Posts tagged sony
Sony 24-105mm f/4 G Series Lens: A Travel Review

When I packed my bag for four days in London this summer, I limited myself to a pretty small camera setup. It wasn’t quite as small as my trip to Paris and Amsterdam where I only took a 50mm lens with my Nikon D750, but it wasn’t far off.

Into my bag went a Sony a7RII, a Sony 50mm 1.8, and the new Sony 24-105mm f/4 G Series lens. Actually, I picked up the 24-105 specifically for this trip. I’m not the biggest fan of zoom lenses in general, but the versatility and small build of such a long lens intrigued me.

Luckily, it arrived two days before I took off. Thanks, FedEx.

Look and Feel

The first thing I noticed was the build quality compared to the 50mm I owned. Every bit of it felt high quality and able to withstand a tough day of shooting anywhere in the world. When attached to the a7RII, it looks like it was built to be an upscale kit lens. The focus hold button midway up the barrel is also a great addition that doesn’t get in the way when not being utilized.

Weight

So the tradeoff with a zoom lens is usually in the weight department, you gain more focal length and lose portability. For the 24-105mm I feel that the tradeoff is more than fair. After lugging it around the streets of London pretty much every day of the trip, the extra 1.46 lbs (663 g) didn’t bother me at all.

Sure it’s not as light as the newer Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, which is a fantastically light 1.2 lbs, but the Sony 24-105mm makes up for that lost weight and aperture with some fantastic images, a longer focal length, and ease of use.

Images

Like I said before, I’m generally not a zoom lens fan, but when you need to be out all day taking photos, a lens that can cycle through focal lengths quickly and without having to change aperture can be invaluable.

Sony 24-105mm at 87mm, 1/320 sec. at f/7.1. ISO 100.

Sony 24-105mm at 87mm, 1/320 sec. at f/7.1. ISO 100.

One of the first things that drew me to the 24-105mm was a review on PetaPixel where photographer QT Luong talked about how he doesn’t usually shoot with wide open aperture. I’m pretty similar in that way, especially when it comes to traveling. At only f/4, the 24-105mm is slower than the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 but having that extra 25mm in focal length was what really hooked me.

When I take travel shots, the majority of them are outside and don’t call for stopping down my lens to f/2.8 or below. Sure I don’t always get that smooth bokeh when staying at f/4, but I do get more control over what is shown in the image. For me, that’s the critical part.

Sony 24-105mm at 75mm, 1/320 sec. at f/4. ISO 100

Sony 24-105mm at 75mm, 1/320 sec. at f/4. ISO 100

The Sony 24-105mm f/4 allowed me to walk around and take some beautiful portraits, landscape shots, and medium-range street-style photos without having to change lenses once. The in body image stabilization also comes in really handy when shooting at the longer focal lengths.

Sony 24-105mm at 51mm, 1/40 sec. at f/4. ISO 400

Sony 24-105mm at 51mm, 1/40 sec. at f/4. ISO 400

Travel

When I went to Paris and Amsterdam in 2015, I took my Nikon D750 and only a 50mm lens as a way to challenge myself photographically. Since that time I’d switched to a much smaller Sony body and wasn’t as concerned about the weight factor of carrying around more than one lens. The 24-105mm fit perfectly in the bottom of my Peak Design 20L Everyday Backpack, attached to the Sony a7RII.

Sony 24-105mm at 105mm, 1/500 sec. at f/9. ISO 200

Sony 24-105mm at 105mm, 1/500 sec. at f/9. ISO 200

With the weightiest piece in the bottom of the bag, I rarely felt it as I walked around the British capital. My camera setup was actually slightly more substantial than when I did the 50mm challenge, but the smaller form factor made it easier to hold on my body all day.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a lens that can do it all right out of the box but is still an upgrade over a kit style lens, the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G Series might be precisely what you’re looking for.

After working with the 24-105mm for almost six months, it’s easily one of my best purchases for the Sony E-mount ecosystem.

You can view more about the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G Series lens here and purchase it on Amazon using the button below.

Why I Switched From Nikon to Sony

If you’ve spent any amount of time with a photographer, you’ll have no doubt heard about their preferred brand of camera and why it’s the best thing to use.

For me that was Nikon. I started with a little Nikon D3200 that was a perfect beginner camera. It had all the main manual functions that I knew how to use at a pretty low price point.

After that, I picked up a Nikon D750 and was entirely in love with it. I paired it with a 24-120mm f/4 zoom lens, a 50mm 1.8 and an 85mm 1.8 D series lens. The 85mm was my absolute favorite, and I couldn’t get enough of its swirly bokeh and tack sharpness. 

Shot with a Nikon D750 with a Nikon 24-120mm lens in Austin, TX.

Shot with a Nikon D750 with a Nikon 24-120mm lens in Austin, TX.

The D750 was the perfect mix of functionality, style, and effectiveness. I was able to capture 1080p video with the ability to switch quickly back to a brilliant portrait style camera. 

Travel

Shot with a Nikon D750 with a 50mm 1.8D lens in Paris, France.

Shot with a Nikon D750 with a 50mm 1.8D lens in Paris, France.

In 2016 I packed up my D750 and a single 50mm lens for a trip to Paris and Amsterdam. The ensuing photos are some of my absolute favorites, but the experience of carrying around the D750 with a small lens and battery pack was less than ideal. More and more I found myself trying to pare down my kit for a lighter travel load, and the D750 wasn’t cutting it. 

A full day of walking around the canals of Amsterdam left me with a pretty sore neck and back. 

Video

Another breaking point was the inability to shoot 4K video and Nikon not having a line of dedicated cinema cameras. I didn’t want to invest more money in a system that wasn’t compatible with my future endeavors. Canon has the C-series line of pro camcorders, and Sony’s FS camcorders are quickly catching up while Nikon focuses mainly on DSLR’s.  

Finding a Replacement

I narrowed my options down to the Canon 5D Mark IV and the Sony a7Rii, but after going into a store and handling both cameras, the small form factor of the mirrorless Sony easily won out over the bulkier Canon. 

I based a lot of my decision on ease of use when traveling and the a7Rii beat the 5D Mark IV on size alone. I pack almost exclusively in a carry-on so space is premium and the smaller footprint of the Sony won out.

Shot with the Sony a7Rii with a Sony 50mm 1.8 lens in Seattle.

Shot with the Sony a7Rii with a Sony 50mm 1.8 lens in Seattle.

My kit now consists of the Sony a7Rii with a Sony 50mm 1.8 and the new Sony 24-105mm f/4 which has been incredible. 

Lens Mount

One of my favorite things about the Sony system is its ability to accept other company's lenses through adapters. You can put an adapter on a Nikon, but you lose a lot of the functionality. With something like the Metabones EF to E T Smart Adapter you can use all the autofocus functions of Sony cameras while using newer Canon lenses. 

Shot with a Sony a7Rii with a Metabones T Smart Adapter and a Canon 70-200mm IS lens in Houston.

Shot with a Sony a7Rii with a Metabones T Smart Adapter and a Canon 70-200mm IS lens in Houston.

Drawbacks of the Sony a7Rii

My biggest qualm with the a7Rii is that its small size means that battery life is pretty awful, especially when shooting video. The batteries themselves are tiny and don’t hold a charge for very long. I’ve found a bit of a compromise by rigging up an external battery pack that extends my shooting by a ton, but it adds to the bulk. To be clear, it’s only a small problem, but can be annoying when traveling and not going back to your home base all day long. 

The new Sony a7iii has a unique style battery that is said to almost double the battery life of the NP-FW50 battery that fits the a7Rii, which I’m eager to try out. You can read more about the new a7iii here

Shot with Sony a7Rii with a Sony 50mm 1.8 lens in Seattle.

Shot with Sony a7Rii with a Sony 50mm 1.8 lens in Seattle.

Conclusion

I’ve had my Sony setup for about seven months now, and I can’t remember a single time when I’ve regretted the switch from Nikon. After spending some time traveling with the new setup, the smaller weight, superior video specs, and fabulous low-light capabilities have only confirmed that I made the right choice. 

Now to get my hands on a Sony FS5 and see how my set of lenses looks on a full-fledged pro cinema camera. 

Sony a7 III: The New King of Travel

Boasting touch screen controls, fast tracking eye autofocus, a new full-frame 24.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor and dual SD-card slots, the new Sony a7 III may just be the best camera for travel enthusiasts. 

At only $2,000 for a body-only model, Sony has jam-packed its supposed "entry-level" full frame mirrorless camera with most of the bells and whistles found on higher end models like the a9 or a7R III that start at $3,200. Chief among them is the ability to shoot Ultra HD video in 4k at up to 30fps and 120fps images at 1080p for those buttery smooth slow motion shots. All of this comes wrapped in a small, mirrorless body, perfect for fitting in a suitcase or carry-on. 

The best thing about the new a7 III is that Sony has rethought the battery. One of my chief complaints about my Sony a7R II is that the battery dies way too quickly. With the new NP-FZ100 batteries for the a7 III,  Sony has dramatically increased capacity to 710 shots per battery life, more than enough for a long day out sightseeing. 

You can preorder now for an early April release date. Also, skip the kit lens version and go body only and pair it with a nice 50mm prime to start, you'll be happy you did.