I generally like to use a lens six
months to a year to get a balanced opinion of it, but this lens is a
hot item of curiosity for Sony A7 and A7R users. The Sony Japan store
is selling the brand new lens with a free three year accidental water
damage warranty. Is Sony that confident in the weather sealing or do
they feel the need to give sales of this brand new lens a little goose?
Either way I was impatient and had a good friend in Japan pick it
up for me.
Scroll down to the bottom to download a few raw images .
From the start my feelings are lukewarm. My
first disappointment is that it's made in Thailand despite having a
$1,200 price tag and the "Zeiss" label on it. Then again Sigma makes
all their lenses in Japan and are notorious for poor quality control.
The build is just ok, it feels
a lot like a large version of the Sony 18-55mm NEX kit lens, except on
top the focal length numbers are engraved. That seems to be as far as
the money goes for build quality. Zooming on
my copy is quite light with a slight catch (physical and audible) in
the middle. Focusing, while
fly by the wire, is better than the 18-55 kit lens, it seems like it
has a longer "focus throw". I understand that light weight and built
like a tank don't go hand in hand, but I expect smooth zooming in this
price range. Outside the small catch in the zoom it feels very similar
to the Panasonic's 12-35mm f/2.8 and 35-100mm f/2.8.
The Sony Zeiss team have quite a sensor of humor. In the viewfinder
during manual focusing is a distance estimation. Anywhere from 4-14
meters is actually focused on infinity while the "infinity" indicator
puts focus clearly beyond. I thought it was Samyang's job to have
incorrect focus markings.