“If you’re looking for a great option for traveling, then it’s the lens that you want to have.” I told the reps at Sony when they asked me about my feelings on the company’s 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 lens that I was reviewing at the time. Indeed, I was honest–and there is of course a caveat.
The Sony 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 FE lens is designed for the company’s full frame A7 camera bodies. It has weather resistance (splash and dust-proofing), a massive zoom range that is equally as massive as its size, and a metal exterior that adds to its beefy build quality. It isn’t a Zeiss lens–but rather a Sony G series lens that is aimed at those who reach for higher hanging fruit.
As good a lens as it is though, Sony has much better options that don’t have the same zoom range.
Pros and Cons
– Surprisingly sharp all across the board
– Good color
– Beautiful bokeh in the right situations
– Weather resistance
– Great for the photographer that will be traveling a lot, but otherwise we think you’ll find better options with shorter focal lengths
– Makes a lot of sense for video shooters who set up the shot beforehand and won’t be zooming in and out.
– Can be a bit slow to focus at times
Specs taken from the Adorama listing of the lens
- Lens Mount Type
- Sony E-mount
- 35mm full frame
- Maximum magnification ratio (x)
- Focal Length (35mm equivalent)
- 24mm – 240mm
- Filter Diameter
- Lens Construction
- 12 Groups / 17 Elements
- Minimum Focus Distance
- 1.64ft-2.63ft / 0.5m-0.8m
- Angle of View
- 61° – 6°50′ (APS-C)
Angle of view (35mm) 84° – 10°
- Aperture Blade
- 7 blades
- Circular aperture
- ADI metering / Distance encoder
- Image stabilization (SteadyShot)
- Optical SteadyShot
- Diameter x Length
- 3.75 x 4.75″ (80.5-118.5mm)
- 27.6oz (780g)
The Sony 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 FE lens is one that is pretty much as large an offering that you’d find on a DSLR. With that said, don’t expect it to be small. However, expect it to be well balanced with the camera that you’re mounting it to.
We start our ergonomic tour with the front filter thread–which is 72mm. It’s big, and if you want to use this lens for video use make sure that you’ve got a big enough filter.
Move to the top of the lens and you’ll find very little in terms of controls. Sony’s minimal design puts all the emphasis on the zoom ring and the manual focusing ring–with most of it being on the zooming ring.
As you zoom in with the lens, you’ll notice just how large it becomes. Be careful what you zoom in on with the hood attached.
Turn to the side and you’ll see nothing in the way of controls. As is Sony’s standard, switching into manual focus means that you’ll do it via the camera’s menu system.
Given the additional sealing from the elements, the Sony 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 is a solidly built lens and also does a great job with weight balance and the overall feel in the hand. What you’ll really care about is the big giant zoom ring and you’ll probably never pay attention to the smaller manual focusing ring.
Ease of Use
The most complicated thing that you’re going to have to worry about when it comes to using this lens is the aperture changes throughout the zoom range. We recommend keeping the ISO setting up a bit if you’re planning on zooming in and out often as you go around shooting.
Sony’s 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 doesn’t have any switches on it just like many of the company’s other lenses. To switch to manual focus mode, you’ll need to do this through the camera.
When it comes to single area focus and not doing continuous focusing, the 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 is pretty darn fast and accurate. So you go about your vacation, you will most likely never miss a single moment given how fast it focuses in any mode besides the smallest flexible spot that the camera offers.
It’s when the camera and lens need to work together to track a moving subject as it heads toward you that you’ll run into problems.
So the lens can focus pretty quickly, and it feels pretty decent in the hands–but how is the image quality? Overall, it’s probably the best thing about the lens–though it’s easy to consider it as a jack of all trades but master of none. The sharpness is very good, though there definitely are sharper lenses. We can say the same about the color and the bokeh.
Still, for a travel zoom you’re not going to find much better–and this is the typical nature of travel zoom lenses.
Note that this lens suffers from quite a bit of distortion at the wider end, but it’s easily corrected in Lightroom.
Though getting bokeh from this lens can be tough to do at times, when it’s there you’ll very much appreciate it. At the wider end of the lens, the bokeh isn’t so spectacular but as you zoom in you’ll really start to love it even if the bokeh starts out at f6.3. The closer you focus, the better the bokeh will become–but this is true of any lens.
What we were most impressed by with this lens is the sharpness. It’s surprisingly sharp and even though our images looked pretty amazing on the LCD screen of the camera, they had me looking twice and cleaning my glasses to ensure that I wasn’t seeing things.
This lens is damn sharp–not as sharp as the prime lenses but for what you’re getting you can’t really complain.
The color from this lens is also very good and really starts to pop with a bit of underexposure in your scene. The lens only seems to exhibit standard contrast, so don’t expect anything near Sigma or Zeiss level of craziness.
In our tests, we couldn’t much many issues or problems involving color fringing, but it did appear at times. That’s tough to correct with a lens like this, but it’s easily corrected in Adobe Lightroom.
Extra Image Samples
– Great zoom range
– Excellent sharpness
– Not a bad lens at all, but it’s best reserved for travel folks.
The Sony 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 FE lens is a great option for someone who travels a lot, but even then it’s biggest strength is its versatility. It’s sharp, but nowhere as sharp as the company’s primes. It’s got a decent size, but it’s also still one of the largest lenses for the FE mount.
Overall, the Sony 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 is a great lens, but it isn’t the very best at anything.
We rate the Sony 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 FE at 4 out of 5 stars. Want one? Check out the Adorama listing for the latest prices.
Sony A7s: For the videographer, you’ll be able to make the most of this lens due to just how much range it gives you.
Sony A7 Mk II: The camera with the best focusing abilities may also be the best one for this lens.