Testing the Sony FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS for long exposure photography

IMG_20150417_145332I was very fortunate to get my hands on a Sony FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS and could not help but test it for long exposure.

You will see below some straight out of camera shots, as two new images that I was able to process. This is not meant to be a full review of the lens, more of a road test to see how well it works for long exposure photography.

General Comments: First of all, let me say that the lens is HUGE! It takes 95mm diameter filters, and feels very sturdy and smooth when using it. It also has a nice foot to mount it directly on a tripod head, which is a nice addition. I never used it though, because my setup was steady enough that I was not bothered by vibrations, however big the lens is.

A quick snapshot of my bag with the lens inside, together with the very nice 16-35 f/4:


One tip for doing long exposure: no matter the camera or lens, I ALWAYS wrap my setup with a cloth to avoid light leakage from the sides of the mount or lens. I used this lens in the same way, and you’ll see below that I had no diffraction issue: mission accomplished 🙂



Un-processed images: Now let’s look at a few “almost SOOC” images: (almost because some have been stitched)

DSC01342_adj copieEXIF: 28-135mm @28mm, f/8, ~8 minutes, ISO 50, ND16 Firecrest filter

Panorama sans titre2 copieEXIF: 2 images after stitching, 28-135mm @45mm, f/8, ~4 minutes each image, ISO 50, ND16 Firecrest filter

DSC01425 copieEXIF: 3 images after stitching, 28-135mm @72mm, f/8, ~3 minutes each image, ISO 100, ND16 Firecrest filter

 Pretty good, right? 🙂

Final images: Now let’s see a couple images after processing:

DSC01425 copie_resizeEXIF: 3 images after stitching, 28-135mm @72mm, f/8, ~3 minutes each image, ISO 100, ND16 Firecrest filter

DSC01509 copie_resize EXIF: 3 images after stitching, 28-135mm @80mm, f/8, ~3 minutes each image, ISO 100, ND16 Firecrest filter


Conclusion: I have made up my mind. Even if the lens is mostly made for video, it’s an amazing piece of hardware, including for long exposure. The constant f/4 aperture is also a great treat. I am going to make this lens a permanent addition to my gear!

As usual, don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions below or in PM.

6 thoughts on “Testing the Sony FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS for long exposure photography

  1. Gonzague Gay-Bouchery

    Bonjour 😉

    I am interested in getting this lens for Video. You mentioned diffraction (the lack off) without really going into details, can you please confirm that there are no diffraction whatsoever from F4 to 22?

    What is the sharpest aperture on this lens?


  2. thibaultroland Post author

    Salut Gonzague!
    To be honest, I did not have the lens long enough to test it deeply. So I can’t really tell you when it starts to diffract (if at all) nor what the sharpest aperture is. I did test it from f/4 to f/11 and did not notice any issue. On modern lenses usually the sharpest focus is around f/8 and I would advise as a general rule to go much smaller than f/11. It tends not to make a huge difference when you close more (unless you really want to be sharp from a meter away to infinity, which is rare) but risks of sensor dust can become a real issue.
    Sorry I could not help better!
    Please don’t hesitate to give us some feedback if you get the lens, and happy shooting!!

  3. Gonzague Gay-Bouchery

    Hey, no worries! I will investigate this further since I mainly shoot in 4K (sorry for the shameful plug http://www.tokyostreetview.com/) and sharpness is what matter the most for me here (What’s the point of shooting in 4K if all your shots are soft?!?!?)… And on my lens Diffraction start at F11 while the sharpest aperture is F4.5 (F2.8 Lens). So I will presume that not going beyond F11 on this lens is safe as well.

    Will let you know when I get one (along side the A7SII). BTW do you own the 16-35 from Sony too? If so any comments on this lens?

    Cheers from Japan.

  4. thibaultroland Post author

    No worries Gonzague for the link, I’ll check it out when i get a minute 🙂
    As you said, the sharpest aperture really depends on each lens, and tends to be at lower f/stop number the wider the lens. What lens is this you are talking about?

    Regarding the 16-35mm lens, yes I do have it. It’s a really good lens, even better rated than the Canon equivalent. A couple things you should keep in mind: if you use screw in filters at 16mm, unless the filter is slim mount it will vignette a little bit. Also some people have reported some diffraction issues when doing long exposure in particular conditions (directly facing the sun actually), which I’m assuming won’t be an issue for you 🙂

    Hope this helps!
    Salutations de Boston, USA 😀

  5. Gonzague Gay-Bouchery

    Thanks for the tip on the 16-35mm and indeed I will need an ND Filter. But after much discussion on some forum, it seems that the A7RII or A7SII are not as sharp in 4K as my actual gear (GH4). Which is quite a problem for me… I will have to wait to get a full review of the A7SII or even renting one before I invest on this new format.

    As for my lens, I was talking about the 12-35mm 2.8 from Panni, and actually I was wrong the diffraction on this lens start at F8 and this lens sweet spot seems to be around F4 and F4.5.

    Actually I may get a Sigma 18-35 Art and a Speedbooster that will give me the same focal length as my actual 12-35 but with even sharper images and this from F2.8 up to 5.6.

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