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Thread: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

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    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    I got the a77 kit with 16-50 / 2.8 lens.

    The lens seems nice enough for casual snapshots, but seems to have a lot of CA at 16mm, and maybe not sufficiently sharp for critical images at the wide end.

    How is the Zeiss 16-80 in comparison? Does anyone have experience with both lenses?

    I'm less concerned with wide aperture in this comparison, and more concerned with critical sharpness and contrast for landscape shots.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    Mike Hatam
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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hatam View Post
    I got the a77 kit with 16-50 / 2.8 lens.

    The lens seems nice enough for casual snapshots, but seems to have a lot of CA at 16mm, and maybe not sufficiently sharp for critical images at the wide end.

    How is the Zeiss 16-80 in comparison? Does anyone have experience with both lenses?

    I'm less concerned with wide aperture in this comparison, and more concerned with critical sharpness and contrast for landscape shots.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    Hi Mike
    Like most 24-120 equivalent lenses, the Zeiss 16-80 is a compromise - I don't have a 16-50 to compare with, but I really imagine that it's output is better than the 16-80 . . . Don't get me wrong, I really like the lens, and use it a great deal (it's nice and small as well) - but if I want the best quality in a zoom, then a bolt on the 24-70, which really does do well on the A77 (but it is a bit big!)

    How are you getting on with the 135?

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

  3. #3
    jcoffin
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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hatam View Post
    I got the a77 kit with 16-50 / 2.8 lens.

    The lens seems nice enough for casual snapshots, but seems to have a lot of CA at 16mm, and maybe not sufficiently sharp for critical images at the wide end.

    How is the Zeiss 16-80 in comparison? Does anyone have experience with both lenses?

    I'm less concerned with wide aperture in this comparison, and more concerned with critical sharpness and contrast for landscape shots.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    DK on PhotoClubAlpha said: "Subject to trying a final production 16-50mm (which frankly doesn't offer the range I want, 80mm is far preferable) it looks as if the CZ 16-80mm will be the lens I use on the Alpha 77."

    He hasn't given other reasons he finds the CZ 16-80 preferable (yet), but it sounds like he may publish a comparative review of the two sometime soon. For those who haven't read him, his reviews do a lot more than most to cover real use, rather than "how sharp were the pictures of a chart taped to the wall?"

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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Quote Originally Posted by jcoffin View Post
    DK on PhotoClubAlpha said: "Subject to trying a final production 16-50mm (which frankly doesn't offer the range I want, 80mm is far preferable) it looks as if the CZ 16-80mm will be the lens I use on the Alpha 77."

    He hasn't given other reasons he finds the CZ 16-80 preferable (yet), but it sounds like he may publish a comparative review of the two sometime soon. For those who haven't read him, his reviews do a lot more than most to cover real use, rather than "how sharp were the pictures of a chart taped to the wall?"
    David's great - and I read that article, but I'm pretty sure that his basis is the same as mine - i.e. the 16-80 has a larger range and is considerably smaller, and if you want ultimate quality then neither lens is likely to be the first choice!

    Especially for the critical sharpness and contrast for landscape of which Mike speaks.I haven't tried the 16-50, but I sure as hell wouldn't use the 16-80 for landscape work where I was after critical sharpness and contrast!

    Mind you - it makes a great companion in a small bag with the SZ 24 f2 for when you 'mean it'!

    all the best

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    Senior Member ecsh's Avatar
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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Plus, after reading all the usual sources, its seems there is quite a variety of quality issues with some of them, including sharpness. I have one on preorder with Sony direct, so if it is not a good copy, back it goes.
    Joe

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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Mike,
    Apparently early examples of the ZA16-80 were very "iffy" in quality but it was fairly quickly sorted and later examples are fine...it is a five plus year old design to give you a guide.

    I have fairly limited experience so far with the 16-80 but have shot over 1000 frames with the 16-50. In good contrasty light the 16-50 is right up to the job apart from reach at the long end. It is a very sharp lens. The lens contrast falls off in poor light situations compared to the Zeiss 16-80 I find.

    The 16-80 has the typical Zeiss contrast which I like and of course it is far more useful at the long end. I managed to get a used one in good nick from a reputable Sony specialist dealer, with 6 months warranty and was careful to get one that was not 4 or 5 years old! Tip, check the original quality test certificate date.

    I hope that this helps you a bit.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Quote Originally Posted by jcoffin View Post
    DK on PhotoClubAlpha said: "Subject to trying a final production 16-50mm (which frankly doesn't offer the range I want, 80mm is far preferable) it looks as if the CZ 16-80mm will be the lens I use on the Alpha 77."

    He hasn't given other reasons he finds the CZ 16-80 preferable (yet), but it sounds like he may publish a comparative review of the two sometime soon. For those who haven't read him, his reviews do a lot more than most to cover real use, rather than "how sharp were the pictures of a chart taped to the wall?"
    I agree with Jono, DK's reviews are excellent as apart from being a photo journalist, he is also a working pro photographer with Minolta/ Sony in his blood!

    However if you were to read his review of the A77 in the BJP in which he is a frequent contributor, you would never ever buy an A77!

    Mind you it was an early example before the latest firmware, so his copy was locking up all over the place! On alpha club forum he has subsequently rated the A77 to become his first camera of choice for most of his pro work so I do hope that he writes an update report of the A77 with latest firmware for BJP before too long.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Thanks for all the info. Dave - I appreciate your comments, having used both.

    I will stick with the 16-50 for now. It's a very useful lens, just a bit of CA at the wide end, which I'm able to control in LR during post processing.

    When Sony releases the next FF body (a99 or whatever), then I'll plunk down some cash for the Zeiss 16-35 and 24-70 lenses for landscape work.

    Mike
    Mike Hatam
    Sony A99, RX1, RX100

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Mike i shot about 1200 images in NY with 95 percent with the 16-50 and got some really nice stuff and actually using one for a background images in a poster shot at the 35mm focal length ISO 200 at F7 and i just printed it 20 x30 and it is pretty dang kick ***. Its very nice lens for the dough and i think actually better than the 16-80 but have not done any side by side but you know me if i like a lens it has to be pretty good.


    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Nice shot Guy! Have you had any issues with CA at 16mm?
    Mike Hatam
    Sony A99, RX1, RX100

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Not that I really seen but I will look closer at that as i go through them. I had a couple flares but right into the sun stuff so normal there.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Quote Originally Posted by dhsimmonds View Post
    I agree with Jono, DK's reviews are excellent as apart from being a photo journalist, he is also a working pro photographer with Minolta/ Sony in his blood!

    However if you were to read his review of the A77 in the BJP in which he is a frequent contributor, you would never ever buy an A77!

    Mind you it was an early example before the latest firmware, so his copy was locking up all over the place! On alpha club forum he has subsequently rated the A77 to become his first camera of choice for most of his pro work so I do hope that he writes an update report of the A77 with latest firmware for BJP before too long.
    I've long since given up on BJP - a combination of stupid mistakes in reviews . . . followed by some personal correspondence with two reviewers (good photographers both of them), and an inkling of how long they could afford to spend on the review and actually make any money made me realise that the whole thing was entirely laughable. Now, once a week I can be really pleased not to be irritated by BJP!

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I've long since given up on BJP - a combination of stupid mistakes in reviews . . . followed by some personal correspondence with two reviewers (good photographers both of them), and an inkling of how long they could afford to spend on the review and actually make any money made me realise that the whole thing was entirely laughable. Now, once a week I can be really pleased not to be irritated by BJP!
    Jono, you must have given up on BJP a long time ago as they have gone monthly for the last 18 months or so! Jonathan Eastland is a good read in BJP still IMHO.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    There is an early test of the new Sony zoom at slrgear:
    http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...p/product/1449

    They note some issues with it, CA and barrel distortion at wider FLs, poor corners again at wide focal lengths. It seems people like the sharpness and build, plus SSM for video. There have been reports of decentring also, and more than expected ghosting.

    The 16-80mm is well-liked and apparently gives Zeiss rendering, which may be more important for some, it would be for me. I think Sony erred by not commissioning Zeiss to make this one for a 24Mp APS-C camera.

    A one-to-one comparison would be terrific, if it used typical subject matter, near to far landscapes for example. Someone will soon do one, I figure.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80


    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Mike i shot about 1200 images in NY with 95 percent with the 16-50 and got some really nice stuff and actually using one for a background images in a poster shot at the 35mm focal length ISO 200 at F7 and i just printed it 20 x30 and it is pretty dang kick ***. Its very nice lens for the dough and i think actually better than the 16-80 but have not done any side by side but you know me if i like a lens it has to be pretty good.




    Beautiful view over the city

    Guy, did you shoot identical tripod-fixed compositions at different apertures, and in that case at which aperture do you see diffraction become visible with the A77 ?

    With the new generation of high megapixel count cameras on the way there are of course a lot of discussions and statements about the subject diffraction.

    Some of the statements I do understand, some of them I don't understand at all.

    My own findings with my own 4 year old 12 Mp APS-C sensor based camera (D300) coincide completely with the diffraction calculator on cambridgeincolour.com

    But I have recently read a lot of statements that seem to differ quite a lot from that explanation and calculation, so right now I find the subject rather confusing.

    So far I can only trust what I can see with my own eyes, i.e. from my experience with files from my own camera.

    So now I would be very interested to hear what you see with your eyes when capturing frames like these New York cityscapes with the A77 ?

  16. #16
    lwc33
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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    I have a 16-80 and been pleased for the most part. I've been thinking of getting the 16-50. The biggest issue for me is the focusing noise when shooting video and the SSM will fix that. When I shoot video, I switch to manual focus and it's getting annoying. From an IQ point, I've been disappointed with larger more intricate subjects and the lack of detail. Like the hammer tone on a wrought iron gate. Will the 16-50 pic this up? Do I need to play with different apertures, iso's....etc and will eventually find the sweet spot on the CZ lens?

    Your input will be greatly appreciated.

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    New Member DrCrane's Avatar
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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Shooting with the 16-50/f2.8 on a Nex-7 with LA-EA2 since a couple of months and I cannot complain. Good Build Quality, high Image Quality and pretty good sharpness.
    Fast Autofocus and no noise at all during focusing when doing HD Video.

    Haven't tried the Zeiss yet, but as I like the 16-50 so much I think I stick with it and don't look at the Zeiss 16-80.

    just my 2 cents...

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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    Take a look at Dyxum where they list a number of tests of both lenses. One of them (can't remember which) rated the Sony better than the Zeiss.

    I've been using the Sony 16-50 extensively and am very happy with it. Mine did need +4 points of micro adjustment. It does not handle flare well and there is fall-off in the corners at wider apertures. I find f5.6 is its sweet spot and there it shines. At the price, I'm very pleased.

    Take a look at the "Share your a77 images here" thread. All the landscape shots I have posted were taken with the 16-50 except the one of the veldt.

    The ZA 24-70 I use on the a900, however, is a better lens.

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    Re: Sony alpha 16-50 vs Zeiss 16-80

    When I purchased the Nex7, I looked at both the Sony 16-50 and the Sony/Zeiss 16-80. On first blush I liked the 16-50 since it had a AF motor in the lens, which worked with the base Sony Alpha to E mount adapter. After using the lens, I found that the images were relatively soft, from F2.8 till about F6.3 after that they improved a good bit, but since I was really wanting the lens for the F2.8 to about F5.6 range, I took it back and tried another, and found about the same results. Again this was using the base Sony adapter. With manual focus and magnification, I could improve on this, but still could not get the images where I wanted them. The size of this lens was a bit large also, considerable larger than the 16-80 and even the E 18-200.

    I then tired the 16-80 and really fell in love with this lens.. Someone already commented on the Zeiss contrast, but to me overall color and contrast both were better. The lens to me was excellent at 16mm to 50mm from F5.6 and up which was the main mm I was wanting. At 80mm the resolution to me gets even better and the lens at 80mm works as a very good macro also.

    My only real issue was the fact that I lost AF with the base Sony lens adapter and manual focus was great (especially with the 11.7 mag) but there were times that I wold have preferred AF. (Video included)

    I purchased a used Sony LA-EA2 and what a difference!. You pick up the Phase detect AF and have a tremendous amount of control over the AF points. ( I am still very impressed with everything Sony packed into the body of the Nex7). The LA-EA2 of course has a mirror (translucent) so there may be some light loss thus more noise. I have read some reviews of the A77 where the A77 seems to suffer a bit more with noise than the Nex7 and the reviewers have pointed to the mirror as possibly being the cause. The AF with the LA-EA2 is really impressive. . Of course if needed, you can go back to MF and use peaking for fine focus adjustment.

    As for CA, I just don't see it that much. If I do it's at 16mm to around 24mm but LR3 or LR4 take it out with no problem and seemingly no image loss. Still not sure I prefer the LR4 CA implementation for CA over LR3.

    Image quality is really impressive on the 16-80, I can't state enough about that, you can get some very detailed images with it.

    My results with the 16-50 were much less satisfactory, luckily I was able to work with a local dealer who allowed me to test both lenses. I say again the LA-EA2 makes the 16-80 come alive.

    Paul

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