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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

8. Vignetting

All of the zooms tested by us with the focal length range from 16-18 mm to 70-85 mm, had a lot of problems with vignetting. The worst case was probably the Nikkor 18-70, who lost as much as 50% of illumination in the frame corners. The Sigma 17-70 fared only slightly better, having the result of 40% . We were curious all the more how the Zeiss 16-80 will manage because it is not only small but also it has the biggest zoom.

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


In a nut shell it didn’t manage at all, having here the biggest slip-up during the whole test. At 16 mm and the maximum relative aperture the corner illumination loss was as much as 42% (-1.6 EV). On stopping down it decreases but not very efficiently because by f/4.0 it’s still 34% and by f/5.6 as much as 21%, Even by f/8.0 the vignetting is still quite perceptible – 18%.

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Sigma 17-70 mm and Nikkor 18-70 mm at least improved at the middle focal length range. With Zeiss it’s a different story – its dimensions backfire here and there is only slight improvement. The best result we get at 30 mm where, wide open, the corner illumination loss is just 24% (-0.79 EV). On stopping down to f/5.6 the vignetting decreases to 16% and only by f/8.0 it reaches an imperceptible level of 10%.

With the increase of the focal length the situation is getting worse again. At 50 mm and by f/4.5 the illumination loss is as much as 30% (-1.04 EV). By f/5.6 the vignetting is 24% and by f/8.0 – 16%. Only by f/11 the vignetting stops being a problem.

The situation is very similar at 80 mm – there, vignetting increases to 30% again . By f/5.6 it decreases to 21%. By f/8.0 it reaches 12%, by f/11 it falls to an imperceptible level of 7%.

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

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

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