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Sony 28-60mm f/4-5.6 vs FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 and others


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I have recently bought a Sony A7ii and a Sony mount adapter. For the time being, the full frame lenses I have are a Minolta 35-70 f/3.5-4.5 zoom (not bad and reasonably sharp from f/5.6 and upwards until f/11, which I have to focus manually), a Tamron Adaptall-2 35-70 f/3.5 (reasonably sharp from f/5.6 and upwards as well, and totally manual), and for a shorter focal length a Sony 28mm f/2.8 (A mount), and for a longer focal length a Sony 85mm f/2.8 (A mount, which I can use with AF or in manual focusing). Also a Minota 50mm f/1.7, and a Tamron Adaptall-2 80-210mm, but this one has nothing to do with the subject I’m bringing up.

I’m thinking of maybe buying a more up to date walk-around zoom lens. Something not expensive that I can afford. It called my eye the Sony 28-60mm f/4-5.6. There are not much reviews about it. One on Dyxum, I found and extensive one on digitalcameralens.com, and maybe two serious reviews on YouTube. DxO mark has no review of it yet and neither has Kurtmunger. For what I have read or heard (not much), it seems it delivers an excellent sharpness at the centre of images and quite good or acceptable sharpness at the edges and corners. It seems (or so I read), much better and sharper than the Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS. The former has a shorter range of focal lengths and is smaller (maybe this being an advantage for carrying it around) than the latter.

I have also been reading about the Sony Vario Tessar FE 24-70mm F4 OSS which is a bit more expensive, but of which I have read in this very forum that there are many people having problems with it, and which sharpness measurements did not impress me.

I am not looking at maybe better Tamron or Sigma lenses because for some reason (reasons that probably have to do with import taxation and/or Sony commercial policies), here in my country, Sony products are more accessible than others. For example, here, the Tamron FE 28-75 f/2.8 costs more than what I paid for the camera, plus a vertical grip, plus the lens mount adapter, plus a spare battery, and three times more than what the Sony 28-60mm f/4-5.6 costs. Maybe it is three times better (?).

I can buy a new Sony 28-60mm f/4-5.6 for the equivalent of about 350 US dollars, but my doubts are:
Is this lens really much better than the Sony 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS (of which I have read only regular to bad reviews)?
Is the Sony 28-60mm f/4-5.6 worth it, or I’d better stick with the equipment I already have till being able to buy a premium zoom lens?

Has anybody tried the Sony 28-60mm f/4-5.6 and can compare it (in terms of sharpness, CA, etc.) to any of the other zoom lenses I have mentioned? Or does anybody have a different suggestion regarding the matter?

Edited by Alejandro
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Dustin Abbot reviewed the 28-60 and compared it to the 28-70 here:

https://dustinabbott.net/2020/11/sony-fe-28-60mm-f4-5-6-review/

As for the Tamron 28-75: as a rule of thumb, the price of current generation lenses doubles for every extra f-stop it provides. In that sense 3 times the price sounds fair, given that it's 2-3 stops faster than the 28-60. Optically it's also much better than the Sony. If the difference is worth the premium is entirely up to you to decide. The Sigma 28-70 f/2.8 is optically of similar quality as the Tamron 28-75. There's a version II of the Tamron coming later this year so used prices on the first version of that lens may plummet.

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11 hours ago, Pieter said:

Dustin Abbot reviewed the 28-60 and compared it to the 28-70

Thank you Pieter, I have just read Dustin Abbott’s review. It coincides with the few others I read before or listened to.

I think I am tempted to buy this zoom lens. It is small and lightweight, and mounted on the A7ii would make a quite portable combo. Sometimes I don’t take out with me a camera (but my Sony rx100) because together with the lenses I have, they make a bulky equipment to carry around if not specifically going out to shoot photos. Everybody is saying it is sharp from wide open whilst most other kind of kit lenses need to be stopped down to get sharp, and one ends up shooting them from f/5.6 upwards anyway. They also say it handles CA and fringing very well. I might miss the 60mm to 70mm range (I have checked that I have taken lots of photos within the 45mm to 50mm range with an APS-C sensor camera, that traduced to angles of view for a full-frame equivalent to the ones given by focal distances of about 67.5mm to 75mm), but I think I can perfectly adapt to restrain myself to the focal distance range of the 28-60mm. There was I time (long ago) when all my shots were done with a 50mm lens. Anyway, I think that in some future I will aim for a 20mm prime lens. And finally, I can afford the 28-60mm.
 

11 hours ago, Pieter said:

..... as a rule of thumb, the price of current generation lenses doubles for every extra f-stop it provides.

I didn’t know that. It is a lot of money for every additional stop.
Anyway, I was thinking that when needing or wanting to use a wider aperture, I can always count on my 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.7, and 85mm f/2.8 lenses.

Edited by Alejandro
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PS. I read that the Sony 28-60mm shows no or little optical distortion, except at 28mm, at which focal length there is a more marked barrel distortion. But I process my raw files with DxO PhotoLab which has a profile for this lens. I managed to download a raw file of a photo taken with this lens from the web, and PhotoLab made the expected correction, so this is something that does not have to worry me.

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DXO Mark rates 28-70 as near equal to the Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 24-70 at 1/3rd the price. 

https://www.dxomark.com/sony-fe-28-70mm-f3-5-5-6-oss-serious-contender-to-the-zeiss/

A kit lens is a kit lens is a kit lens.  If I was buying an A7C camera and the 28-60 came with it at a low cost addition, I would consider buying the camera kit but as a stand alone purchase, no.

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If I were in the market for such a lens, I'd certainly try to buy a used copy. Many people start off with a kit lens but upgrade to something better after a while. Therefore used kit lenses can often be found cheap and in good condition. The 28-60 is fairly new so there may not be too many used copies for sale, but if you're not in a hurry I'm sure you can catch a nice deal.

As for the Zeiss 24-70, it is infamous for its mediocrity so definately not worth the premium over the 28-70.

Edited by Pieter
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16 hours ago, tadwil said:

DXO Mark rates 28-70 as near equal to the Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 24-70......

I read the DxO Mark rates for the 28-70 which I saw were good, but I also read reviews and saw some measurements done buy somebody else, from which one might infer that it is not that good. Most people reviewing it at Dyxum gave it a 4 for sharpness (10 out of 14, and 4 gave it a 4,5). I suppose that DxO ought to be more trustable. Therefore, I will nevertheless take into account your recommendation.

 

15 hours ago, Pieter said:

As for the Zeiss 24-70, it is infamous for its mediocrity so definately not worth the premium over the 28-70.

I’m discarding the Zeiss 24-70 though. I saw some measurement that did not impress me and many people are complaining about it. Also, it is more expensive than the other two (and here, they are asking for it also more, even when being second hand).

 

16 hours ago, tadwil said:

DXO Mark rates 28-70 as near equal to the Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 24-70 at 1/3rd the price. 

 

15 hours ago, Pieter said:

Therefore used kit lenses can often be found cheap and in good condition.

The Sony 28-60mm is being sold here by Sony at about 350 US dollars (new). Again, here, there are a few 28-70mm being sold through the web, and they are asking around 200 US dollars (second hand) for them.

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On 9/15/2021 at 1:45 PM, Alejandro said:

I read the DxO Mark rates for the 28-70 which I saw were good, but I also read reviews and saw some measurements done buy somebody else, from which one might infer that it is not that good. Most people reviewing it at Dyxum gave it a 4 for sharpness (10 out of 14, and 4 gave it a 4,5). I suppose that DxO ought to be more trustable. Therefore, I will nevertheless take into account your recommendation.

 

I’m discarding the Zeiss 24-70 though. I saw some measurement that did not impress me and many people are complaining about it. Also, it is more expensive than the other two (and here, they are asking for it also more, even when being second hand).

 

 

The Sony 28-60mm is being sold here by Sony at about 350 US dollars (new). Again, here, there are a few 28-70mm being sold through the web, and they are asking around 200 US dollars (second hand) for them.

 

Edited by tadwil
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I am not recommending either of the kit lens, the reviews on the web suggest 28-60 is a good lens how much better than 28-70 can't be seen without someone doing a head to head comparison.

If you are buying your first native FE lens on a budget, the 28-60 seem like a good option and the price you have quoted for it, I am not seeing it in North America.  I have the 28-70, it was part of an A7II kit (very lightly used) with 3 oem batteries and an oem charger for basically the price of the body on consignment at a local camera store.  I don't use it much but it's always handy to have a native AF lens to grab for quick snapshots when needed.

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Here, in my country, our economy has always been very peculiar, unstable, and full of ups and downs. Nowadays, the official rate of exchange for the US dollar is 1 dollar = 103 AR pesos ($). This is also the rate that applies to importers. People in general are allowed to buy 200 dollars per month at this rate if they go to a Bank, but no more. But the unofficial dollar rate (what we call de “Blue dollar”) is 1 dollar = 182 AR $. This is what they give you if you go to a currency exchange house (not a Bank) and sell a dollar that you have. These are the rates for today, the 16th of September.

Sony, here in my country, is saying that they are selling at the same prices as in the USA. So, at the official exchange rate, this would be, for the 28-60 lens, something as: 500 x 103 = 51.500 AR $. Sony is here selling the 28-60 for 59.000 AR $. Then, 59.000 AR $ / 182 AR $  = 324 US dollars. Therefore, if I sell 324 US dollars that I had saved, they give me 59.000 AR $ with which I can buy the lens.

On the other hand, most people that are selling second hand stuff, are willing to recover part of what they paid for a product when the exchange was different and not favourable for buying imported things. Therefore, second hand stuff is not cheap in relation to new stuff nowadays (for how long, nobody knows).

Sony, here, is no longer selling the 28-70 lens (at least, not for the time being).

Things have not always been the same, and they might change how knows when, so this might be the right time to buy new Sony stuff (if having some savings).

These are the reasons why you can’t find in North America the Sony lens at the same amount of money than me, at this particular moment.

I know, difficult to understand, it is madness, and can’t last, but for the time being........
So maybe I should buy the Sony 28-60mm lens and have a native AF lens as you say, specially as they are saying it is a good kit lens.

Thanks

Edited by Alejandro
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On 9/16/2021 at 9:24 PM, tadwil said:

Let us know when you have it and show us what it can do.

Well......, I finally bought the Sony FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens. I’m quite happy with it.

I haven’t yet taken any real life situation photos, but I took some trial pictures. I took very artistic photos 🙂 of medicine boxes and wine bottles covering all the extent of the pictures I took (which means that the photos were taken at a relative short distance and photos of objects situated at longer distances would be necessary for a more complete and thorough trial).
I took photos using focal lengths of 28, 35, 50 and 60mm and also with a Sony 28mm f/2.8 (A mount), Minolta 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 and Minolta 50mm f/1.7, using with each, those same focal lengths -when and as available-, and at f/4, f/5, f/5.6, f/8, f/11 and f/16.

I shot the photos Raw, visualized the raw files with different programs, opened some of them with the developing module of those programs, and exported a few as jpg (my comments on this, later on).

And here are my appreciations (which can’t be considered a review, partly because what I did wasn’t very scientifically done, and because it isn’t), just my first impressions:

With the Sony FE 28-60mm, the centre of the images were always sharp. The edges a bit softer, specially at 28mm f/11 and f/16.

Compared with the Sony 28mm f/2.8: The edges of images taken with the 28mm were less sharp from f/4 up to f/8 and sharper than the ones taken with the 28-60mm at f/11 and f/16.

Compared with the Minolta 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5: The centre of the images were similarly sharp with both, maybe showing a slightly better sharpness the Minolta lens. The edges of the images were a bit sharper with the Minolta lens.

Compared with the Minolta 50mm f/1.7: this one beat all the mentioned lenses regarding sharpness, all around.

Concerning the unsharp edges of the photos taken with the Sony 28-60mm, particularly at f/11 and f/16 (and upward I suppose, thought I didn’t shoot over f/16), DxO PhotoLab made an excellent job and improved the edges adding the necessary sharpens to them.

The Sony 28-60mm shows an important optical distortion at its focal length of 28mm. DxO PhotoLab has a profile available that corrects the optical distortions of this lens, and sharpens the edges of images taken with it, when necessary, with good results (being this appreciable after exporting).
Capture One 21 Express corrected the optical distortion of the image with which I made the trial (one of the ones taken with a focal length of 28mm) recurring to the “Manufacturer Profile”.
Sony’s Imaging Edge Desktop automatically corrected the optical distortion, but I don’t know why, the image opened with its “Edit” module and exported to jpg, ended up lacking sharpness (it looked soft).
When opening and visualizing the same photo with ACDSee Ultimate 2021, the optical distortion looked corrected, but when opening it with the program’s “Develop” module, the correction wasn’t there and there was no profile available for this lens.
Affinity Photo version 1.9.2.1035 (I haven’t yet downloaded and installed the latest update) did not have a profile for this lens.

I took a few photos including the sun in the picture and noticed no flare nor ghosting. I took some photos (not at every focal distance nor aperture) of a very contrasty scenery (including deep shadows and bright objects with a bright and clear sky as background) and noticed no lateral colour fringing.

Focusing is fast. I haven’t tried it yet in a low light situation.

For what I read, with the Sony A7C, if the lens is retracted, a due warning shows on the monitor screen of the camera. There is no warning with the A7 ii, so one better remembers that it is required to twist and extend the inner barrel of the lens in order to make it properly usable.

No need to say that this lens is small, lightweight, and therefore very portable. I think it’ll make a good walk around lens.

All in all, I’m satisfied with my purchase.

Edited by Alejandro
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Congrats on your purchase of a new lens, looks like it will suit your needs well.

What happens when you mount the lens on the A7II and turn on the camera, does the lens extend out into the shooting position?  Does the lens retract when the camera goes to sleep and extend out again when the shutter is half pressed to wake the camera?

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10 hours ago, tadwil said:

What happens when you mount the lens on the A7II and turn on the camera, does the lens extend out into the shooting position?  Does the lens retract when the camera goes to sleep and extend out again when the shutter is half pressed to wake the camera?

No, the lens does not extend nor retracts automatically, the procedure ought to be manually done.
One has to “rotate the zooming ring until the focal-length index comes within the focal-length scale range to extend the lens” (as from the lens’ Manual). The rotation from closed up to a 60mm focal-length is clockwise. Overcoming a slight initial resistance (locked position), one starts rotating the ring from a point where the lens is totally retracted, up to when it reaches the point that -feeling again a slight resistance-, the inner barrel of the lens becomes extended, and it is set at a focal-length of 28mm. From there on, if keeping the clockwise rotation, the ring keeps smoothly moving/rotating to the longer focal lengths.

When still locked (when the ring has not yet been turned to the 28mm position), the focus mode is locked to manual focusing, but one can’t adjust focus, and with the Sony A7ii, there is no warning that the lens is not yet usable, although one is not inhibited from triggering a photo. The photo will obviously be out of focus, covering an angle of view as if the lens was set to variable focal-lengths from about 28 to 40mm. AF would not be working, and manual focus won’t allow focusing either, so one would immediately realize that the lens is not properly extended to an unlocked position, but if one forgets that the lens has to be unlocked first to allow it to be functional, one might lose the precise instant for the photo of one’s life 🙂

Anyway, I don’t see anything wrong with this system for a retractable lens, it is only a matter of getting used to it.
 

Edited by Alejandro
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Hmm, I think it would be kind of weird and below industry standard if that is how a convertible lens works.  My niece has a Fujifilm X-T30 with a kit lens she acquired recently and the kit lens expands when the camera is powered on and retracts when powered down.  The lens also retracts when the camera goes to sleep after a period of inactivity - a somewhat annoying feature imo. 

Maybe the 28-60 lens expands and retracts automatically only on the A7C...  Is there any A7C user in this forum with the 28-60 lens who can confirm whether this convertible lens expands and retracts with the power up or power down or does it need to be manually opened and closed by the user as experienced by Alejandro with his A7II?

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Dustin Abbot reviewed it on the A7C and it works the same (mechanical) way:

https://youtu.be/jqsg3rRtm1k

The Sony 16-50 APS-C kit lens works as you described for the Fuji lens @tadwil. The difference I think is in the fact that the Sony 16-50 and Fuji 15-45 lenses are powerzooms. They use the electronic zoom mechanism to extend/retract the lens when powered on/off. The 28-60 has a mechanical zoom so it makes total sense it doesn't extend electronically.

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