By site editor Dan Chung:
Sony have today officially announced the replacements for two of their top end A-mount stills Zeiss-branded zooms. The 24-70mm f2.8 ZA SSM II and 16-35mm f2.8 ZA SSM II are said to have improved image quality and faster autofocus compared to their predecessors. The new lenses also gain weather sealing.
It isn’t clear, but it seems the overall optical design may not have been changed much; outwardly, the new lenses look almost identical to the originals.
The original duo form the basis for my current Sony FS7 kit. Even though they need an adapter to work on E-mount cameras, regular followers of the blog will know that I prefer them to their E-mount sisters, or the Canon L zooms with a Metabones adapter. The reason is that they have a better manual focus ring and the option of manual iris control when used with a Novoflex MIN-AF to NEX adapter. You can also use them with the right Metabones Speedbooster and this too has a manual iris. If you want AF you can pair them with a Sony LA-EA4 or LA-EA2 and get a pretty usable system (although it has some quirks that limit maximum aperture and operation).
I find the optical quality and the build of the originals better than almost any other AF stills zooms I’ve used. Like most stills zooms they have some breathing and don’t hold focus 100% when zoomed, but they are very usable for news and documentary. The original 24-70mm f2.8 was included in our FS7 lens tests last year:
Until I get my hands on the new versions it will be hard to tell if it will be worth upgrading from the older ones. But if you are in the market for a pair of zooms for the FS7, then these are surely worth considering when they are available.