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Lens review

Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5

25 August 2009
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • solid, tasteful but, in the same time, compact body,
  • very universal focal length range,
  • excellent picture quality at all apertures and focal lengths,
  • good control of chromatic aberration,
  • very little distortion at 16 mm upwards,
  • slight astigmatism,
  • sensible autofocus work,
  • a lens hood and a case in the set.

Cons:

  • high vignetting at all focal lengths,
  • noisy autofocus.

We have no doubts – the users of equipment made by other producers can only envy the owners of Sony and Konica-Minolta reflex cameras because Zeiss 16-80 is a very fine universal lens. In fact, no other system offers anything priced so well. The Canon fans have a bit cheaper 17-85 IS but it is decidedly less fast, bigger and with worse optics. The Nikon system offers good and cheaper 18-70 mm but his optical quality is worse and the range – not so universal. Pentax offers nothing like that and perhaps only the Olympus 14-54 is able to compete with Zeiss although its focal lengths range is a bit smaller.

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Of course we still have the Sigma 17-70 mm on the market, a tad worse optically than Zeiss but also two times cheaper. It is not an argument against the Sony company, though, quite the opposite in fact. The reflex cameras users have a good choice between the cheapest plastic kit 18-70 through a very interesting Sigma 17-70 with a very good price-quality ratio, to the well-made Zeiss. Additionally a new model with even more universal parameters 16-105 mm has appeared on the horizon recently. Indeed, amateur photographers can feel thoroughly pampered. We just have to wait and see what will be suggested by Sony for more advanced users because the Sony system still lacks a lens with perhaps a smaller focal lengths range but faster and with a more efficient autofocus based on the SSM motor.


Sample shots

Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 80 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.4 MB
Camera: Sony A700
Parameters: 16 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 4272x2848 pix, 7.3 MB
Camera: Sony A700
Parameters: 28 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 250
File: JPG, 4272x2848 pix, 7.7 MB
Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary
Camera: Sony A700
Parameters: 50 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 250
File: JPG, 4272x2848 pix, 6.3 MB
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 80 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.5 MB
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 50 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/80 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.7 MB
Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 80 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 1.7 MB
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 16 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.6 MB
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 50 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/60 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.3 MB
Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80 mm f/3.5-4.5 - Summary
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 80 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/40 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.0 MB
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 16 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/100 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 5.9 MB
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 35 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.5 MB




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