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Ed Rooney

Sony Zeiss E 24 f/ 1.8 vs. Sony Vario-Tessar 16-70 f/ 4

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I'm late to the party as usual, but thanks Niels,  I'm very interested in hearing positive noises about the Zeiss zoom. Could be persuaded to flog remaining Canon kit to fund purchase, but still uncertain.....

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Kurt Munger reviewed the 16-70 and was disappointed:

 

kurtmunger.com/sony_zeiss_16_70mm_f_4id354.html

 

He only included a few 100% crops and without providing the full frame they are hard to judge, but looking at my test shots again my copy seems to be a tiny little bit sharper. Also where he says the wide end is the best, and the lens becomes progressively worse towards the long end, mine is the opposite and seems to be getting better instead. Sample variation?

 

I'm glad I got the lens before reading this review; it could have changed my mind. Now that I have it and have shot some test images, I'm pretty confident I'll be happy with it and have decided to keep it. In the end, I think it's a maybe not a perfect lens, but a good optical compromise in a small and lightweight package. Just a bit overpriced, that's all ;-)

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Kurt Munger reviewed the 16-70 and was disappointed:

 

kurtmunger.com/sony_zeiss_16_70mm_f_4id354.html

 

He only included a few 100% crops and without providing the full frame they are hard to judge, but looking at my test shots again my copy seems to be a tiny little bit sharper. Also where he says the wide end is the best, and the lens becomes progressively worse towards the long end, mine is the opposite and seems to be getting better instead. Sample variation?

 

I'm glad I got the lens before reading this review; it could have changed my mind. Now that I have it and have shot some test images, I'm pretty confident I'll be happy with it and have decided to keep it. In the end, I think it's a maybe not a perfect lens, but a good optical compromise in a small and lightweight package. Just a bit overpriced, that's all ;-)

Thanks for posting this, Neils. I usually enjoy Kurt Munger's reviews. It sounds as if the quality control on this lens isn't that dependable. I guess that even the the "Zeiss" badge doesn't ensure consistency these days. If you got a good one, you had better hang onto it. Are you finding the 16-70 noticeably "better" optically than Sony's 18-55mm e-mount lens? If so, in what way(s)?

 

If money were no object (it definitely is), I might consider investing in this lens. As it is, I have to figure out how to pay for the NEX-6 body that I ordered recently. Still hoping than Sigma or Tamron will come out with a reasonably priced mid-range zoom for the NEX line. Not holding my breath, though.

Edited by John Mitchell

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I'm not the one to go shoot endless boring test images with both lenses, but so far I think the Zeiss is overall sharper (no more downsizing for Alamy), has less vignetting, and has considerably less distortion than the 18-55. The build quality is also a step up.

And more importantly for me, the increased zoom range, especially at the wide end.

Less time spent swapping lenses, less time spent post processing, more time spent taking pictures.

Having said that, the 18-55 is not bad and I'll be keeping it together with my NEX-3 and 16/2.8 as a small backup system. Most likely if it's been working fine for you with your 3, it will do so with the 6 too.

 

The real test for the Zeiss will be on my next trip six weeks from now (to Hawaii)...  B)

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I'm not the one to go shoot endless boring test images with both lenses, but so far I think the Zeiss is overall sharper (no more downsizing for Alamy), has less vignetting, and has considerably less distortion than the 18-55. The build quality is also a step up.

And more importantly for me, the increased zoom range, especially at the wide end.

Less time spent swapping lenses, less time spent post processing, more time spent taking pictures.

Having said that, the 18-55 is not bad and I'll be keeping it together with my NEX-3 and 16/2.8 as a small backup system. Most likely if it's been working fine for you with your 3, it will do so with the 6 too.

 

The real test for the Zeiss will be on my next trip six weeks from now (to Hawaii)...  B)

Don't blame you, I would make a terrible lens-tester. I actually find the build quality on the 18-55 to be quite good, especially when compared to Sony's plastic fantastic A-mount kit lenses. If I win the lottery (fat chance there), I'll run out and buy the 16-70. No doubt the price will drop, but probably not that much. I'm also going to hang on to my trusty NEX-3 for backup. I never like to travel with just one camera body. Hawaii sounds like a great idea. 

Edited by John Mitchell

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I thought I'd post a quick update on the 16-70/4 Zeiss lens after some real world use. The lens was on my Nex-7 most of the time during a trip to Hawaii last month and it performed wonderfully. I'd say most reviews online are accurate as were my initial impressions, i.e. optically the lens is a bit of a compromise with very sharp center and much softer edges/corners. However in real world use this hasn't been a problem. I haven't had to downsize any images for Alamy to increase perceived sharpness, this is a big improvement over the kit lens. I did have some CA in most images but that's an easy fix in LR5. All submitted images passed QC.

 

All together still a very pricey lens but on the other hand there is nothing else offering the same convenience, zoom range, small size, low weight, and AF. It really has brought the Nex-7 to life for me and I've now sold my DSLRs and most lenses and am planning to get the Sony 10-18 and 55-210 to complete my kit (no more juggling with adapters).

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I thought I'd post a quick update on the 16-70/4 Zeiss lens after some real world use. The lens was on my Nex-7 most of the time during a trip to Hawaii last month and it performed wonderfully. I'd say most reviews online are accurate as were my initial impressions, i.e. optically the lens is a bit of a compromise with very sharp center and much softer edges/corners. However in real world use this hasn't been a problem. I haven't had to downsize any images for Alamy to increase perceived sharpness, this is a big improvement over the kit lens. I did have some CA in most images but that's an easy fix in LR5. All submitted images passed QC.

 

All together still a very pricey lens but on the other hand there is nothing else offering the same convenience, zoom range, small size, low weight, and AF. It really has brought the Nex-7 to life for me and I've now sold my DSLRs and most lenses and am planning to get the Sony 10-18 and 55-210 to complete my kit (no more juggling with adapters).

Thanks for the update, Niels. I've been wondering how you've been making out with the 16-70. After I win the lottery (fat chance), I intend to buy one unless another option comes along. The three lenses that you mention sound like an excellent choice for us zoom addicts. The 55-210 could be faster, I find -- f/6.3 is a bit slow at the long end. But it is capable of giving very good results. The 10-18 is also on my covet list. At the moment, I'm using the 16mm "pancake lens" with the Sony ultra wide adapter for occasional wide shots. It's actually not bad if you're careful (results pass Alamy) but definitely far from ideal.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Fellas, Check the closeup frame on the far side of the pond here to see how sharp the Sony Zeiss 24 f/1.8 is:  http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-pond-ed-rooney.html

 

Yes, the 10-18 is very attractive. Spring will visit NYC the day after tomorrow, and I will be out with my RX10.  :)

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Fellas, Check the closeup frame on the far side of the pond here to see how sharp the Sony Zeiss 24 f/1.8 is:  http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-pond-ed-rooney.html

 

Yes, the 10-18 is very attractive. Spring will visit NYC the day after tomorrow, and I will be out with my RX10.  :)

True, there is no doubt that the 24 f/1.8 is a superior lens. But we zoom addicts need our fix. Personally, I've always loved the convenience of zooms and am willing to make a few sacrifices. Hope there is now a spring in your step.

 

Nice shot BTW -- shows the green side of NYC very well.

Edited by John Mitchell

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I admit (have admitted recently) that I am bored with shooting almost everything with that one great lens, the same 36mm frame, for more than a year. That's why I bought the RX10 with its 24-200 view zoom.  

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Hello I would like to resurrect this thread if I may...So I'm thinking of getting a lens for my Sony a6000. Do you think I should go for the 24 1.8 or 16-70 f4?  Thank you!

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Hello I would like to resurrect this thread if I may...So I'm thinking of getting a lens for my Sony a6000. Do you think I should go for the 24 1.8 or 16-70 f4?  Thank you!

 

Apples and pears.

 

Do you want the convenience of a zoom or the quality of a prime? 

 

I use primes most of the time, but suspect that I am in a small minority. 24mm 1.8 way too expensive in my view, but parsimonious is my second name.

 

Zeiss 16-70 not badly priced for what you get, but just not quite good enough.

 

Welcome to the world of Sony E fit, great cameras, glass a problem.

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If I could buy a lens the equivalent of my Canon 24-105 for use with the NEX I would

 

It's very early days for me yet but the 16-50 looks good so far when compared with the Canon 24-105. It doesn't quite cover the same range at the upper end but it's not a long way off. Although my 24-105 has done sterling service and has passed QC many times and generated numerous sales, I do find I have to discard rather more shots than I would like for lack of sharpness, and I'm now wondering if this is because of the problems outlined by David above.

 

When we next get a sunny day I will pop out and take the same shot on both lenses and post the results.

 

Alan

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Apples and pears.

 

Do you want the convenience of a zoom or the quality of a prime? 

 

I use primes most of the time, but suspect that I am in a small minority. 24mm 1.8 way too expensive in my view, but parsimonious is my second name.

 

Zeiss 16-70 not badly priced for what you get, but just not quite good enough.

 

Welcome to the world of Sony E fit, great cameras, glass a problem.

 

I have actually tried searching for countless articles but I can't find a direct comparison between both lenses and there are both sides saying that there is marginal difference between the two.

 

I think the main reason why I am hesitating is that the 24 1.8 does not feature OSS. Would you have any thoughts on this and how it relates to real world shooting?

 

Thank you so much!

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If absolute image quality is your priority, go with primes. Sony also has a very good 35/1.8 with OSS, for half the price of the 24/1.8. I don't think you'll really miss the OSS on the 24mm though.

 

For convenience and versatility go with the zoom. The 16-70/4 might not have the same image quality as the primes but is still more than good enough for Alamy QC.

 

On a side note, I just got the Sony 10-18/4 and it's surprisingly good. Sharp across the frame (much more so than the 16-70), pretty good for an ultra wide.

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Apples and pears.

 

Do you want the convenience of a zoom or the quality of a prime? 

 

I use primes most of the time, but suspect that I am in a small minority. 24mm 1.8 way too expensive in my view, but parsimonious is my second name.

 

Zeiss 16-70 not badly priced for what you get, but just not quite good enough.

 

Welcome to the world of Sony E fit, great cameras, glass a problem.

 

I have actually tried searching for countless articles but I can't find a direct comparison between both lenses and there are both sides saying that there is marginal difference between the two.

 

I think the main reason why I am hesitating is that the 24 1.8 does not feature OSS. Would you have any thoughts on this and how it relates to real world shooting?

 

Thank you so much!

 

I'm a big fan of OSS. It can make a significant difference IME. I'm currently using the Sony 18-55 on my NEX-6 as a general walk-around lens. It's fine for Alamy. However, if I had the cash, I'd probably run out and buy the Zeiss 16-70. But then I'm an admitted zoom addict.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Apples and pears.

 

Do you want the convenience of a zoom or the quality of a prime? 

 

I use primes most of the time, but suspect that I am in a small minority. 24mm 1.8 way too expensive in my view, but parsimonious is my second name.

 

Zeiss 16-70 not badly priced for what you get, but just not quite good enough.

 

Welcome to the world of Sony E fit, great cameras, glass a problem.

 

I have actually tried searching for countless articles but I can't find a direct comparison between both lenses and there are both sides saying that there is marginal difference between the two.

 

I think the main reason why I am hesitating is that the 24 1.8 does not feature OSS. Would you have any thoughts on this and how it relates to real world shooting?

 

Thank you so much!

 

I'm a big fan of OSS. It can make a significant difference IME. I'm currently using the Sony 18-55 on my NEX-6 as a general walk-around lens. It's fine for Alamy. However, if I had the cash, I'd probably run out and buy the Zeiss 16-70. But then I'm an admitted zoom addict.

 

Me, too, John. I have some primes, but have never been able to do without my zooms. Especially for travel.  One is walking themselves to death as it is, then zoom with your feet?  Uh-uh.  I'd rather plant my tired feet and get the closeup and the distant from one spot.

The Fuji 56mm is stunning.  But I also get excellent images from the Fuji 18-55 and 10-24.  I can't complain about Fuji lenses, that's for sure. Although I would like the Touit 50mm macro.  It has 1:1 where Fuji's 60mm is 1:2 and tends to hunt. Although everyone says the images are excellent, whether using for macro or portraits. The 56mm is just better for portraits.  I can't quite understand why Zeiss couldn't make one for Fuji a little longer than 50mm.

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Alpha Lab has published a review (of sorts) of the Sony Zeiss 16-70 zoom for NEX cameras:

 

http://sonyalphalab.com/product-review/sony-e-mount-16-70mm-f4-oss-zeiss-lens-review-sel1670z/

 

I may have to mortgage the farm (Whoops! I already did that.) and buy this lens at some point.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Thanks for that John, seen through rose tinted specs I feel (I detect softness in the top left corner of those shots) but enough to make me think.  Sell Canon gear to buy????

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I just ordered  the Fuji X-T1 and the 18-55mm kit lens(always loved that lens) and the 10-24mm for now.

Should get in about a week. If I really love and it can keep up,then it it's time for me to leave DSLRs. Just too heavy and I'm not really gaining anything by using a FF body.

Next lens then would be the 56mm 1.2 and then I'll wait awhile for their newer offerings in summer or fall.

 

My clients seem to have lowered their standers to the point of oohing and ahhhing and iPhone photos....

 

L

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Thanks for that John, seen through rose tinted specs I feel (I detect softness in the top left corner of those shots) but enough to make me think.  Sell Canon gear to buy????

Yes, the Alpha Lab reviews do tend to be on the rosy side. Still, the 16-70 looks like a good fix for zoom addicts like me. I've already sold everything. Guess I could put my soul on eBay. B)

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I got the Zeiss 16-70/4 this week [.....]

 

Thought I'd give another update on the 16-70. One year on I have uploaded just over 200 images taken with the lens. 10 licenses so far. Not too bad I'd say.

 

I've had no QC issues at all. Soft corners haven't been a problem except for 3 or 4 images that had relevant detail in the extreme corners, I downsized those to 24 MB. Colour and contrast are quite good, well exposed images hardly need any processing at all.

 

All together very happy with my small Nex-7 kit with 10-18, 16-70 and 55-210 zooms and 35/1.8 prime. Maybe not the latest and greatest but it's small, it's lightweight and it does almost everything I want. I'm sure it will all pay for itself over time.

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I've been using a 16-70mm on an a6000 for about six months now, as my main kit. It's done everything I wanted to with it, the results are very good as NielsVK says, no problems with QC. I get more confident of it every time I use it.

 

I also use the 10-18mm on an a3000 and am very pleased with that combination. Images accepted here at all focal lengths of that lens. The a3000 has some oddball non-features, but the IQ is excellent, and the a3000 quirks don't get in the way much for my wide-angle uses.

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Hey, Bill -- how are you finding the a6000 compared to the NEX-6? 

 

I was just looking at the title of this post and thought what a silly comparison of lenses, apples and oranges.  Imagine my surprise when I found that it was me who started the post.  :wacko:

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My friend had given me a Sony A6000 and after 3 days I returned it to my friend. I didn't care for the image quality.

 

Soon after thought I'd try it again and ordered w/the kit lens.The camera could not read the lens and the lens literally fell apart in my hands.

 

I ordered another and it was defective.Batteries were dying in appx 20 mins after taking just a few photos.

 

Then 6 weeks or so later I bought the A7 and thought I should have a back up and got the A6000 body only on Black Friday. I used the 10-18mm,Full frame 55mm 1.8,24-70 f4 full frame.

 

Not happy with any of the images.

 

I gave it to my friend to check out that use to sell cameras for decades and is a photog and nothing he was getting showed any resemblance to quality.

 

So,I packed it up  and returned it today.

 

Sony does make some great cameras I just think QC is asleep at the wheel on certain batches.Especially the batches that get delivered to me. :-(

 

I'm still getting use to the A7. The only lens I like is the 55mm 1.8. I have the 24-70 which I think is mediocre compared to Canon/Nikon and others I've used thru the years.

 

This is not a fast focusing camera and I may consider the new A7II  with stabilization and faster AF.

 

L

Edited by Linda

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