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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

4. Image resolution

The lens was tested on a Sony Alfa 100 reflex camera. The pictures were saved in both RAW and JPEG formats. The RAW files were converted without sharpening to the loss-free TIFF format, where MTF50 values were measured. The results for the frame center are presented below.

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

You can immediately notice high consistency for all focal length range and a very good performance at maximum relative aperture, which is slightly worse for the maximum results by f/5.6. These maximum results, reaching 43 lpmm, are worth the praise in themselves. The best primes reach 45-46 lpmm, and here we deal with a 5x zoom lens after all.

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

Much bigger difference between wide open and f/5.6-8 apertures can be seen for the frame corners but it is very difficult to avoid for a zoom lens with a quite wide angle and a significant telephoto. On the other hand the frame corner results are very impressive, especially in the 16-50 mm range, where the MTF level is about 35-39 lpmm- you can hardly complain about it. At maximum aperture the performance is not so good but, as we are going to see in a moment, the chromatic aberration, which increases quickly on stopping down, limits this lens’s possibilities.

To sum up, the Zeiss 16-80 mm performance is one of the best in its class of universal lenses, tested by us. The resolution will meet the requirements of even a very demanding user.

We finish with presenting the excerpts of the test charts of conventionally sharpened JPEG files.

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