Summary: Haven't had this for long, and bought a used copy as well (not thru Amazon - sorry guys!). Bought for use with an A55 to replace my current Sigma 17-70mm (the old style, non-HSM motor version) with which I just was underwhelmed due to a slight softness. This lens is FAST to focus and is near as I can tell SILENT. Honestly, you half-shutter press and it's just THERE. Initial inspection of test shots indicates its sharper too.
Summary: This is a great lens, no doubt. But I want to take a different approach when reviewing it. The photo gear fanboys will hate this but, I would like to factor in price. A lot of new (and old) non pro photographers think that if they don't have "the best" (and most costly) they can't take a good picture. This is totally false. Satisfying and great photos were taken with gear in the past that would be junk today.
Summary: From Minolta to Konica/Minolta to Sony I am now committed to the A mount lenses. This lens is the perfect walk around, all light conditions, fast focus and extremely sharp addition to my collection. It is heavy but to me that means sturdy. The zoom control is stiff, but to me that means well engineered close tolerances and long life.
Pros: Durable, Easily Interchangeable, Rugged, Sharp Focus, Strong Construction
Summary: Yes this is heavy, with all that glass it should be. Yes this is aesthetically pleasing, its a zeiss what else would you expect. But for a lot of cash this is not weather sealed, but neither are Sony pro-level cameras!! Basically you are getting what you pay for. A robust rugged reliable lens that is a pro-spec workhorse. The colours are stunning but there is some softness at corners and some CA in shots.
Summary: This is an excellent lens which I use with the 24 Mb Sony A850 camera. It is aimed at the serious amateur photographer and is heavy! That's the price you pay for the quality optics and the f2.8 aperture available over the entire zoom range. With this lens on your camera you won't be slipping it in your pocket but if you are this serious you probably have some filters and spare batteries and memory cards in a shoulder bag already.
Summary: nun habe ich es mir endlich geleistet (trotz div. meinungen bei kleiner blendenzahl vignetierung und randunschärfen...)- aber nicht zu so einem wahnsinnspreis. auch in österreich schon um "nur" 1290€ erhältlich! der erste eindruck ist ok, ich stelle das objektiv mal in die erste reihe zu dem sony zeiss 85/1.4 und sony 70-200G. die ideale ergänzung als "immerdrauf".