4.0 OSS lenses that should be out in November but these do not have the Zeiss optics and when you need the quality only the 24mm Zeiss can deliver.
I have been asked to provide some feedback on this lens from my photographer friends as they want to see if this lens delivers; it is after all the most expensive Sony NEX E-Mount lens (circa £800 to £850).
To that end, I have had this lens fitted to my NEX-7 permanently over the last few weeks to see what it can do; it was a bit of a challenge being forced to one focal length. The 24mm f/1.8 has an effective 35mm-FOV of 36mm which is a nice wide-angle focal length lens without being too wide.
The lens isn’t too heavy and only weighs a few more grams than the 18-55 kit lens that comes with most of the NEX range. It is also a few mm taller but does have the same 49mm filter thread that most of the NEX cameras use. It is also one of the fastest focusing lenses in the NEX range the f1.8 maximum aperture really helps get a lot of light to the focusing sensor. Like most NEX lenses there is a manual focusing ring that has no mechanical coupling to the lens and the focus-by-wire method is used in situations where manual focusing is needed, the focus ring is smooth as butter though betraying the quality of this lens. Finally there is a large plastic hood that I always use when out and about, this helps with lens flare on sunny days and also adds a small level of protection to what is not a cheap lens.
I have had a few days off recently and I was lucky on one of them to spend some time in the back garden with the new puppies that we now have. Like all dogs they are very inquisitive so my technique of getting low to get a better composition of the dogs almost always meant that the dog in question would come towards the camera and ruin the shot. Nevertheless I persevered and got one of each as follows.
Like all of the pets we seem to acquire they are both slightly mad in their own way and are a joy to own.
Now onto the more serious shots from the back Garden. I experimented photographing some of the grapes we have at the back of the garden and got this shot:
Although I cropped the above shot I nearly didn’t because the narrow depth of field created some nice Bokeh, this is what I cropped out:
Now that we are entering autumn, the leaves are exhibiting a beautiful array of different colours and I took the following picture of a leaf that was just starting to show some of these autumnal colours:
The garden did have some flowers around though including this purple Petunia:
A few days later I went around town on one of my lunch breaks with the NEX7 and Zeiss 24mm. The shots on the whole were not much to shout about. I have two shots that I am happy with but both could have been better if I thought about the situation more and made some simple changes; I think that Moose Peterson calls this trigger happy and is one of my worst traits:).
I was taking a picture of a pole in the middle of Brayford Wharf and its reflection showing a pseudo clock time of 11:35 at f1.8 when a Swan decided to swim past just below the pole and its reflection. At one point the juxtaposition of the swan, the pole and the reflection were perfect, a marvellous serendipitous moment I thought. What would have the made the shot better though would to change the aperture so that the swan, pole and reflection were all in focus; somewhere in the f8 range maybe? The shot nevertheless was very nice:
My final shot has had some fairly major Lightroom work performed on it to turn a very dreary shot into something a bit more exciting; this is a picture of Lincoln University with the Brayford Lake in the foreground. What I was taking a picture of though was the blimp that must be flying above the Tritton Retail Park (behind the University buildings). Some zooming with my feet and/or fitting a longer focal length would have obtained a better shot rather than the tiny speck that is in this shot:
As for other reviews of this lens (in addition to my effort above), I looked around and there aren’t many full reviews of this lens although there are many previews with the statement: “full review coming soon” posted earlier in the year (March). However, I did manage to locate one full comprehensive review at Photography Blog here; they also liked the lens with the only negative being the price.
More detail on the 24mm lens can be found on Sony’s Website by clicking here.