Sony FE 28-70mm 3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens

Preface

This is part two of a three part series review of my current camera setup (Sony Alpha A7s, Sony FE 28-70mm 3.5 – 5.6 OSS lens, and Sony A7/A7R/A7s Vertical Battery Grip – VG-C1EM).

Disclaimer: These user reviews are my thoughts & impressions of the equipment from my own perspective/experience using them as a end user. I am not a professional photographer (just a hobbyist) and have no association with Sony or any other company as such. Thus, I will not be doing any technical research/analysis or try to explain the features/technicalities of the camera, if you are after a technical rundown of the camera with in-depth research and analysis, I suggest you have a look at dpreview.com or similar. This review is more or less for the people who have already done their research and are on the fence thinking of making the jump.

Introduction

As mentioned in part one of this review series, this isn’t a technical review of the Sony FE 28-70mm 3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens. This is a general end user’s review of how I see the lens performing to my needs as a amatuer/hobbyist photographer.

The next question on your mind right now would be – why blog about a kit lense?

Well; before we consider buying any camera with an interchangeable system, the first thing we look at (and if you’re not doing it already, you should!), is to see what native lenses are available for the camera. For the A7 series, the selection of lenses is very limited, see List of all Full Frame native e-mount lenses on the Sony Alpha Rumors forum. As you can see, the selection is not only very limited, the prices of the lenses are much higher than other rival system’s equivalents. So for an amatuer/hobbyist photographer, this kit lens practically decided whether I buy or not buy the A7s.

What’s in the box

There’s really not much in the package – this is reflected by the small packaging. What you will find inside the package is your standard manuals/paper documents, lens, and a lens hood.

Figure 1. First look inside the box.
Figure 2. Lens Hood at the bottom of the box.

Design & Handling

Coming from a cropped-sensor APS-C DSLR, I’m used to the tiny 18-55mm kit lenses. So at first, I found it a bit bulky. But after using it for a couple of weeks, I actually prefer this size over the compact 18-55mm, as this lens has a much larger focus ring strip for me to carry out my manual focusing (I shoot in manual 99% of the time, because my photography passion at the moment is around inanimate objects/landscape).

The larger size also helps with providing you with a nicer grip/place for your hand to hold to support the camera so your shots are leveled (i.e. you have something else to hold onto other than just the camera body).

Other noteworthy thing about the lens is that, it’s weather-sealed. Usually for a weather-sealed lens from the manufacturer of the camera body, you’re looking at around the $1k mark (i.e. buying the top end of the lens range).

Quick summary of features I like about this kit lens:

  • although it’s made of plastic, it’s weather-sealed
  • it’s very light – at just a little under 300 grams
  • Optical Steady Shot
  • comes with a lens hood
  • nice large rubbery rings
  • compact size
Figure 3. Lens unwrapped & sitting on top of bubble wrap.

Image Quality

I’m still too much of an amateur photographer to talk about the image quality of lenses and do not really have anything to compare it to. So I suggest reading DxO Mark’s review Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS: Serious contender to the Zeiss?.

However, if you want to see some real world photos and haven’t already checked out the photos in the Flickr albums I listed in part one, here they are again (note: all shots are handheld shots):

Conclusion

If you haven’t read the DxO Mark article, I highly suggest you do. It certainly helped me make the decision on whether I would be happy with the kit lens or have to factor in another ~AUD850 for the 24-70mm F4 Zesis.

My standing is: I’m very happy with the lens and have a similar stance as DxO Mark. I would recommend others to get this kit lens over the Zeiss any day. The Zeiss has nothing over this lens less the Zeiss badge.