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Get a Carl Zeiss® Sonnar optical lens for rich imagery that will let you relive memorable moments with the clarity they deserve.
The large f/1.8 aperture provides for excellent low-light sensitivity and depth-of-field, while a smooth and quiet AF is great for creating movies. An elegant aluminum alloy exterior with a quietly refined black finish is the perfect match for your E-mount camera. Opt for smooth manual focusing with DMF, or try defocusing the background with Circular Aperture for beautiful results.
Carl Zeiss® Sonnar optics
This is the first Carl Zeiss® lens to be released in the Sony E-mount lineup, employing the legendary "Sonnar" optical design for standout image dimensionality and presence. Aspherical lenses located on either side of the aperture effectively compensate for distortion, while an ED element suppresses chromatic aberration. The overall result is excellent corner-to-corner sharpness even with the aperture wide open, for impressive overall resolution.
The SAL24F18Z features seven aperture blades that form a near circle. This result in a pleasing defocused circular effect on the background of your image when the aperture is set wide open.
Large f/1.8 aperture
The large f/1.8 aperture is an ideal choice for shooting interiors in low light, as well as for superb background defocusing. Despite being a wide angle lens, The SEL24F18Z allows for 1/4 macro shooting with accurate focus as close as 6.2 inches (16cm). The ability to get close to the subject enhances this lens's ability to create beautifully defocused backgroundswhile providing a strong sense of space.
Direct Manual Focus
Direct Manual Focus (DMF) allows for direct manual focusing after autofocus lock-on without having to switch modes. In cases where autofocushas trouble locking onto the subject, or when the user wants to focus at a specific point, this feature enables fast and easy fine-tuning. This can be particularly useful for portraits as well as macro shots in which depth of fieldcan be extremely shallow.
Smooth and quiet AF for video
Lens operation is fast but at the same time smooth and quiet, minimizing noise and image jitter when shooting movies. A linear motor used for focus drive contributes to low-noise focus operation, while a stepping motor built into the lens provides smooth, quiet aperture actuation ideal for movie shooting.
Note that my rating ignores price. The used price at Adorama was reasonable to me for a lens of this performance level. I assume 24mm is a more difficult/complex design than focal lengths of 32mm or 50mm that cost less. I would need to be wealthier to pay the new price (but the new price did drop recently). I have been using this lens for landscape photography and groups of people indoors and outdoors. The colors and contrast have been great, and the 36mm equivalent focal length (comparing to "full frame") is a sweet spot for my style of shooting. I have the 32mm Zeiss as well, but this one suits my needs more often. Both Zeiss lenses make beautiful photos. Not a creamy bokeh monster due to the fairly short focal length and moderately wide angle field of view, but out of focus areas have a nice look.
I chose this lens for natural light and candid scenes. It arrived in perfect condition, and appears to be a new lens, as did the acessories and packaging. The build quality seems very good, with accurate focussing in automatic. The lens performance is excellent as expected for a lens in this price range. This lens is now my primary lens for my NEX 6.
Excelent for indoors...
This is a wonderful lens and my NEX-7 go to. AF is rather quick and the images I've made with it appear contrasty, color-rich, and bokeh is very nice. It's ability to focus down to 6" opens up macro-like opportunities and it's speed makes it great for low light. I have noticed a very slight chromatic aberation when shot open in bright daylight, but this could have been an anomoly - more experimentation needed. Compared to manual Zeiss lenses I've owned I'd say that it's fairly comparable, but I have yet to get quite as smooth and creamy a bokeh as with a manual Zeiss-made Makro-Planar. Additionally, it feels like the manual focus ring takes a bit more turning than the manual lens... but I could be imagining that... However I very much like the pictures produced with this lens and would recommend it. The only nit (and it's small) is that the lens cap is tough to pinch open and closed with my apparently too-big fingers! But that's a small price to pay for a great NEX native lens. Recommended.
Excellent low light and scenery
What can I say, this is my favorite lens. I am a semi-serious amateur photographer with a fairly extensive kit built around an A77. My A mount lenses cover about 99% of anything I would ever want to photograph, including specialized lenses for portraits (Minolta 85mm 1.4) and Macro (Minolta 100mm F2.8 Macro). What my A77 kit does not do well is travel light. I bought a NEX5n for casual use, but was dissappointed in the speed and characteristics of the kit lens, so the Zeiss 24mm was my first E mount lens purchase. What can I say, this is, quite possibly, the best lens I own. For general snap shots, street scenes, travel and group portraits it is the best lens of its type I've ever used, better even than the outstanding Sony 16-50mm F2.8 SSM I use on my A77. Colors somehow pop more, sharpness is perfect across the entire frame from F4, but even wide open 16X20 prints (I've made two) are gorgeous from corner to corner. This is an outstanding landscape lens but for its fairly narrow (full frame equivalent to 36mm) angle of view. I leave this on my NEX5n almost all of the time, and while I own and often will bring the 50mm 1.8 OSS on more casual expeditions, the Zeiss 24 is so good that I even use the NEX5n/Zeiss pair when I'm carrying my A77.
The best prime lens that match my NEX7.
Whereas most of the Sony lenses for NEX line are plasticky consumer items, this Zeiss-designed 24mm is superior optically and in materials and manufacture. However, the large f1.8 aperture, which makes the lens bulky, is the old fashioned approach to faster shutter speeds in low light. There is no image stabilization (which Sony calls OSS). This means that the final photos might be the same for a stabilized lens with 2-3 stops smaller aperture (f4 or even f4.5). The high price would be more justified if OSS included.