Sony Carl Zeiss 16-35mm F4 OSS FE E-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 8   
reviewer#39946 date: Sep-30-2017
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 5
overall: 4.4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 17-35mm F2.8-4.0 (TAMRON)
Sigma DG 15-30mm F3.5-4.5
Sigma 18-35mm F3.5-4.5
Sigma DG 20-40mm F2.8
price paid:920
positive:SHARPNESS
OSS
Light
contrast
negative:16-20MM DISTORTION
BLUE SHIFT in color
EXPENSIVE
IQ at 35mm
comment:this is a good and convenience lens. the sharpness is flawless. The OSS did help a lot in dark environment. but the Distortion control is strange. below 20mm it seems fine across the frame and when you reach the last 10% near the edge, It suddenly Distort a lot.

The color is blue. it is fine if you shooting blue sky, you don't have to use CPL. but in some case you have to tune a lot.

the Minolta 17-35mm got a better color and distortion control then this, but the edge sharpness is so poor.

the Sigma 15-30mm is less contrast and purple edge and yellow color. also the EV control got problem and it is much lighter in EV then the preview.

Sigma 18-35mm share the same negative with Sigma 15-30mm and even more poor in sharpness

Sigma DG 20-40mm is not as sharp as SONY ZEISS, not as good color as Minolta, but it is definitely better than the Sigma 15-30mm and 18-35mm
reviewer#27596 date: Jun-4-2016
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Zeiss Batis 18mm f2.8
Zeiss Loxia 21mm f2.8
price paid:1249
positive:Superb Build
Excellent Sharpness at the right apertures
Has that Zeiss "Pop" and microcontrast
Surprising sharpness in all corners and sides
negative:You need to test the lens out to discover the proper apertures in which to derive the best results.
comment:I was aware there were a number of less than good copies running around the world so was initially leery of working with one of these lenses. However getting fortunate with a great copy, I'm finding this lens indispensable for interior shots as well as full on landscapes and such. The versatility of the 16 to 35 reach is also huge as opposed to needing to change lenses. You can see a few samples of extremes such as 16mm at f8 and 35mm at f5.6 at the following links.
http://www.pbase.com/traveler/image/163377015/original
http://www.pbase.com/traveler/image/163377013/original
reviewer#21440 date: Dec-2-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 20mm f/2.8
Sony E 35mm f/1.8
Minolta 28-105mm f/e.5-5.6 at 35mm
price paid:1100 USD (used)
positive:sharp across the whole image
reasonable size
negative:heavy for a mirrorless lens
IQ is weakest at 35mm
comment:This zoom is very good, mostly because it is sharp across the whole image frame. It is better than the old Minolta prime at 20mm. You would want this lens for its performance from 16mm to ~28mm. It is weakest at 35mm, where the Minolta 28-105mm zoom is just as good and the native E-mount 35mm prime is much better.
reviewer#18377 date: Oct-14-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony SEL1810, Tamron 11-18, Tamron 10-24, Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15 mk3, Sigma 12-24 DG.
price paid:£679.00
positive:The name. Sharp.
negative:Size, weight, distortion at 16mm
comment:I wanted this lens so much but I hardly use it. There is something, that I cannot quite put my finger on, that I just do not like about the images. Edge distortion is hard to control even with a geared head on the tripod.
reviewer#17339 date: Aug-22-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony CZ 16-35 f2.8 Ver 1
Tokina AT-X Pro 17mm F3.5 - adapter to A7Rii
price paid:1,575 Cdn
positive:For a zoom it is quite sharp and has reasonably good corners and edges.
Well built and very lightweight.
Quick and very quiet AF and superb IQ
OSS works well on A7R, A7ii and even better with the A7Rii
negative:Distortion, however, it is perfectly compensated for in LR and C1.
No aperture ring
Focus by wire - not a huge deal as it responds nicely and accurately
comment:I owned the Sony CZ 16-35 F2.8 and sold it along with all my heavy A-mount gear. I do miss the extra stop of the F2.8, however, this FE version is a dream to use and the IQ in real life shooting is every bit as good as the F2.8.
I have read about soft corners and less than stellar IQ especially at 35mm. It isn't perfect at 35 but stop down to F8 + and the corners sharpen up reasonably well and the IQ is pretty decent. Between 16mm - 30mm it is very good in all respects - remembering this is a zoom NOT a prime like the Zeiss Batis 25mm F2. I have prints from my A7ii and the 16-35 F4 at 17x22 that are stunning and even the pixel peepers will be hard pressed to find fault.
One reviewer complained about the poor build and the paint wearing off. I am very hard on gear and two days after receiving the lens I bounced around Death Valley for 7 days with my gear both over my shoulder on a tripod and also lying in the back of the 4x4. A few weeks later I shot the Oregon coast with several days of strong winds and blowing sand - guess what not a mark on the lens and no dust inside.
Flare is well controlled but possibly if you are less than careful in your composition it will flare.
I only listed my two ultra wide angles as it is not a fair comparison when comparing to longer focal lengths and especially primes at longer focal lengths.
The is an absolute keeper for an Ultra Wide Angle zoom and the convenience it provides.
reviewer#16327 date: Jul-26-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.1
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:SEL2470Z
SEL70200G
Sigma 35 1.4 DG HSM
price paid:Rented for 2 weeks
positive:Sharp over the whole range
OSS works great with A7ii

negative:f/4 is not fast enough
The coating of the metal is not very robust.
comment:This lens is a great item, I learned to like it a lot while I had it in intensive use for 2 weeks. Results are better in it's class than those of the 2470Z.

While heavy driving in the bush the coating of the metal has been heavily damaged, the SEL70200G on the other hand did not get a single scratch. Such an expensive lens deserves a better coating.

And f4 is not fast enough. That fits for a tele and maybe a standard lens, but a wide angle should be faster.
reviewer#12081 date: Jan-6-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tokina 11-16 f/2.8
Nikon 16-35 f/4
Nikon 14-24 f/2.8
Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2
Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8
price paid:1350 USD
positive:Solid feel and build
Reliable weather sealing
Great close focusing
Sharp for a zoom
negative:Colors appear colder than they really are
Barrel distortion at 16mm
comment:Build & Ergonomics: In the hand the lens feels solid and weighty, but not overly unbalanced on the A7. You can feel the quality metal used for a lens at this price point vs plastic competitors. I've been shooting in windy rain and snow conditions and everything seems up to stuff.
Construction of the zoom mechanism is solid, the front element extends at shorter focal lengths but does not feel flimsy. With the SEL41635z you are met with a good smooth resistance on the zoom ring. Adjust the focal length by rotating the ring as intended and not by pushing the front element inward. Sounds obvious but shouldn't be overlooked.
Ergonomics of the rings aren't distracting for functionality. Finding infinity is a little bit difficult, I just let the camera focus to infinity on its own which seems to be most accurate for me. The lens focuses closely at less than one foot which is a good plus.

Coloration: Colors feel a bit cold to me. When reviewing raw files I can recognize that the images captured are slightly off.
Edit: Double checked my WB and colors are still a bit soft so my rating doesn't change here.

Sharpness & Distortion: This lens is priced adequately for its performance among its competitors. It is not a prime lens so don't expect prime sharpness. It is good for a zoom lens that doesn't cost above 2 grand USD. In the corners, sharpness is less of an issue as distortion is more distracting, but only at wide open ends of 16mm.

I've been shooting landscapes and starscapes with this lens so I know where it tends to distort and soften. Yes corners, but at 16mm. Easy fix in Lightroom, lens profile is available which takes care of distortion. Slightly more distortion than similarly priced competitors, but nothing out of expectation.

Flare: I can make any lens flare with poor technique and angling, but flare is predictable and not overly distracting as other 70mm+ front elements tend to be.

Focus seems accurate and doesn't excessively hunt in dim lighting conditions. At least on the A7.

OSS: I can shoot at 1/30th of a second sharply and reliably, with the OSS activated I've been shooting consistently at 1/4th of a second with sharp photos and up to 1/2 of a second with good technique. OSS really does well. 3 stops of reliable compensation which is good because I shoot low light hand held still often.

Overall, lens is fine. Above average performance for above average cost. Great for stills and landscapes or even indoors. I'm keeping this lens with no intention of selling.
reviewer#12050 date: Dec-7-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 3
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Zeiss FE 35mm f2.8 SEL35F28Z
Tokina AF 19-35mm f3.5-4.5
Sony FE 28-70mm f3.5-5.6
Sony E 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS
price paid:1500 AUD (~1300USD)
positive:Sharp
Great corners
Well balanced
Weather sealed
Great OSS, 1/6sec handheld is sharp
Included hood and lens bad
Distortion is well controlled
Perfect match for the A7 line
negative:Colour is lacking. The Tokina AF 19-35mm f3.5-4.5 has nicer blues.
AF is unreliable at close focus. I still haven't cleaned my sensor, it may be affecting it
Lens cap feels to close to the front element
Not a metal hood and the lens bag isn't as nice as the Sigma ones
Maybe to expensive for what it is
comment:I've owned the Zeiss FE 16-35mm f4 OSS for a week and used it every day. Its a good lens but not great. The colour is so muted to what I expected. Not completely dull and lifeless, just no punch. I presume similar colour rendering to the Zeiss 35, its not being too cool for my liking. Auto focus continues to be a problem. I must have this calibrated. Out of the box it annoying broken at short ranges @ f4 regardless of lighting. I find my self manually focusing this lens. The focus ring is nice but legacy glass is my goto and the delay of the focus my wire is noticeable.

Size and weight have been no concern. Its very well balanced with or without the battery grip. Handheld 1/6 of a second is as slow as I can go. It doesn't matter if its at 16 or 35, 1/6 works, 1/4 is a mess. The OSS worked really well when mounted on a tripod in windy conditions. When the wind picked up, with the tripod on loose gravel, somewhere around 10-12 seconds the OSS became overwhelmed. Min focus distance is at the right length for me. I have become accustom to working at ~30cm because of the Zeiss 35.

Is 16mm enough, nope, I want wider. The surprisingly good E 10-18 F4 OSS allow can go as wide as 12-12.5mm with allowable compromises. Its also cheaper and a very good focal range on APS-C (15-28).

As currently the only native full frame ultra wide zoom for the FE line you have little option if you want auto focus, weather sealing and OSS. You can adapt Zeiss 16-35 A 2.8, its probably weather sealed but I doubt the LA-EA4 adapter is. If you want a much smaller and lighter kit the E 10-18 is very sharp and cover the sensor between ~12-17mm, its also F4 with OSS. The likes of Canon and Nikon have cheaper similar performing glass but you will need a MetaBones like adapter and you loss AF.

I recommend this lens
reviews found: 8   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 8
  • sharpness: 4.69
  • color: 4.25
  • build: 4.75
  • distortion: 4.00
  • flare control: 4.75
  • overall: 4.49

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