Review: Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 OSS (Sony FE)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 product images (4 of 6)ISO 1001-180 sec at f - 4.0

The Sony FE kit lens: it’s an option that’s bundled with the A7 lineup of cameras and will satisfy the needs of the general shooter. In many cases, the Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 OSS will best meet the needs of the A7 and A7r lineup of users if you want better sharpness. But if you just want to shoot all day and night without issues, then it will pair well with the A7s lineup.

Overall though, I’d still reach for other lenses first.

Pros and Cons

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Pros

  • Surprisingly great performance for a kit lens.
  • Fast focusing even with older cameras.
  • Pretty compact size and doesn’t get much larger when fully zoomed in or out

Cons

  • Honestly, not much considering I had low expectations to begin with due to this being a kit lens. While I understand that kit lenses have improved over the years, I just never know what to expect these days.

Gear Used

The Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 OSS was tested with the Sony A7s Mk II and the Sony A7 along with the Adorama Flashpoint Zoom Li-On flash.

Tech Specs

Tech specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the product for $498

Performance
Focal Length 28 – 70mm
Comparable APS-C Focal Length: 42 – 105 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/3.5 – 5.6
Minimum: f/22 – 36
Camera Mount Type Sony E (Full-Frame)
Format Compatibility 35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
APS-C
Angle of View 75° – 34°
APS-C Picture Angle: 54° – 23°
Minimum Focus Distance 11.81″ (30 cm)
Magnification 0.19x
Elements/Groups 9/8
Diaphragm Blades 7
Features
Image Stabilization Yes
Autofocus Yes
Physical
Filter Thread Front:55 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.85 x 3.27″ (72.5 x 83 mm)
Weight 10.41 oz (295 g)
Packaging Info
Package Weight 0.95 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 4.1 x 3.5 x 3.5″

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 product images (5 of 6)ISO 1001-180 sec at f - 4.0

The Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 OSS is a lens that is bundled with many of the A7 series cameras. If you purchase the camera with the kit lens, then you should also know about the 55mm front filter thread which can hold a UV filter or any other types of filters that you may need when shooting photos. Landscape photographers may see greater performance with Polarizers, NDs or graduated filters.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 product images (6 of 6)ISO 1001-180 sec at f - 4.0

The lens is characterized by a giant zoom ring and a small manual focus ring in front of that. That’s really all that there is to it with no switches at all on the body.

The lens hood is the traditional petal style if you choose to use it–I recommend that you do.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 product images (1 of 6)ISO 1001-180 sec at f - 4.0

If you want to carry around a smaller package, you should know that the lens hood makes the overall duo smaller, but not really by a substantial amount. For protection, it doesn’t hurt to keep it on.

Build Quality

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This lens is built really well for a kit lens; but in comparison to many other kits, it still can’t stand up to what Fujifilm gives us in the XF lineup. The feeling in the hand is very comfortable and the lens is dominated by the big zoom ring–which is probably what you’ll be using most of the time anyway.

If I had to compare it to anything in the Sony FE lineup, that would be to the 90mm f2.8 OSS. Sure, the prime lens is much better built, but the lenses feel to be around the same size in the hand.

Autofocus

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Just like the 70-200mm f4 OSS, this lens focuses very quickly depending on the focusing setting you’re using. If you have the center, medium focus point or large focus point in use then the lens will lock onto your subject rather quick. It slows down with the small focusing point.

Focusing with this lens overall is silent and accurate with both the Sony A7s Mk II and the Sony A7–even in low light situations it will hardly miss the subject. This lens focuses significantly faster than the 35mm f2.8–which in some ways makes sense but in other ways kind of shocks me.

Ease of Use

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Screw it onto your camera, zoom in or out, focus, and shoot. It’s really that simple. This is one of Sony’s simpler lenses with very little involved in the process. Its design was made with an emphasis on basically just shooting and going about your day–as is the purpose of pretty much any kit lens in existence.

Image Quality

EXIF DATA IS IN THE IMAGE FILENAMES.

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During the review process, I was absolutely amazed at this kit lens. Many times I didn’t think that I was using one but instead something targeted at a middle of the road user. Indeed, there is very little to complain about with this lens and if you’re using it for general shooting purposes, then you’ll be very satisfied. But at the same time, expect it to be a jack of all trades but master of none.

Sharpness

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 review final sample images (32 of 34)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 3.5

Yes, this is a sharp lens. In fact, it’s incredibly sharp for a kit lens–but there are far sharper options out there in the Sony lineup of FE lenses. Still though, you’d be hard pressed to really hate on this lens for its sharpness overall in the spectrum of photography. Canon and Nikon have nothing that can touch this.

Bokeh

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 review final sample images (15 of 34)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 3.5

Bokeh from this lens only really becomes visible when you’re focusing closely at the wider end or at the more telephoto end. It’s also more characteristically hazy than it is creamy. So don’t expect a whole lot here, but also keep in mind that this is a kit lens.

If you want more bokeh at an affordable price point, then you should go for the 28mm f2.

Color Rendition

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 review final sample images (11 of 34)ISO 1001-60 sec at f - 3.5

Using the Vivid color profile with Sony cameras, you’ll be able to get a beautiful image with wonderful colors. In fact, pretty much all of the colors here are super bright, punchy and vivid with deep saturation. You probably won’t want to use this lens for portraits for that reason.

Color Fringing

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In the tests I did, I didn’t find any major color fringing that I believe would ruin my day except if I really, really pixel peeped. Even then, I tend to have more self-respect than that and accept that the image is a whole, not a section that you look at at 100%.

Indeed, you can see some fringing in the lights around the top left corner of the structure that is hidden by the trees.

Again though, it’s no real reason to sit there and cry about the end result.

Extra Image Samples

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Conclusions

Likes

  • Overall good performance from a kit lens
  • Fast focusing
  • Not a bad size

Dislikes

  • Not a lens for the more advanced photographer. Those folks are much better off going straight for the higher end lenses.

The Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 OSS is a lens that will acceptably suit the needs of a shooter who craves overall versatility from a mirrorless camera with a full frame sensor. But as I said many times throughout the review, it’s not going to satisfy all needs and wants. Still though, the image quality that it can help deliver shouldn’t be discounted but may be best experienced with the Sony A7 and A7r series of cameras if you’re into sharpness.

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

The Sony 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 OSS receives four out of five stars. Want one? Check out Amazon for a good price.