Sony 16-70mm f/4 Zeiss lens review: well-built, lightweight all-around lens for APS-C shooters


posted Friday, June 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM EST


Looking for a lightweight, well-built and versatile zoom lens for your APS-C Sony E-mount mirrorless camera? We may have found just the one. Over on SLRgear, we've just published our Sony 16-70mm f/4 Carl Zeiss lens review, and it might just fit the bill as a great general purpose, all-around lens for everything from landscapses to portraits and pretty much anything in between.

Part of Sony's premium lens lineup, the 16-70mm Zeiss uses "Advanced Aspherical lens" technology, which combines four aspherical elements with one ED glass element to control chromatic aberration as well as make for a compact and lightweight design (though Sony has managed to still fit a total of 16 elements in this lightweight lens). The Sony 16-70mm also features Zeiss's T* coating for reduced glare and ghosting effects and Sony's Optical SteadyShot image stabilization technology, making it great for both stills and video.

So, how are the results? The images are quite sharp, even wide open, though mostly in the center of the frame, and the autofocus performance is great. While Sony cameras, by default, do some amount of in-camera corrections for chromatic aberration, vignetting and distortion, we did notice some CA in the corners, vignetting, and some distortion with uncorrected RAW images. In real-world shooting, however, the results are quite nice -- sharp photos, particularly in the center, and other factors like CA, vignetting and distortion are easily corrected in post-processing. With a compact size and lightweight design, the Sony 16-70mm Zeiss is an excellent walkaround lens, although with a price tag around $1000, it's quite an expensive one.

Jump on over to SLRgear to read our full Sony E 16-70mm f/4 Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* ZA OSS lens review to see our test results, which are based on RAW file output, and read our final verdict.

The Sony E 16-70mm ƒ/4 Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* ZA OSS lens is currently available for around $998 and ships with a bayonet-mount lens hood, soft pouch and front and rear lens caps. You can purchase this lens, or any other item, from one of our trusted affiliates: Amazon, Adorama, and B&H. By purchasing this lens, or any other product from one of our trusted affiliates helps support this site and keeps these reviews coming!

In the meantime, check out some sample photos shot by our senior lens technician Rob Murray using the Sony NEX-7. You can view more sample photos, plus download the full-resolution files, over at our Flickr page.

Sony NEX-7: 44mm, f/6.3, 1/500s, ISO 100
Sony NEX-7: 16mm, f/6.3, 1/320s, ISO 100
Sony NEX-7: 70mm, f/4, 1/1250s, ISO 100