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Subject: New Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar f/4.0 16-70mm for E-mount (from SONY)

Category: lenses

Posted: 08-14-13 8:43 AM - Views: 9464

By: Wojciech Zielinski

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with the release of new Sony NEX-5T, which is planned to 29th of August, there is a plan to release new Quality Standard Zoom SEL-1670Z. It is told to have a constant maximum aperture at f4.0 and focal length range from 16mm to 70mm. The price is expected at about 1000$.

What do You think about idea of compact and quite dark standard zoom, which focal length has been extend from 16mm to 70mm? It is told to deliver better performance than Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 3.5-4.5/16-80 ZA (SAL-1680Z). We will see soon if it isn't only marketing truth for every new product.

Currently I like my Vario-Pancolar 2.7-3.5/35-70 better than my Vario-Sonnar 3.5-4.5/16-80 ZA. So even zoom lenses' light is still important for me I believe. Other way Vario-Pancolar was constructed as exceptional, high quality lens (in 80ths) in contrary to 2nd, most economical product in ZA lens line.

Best regards, WZ.
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Reply from Rick Perry on 09-27-13 5:24 AM

The Colors and Contrast are Zeiss all the way - overall the photos look great. In addition the size and weight is just fine on a Nex 7.

The auto focus is fast, quiet and quite accurate - while the manual focus is smooth and easy to use .

The built in steady shot - OSS - is terrific - I can easily hold at 1/40 - even a few at 1/20 depending on focal length..

The build quality is superb and the 24 to 105 equivalent range is just wonderful..

I must admit at first I was a bit disappointed in the IQ of this Zeiss Vario Tessar. Things did not seem as sharp as I was hoping. Unfortunately, I was comparing this to the Zeiss 32 Touit and the 24 1.8 - both spectacular lenses in my opinion - not fair to a zoom, I guess.

What ever small amount of lost IQ compared to the Zeiss primes is quite likely made up by a focal range that will capture exact frames of what I am certainly going to encounter in real life - with little or no cropping necessary.

A comment was made about the book page shot. That shot was a 100% crop, hand held - 'quick grab', of a curving book page - not to be confused with a properly lighted tripod shot of a flat subject.

This is my 'second string' Family/Fun camera. . I prefer to work with my A900 with Zeiss and Minolta glass, but the A900 is far too heavy, cumbersome, and expensive a kit for casual trips and picnics. Not to mention overkill.

I intend to do some more shooting in the next couple of days to investigate its performance.

The purpose of this lens is to give me a lightweight, walk-around camera with reasonable IQ and Zeiss color contrast. I think it can do that. Time will tell.


Reply from Rick Perry on 09-26-13 11:26 AM

Today I posted a few shots with this new 16-70 Vario Tessar lens. I am reasonably pleased with the results.

Unfortunately I am comparing this to the Zeiss 24 1.8 and 32mm Zeiss Touit - both amazing lenses. Time will tell if the convenience of the one lens zoom is worth the slight drop in IQ.
Reply from Picman on 09-23-13 12:51 PM


You took the words out of my mouth :-), I couldn't agree more!

Cheers, Bob
Reply from Rick Perry on 09-23-13 6:10 AM

Sony just informed me that they shipped my 16-70 today. I am confident that this lens will give me the walk-around kit - with my Nex 7 - that I have always desired. Zeiss Color, IQ and micro-contrast all in a 24-105 equiv. zoom mounted on a relatively small camera body.

I still use my FF A900 with Zeiss glass most often - but when on vacation, or travelling light - this is my one lens, one camera kit.

It will be here Wednesday - I am excited.

As soon as I get a few shots off - I will post.

Reply from Philippe Philber on 09-22-13 12:44 AM

If you look at what lenses NEX owners are using, you will see that the huge majority are using the kit zoom, even on NEX 7. So the idea of offering a better, more expensive, faster, stabilized zoom for NEX makes all the sense in the world as far as I can see. Which does not mean that I expect it (though some do!) to outperform primes at every focal length. But early pictures show promise.
Reply from Wojciech Zielinski on 08-26-13 10:55 PM

Greetings, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar from Sony is already announced,


this is a link for brochure:


For me there are very little changes to SAL-1680Z. One of them is ED glasses, which improves a little image at focal length of 16mm. There are two more, built in autofocus motor (it is mandatory for E-mount lenses) and Optical Stabilization System, which is something new for Carl Zeiss branded products :)

best regards, WZ.
Reply from Wojciech Zielinski on 08-21-13 7:44 AM

It has been revealed that upcomming lens is called the Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T * E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS (SEL-1670Z). It will have filter thread of 55mm and optical stabilization too :) It could be very nice lens indeed...
Best regards, WZ.
Reply from Harry Meares, Jr. on 08-17-13 3:29 PM

Been using the 16-80 for a long time and unfortunately several years ago I had to get it replace. Lucky for me I had the extended warrenty.
If your price is right and my 16-80 fails again that will be my next len.

It seems that all the new wide angle zooms that are coming out are all around f4. For me that's ideal and it keeps the price down.
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