Sony’s travel zoom lens for its Alpha 7 series of cameras has a complex design, but how well does it partner with a full-frame sensor? Richard Sibley finds out
Usually, you don’t expect much in terms of resolving power from a travel-zoom lens, but in the very centre of the image this 24-240mm optic is extremely impressive. This is true even when paired with the Sony Alpha 7R, where the 36.4-million-pixel, full-frame sensor is quite unforgiving.
Blades of grass look sharp and crisp at the 24mm setting, especially between f/5.6 and f/11. The top and bottom of landscape images are also reasonably well rendered. However, there is a drop of resolution in the corners of the image. This is typical of travel-zoom lenses, and the shallower depth of field compared to equivalent APS-C shots can further exaggerate the softness if you don’t take this into consideration.
At the lens’s 240mm extreme, with an aperture of f/6.3, there is a loss of definition. The centre and edges are noticeably softer, and the sweet spot for the lens at this focal length is at f/11. Here, fine detail can be resolved, although the corners can be soft.
What was interesting was that while doing this test I made some 300ppi prints from A7R images, which were slightly larger than A3. Alongside these I made some comparison A3 and A4 prints. I have to say that despite the edge softness being apparent when viewing images on a monitor at 100%, it isn’t as noticeable on A3, and particularly A4, prints. All the prints look perfectly acceptable and I wouldn’t hesitate to make prints for my wall. With some care taken to learn where the lens performs at its sweet spot, you can some great images.
As you would expect from such a complex design, there is some chromatic aberration, although this is easy to remove from raw images.