Photography / Hands-on Review

Hands-On Review: the Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Super Zoom Lens

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Sometimes, the most annoying thing about having an interchangeable-lens camera is the interchangeable-lens part. Prime lenses and short-range zoom lenses for full-frame cameras aren’t that big by themselves. But at some point, you realize that the five-lens kit you have is a bit of a drag to carry around with you everywhere, and you wish you could just take one lens with you that could replace them all, which is where superzoom lenses like the new Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens come in handy.

The Sony 24-240mm (Center) is only a little larger than the Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 (Left) and a lot shorter than the Vivitar 70-210mm f/3.5 (Right)

This new 24-240mm is a full-frame-compatible lens that offers an impressive 10x zoom range, giving full-frame a7-series camera users the ability to forgo changing lenses in situations where they may not have time to or just don’t feel like it. While 10x zooms are relatively common in the small-sensor world, they are somewhat rare in the full-frame world, and for a reason. Designing a superzoom lens for a full-frame camera isn't easy, and requires a number of tradeoffs, such as weight and a small maximum aperture. There is a reason most zoom lenses for full-frame cameras rarely go beyond a 3 or 4x zoom range. However, to a number of users, the extreme versatility of an all-in-one lens is a huge plus, so the tradeoffs are worth it.




 
 


 


 

Frozen Ships Wide/Medium/Tele Overlay: The flexible focal-length range allows for creative reframing of the same scene. These wide, medium, and tele images of boats, frozen in the Hudson River, were all shot from the same spot.

The lens has a telescoping design, and with dimensions of 3.2 x 4.7", is only a little bit larger than the Zeiss FE 24-70mm f/4 when fully retracted at 24mm, making it a rather compact lens for what it is. However, at 1.7 lb, it is noticeably heavier than the Zeiss 24-70mm, as one might expect. When fully extended, it gets a lot longer, but it is slightly shorter than the 70-210mm Canon FD lens I usually use. It is also worth noting that when the lens extends and focuses, the front of the lens does not rotate—polarizer-filter users will appreciate this.

Balance-wise, it doesn't feel completely out of place on the a7S, and is a lot better balanced than the 70-210 because most of the weight of the Sony is at the base of the lens, even when using it at telephoto lengths. Its mass does make me miss lightweight prime lenses, but if you want 10x zoom in a full-frame lens, then that is the price you have to pay. The lens zoom ring is a bit stiff, most likely to prevent lens creep, since this is a telescoping lens with some heft.

Sony was nice enough to lend me a pre-production model of the Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5–6.3 OSS during a balmy winter week here in New York, and I tested it out on the a7S, to see if I could feel satisfied having only one lens with me. The massive telephoto reach of the lens ended up helping me capture pictures that I otherwise would not have been able to capture, as I typically do not have a telephoto lens attached when I am just walking around. I was able to catch a seagull eating a fresh fish on a floating ice floe, as well as get a view of a commuter ferry carrying eager New Jerseymen and Jerseywomen across an icy Hudson River. The lens is advertised as being weather resistant, and I can attest that it had no trouble working in 2°F temperatures (which is more than I can say for my hands). The lens's minimum focusing distance of 2.6' at the telephoto end is also relatively close and allows for some pseudo macro shooting, which is a nice plus.



 


 


 


 

The Optical SteadyShot image stabilization (OSS) does a good job counteracting the slow aperture, which combined with the better high ISO ability of the full-frame cameras, makes the low-light performance of this lens not as bad as some might fear. I was able to get some good night shots at the wide end. The OSS also helps frame the shot, as it is much easier to see what is going on through the EVF than with my 70-210 FD lens. I found autofocus to be very fast at the wide end, though not so fast at the telephoto end. Whether that is due more to the a7S's contrast detect AF or the lens, I'm not sure, as I haven't used many telephoto lenses with AF on the a7S.

I shot all photos in JPEG+RAW so I could compare any in-camera JPEG corrections to the RAW files. Upon reviewing the photos on the camera I was quite impressed; they had good color, contrast, were sharp, and showed no noticeable vignetting, distortion, or chromatic aberration. This is quite impressive, perhaps a little too impressive for a full-frame superzoom lens. Once I loaded the RAW images into the computer, I did notice that the camera was doing a fair amount of lens correction on the JPEG images. Still, distortion is easy to correct, a soft image isn't, and I'm happy to say the lens's sharpness and contrast are quite impressive, though it definitely exhibits a fair amount of distortion across the zoom range, and exhibits a bit of vignetting at the wide end.

Video users might be attracted to this lens for its large zoom range, as it’s impossible to switch out lenses in between a shot, and the lens's image stabilization is a huge plus for shooting handheld. The lack of a constant aperture throughout the zoom range is a bit of a drag for video, as the exposure changes as you zoom, but thankfully it's a smooth transition, unlike other SLR zoom lenses I've used. Sony does not claim the FE 24-240mm is parfocal, the way the company does with the FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS, but in my rudimentary testing I can say that when I focused on something at the telephoto end and zoomed out, the focus did not shift noticeably, which is a big plus. The main drawbacks for video are the stiff zoom barrel, as well as the distortion, which is not as easily corrected for video users. Still, if you have to have a large zoom range and don't want to splurge for the Sony FE PZ 28-135 lens, then this is certainly a viable option.



 


 

The 24-240mm offers an extremely versatile range from wide to telephoto while still being relatively compact at the wide end. It's not going to be the sharpest or most light-sensitive lens but, in my testing, I think it does well enough to use in place of other FE lenses—in most circumstances. The question is whether the tradeoffs are worth the extra convenience a lens like this offers: if you can only take one lens, would you rather have a 3x zoom that performs great, a prime lens that is near perfect, or a 10x zoom lens that gets the job done? If you are looking into a superzoom, you probably already know the answer to that question.

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I have this lens and love it.  Use it on my Sony A7rII.  I am not a person who likes

to change lenses in the field and love the extra reach this lens provides.  Always tack sharp.

Thanks for your detailed review.

Off topic - I would be interested in knowing  what tripod head you are  using in this review.  I can see a

glimpse of it in the image of the camera and lens on tripod.

Hi, I'm hoping you may know whether Sony cameras such as the A7S II and the new Sony A9 would compensate/adjust for distortion with this lens? Also, do you have any opinion as to whether the distortion is bad enough to be problematic with fotos & video of people?

No such thing as 'parafocal' -- you mean 'parfocal'.

Jeff,

Boy, are our faces red. You are correct, and we have amended the typo. Thanks for being so parfocused! smiley

— Copy Editor

I'm switching over from Canon to Sony & I need need a lens that will get me through solo wedding videography jobs. I've been told to look at this lens for a start, because it covers all the lenses I even need. BUT, I need my shots to be reliable and look good. Would it be a good idea to go with this lens? Are the distortions super noticable? 

My favourite Canon lens is the 24-105, but I want to find a native sony lens that is almost the equivilent. 

Unfortunately, Sony doesn’t have anything truly comparable to the Canon 24-105mm f/4. The Canon 24-105mm f/4 is a fantastic lens, so if you have been using this for weddings, I don’t know that you would be satisfied with the Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3. While the 24-240mm is a solid lens for an all-in-one, it won’t perform as well consistently throughout the entire focal range as the 24-105mm f/4. If you shoot stopped down, you can get some good results with the lens, but this makes it less than ideal for weddings. I would suggest going with a lens with a shorter range, such as one of the Sony FE 24-70mm options.

Christina, I wonder if the Metabones adapter with the Canon 24-105 f4 would work? I use my Canon mount lenses with my A7RII through the Metabones including the 24-105 and 100-400. The Metabones adapter improves with each firmware update - example Tamron 180 macro with autofocus. When needed, hitting the AF/MF button with my thumb, then using MF with focus peaking, is easy.

When I am traveling, I really like the one camera - A7RII, one lens - FE 24-240, maybe add a Tilt/Shift. I used to carry a Canon 7D with 6+ lenses. With the A7RII I can switch to APS-C when I need a tele extender at lower resolution.

The Zeiss 24-70 f4 would be your best bet 😀

I just faced the same issues and tried the Sigma MC 11 converter for my Canon lenses on my new Sony A7 mark ii and let me tell you, it was a total disaster. I just ran back to the shop and traded this converter for the Sony 25-240mm. I am very happy with my decision as these coverters are definitely not performing unless you only want to do manual focusing which can be ok for weddings but not to capture a moment quickly! 

Yes the Canon lenses are better but in all honesty I have no regrets doing the switch as I can now benefit for the super performances of my camera AF systems. 

At the end of the day the canera and the lenses are just a tool and YOU do the pictures. 

I have an a6000, also got a 55-210mm zoom lens, but found that the range is not as far as I need. This 24-240mm zoom lens is a full frame, also an E-mount, useable with my a6000. Is it true that the effective range for this lens would be 36-360mm for the APS-C sensor?

If so, would you recommend it for use with the a6000, assuming picture quality is equally good, similar to the 55-210mm (designed for the APS-C a6000) ? Or are there any concerns?

Thanks!

Yes, the Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens is designed for Full Frame cameras and will have an approximate 1.5x crop factor when used on smaller sensor APS-C bodies like the a6000. It would have an effectice 36-360mm angle of view on this camera. 
This lens would be much sharper, have a more robust build, and will be slightly brighter at its widest point, than the Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 lens.
Aside from making sure the lens is supported durring hand held shooting, there should not be any concerns. This would be an excellent upgrade from the 55-210mm. 

This lens barely gives you any extra reach. The mm designation remains the same whether or not you're shooting full frame or APSC.

Yes you're right in the sense that the effective range with that lense mounted on APSC is equivalent to 36-360mm, but your 55-210 is also equivalent 82.5-315mm. It doesn't matter if the lens is designed for APSC or full frame, the focal length designation remains the same, there's no FF focal length vs. APSC focal length.

Considering that the SEL18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE may be a better option than the FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS for a Nex-5, and that I have the camera with an E 18–55 mm F3.5–5.6 OSS. Which is a better option then, the SEL18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE or the E 55-210 mm F4.5-6.3 OSS? Could you give me some advice considering the final photo quality, light, sharpeness. Thank you.

If you don’t mind switching out the lenses when you want to switch from shooting wide to shooting telephoto, I would lean towards the 55-210mm over the 18-200mm lens.  A dedicated telephoto lens typically  will outperform an all-in-one lens shot at the telephoto end of its range.  So, the 55-210mm lens will likely have the better overall image quality for telephoto shots. 

The 18-200 is a superior lens to the 55-210. Especially the first version of the 18-200. I had the hasselblad branded one and it took excellent pictures for a superzoom

I have a nex5 and would like to get zoom lenses. Would you recomend the FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS or the E 18–200 mm F3.5–6.3 OSS LE. Thank you.

On some level it depends on what you are looking to shoot with the lens.  That being said, if you are looking for an all-in-one to use with the NEX-5, I would lean towards the Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE Lens.  It would be a better range for an all-in-one to use with the NEX-5.  The 24-240mm would only be wide on a full frame camera, so isn’t the best option for an all-in-one to use on an APS-C size sensor camera. 

Thank you very much for your advice. I have the E 18–55 mm F3.5–5.6 OSS and I really feel the need of some zooming. I am not experienced enough to know if there is a great difference between the 200 or 240 mm but the lens aperture made me thing the 24-240mm would be a better option. But you are right and likely the 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE Lens are a better option.

However, now that I started to be lean towards the 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE... I started thinking. Should I then just get the E 55-210 mm F4.5-6.3 OSS? Could you give me some advice considering the final photo quality, light, and zoom. What would be your option and why. 

Thank you very very very much!

If you aren’t looking for an all-in-one, and are simply looking to use the telephoto portion of the range, then I would lean towards the 55-210mm lens.  A dedicated telephoto lens should outperform an all-in-one used in the telephoto portion of its range.  The question would be whether or not you want to switch out lenses when switching from shooting wide to telephoto, or if you want the versatility of an all-in-one.  Keep in mind that with the versatility of the all-in-one, you do tend to sacrifice a bit of quality. 

Dear B&H, I'd love to move from Canon to Sony a7r and little confused to choose the lenses, I'll always do the kind of landscape, coastline, long exposure and night photography. But I won't go for wide or ultra wide for my shots. Just planning to choose this lens and need your opinion! Is it perfect for Long exposure and Night Photography?... can I go for this lens?

Sorry! There's a mistake on my comment, I missed the word "always" _ "I won't always go for wide or ultra wide for my shots"... sorry and thanks!...

If you are looking for an all-in-one lens for the a7R (not looking to switch out lenses much), then the 24-240mm would be a solid option.  You could use it for landscapes, long exposures and night photography. 

That being said, you might also consider a standard zoom.  The Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens would be an excellent option.  It has a shorter range than the 24-240, but is also a brighter lens throughout its range.  It would also have better overall optical quality, which is easier to do in a lens with a shorter range.  Speaking of the range, the 24-70mm should cover what you listed wanting to shoot.   

Which one is better ? This lens or sony 18-105 on focal length less than 100mm,  and this lens or sony 55-210 on focal length more than 100mm? Is there any significant difference if i print the photo in a3 size? I will use it for a6k. Thanks.

This Sony 24-240mm lens, considering such a broad range for a single zoom lens, happens to hold up very well in terms of sharpness and image quality throughout the entire zoom range.  Its a good solution for someone only wanting to deal with a single lens for their camera and their photographic purposes. The one thing to consider about the 18-105mm lens on the A6000 is the wider angle aspect. If you're going to be doing more scenery/landscape and group shots and indoor shots, then the 18-105mm f4 lens would be a better route to go.

I think you may not be thinking about this the right way. The A6000, being APS-C has a crop factor of 1.5x. 18 x 1.5 = 28. This means that 18mm on the A6000 would be equivalent to 28mm on full frame.

And 24 x 1.5 = 36 > 27. 

Correction: 18 x 1.5 = 27. Doh!

I just purchased this lens to use on my a6000.  Would you recommend a collar when mounting on a tripod or monopod (e.g. Sirui P204S)?

There actually is not any tripod collar option designed for this lens to recommend, as Sony felt it was not necessary for this particular lens.  There are not any 3rd party type options available for it either unfortunately. 

How come everyone is so excited about a 24-240 lens?

I have a Sony a55 with a Sony 18-250. It is 14X against the

10X of the 24-240. Voila!

Well the 24-240mm is FE Full Frame. the 18-250mm is APS-C. So If I were to use it on my Sony A7RII it would be only around 18mp not much crop factor there. But the 24-240mm FE Full Frame would be 42mp.

Does this lens suffer shake problems with the a7r as does the 70-200mm lens.
The shutter shake problem makes the.70 -200 unusable with yhe a7r.?

I've not come across any reports or complaints from any users about shake problems when using this lens on the A7r or any of the other A7 models.

Are there any comparisons/commentss to the Nikon 18-200 DX.  I am trying to "lighten the load" and still be able to shooot without changing lenses.

Before I trade in my d300 for an A7 II I'd like to know the image quality comparison. 

BTW - I shoot Raw and use Lightroom often enlarging a croppped part of the image up to 16x20

Overall the image quality rendered by the two lenses is similar.  The Sony has tested to be a bit sharper, with the Nikon offering less distortion, vignetting and Chromatic abberation.  If you would like to send an email to askbh@bhphoto.com with a reference to this article, I can offer you more resources to regard on the topic.  I would also recommend that you consider renting the Sony camera and lens for a weekend to give it a test run, that way you can see how they handle/feel in the field as opposed to on paper, and you can do a comparison of shots with both cameras to regard on your computer later for an actual test of your own.

cost of renting 24-240 Sony lens  for 3 weeks

Hello, I've been looking at reviews for the Sony 24-240. I'd love to be able to use it on a trip to Australia and New Zealand from 2/18-3/9. I live in Chicago. 

Do u have this lens for rental?

I have been using this lens for over a month with an A7II. Very happy with it as an all-purpose lens for hiking and landscape photography. Good for portraits too. Less well suited for "action" photography - one has to get used to it. Images are very sharp at centre and in my opinion rather good at edges compared to other super-zooms. Flare is virtually non-existant. Recommended.

i just bought these lens and was visiting HK ..I can attest this is a great street photography (on te A7r) lens as well as you can zoom in from a distance and get great bokeh as well..night shots as the author mentioned are easily handled by the sensor. It ddoesn't feel overly heavy or bulky..many of us I believe with A7 series cameras haave been waiting for a lens like this..thumbs up..

Did you have any run ins using this with moving objects? Sony says its good for sport images but i can't trust what they say. Would you say this would be good for sport images? like soccer or skateboarding?

How quiet (or not) is the 24-240mm lens?

Is there any compatible TC available for this lens at B&H?

From most of the preliminary reviews I have read, the consensus among users is that the lens is very quiet with very little noise if any.  There are not any teleconverters available for this lens. 

Might TCs become available over time??

Not likely as zoom lenses whose widest focal is less than 70mm typically have design issues when it comes to teleconverters. The wide angle focal causes the design of the rear of the lens to be such that when coupled with converters they can actually not fit.  In other generic instances where a wide angle lens can be made to fit with a converter there is extreme vignetting caused. 

You said, "The main drawbacks for video are the stiff zoom barrel, as well as the distortion, which is not as easily corrected for video users." It has been my experience that all the E mount lenses including the E PZ 18-105 lens make all lens corrections including distortion. Do you mean to say that this lens does not correct for distortion during video shooting?

does this lens work with the Sony a6000?

Yes it does; this lens is compatible with the Sony A6000 camera. 

Hi

I have a NEX 7, I take most pictures but also some video. So I would therefore buy a versatile lens. also with good zoom. Which of these two lenses will recommend to my NEX7?       E PZ 18–200 mm F3,5–6,3 OSS or FE 24-240 mm F3,5–6,3 OSS

oerjan

 

The NEX-7 camera being an APS-C format camera will multiply any lens you mount on it by 1.5x.  The Sony E PZ 18–200 mm F3,5–6,3 OSS  would be the more versatile lenses of the two to go with, as this lens would still offer you a wide angle aspect whereas the 24-240mm lens after the 1.5x magnification will lose its wider angle aspect and thus be less versatile. 

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