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What's the consensus on the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 lens? 

 

I have been shooting with primes since I got my Sony A7rii about a year and a half ago. I have the Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8, the Sony Master FE 90mm f/2.8 macro, and a Rokinon 12mm fish-eye lens, and have also been using legacy Nikon and Olympus lenses with a couple of different adapters (the Zuiko 50mm, 28mm and 200mm's from my old OM-1 film days and my Nikon 20mm, 50mm and lensbaby). I like using primes and find that my favorite lens on the camera is the Nikon 20mm, with the 90mm Macro a close second. The 35mm is a great walking around lens since it's so light. Love the ultra wide fisheye too but it's heavy and not something I'm going to lug around all day. Both of the 50mm's have beautiful bokeh - the Nikon is an f/1.4 from the 1970's, around the same age as my legacy Olympus Zuiko's. There's something about those old film lenses I really like... but carrying a bag full of primes along with assorted adapters defeats the idea of going light - that's where my Oly and the Sony differ since the Oly mirrorless lenses I have are all so tiny and light.  

 

So, I need some advice.

 

Is the convenience worth the price? Will I regret not filling my bag with primes? 

I resisted buying the 24-105mm or one of the 24-70mm's when I got the camera, but now I'm thinking it would be nice to have a lens that covers so many situations. For example, if I'm headed into NYC for the day, I usually pop on the light 35mm and zoom with my feet, but I'll be doing a photo walk during PhotoExpo in a couple of weeks and realize that it might be really nice to have one lens that will cover so much ground.

 

Can it satisfy a pixel peeper?

Is it worth the price for the convenience and is it a good lens or will I find myself in pixel-peeping hell?

Alamy has made me into a pixel-peeper, so I worry that I might not find a lens that covers so much ground is going to hold up under such scrutiny, but it would really cover nearly any situation.

 

Is Weight an issue?

I think it weighs a tad more than the camera, but less than any of the zooms I used regularly with my Nikons. I made the switch to mirrorless to keep my kit light, and have a bad neck and back, but I don't think it would be too heavy, especially if it was the only lens I took along for the day.

 

Is it fast enough to shoot at night?

I like the fixed focal length and given Sony's low light capabilities, I'm thinking it would be fine to use even at night. Thoughts on whether you can use it all day and at night too, without a tripod, also appreciated. I'm used to some fast primes but I think that f/4 will be okay, especially if I use it toward the wider end at night. Sony anti-shake isn't as good as IBIS on the Olympus, but I'm guessing between cranking up the ISO and taking advantage of the OSS, night shooting sans tripod isn't an issue. Am I right? 

 

Advice welcome. Thanks!

Edited by Marianne

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Hi Marianne,

I have this lens!

 

Is the convenience worth the price? Will I regret not filling my bag with primes?  The quality seems absolutely fine to me on the 24MP A7iii. The build quality is very nice (although bear in mind my last camera and lenses were APS-C). Motor for focussing is quick and quiet.

https://photographylife.com/reviews/sony-fe-24-105mm-f4-g-oss

But this more of a general question from you - zoom vs primes. Maybe it's not quite as sharp as a prime, but I'm not sure you would notice in most situations. It's definitely more than enough lens for Alamy. Obviously you get less bokeh, even if you're zoomed into 105mm. Personally, although my other lenses are primes, this is my go to lens that sits on my camera most of the time - it's such a faff to keep changing lenses constantly.

 

Can it satisfy a pixel peeper? I refer to you to the example review above. Another question is whether it would be better to get the G Master 24-70? There's a lot of opinions on this. I think a small consensus was that the quality difference wasn't that appreciable and the extra reach is welcome.

 

Is Weight an issue? I haven't noticed it to be a problem. As you say, at 663g it weighs more than the camera, but that's more that the camera is so lightweight.

 

Is it fast enough to shoot at night? I still prefer primes at night, but that's more that I haven't got used to the latest sensors. I don't know how good the A7rii is with noise. But certainly the sensor in the A7iii allows you to push the ISO right up and still get quite clean images. That's one reason why I haven't gone for super fast primes either - saving the money and weight because they're no longer necessary (I think you can still get good bokeh with f2.8). I haven't done too much night shooting in the last year since I've had the camera, but certainly the specs lead me to believe that it should be possible as you describe.

 

Steve

 

Edited by Steve F
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Marianne, I almost bought that zoom for my Sony a6000. I was in Montreal at the time, about to leave, and none of the shops had it yet. So I got the Sony RX100-6 with its 24-200 and the cheap-but-good Sony 28-70 to augment the 10-18 on the a6000. 

 

I used Nikon primes all though the film era but for what I do know the lighter, smaller mirrorless Sonys and zooms are the answer.

 

If you look at the first page of my port, you'll see that I've been shooting at night recently. Everything is handheld using the two Sonys mentioned above. Night snaps are best done at dusk of course.

Edited by Ed Rooney
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Thanks for the info Steve & Edo. It certainly sounds like a good bet. I really like shooting with primes, and when I go out walking or hiking near home, I'll often just pick one to for use that day, but for travel and my somewhat infrequent trips into NYC, I think a zoom would be a good idea. I was going to buy it when I got the A7rii, but was still considering keeping my Nikon 24-70 f/2.8, which was my workhorse for my D700, to use with an adapter, but then decided that setup was heavy enough to defeat the purpose of buying the Sony. 

 

I also have my eye on the new Meyer Optik Görlitz Lydith 30 f3.5 II prime when it comes out - love those sample photos:

https://www.meyer-optik-goerlitz.com/en/lenses/lydith-30-f3.5-ii

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Marianne said:

I also have my eye on the new Meyer Optik Görlitz Lydith 30 f3.5 II prime when it comes out - love those sample photos:

https://www.meyer-optik-goerlitz.com/en/lenses/lydith-30-f3.5-ii

 

Hi Marianne, glad to help. To summarise, I recommend the Sony 24-105!

 

I've got the Sony 35mm f2.8 carl zeiss prime, it's so compact - it really shows you what mirrorless cameras are capable of. I have decided to stick to Sony native glass so I don't need to worry about potential compatibility issues. I'm aware some 3rd party lenses don't focus as well as the Sony ones on the latest Sony bodies. Not wanting to teach you to suck eggs, but maybe see if you can get hold of the Meyer and the Sony so you can physically compare them in action...

 

Anyway, I've had a look at the link - the Meyer Lydith looks like a great lens, and the bokeh looks pretty impressive for f3.5. I see it's so new that there's no product pictures yet. I'm curious what size it is compared to the Sony (or the Samyang equivalent).

Steve

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2 hours ago, Steve F said:

 

Hi Marianne, glad to help. To summarise, I recommend the Sony 24-105!

 

I've got the Sony 35mm f2.8 carl zeiss prime, it's so compact - it really shows you what mirrorless cameras are capable of. I have decided to stick to Sony native glass so I don't need to worry about potential compatibility issues. I'm aware some 3rd party lenses don't focus as well as the Sony ones on the latest Sony bodies. Not wanting to teach you to suck eggs, but maybe see if you can get hold of the Meyer and the Sony so you can physically compare them in action...

 

Anyway, I've had a look at the link - the Meyer Lydith looks like a great lens, and the bokeh looks pretty impressive for f3.5. I see it's so new that there's no product pictures yet. I'm curious what size it is compared to the Sony (or the Samyang equivalent).

Steve

 

I have the Sony 35mm f/2.8, it was the first lens I bought for the camera and it is my go-to when I want something small and light. I also bought a used Rokinon 12mm fisheye and I frequently use my Nikon 20mm f/2,8 on it and both are extremely sharp - but then the Rokinon is a manual focus lens, and I'm using the 20mm with an inexpensive manual adapter, so not a test for the autofocus. However, if autofocus is off, the Sony lets you tweak it in the menu. My most expensive Nikon lens, the 24-70mm's autofocus did not play well with my D700, but it was fine on my D5100 backup and all my other autofocus lenses were fine with the D700. But when I put that lens and camera together, it front-focused, so I put the camera on a tripod, focused on my husband's eye, and tweaked it until I got it sharp, then saved the setting in the menu. But thanks for the head's up. I'll keep it in mind if I consider other autofocus lenses for the Sony. Oh, the Meyer-Optk is also manual focus, so it wouldn't be an issue.

 

I don't think I"d want to pay for a new one - very pricey for something that is not a lens I'd use all the time - I've been keeping an eye out for a used one with a Nikon mount, since I have the adapter. I also have an adapter for my old OM lenses (Zuiko lenses for my old film Olympus), but don't know if they made an Olympus mount. That would be the best since I could use it for both my Oly (with adapter) as a 60mm and as a 30mm for the Sony. One of my favorite lenses is a 50mm f/1.2 manual focus Nikon I picked up for $40 on ebay when I started out. MPB offered me over $250 for it, and I saw it going used on B&H and on MPB for $499, so I decided to keep it. It has the creamiest bokeh of any lens I own. None of the modern lenses have that amazing bokeh. It's also super sharp - my best selling Alamy image ($425) was shot with it. 

 

I love old lenses. They can be a bit more work, but I find that since I've just been using primes with my Sony, I am more likely to use MF even with the Sony 35mm. It's so easy with a wide angle lens to nail the focus. 

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Update on lenses: & your thoughts ....new vs. used?

 

Found some used Meyer Optik Lydith lenses (the originals) on ebay for under $70, + $10 shipping and another $10-15 for an adapter (vs $750 for the Sony mount when they reissue the classic). I'm waiting to see what the customs, etc are since they all ship from Germany. Used 24-105mm going for $1,000-1,110,  I think given the price of the later I'd try used from B&H, Adorama, MPB, or KEH where I'd get a 6-month warranty, since it's too much to spend if it doesn't work out and most sellers are one-week returns, out of luck if something goes wrong after that. I've had really great luck buying used from ebay and elsewhere. My best lens was a 50-500mm Sigma that was a floor model at B&H or Adorama. Sharp to 500mm. I sold it for just $250 less than I paid for it after 9 years, so I think that used may be the way to go. Even if I just save $200, I can use the savings for a used Meyer Optik, and save nearly $1,000 total that way.

 

What do you guys think about buying used equipment? Has it been worthwhile for you? When I've sold used lenses I usually got back between 70-80% of what I paid after 8-10 years of use, whereas, like a new car, the lenses I bought new dropped more....though to be fair, in some cases I'm comparing a private sale to selling a bundle of stuff to MPB of B&H. The biggest eye-opener was the value of the 50mm prime I bought for a song. Ebay is often a good deal. 

 

So, do you always buy new, or do you take a chance on used equipment? 

 

Steve, thanks again for your advice. I think I"m going to wait until after PhotoExpo so that I can see all the latest and greatest stuff out there and don't decide that maybe I should spend my budget on something else. A zoom would be great right now, but as all my my trips, other than going into NYC , are with the car, toting around a couple of primes isn't a big deal and I'll probably . wander around PhotoExpo with just the lighter 35mm, since I'll be on my feet all day.  

 

 

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4 hours ago, Marianne said:

Used 24-105mm going for $1,000-1,110,  I think given the price of the later I'd try used from B&H, Adorama, MPB, or KEH where I'd get a 6-month warranty, since it's too much to spend if it doesn't work out

 

What do you guys think about buying used equipment? Has it been worthwhile for you? When I've sold used lenses I usually got back between 70-80% of what I paid after 8-10 years of use, whereas, like a new car, the lenses I bought new dropped more....though to be fair, in some cases I'm comparing a private sale to selling a bundle of stuff to MPB of B&H. The biggest eye-opener was the value of the 50mm prime I bought for a song. Ebay is often a good deal. 

 

So, do you always buy new, or do you take a chance on used equipment? 

 

Steve, thanks again for your advice. I think I"m going to wait until after PhotoExpo so that I can see all the latest and greatest stuff out there and don't decide that maybe I should spend my budget on something else. A zoom would be great right now, but as all my my trips, other than going into NYC , are with the car, toting around a couple of primes isn't a big deal and I'll probably . wander around PhotoExpo with just the lighter 35mm, since I'll be on my feet all day.  

 

 

 

I can't help you with used equipment, I've always bought new. Maybe I don't have a good reason for not buying used, except I prefer to have a manufacturer's warranty. I think I'm a bit leery of buying used electronic equipment generally. You've obviously had a lot of success buying used though. Maybe I should start thinking about it.

 

re. your 24-105 - I'm assuming the pound is not too far from parity with the dollar now because of brexit. $1000-$1100 seems a bit steep for second hand - I bought mine new for £1200.

 

I was a bit surprised you wanted to get a 30mm f3.5 when you've already got a 35mm f2.8. I'm assuming you would sell the one you like the least afterwards?

 

I commend you for mainly using primes! A lot of the professionals do that. Do you have much problems with dust on your sensor? That's something I'd like to see from future Sony mirrorless models, some sort of automatic guard that comes down when you remove a lens so the sensor isn't exposed. I think if you're using a prime, it teaches you to compose a bit better and not be so lazy and just point and shoot, but I personally couldn't get by without a zoom as well....!

 

Have you got a macro lens?

 

 

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2 hours ago, Steve F said:

I can't help you with used equipment, I've always bought new

 

I too generally buy new but do have a couple of used lenses.

 

If the sales blurb for a secondhand lens mentions "there is some dust in the lens" I am not interested. They say in the blurb that the dust will not affect the images but I believe it always will.

 

Allan

 

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22 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

"there is some dust in the lens"

I think you might be a little over cautious there. I've sold a few lenses on ebay and I think I've always stated that there was some dust in the lens, it's just general good practice to do so because there almost always is if you look hard enough with a bright LED torch (or phone torch) shone back through it and you have to cover yourself. I've never sold a lens where it would actually make any difference to the quality of the image. Haze does, fungus probably does and you wouldn't want that anyway, but the odd spec of dust here and there won't as it is unfocussed light that is passing through.

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18 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

I think you might be a little over cautious there. I've sold a few lenses on ebay and I think I've always stated that there was some dust in the lens, it's just general good practice to do so because there almost always is if you look hard enough with a bright LED torch (or phone torch) shone back through it and you have to cover yourself. I've never sold a lens where it would actually make any difference to the quality of the image. Haze does, fungus probably does and you wouldn't want that anyway, but the odd spec of dust here and there won't as it is unfocussed light that is passing through.

 

Hmmmm.... One reason I went full frame from APS-C was to get lenses with better build quality like dust and weather sealing. I have had one or two lenses in the past where I got an out of focus grey circle or two in the same location on each photo due to dust - extremely annoying to have to constantly remove from hundreds of pictures.....

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7 minutes ago, Steve F said:

I got an out of focus grey circle or two in the same location on each photo due to dust

What did this dust look like and where was it? Was it in a clump? It sounds like it must have been very serious.

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1 hour ago, Harry Harrison said:

What did this dust look like and where was it? Was it in a clump? It sounds like it must have been very serious.

what looked like small specks either on the back of the front element or on an element near the front - both zoom lenses and more noticeable when zoomed in. The rest of the pictures were fine, just had to look out for these little grey circles on plain colours like skies and things.

 

p.s. I know you still get dust in professional lens too, just hoping it will take longer!

Edited by Steve F

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10 minutes ago, Steve F said:

what looked like small specks either on the back of the front element or on an element near the front

 

Thanks Steve, I'm surprised that this could have produced  these marks that you describe but I'll of course bow to your first-hand experience. I was thinking that you were going to say that they were on the rear element so close to the film plane/sensor.

 

Going back to the post, I use a lot of old manual lenses and it has never happened for me in probably tens of thousands of images, either on film or digital so I do think you'd have to be unlucky, others might have different experiences of course.

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4 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

 

Thanks Steve, I'm surprised that this could have produced  these marks that you describe but I'll of course bow to your first-hand experience. I was thinking that you were going to say that they were on the rear element so close to the film plane/sensor.

 

Well they weren't the absolute cheapest lenses, but still pretty cheap and not professional build quality. Maybe you've been using better glass than me!

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Actually I have had more issues with dust with the Sony 35mm than any other. It's not the G Master one (like my 90mm macro) but I'd expect more from it. I'm always leery when they say there is dust inside too. I have three non-professional lenses for my Olympus, the 17mm, 25mm and 40-150mm zoom and after several years of use including changing lenses out in the desert in Arizona & Nevada on separate trips, not to mention frequent use on the beach over the years, I haven't noticed any dust in any of them. And using my 20mm Nikon lens with an adapter on the Sony, I don't see any dust, but I seem to see some in different spots at times with the 35mm. It comes and goes, though, and is not in the same place, so I don't know that it's inside. 

 

Even when I had a bunch of zooms for my Nikons, I also had some primes and have always tended to change lenses frequently, and rarely had much of a concern about dust, but I don't think that the sensor cleaning mechanism on the Sony works as well as it could ....however, it could also just be more noticeable because I'm  dealing with 42MP photos, rather than 6-16MP as with past cameras. 

 

I like primes because I've been trying to shoot less and think more before I click the shutter and I think it's helping. I'm tired of coming back with thousands of images and spending days on end just trying to cull them, or comparing dozens of similar shots to chose the best.  In my travels this past year and a half using mostly the Sony, I've shot fewer images than ever before and I've processed the shots and gotten them online faster. Also, I've shot a lot more fine art. 

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