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Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Review

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the new Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras.

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Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS in Interchangeable Lenses

Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Sony FE 24 240mm OSS (5)

The Sony FE 24-240mm is a 10x super zoom lens for full-frame E-mount compatible Sony cameras that sports optical image stabilisation, a dust and moisture resistant design and a useful 10x zoom range. In this review, we'll take a look at how it performs.

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Handling and Features

Sony FE 24 240mm OSS (6)
 

Build and design will be very familiar to those who've handled any of Sony's mid-to-premium range of E-mount lenses with a combination of metal and robust plastics used for much of the build, finished with a metal lens bayonet. The lens isn't particularly lightweight and feels a little large when used with the compact Sony Alpha 7R body used for testing. Even though the camera body can be made smaller by producing a mirrorless full frame system, this lens may lead you to believe that this isn't possible with the lenses, which may be something to consider if you were hoping to travel light.

Autofocus is a little slow when compared to contemporary lenses of a similar ilk. Focus can hunt around, even in good light, and especially when shooting near the closest focus distance, which varies between 50cm and 80cm depending where you are in the zoom range. Having a variable minimum focus can cause issues with composing close-up images, as adjusting the zoom also adjusts the minimum focus distance. The manual focus ring is nicely damped, but the travel between closest focus and infinity is extremely short, which can make it more difficult than it should be to apply fine manual focus adjustments. 

Sony FE 24 240mm OSS (2)
 

As focusing is performed internally, the 72mm filter ring does not rotate, which makes the lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. A deep petal-shaped lens hood is supplied as standard, which attaches to the lens via a bayonet fitting.

For those times when slow shutter speeds are necessary, this lens comes equipped with optical image stabilisation. With care, sharp hand-held images can be taken at shutter speeds as slow as 1/30sec at 240mm, which is roughly three stops slower than the usual rule of thumb for hand-held photography would allow.


Sony FE 24 240mm OSS (1)

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Performance

Sharpness already approaches outstanding levels in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture and 24mm, with clarity falling just below good levels towards the edges of the frame. Stopping down to between f/5.6 and f/8 results in peak performance across the frame for this focal length, with outstanding clarity in the centre and good sharpness towards the edges of the frame.

Zooming to 100mm results in slightly reduced performance across the frame at maximum aperture, although performance is still excellent in the centre of the frame. Stopping down to f/8 results in peak performance across the frame for this focal length. Here sharpness is excellent in the centre of the frame and good towards the edges of the frame.

Finally, At 240mm there is a further drop in performance, as is typical for superzoom lenses. Even so, the performance of this lens still holds up well, with very good sharpness being recorded in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture. Performance towards the edges of the frame falls to fairly good levels at this focal length.

MTF@24mm
MTF@24mm
 
MTF@100mm
MTF@100mm
 
MTF@240mm
MTF@240mm
 

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony Alpha A7R using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are quite high towards the edges of the frame, especially at 24mm. Here fringing exceeds 1.5 pixel widths when stopped down to f/16 or beyond and is larger than one-pixel width at maximum aperture. This level of fringing may become visible along high contrast edges placed near the edges of the frame, such as tree branches, flag poles, power lines or the tops of buildings.

CA@24mm
CA@24mm
 
CA@100mm
CA@100mm
 
CA@240mm
CA@240mm
 

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimise the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony Alpha A7R using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is fairly typical for a lens of this type. At 24mm the corners of the frame are 2.57 stops darker than the image centre at f/3.5 and at 240mm the corners are 2.06 stops darker. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped down to f/8 or beyond throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is very well controlled at either end of the zoom range. At 24mm, only 0.957% barrel distortion is present and this is replaced with 0.13% pincushion distortion at 70mm. If you require absolutely straight lines, you'll be glad to know that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make applying correction in image editing software afterwards quite straightforward.

The supplied lens hood does a decent job of shielding the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues with flare. Even with the hood flare can be a feature of this lens, as can loss of contrast when shooting into the light.

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Sample Photos

Value For Money

This lens can be picked up for around £795, which seems a little on the pricey side. There are no direct alternatives covering a similar range for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras at the moment so Sony have a virtual monopoly on directly compatible lenses. Tamron produce a 28-300mm, which is available for around £570, but as this lens is designed for Sony's SLR and SLT cameras, it will need an adapter to function on this type of camera.

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Verdict

This superzoom lens adds a convenient zoom option to Sony's burgeoning range of equipment for their full frame mirrorless cameras. The lens is well built, handles well and the addition of dust and moisture resistance is a welcome feature, as it the effective optical stabilisation. Overall, it is a decent superzoom lens delivering excellent levels of sharpness in the centre of the frame.

Depending on your expectations of what a lens designed for a compact system camera, that costs over £800 should deliver, will depend on how pleased you are with this lens. For starters, it is neither lightweght, or compact, in fact it is larger and heavier than some similar lenses designed for SLR cameras. Sharpness towards the edges of the frame could be better, as could control of chromatic aberrations and flare. Quicker autofocus and a constant minimum focus distance would've been nice features too. If you're able to overlook these aspects of the lens, in the name of convenience, then this lens will still be able to deliver decent quality images and should make a decent addition to your Sony Alpha FE mount kit bag. However, despite its flaws, it is a good lens, it just maybe doesn't meet expectations as well as it should in some areas.

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Pros

Excellent build quality
Excellent sharpness in the centre of the frame
Effective optical stabilisation
Dust and moisture resistance

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Cons

Sharpness towards the edges of the frame isn't up to the standard set in the centre
CA levels are quite high
AF is slow compared to similar lenses for other systems
Can be prone to flare
Variable minimum focus distance
Not particularly compact, or lightweight

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

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Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Specifications

ManufacturerSony
General
Lens Mounts
  • Sony FE Mount
  • Sony E Mount
Lens
Focal Length24mm - 240mm
Angle of View10 - 84
Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/6.3
Min Aperturef/22 - f/40
Filter Size72mm
StabilisedYes
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingYes
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus50cm
Construction
Blades7
Elements17
Groups12
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens, Lens front and rear caps, Hood (ALC-SH136)
Dimensions
Weight780g
Height118.5mm

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Comments


GMANGO 2 United States
10 Jun 2015 1:29PM
The use of the 7r for testing is somewhat suspect as that camera is known to have an issue with focus quickness and is only about a 12 mp camera. Why not use the a7sII? This would be a much better test of the lens, also I'd like to see info on use in the a6000. It would increase the focal length by 1.6 and likely would focus much quicker. I am thinking about this lens for my a6000 for a travel lens and would love to see some info on it as well as the f4 70-200 G on the a6000.

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10 Jun 2015 3:20PM
I use the F4 70-200 G all the time on the A6000, It's awesome especially for kingfishers in flight.
If the image quality was not paramount,The Full frame 24-240 would replace the four lenses I use for wedding photography. ie: 55 F1.8, 35 F2.8, 28, F2 &70-200 F4.
No hassle changing lenses, or carrying more than one camera.
less dust on the sensor.
If this was the only lens used a 10x bridge camera would make more sense.


11 Jun 2015 4:22AM
Gmango, what you cannot get away from is the optical quality, its not better than the easily adaptable Tamron, which sells for $100 new.
joshwa Plus
7 826 United Kingdom
11 Jun 2015 9:18AM
GMANGO - Hi, the A7R is a 36mp camera, the A7S is the 12mp camera.
11 Jun 2015 10:33AM
And the A7R mk2 is a 42.4mp camera

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