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Alternatives

Almost a decate after the initial launch of Sony Alpha system, there are still not that many lens options available for us. In the 24-70mm zoom range, Sony's own 28-75/2.8 comes to mind as a first alternative. Technically speaking, this is a rebadged Tamron 28-75/2.8, so you can choose either of those, as well as Minolta's old 28-75/2.8 and expect similar performance. Sigma makes 24-70/2.8 DG IF HSM, which is available in Sony mount, and that's pretty much it. If you're using APS-C type camera, you're slightly better off as there are a couple of additional choices available to you from both Sony as well as Tamron and Sigma, but all those lenses are a bit more 'consumerish', with variable max apertures and cheaper build quality. That's pretty much it - kind of paltry choice. Finally, Tokina recently (early 2012) announced a new, optically stabilized 24-70mm lens for full frame cameras, which certainly looks quite promising if you can wait for its release.

 

Recommendation

Sony Vario-Sonnar 24-70 f/2.8 ZA is a solid choice for anyone looking for a zoom lens in this focal range. But, the lens is pretty darn expensive, which has been a major head-scratcher for me personally, when I was considering to buy this lens. I ended up buying it used and don't regret it - I would recommend you buying it used as well to save ~$500 off the sticker retail prices. Depreciation on this lens has been quite steady over the years and I do not expect it to fall beyond this point any time soon. One major issue that you need to consider is the distortion and field curvature that this lens produces at wide apertures. If you're a purist and intend to use this lens for landscape mostly in the 24-35mm range and just occasionally switch to longer focal ranges, than you might be disappointed. Other artifacts like vignetting and CA can be easily corrected in post-processing and so do not count as major roadblocks in my books. 

 

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