Surprised at the IQ of the 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens

Richard Crowe

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When I purchased my first Sony Mirrorless APSC camera, the A6500 on eBay, I received as part of the package, a Sigma MC-11 Canon EF to Sony E-mount adapter. I had plans to use most of my existing Canon glass on the A6500 with that adapter. Unfortunately, the AF with the combination was not all that I had hoped it would be.
I wanted to see what AF with a native Sony lens would be like, so I purchased a used 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens. I figured that I would test out the focusing capabilities of the A6500 with that lens and also use it to shoot my required pictures of family gatherings. I figured that it would be good enough for that type of use and the price was right at about $125 bucks.
Yesterday I did a shoot of a lovely model in a very small studio space. I brought the three primes which have served me quite well, Sony 50 and 85mm f/1.8 and Sigma 30mm f/1.4. Well it turned out that the 50 was too long for full body shots in that cramped space but the 30mm was actually too short. I was shooting in the same place today and thought, "What the heck, I'll bring along the kit lens just for laughs!"
Well, as the title of this thread says, I was pretty surprised at the IQ I got from this inexpensive little lens. Of course, I was shooting between f/8 and f/11 so the lens should have produced as good IQ as it could possible produce. But heck, this is a tiny, lightweight, kit lens that only cost $125 dollars. It was just what I needed and the imagery is pretty darned acceptable...
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I actually like the 28-70mm focal range on a crop sensor camera when I am shooting people because the 42mm short side doesn't distort to any great degree while the 115mm long side is a decent focal length for head and shoulders. Additionally, when shooting in a studio and using strobes, I will be shooting around f/8 to f/11 like I did today because the background is controlled. It is when I am shooting outdoors and want to blur the backgrounds that I like an f/1.4 or f/1.8 aperture...
 
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Richard Crowe

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Thank You Rae!

I was surprised to learn that the Sony Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 OSS lens lens which is far more expensive and is a lot heavier than the 28-70mm Kit Lens has (according to DXOMark) only minimally better sharpness.

I am thinking that the best "Bang for the Buck" in E-mount zoom lenses is probably the 28-75mm f/2.8 Tamron.

Here are a few more images from the shoot with the Kit lens...
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davect01

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I had and highly enjoyed the 28-70mm on the A6000. I was using the 28-70mm as my everyday carry lens but the biggest issue was that on the APS-C the starting point of 28mm (42mm on F.F.) was often too tight, especially indoors. I switched over to the 18-135mm purely for more range, but never regreted the 28-70mm


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Richard Crowe

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I have always enjoyed using a 28-70mm focal range lens on an APSC sensor camera for shooting people. The 42mm equivalent focal length of the wide end equates to a, slightly wide, normal angle lens which will seldom distort people like wider angle lenses will. The long end which is a 105mm equivalent is a nice medium telephoto for head and shoulders shots of people. I don't mind the slower aperture of this lens when I am shooting indoors in a studio environment because in that case, I am normally shooting at around f/8-f/11.

Outdoors, I use wider aperture and longer focal length lenses, normally a 50mm f/1.8 or an 85mm f/1.8 because I want the ability to keep the BG OOF and because I have a lot more room to maneuver around the subject.

I will say, despite the fairly decent quality of the images from the A6400 with the kit lens, I have a Canon 7D Mark-2 with a Tokina (built on the Angenieux design) 28-70mm f/2.8 ATX Pro lens which appears to blow away the quality I get from the A6400 and kit lens.
NOTE: for some reason my EXIF data persists in naming the lens as a Canon EF 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 which it is definitely not!
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bdbits

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I had the kit lens. IQ was fine but for reasons I cannot pinpoint I just did not like it much. I picked a Tamron 28-75 up recently as my only AF lens for family events and the like. Granted, a lot more money than the kit lens but it is reasonably priced. So far, it seems to deliver pretty well.
 

WNG

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I have always enjoyed using a 28-70mm focal range lens on an APSC sensor camera for shooting people. The 42mm equivalent focal length of the wide end equates to a, slightly wide, normal angle lens which will seldom distort people like wider angle lenses will. The long end which is a 105mm equivalent is a nice medium telephoto for head and shoulders shots of people. I don't mind the slower aperture of this lens when I am shooting indoors in a studio environment because in that case, I am normally shooting at around f/8-f/11.

Outdoors, I use wider aperture and longer focal length lenses, normally a 50mm f/1.8 or an 85mm f/1.8 because I want the ability to keep the BG OOF and because I have a lot more room to maneuver around the subject.

I will say, despite the fairly decent quality of the images from the A6400 with the kit lens, I have a Canon 7D Mark-2 with a Tokina (built on the Angenieux design) 28-70mm f/2.8 ATX Pro lens which appears to blow away the quality I get from the A6400 and kit lens.
NOTE: for some reason my EXIF data persists in naming the lens as a Canon EF 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 which it is definitely not!
View attachment 103912
That Tokina AT-X Pro zoom is a legend to this day, so probably not a fair comparison to a kit lens. ;)
 

Richard Crowe

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I am seriously considering the Tamron 28-75mm. Although it is more expensive, the price is not all that terrible. Although at 1.2 pounds it is quite a bit heavier than the Kit lens (which weighs 10.4 oz), it is lighter in weight than my EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens which I have carried all over Europe and China.
 

JonathanF2

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I just rebought a used Sony 28-70mm, again! It fills in a niche for a cheap video zoom lens with silent focus. The next step up would be the Zeiss 24-70 f/4 or the Tamron 28-75mm 2.8. At those prices, I'd rather divert those funds to either specialized primes or zooms. In fact, for travel and personal use the Sony 28-70mm and 50mm 1.8 are a perfect pair. I also have the 16-35mm f/4 and 70-200mm f/4 when I need to go wider and further. Lately I've just been trying to keep my kit simple!
 

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