February 13 2011 - Photo Jottings

February 13 2011


 The Sony Carl Zeiss 24mm F/2 SSM review is finished, check it out.  I’ve never been one to toot my own horn, but I’ll do it anyway, just this once, and mention that I’ve now reviewed all Sony “A” mount and “E” mount (NEX) lenses, for the full list, go here.

Late last year Sony introduced a new Carl Zeiss wide-angle (called “Distagon” by CZ) full-frame lens (made in Japan) featuring a fast aperture of F/2.  Not noticed by many, but it’s actually the first prime lens for a Sony Carl Zeiss that uses the superb SSM, or “super-sonic wave motor” originally designed by Minolta.  Hopefully, from now on, SSM will be featured in all “G” and “CZ” lenses.

Performance wise, the Sony Carl Zeiss 24mm F/2 is super sharp in the centers, with plenty of contrast at F/2!  The distortion curve is pretty flat.  Light fall-off is very low on APS-C, although slightly harsh at F/2 on full frame, it clears up very quickly a stop down.  Hand-held available light photographers that currently use the Minolta AF 28mm F/2, (which has massive and image ruining coma at F/2) will find the new Carl Zeiss to be far better at F/2.  However, the new Zeiss lens is not flawless.  I see plenty of ghosting when bright lights are in, or near the image edges.  I also see some wavy field curvature, read about that in the conclusion.  Stopped down hard, there is no problem, but at wide apertures it is noticeable.  People not familiar with this issue may think they simply aren’t getting the proper focus.

The Sony Carl Zeiss 24m F/2 lens is expensive, but is it worth the price?  It has some really good qualities, and a couple of flaws; it all depends on what’s important to you.  Based on some preliminary tests, I’d say if you own the CZ 16-35mm and/or CZ 24-70mm, and won’t need F/2, then you probably wouldn’t benefit from the CZ 24mm.  However, F/2 is a whole stop faster than
F/2.8, that’s a big part of the extra expense, and very important for hand-held shooting in low light.  Also, if you’re a person that likes 24mm, and aren’t interested, or not in need of a zoom, then by all means, try it out, it’s a lot lighter and smaller than the CZ zooms mentioned.

Click me for Sony CZ 24mm F/2 review
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