Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 ZA DT ( SAL-1680Z ) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews -
Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)
Page 1 of 3
Welcome to the revival of the Sony Alpha lens tests. You may have seen a few preliminary
reports here but this is the real start using the Alpha 700 as a base for obtaining the
data for the analysis. One of the most interesting lenses of the Alpha system is the
the Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 ZA DT - probably best described as Sony's "prosumer" grade standard
zoom lens. It is a designated "DT" lens so it can only be used on APS-C DSLRs.
Its field of view is equivalent to 24-120mm on full format cameras - a very attractive
5x zoom ratio covering moderate ultra-wide to medium tele perspectives. At about 700 US$/€
it is fairly expensive lens but frankly (potential) quality tends to come at a price.
The build quality of the lens is decent although not stellar. The outer
shell is made of good quality plastics and the broad, rubberized zoom
and focus rings operate smooth but also a little stiff. The focus ring could
operate somewhat more accurate though - it isn't really a highlight of the
construction. The rubberized control rings feel good with lots of grip but they
also collect dust like hell. As you can see below the lens extends significantly
based on a mono-cam system. Fortunately the tolerances are pretty tight so there's
only marginal wobbling here. In AF mode the focus ring is decoupled from the AF
gears so it does not rotate during AF operations. Thanks to an IF (internal focus)
design the front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem.
Similar to some of the Nikkors the Zeiss does still rely on the conventional
focusing system driven by the camera (via a slotted drive screw). Consequently
the AF produces a moderate degree of noise during operations but it is fairly
fast. The lens comes with a signed paper certificating that it is within factory
specs. This may feel reassuring but my first sample of the lens was not perfect
(the exchange process over at sonystyle was flawless though).
|Optical construction||14 elements in 10 groups inc. 2 glass-molded aspherical elements|
|Number of aperture blades||7 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||0.35m (max. magnification ratio 1:4)|
|Filter size||62mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||petal-shaped, snap-on, supplied|