Sony FE 24-240mm F/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens Review – 2020 Guide

The FE 24-240mm lens was announced by Sony on 4 March 2015. This lens has an incredible magnification of 10x on a full-frame sensor, which is quite uncommon. This lens gives its best performance on E-mount cameras, but it can also be used on APS-C cameras, but with that, you will lose some wide-angle shots.

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Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS

  • Uses 72mm diameter filter
  • 5 Aspherical elements and 1 ED lens element
  • 50cm minimum focusing distance at the widest focal length
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On APS-C frames, its focal length becomes 36-360mm. Its focal range is 24-240mm with a variable aperture. It is used on Sony’s full-frame A7 camera bodies. The minimum aperture is impressive for a zoom lens of this size. The overall weight and size of the lens are 1.72 pounds and 4.67 inches. The value for money and convenience of this lens makes up for any small defects it may have.

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Interchangeable Full-frame E-mount Telephoto Zoom Lens - International Version (No Warranty)

PROS

  • Wide Focal Range
  • Extremely Sharp Centre
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • Weather Resistance
  • Convenience

CONS

  • Size and Weight
  • Barrel Distortion  

Main Features

This unit is characterized by several great features. The main highlights include:

For Full-Frame Models

When looking at the aperture and size of this lens, it might not seem like the best choice. But if you consider the fact that it is made for a full-frame camera and it has 10x magnification, these compromises don’t seem to matter that much. 

Even though its weight is high at 780 grams and it overshadows a small full-frame camera, it balances well on any A7 camera body.

Aperture

The aperture is at its widest at 24mm focal length, and as you zoom in, it becomes narrower. It is common for any travel zoom lens to have an F3.5 aperture. Its close focus distance is 0.50 meters. The internal composition is, of course, very complex because of the zoom range. It has 17 elements in 12 groups with 7 rounded diaphragm blades. 

The maximum length when fully opened at the longest focal length is 4.67 inches, which can seem like too much but is still shorter than other telescopic lenses. This lens is mainly for those who can compromise a little on quality for convenience. The quality refers to the images which can be corrected with editing the build quality easily has no compromise. 

Image Stabilization 

It has image stabilization, which counteracts slow aperture and internal linear motor for focusing. If you set it right, even the night time images turn out to be decent. The barrel is made of metal with weather sealing, which improves handling and durability. The ED lens elements help capture better light and remove flares. It uses a non-rotating 75mm filter, which makes using a polarizing filter easily. It has an ALC-SH136 lens hood to prevent flares and protect the lens.        

Pros

This lens has many advantages that you might miss at first glance. These are some of the major benefits you will get from this lens.

Wide Focal Range

If you don’t know what you will be shooting with your camera, then you don’t know what focal length you will need. In this scenario, you have two options; either you carry a whole bag full of prime lenses that cover all your major focal lengths, or you go for a zoom lens that has everything you will need in one compact package. Now, of course, the second option seems like the obvious choice, especially if you are going to be traveling. It just makes things simpler.

This lens from Sony is an ambitious undertaking if it takes into consideration that this is made for a full-frame sensor. Full-frame sensors usually don’t take such wide zoom lenses. This lens covers everything from a very wide 24mm to almost telescopic 240mm focal length. You can do just about anything from wide group photos and landscapes to tight portraits and nature photography.   

Extremely Sharp Centre

Zoom lenses are notorious for their soft image resolution. When you use a prime lens, you see a noticeable difference in quality. This is because prime lenses don’t have complex internal structures. There is only one lens element, and light does not have to travel through a large distance to reach the sensor. This results in more light being captured, which means sharper images and more details. When you use a zoom lens, some of that sharpness is lost in the many internal lens elements. But this is where this Sony lens proves its worth.

It gives exceptional clarity, especially at the center of the frame. You sometimes have to reduce the aperture, but comparatively, this lens gives a good performance. And if you shoot in JPEG format, then even the small issues like corner softness are resolved without you having to do much. Throughout the focal length, the center sharpness reaches more at least 2000 lines. The corner sharpness can also be improved by using lower apertures like F6.        

Optical Image Stabilization

When you are using a slow lens, it is hard to capture moving objects, so you need some form of optical stabilization. The A7 cameras that this lens works with don’t have that feature, but the lens does. It includes Sony’s Optical SteadyShot. This feature counteracts camera shake and gives sharper images. This comes in handy when you are shooting night time images as well. At night, you need to capture more light, and for that, you need a large aperture.

If your lens does not have that, it will take longer to shoot, and that results in camera shake and blurry pictures. Using OSS, you get rid of that problem. It especially helps when you are using longer focal lengths because the aperture decreases as the focal length increases. It goes as low as F6.3 at the longest focal length. The OSS has a 3-stop stabilization, which is good for this lens.

Weather Resistance

This lens has a complete weather-resistant body, including the lens hood. You can use it in any condition, including mist, dust, and extreme sun. Since this lens will mostly be used by travel photographers, this feature is essential. You have to go on all kinds of locations like desserts, hiking, sea, etc. and your lens and camera should be strong enough to stay intact through some rough handling.  

Convenience

The main thing about this lens is its convenience. You get the entire lens kit, including wide, long, and the nifty-fifty focal length in one casing. This is a great option for video makers as well because they cannot keep changing lenses during shooting. With this lens, they can easily zoom in and out with the zoom ring on the barrel. The ring is hard enough that it does not lose its setting when you shake the camera or turn it upside down. This lens is also very cheap, considering the range and the prices of other similar Sony lenses.

Cons

This lens has many good features, but because of the focal range, some trade-offs had to be made to overall performance. These are some of the things that you might find inconvenient in this lens.

Size and Weight

This lens has a weight of 1.7 pounds, which is quite heavy, and when you zoom in to the longest focal length, its size increases to 4.67 inches. When you compare it with the camera body, it seems very large and overshadows the camera. It can be difficult to hold steady for long periods of time as well. But this size and weight are not unprecedented for a zoom lens of this range. Still, some people might not prefer it.

Barrel Distortion   

It is an accepted fact that a zoom lens will have to make compromises on image quality to get its range. But you still expect professional results from your lens. When you shoot RAW images with this camera, there is noticeable softness, light fall-off on the edges of the frame, and barrel distortion. This can be resolved post-shooting, and if you use the JPEG format, then it will not be a problem at all. If you use a converter that has image correction in it, then you will be fine. The soft corners are something you cannot get away from in a zoom lens. They can be seen throughout the focal range, but they are not too extreme.  

What is the Sony FE 24-240mm F/3.5-6.3 Oss Lens Best For?

Because of the wide zoom range of this lens, it can be used for just about anything. Here are just some of the ways you can use this lens.

Travelling

A travel photographer looks for ease of carrying and convenience. This lens checks all the boxes by giving you virtually every focal length you will need. The widest focal length it has is the 24mm, which is as wide as you will want to go without getting the fisheye effect. The longest focal length is the 240mm, which puts it in the telescopic category. So travel photography is one of the top uses of this lens.

Wild Life

For wildlife photography, you need a good magnification. You cannot get too close to birds or other dangerous animals, so you need a focal length that can capture sharp images of distant objects. This lens has a good 240mm focal length just for that purpose. This can be increased to 360mm when used with a crop sensor camera body. Generally, telescopic lenses are very expensive, so one can be a good option for those looking for a cheaper lens.

Landscapes

Landscape photography requires wide angles to capture the entire scene in the frame. This lens includes the 24mm focal length, which is perfect for capturing landscapes, large buildings, and group photos. Wide focal lengths are also used for interior photography.  

Portraits

Portrait photography starts from the 50mm focal length. The perfect focal length for it is considered the 85mm one. This focal length captures beautiful close-ups and shoulder-length portraits without distorting the facial features.

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying?

Some things to consider when buying this lens are:

Weight

If you think that the weight of this lens is too much for your liking, then you should consider that a zoom lens is always going to be heavier and longer. You will not find a lens of this range with lesser weight. There are just some things you have to compromise to get the all-in-one lens. This one is still smaller than some others.

Aperture

Zoom lenses often have variable apertures with the aperture decreasing as the focal length increases. This is because light has to travel a longer distance to get to the frame, which decreases the amount of light that gets in. For a zoom lens having an F3.5 aperture, which seems not wide enough for low-light, it is as good as it gets. This is the most common aperture you will see in many travel lenses of this range. If you are concerned about night photography, you can use the image stabilization and high ISO feature to counteract the slow aperture.

Sharpness

Sharpness is another thing zoom lenses have to compromise on. But these days, there are many types of optical coatings and post-shooting software available that increase the resolution of the image easily. This lens has a good sharpness considering the range with some issues that can be corrected if you use JPEG format.

Bottom Line

This lens strikes the perfect balance between image resolutions and zoom range. That is basically all that you need from a lens like this. It gives excellent value for money, considering the normal price range of a telescopic Sony lens. There are many features that improve its attractiveness to the user, like compatibility with a polarizing filter, good minimum focus distance, image stabilization, weather protection, and more. If you are looking for convenience and range on an A7 Sony camera at a good price, then this is the way to go.