The above lens is a Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G lens . It cost me £235 from Amazon marketplace. It's sharp across the frame and the pictures I took with it today on my Sony A7r (via Metabones adapter) are VERY impressive.
Now this is of course a lens the like of which Sony don't make or will ever make. It has no IS, which makes it relatively light, and there are no headline grabbing features. It's just a basic, functional, simple lens that will probably continue turning out great pictures for years to come without ever having anyone discuss it on the photographic internet. For what I do it's VERY useful and those 36MP on the A7r are not compromised in the least by the performance of the lens. It is, by some distance, a better lens than the 28-70mm FE zoom and I suspect than the 24-70mm Zeiss FE zoom as well. And it begs the question, if I don't need AF, which in most cases I don't, why on earth should I / would I bother with the 'native' Sony FE lenses.
Because firstly, Sony (as yet) don't have a decent standard zoom. And secondly their lens releases seem to get more and more difficult to comprehend. Above the (admittedly excellent) 55mm f/1.8 in terms of focal length, there are just two lenses. The 840g, ludicrously expensive 70-200mm zoom and the recently announced 90mm f/2.8 macro, which from the pictures is also a fair size and weight and I imagine not cheap either. Now Sony have given us the 28-135mm £2000+ 1215g video lens. (I've love to know how many of these they sell) A 28mm with fisheye and 21mm adapter lenses and another 35mm lens. The f/1.4 which again looks a brute of a lens and a brute of a price I'm sure. Oh and the 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 superzoom.
Now I have to say that none of these have me waiting impatiently to get my hands on them. They are all too big, too slow or too expensive. (or combinations thereof) And compared to the Fuji X lens range, this is the usual Sony dogs dinner. So, my plan to use my Nikons on my A7r, which is the only Sony camera I'm interested in keeping long term (unless that rumoured 50MP version actually appears) is becoming more and more attractive to me, particularly after my positive experiences with the zoom today.
I mentioned Fuji and their somewhat 'traditional' lens range. There is a course a reason for this tradition and that is these lenses work and they have proved themselves over the years to be useful to photographers. Fuji have APS-C equivalents of 21mm f/2.8, 28mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4 and 90mm f/2.4 macro out already and they have APS-C versions of the 'old school' 135mm f/2 and 180mm f/2.8 coming out. There are also two f/2.8 pro spec. zooms and a superzoom as well as other cheaper, yet high quality standard zooms. Traditional? yes, Useful? you bet. And yes it's the APS-C advantage, but then thats exactly why it is an advantage, smaller, lighter, cheaper, faster lenses. Sony chose to make the FE system 'FF' and those who clamoured for it now have to accept the consequences of what that means for the lenses.
But it doesn't have t be that way. Sony could give us smaller, lighter primes. They wouldn't be 'sexy', they wouldn't have specs. designed to promote internet chattering and they would be simple, high quality and get the job done. Just like Nikon in fact. But then Sony don't seem inclined to make them for the FE system. Instead, we are still waiting for a decent 'standard zoom' some useful primes and an idea that Sony have a focus and a determination to provide us with a comprehensive lens range. There is of course a-mount, but who wants to be using an adapter and lenses not designed for the system? Well certainly not me, because can I do that already with my Metabones adapter and some Nikon primes and zooms already. And from the results that appear in front of me on the screen, those Nikons do it better.
Now some may have to have AF and the lenses available are just what they want, but I don't and they are not. So I see little point in having money tied up in gear that I've got covered elsewhere. The A7r is my landscape / location / scenic camera that I use in good light, to produce high resolution, high MP images for high level reproduction. And I can do that with my Nikon and Voigtlander lenses and manual focus. The focus peaking is quick and easy to use and I get to carry around zooms that are lighter smaller and cheaper than the Sony FE 'native lenses'. And a damn sight cheaper as well. So for me it's a no-brainer.
Anybody want a mint condition, hardly used 55mm f/1.8? If so watch my ebay ad, it'll be there soon.