Sony Carl Zeiss 16-35mm F2.8 ZA SSM Vario-Sonnar T* A-mount lens review by Mitchins

reviewer#11588 date: Jan-6-2014
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 17-35mm
Minolta 20mm F2.8
Minolta 28mm F2.8
Minolta 24-105mm
Sony 28-75mm SAM
price paid:1800 AUD (New)
positive:Built like a tank,
Lovely Zeiss Bokeh and rendition
Great focusing and handling
negative:Heavy and large.
The corners never sharpen up fully.
comment:This lens is the best UWA zoom available for the alpha-mount.

Centre Sharpness is superb, corner sharpness leaves a little to be desired (at any combination of settings).
Flare control is superb and really, really good.
Distortion is a little stronger than what I would classify as superb, but good by standards of zooms.

It can produce lovely images, with that Zeiss feel.
It's sharpe, more contrasty, and better renderung than the Sigma 17-35mm, and the Minolta 28mm F2.8 (an average prime).

The Sony 28-75mm SAM produced sharper corner results when tested at comparable apertures and focal lengths but that would be expected (although it had lower contrast).

I feel that the Minolta 20mm F2.8 produces more amazing pictures in terms of contrast and sharpness in my view and so I am selling the Zeiss in favour of the 20mm.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 57
  • sharpness: 4.66
  • color: 4.95
  • build: 4.86
  • distortion: 4.47
  • flare control: 4.42
  • overall: 4.67 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania