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February 15, 2012

Nex-7 and the 24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar Lens – Sample Photos with 100% Crops, Exif, Specs, and First Impressions

Sony Nex-7 w/ 24mm f/1.8 E-Mount Carl Zeiss Sonnar Lens

The Sony 24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonar lens is the first “professional grade” E-Mount lens I have used on the Nex camera systems and in this article I will show you what it’s capable of doing when mounted to the Sony Nex-7!!

First off I just wanted to say the lens build quality is excellent and the lens is very light weight. It also looks incredible good from a cosmetic perspective as well I must admit!! Black lenses looks sharp on the Nex-7 as you will see below. In addition to the excellent build quality and precision machining, the focus is also very quite and smooth.

Just to let you know is now excepting pre-orders on the Nex-7 and the 24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar Lens is currently In Stock and selling for $999.99.


Sony 24mm f/1.8 E-Mount Carl Zeiss Sonnar Lens Specifications

Focal Length 24 mm
Comparable APS-C Focal Length: 36 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/1.8
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Sony (E Mount for NEX)
Format Compatibility DSLR (APS-C Sensor)
Minimum Focus Distance 6.2″ (15.75 cm)
Magnification 0.25x
Groups/Elements 7/8
Diaphragm Blades 7
Image Stabilization No
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Filter Thread Front: 49 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.48 x 2.58″ (63 x 65.5 mm)
Weight 7.9 oz (224 g)

Sony‘s SEL24F18Z 24mm f/1.8 E-Mount Carl Zeiss Sonnar Lens opens up a new world for owners of NEX cameras. The equivalent of 36mm in full-frame or 35mm format, this lens is a versatile medium wide-angle focal length with superb Zeiss Sonnar optical design. The extremely wide maximum aperture of f/1.8 is ideal for shooting under low-light conditions, and with the seven blades that form a near-circular aperture, it can also create photos with lovely shallow depth-of-field (which provides a powerful sense of space).

The design includes aspherical lenses which compensate for distortion and an ED element which suppresses chromatic aberration, for excellent corner-to-corner sharpness (even with the aperture wide open).  Direct Manual Focus (DMF) allows you to manually focus after autofocus has locked on, so you can easily fine-tune your focusing without switching modes. This is especially useful when shooting with very shallow depth-of-field.  A linear motor used for autofocus drive helps make this lens ideal for video–a very low-noise focus operation, with a stepping motor built into the lens for smooth, quiet aperture actuation. This lens is a wonderful addition to any photographer’s camera bag.

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.
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 (36 mm in the 35 mm format), this lens allows for 1/4 macro shooting with accurate focus as close as 6.2″ (16 cm). The ability to get close to the subject enhances this lens’s ability to create beautifully defocused backgrounds while providing a strong sense of space.
Smooth, Quiet Autofocus 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.
Circular Aperture
The lens features seven aperture blades that form a near circle. This results in a pleasing defocused circular effect on the background of your image when the aperture is set wide open.
Direct Manual Focus
Direct Manual Focus (DMF) allows for direct manual focusing after autofocus lock-on without having to switch modes. In cases where autofocus has 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 field can be extremely shallow.

Check out the Nex-7 and the 24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Lens:

Be sure to Click on the images for the Full 1200px version


Sample Pics with 100% Crops:

These first shots were just random snapshots from around the house in poor lighting.


In this next set I was playing with Layla’s Legos and…, ahh I mean, Layla was playing with her Legos and created this really cool alley scene 😉 I shot a few different comps as it made for a great test shot for both the camera and lens!!


In this set Layla and I took a cruise out to Livingston Manor and grabbed a few shots. You may recall the bridge photo from the E-Mount 8mm Rokinon Sample Pics I put up the other as these were taken the same location and time 😉


Moving on we have some more real world style shots in a variety of lighting conditions. The 24mm Zeiss pumps out consistent sharp shots at all apertures, although f/1.8 is noticeable softer than f/4 as you would expect. the f/1.8 being acceptably sharp though in my opinion. The Blue Angles plane pic is pretty cool 😉


Closing Thoughts:

The Sony 24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar Lens and the Sony Nex-7 make a great combo! If you want to get really sharp shots off the Nex Camera systems the Carl Zeiss Glass is the next logical step if you want to use exclusively E-mount lenses. That being said, you can use adapters and put pretty much any lens on the Nex camera systems, so don’t fee like your stuck with this lens. I’ve read a few negatives on this lens, but next to my Canon L Glass it’s the best lens I’ve used on the Sony Nex cameras.  Corner to corner sharpness is very well maintained considering the engineering challenges of the E-mount 18mm flange distance to the sensor.  More on that stuff over here>> in my guides. My E-Mount Lens Guide >>


That is it for now, but please stayed tuned for some more Nex-7 HD video samples currently uploading to youtube, and the Full In-Depth review of the Sony Nex-7 is in the works 😉

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  1. Thanks for the review. I’m pleased you enjoyed the lens.
    Do you have any comparisons of the Zeiss against your Canon L’s to compare?

  2. Jay


    I do have some shots taken with the 135mm f/2 L, but I don’t think that is a fair comparison. 135mm vs 24mm, and it’s being used wide open with the Fotodiox adapter etc..

    Check it over here:


  3. angel

    is the autofocus preserved when using the Nex-7 with the 24mm Zeiss lens ?

    • Jay

      Thanks for the question!!

      Yes, the 24mm zeiss lens has full autofocus. It has a focus ring also which allows for easy manual focusing if you chose to use manual.


  4. Harun

    Hello Jay ,

    24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar lens very good quality but very expensive also. Rokinon 24mm T1.5 Cine can do Zeiss work? What is your opinion about this ? Would you buy Rokinon to instead Zeiss?

    Best Regards

    • Jay

      Hello Harun,

      I have no used the Rokinon 24 T1.5 Cine lens, so I really can’t speak for other than it’s probably really close. Cine grade lenses have to meet a certain spec I think in order to get that badge, but I honestly don’t know for sure what that translates to in real life or the real world. It also has a smooth aperture ring and is geared for easy rigging? Are you planning on shooting serious video?


  5. Harun

    Hello Jay,

    No , i am not planning to shoot serious videos. I just wonder this lens can be a option or not when you have not Zeiss 24mm f1.8. Without AF will not comfortable to shooting of course. But Rokinon also have low F-stop. i thought maybe will be useful for low light photos.


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