Scenario: You decided that you need a new hobbie. Hmm.. maybe get a little more creative, do a little more traveling — so you pick photography! Wonderful! – OR – Maybe you just realized your life goal is to be insta-famous and you really need to step up your insta-game (Hashtag: More Insta Game = More Insta Fame). Those styled pics always look better with a little more bokeh. 😉 BUT you’re a little overwhelmed about which lens to buy! Analysis paralysis is a thing, ya know! — Which ever the case, I got you! Time to #LevelUp.
If you’re looking for an all around lens for beginner photographers, the Sony 28-70mm zoom lens is the entry level lens to learn with. This is a review of the Sony 28-70mm F3.5 – 5.6 FE OSS Zoom Kit Lens. This lens can be bought separately ($373) or with the full frame body for around $1000.00. (It was $1400 15 months ago, so lucky you).
When learning, you probably don’t know what types of photography you will want to shoot. Having a lens with the flexibility to shoot at different focal lengths will benefit your curiosity. This is a non-intimating lens for beginners to learn with.
This is a 28-70mm zoom lens, which allows you to shoot as low as F3.5 to F5.6. Let’s get creative!
The Sony 28-70mm is made of a plastic body with a ribbed rubber focusing ring. Compared to your higher end lenses, the quality feels a little cheap, but you get what you pay for.
One plus about this lens, is that it is small and light weight. This compact lens is great for travel. (Some zoom and wider aperture lenses can get pretty heavy)
Lens Sharpness & Image Quality:
There is some innocence in this lens if it is your first one because you can’t compare it to anything you have not seen yet. I would consider this quality “good enough” when you have the proper amount of light. It is NOT tack sharp, but “tack sharp” may cost you upwards of $1000 when it comes to lenses for your Sony camera. Beware pixel peepers! I wouldn’t recommend that any professionals choose to shoot with this lens, but you can get creative with it and it does the job for anyone entering the photography world.
Below is a shot of Omar Leonce from my first ever, off the cuff “photo shoot”. This image was shot in a dark room with two shoot through umbrella lights that were placed to the right and left of Omar. I cranked the ISO up on this shot and amazingly got a decently sharp photo for shooting at 1/20 sec hand held.
The second photo was taken in Portugal on an overcast day. Notice the difference in settings. What do you think about the lens sharpness? I rate it a 6.5/10
Low Light / High ISO Performance:
This is not a recommend lens for low light shooting. This lens does not have the capability of shooting any faster than F3.5, so you are limited to the amount of light available. To compensate for under exposure in low light environments, you will have to crank up the ISO and the images from this lens get extremely grainy when you use an ISO of 4000+. Even in post production, it is tricky to mask the fact that not enough light was available. I was not able to smooth and remove as much grain as desired.
Auto Focus Performance:
You’re probably not shooting high end fashion shoots, so I rate the performance as a 7/10. It’s not the fastest, but definitely not the slowest – I’ve used worse — ( the Sony 50mm, awful). I gave it a 7 because it does not hunt back and forth (unless in extremely low light scenarios), its motor is quiet , and I found it easy to quickly focus on the subject.
Buying your very first lens can be overwhelming. If you are new to cameras and unsure if you will fall in love with photography, the Sony 28-70mm lens is a great initial investment to your new hobbie. This lens has a range of capabilities that allows the amateur photographer to learn about camera settings, it is affordable, light weight, and sturdy!
If you have used this lens, what has your experience been like?