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Sony zeiss lenses

Discussion in 'Lens Matters' started by Dan S, Nov 7, 2019 at 12:08 PM.

  1. Dan S

    Dan S Well-Known Member

    I'm wondering if any Sony users, or anyone really, have an insight into whether the zeiss lenses are worth the extra cash? Still having the kit lens as my only lens, I have no experience of comparisons. Any thoughts?

    Also, im after an extra bit of reach more than the 50mm on the kit lens, but budget allows for the 16 - 70mm zeiss. Will I notice the extra do you think, or should I go for a cheaper lens which will give me more reach?
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I don't use Sony so no direct experience but there are Zeiss lenses and Sony/Zeiss lenses. The latter are the result of a collaboration between Sony and Zeiss, made by Sony to Zeiss design and with Zeiss QA. They are supposed to be good. Zeiss own lenses are generally very good - their reputation is their business - but expensive.
    Dan S likes this.
  3. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I've not really sat down and looked at differences, although I've used Sony zeiss lenses and other varieties.

    The only time I was very impressed was with a Nikkor 200mm fixed length lens which reduced/corrected chromatic aberrations. I must say it was one of my most favourite lenses for clarity. Pity about the weight though!
    Dan S likes this.
  4. Dan S

    Dan S Well-Known Member

    Yes, the price puts me off a bit, but I don't want to get a cheap one then end up getting the expensive one later because I'm disappointed with the cheap one. Is it always a case of you get what you pay for do you think?
    Catriona likes this.
  5. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I do think so, but I've always thought it. Way back to my early days, I'd rather buy an expensive lens than a posh body for my film cameras. For digital, I think it is harder, depending on the camera itself far more, but if I was still serious about my photography I would go for the better (yes, more expensive) lenses. Don't forget though, you can still pick up second hand better lenses for a lot less than a new one. I used to frequent a shop in London for mine, though I can't remember the name now, they never let me down. It's worth considering 2nd hand as a compromise.
    Dan S likes this.
  6. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    It all depends on what you call cheap and what you call expensive but I think all in all you do get what you pay for.

    My limited experience in lens quality goes from when I first bought a Canon (film EOS) with a two lens deal 28-80 and 70-300 I think - it was a long time ago. I "upgraded" to medium format (Bronica) and the comparison in same size prints from 35 mm to 120 mm was staggering. I then went digital with a Canon 5D and 24-105 L. Repeating the test I could see little if any difference between the Canon 35 mm with a "kit" zoom and the 120 mm with a prime lens. Thereafter I just bought 'L' lenses from Canon and have never had any issue that I could point at the lens. For mirrorless I use Fuji with zoom lenses 10-24, 18-55, 55-200 on APS-C and the results are, as far as I can see, just as good except for very wide - I prefer 16 mm on full frame to 10/11 mm on APS-C. The Fuji lenses aren't cheap but lens for equivalent focal length they are less expensive than Canon L lenses.

    AP on first edition of the month prints lens lists and indicates which have been reviewed.

    Zeiss own lenses tend to be primes - that is the market they go for.
    Dan S likes this.
  7. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    To some extent it depends whether you want the ultimate in quality regardless or something that will give the results you want for the purposes you require them. Top end lenses aren't just about optical quality but also build quality, weatherproofing, longevity and wear/damage resistance to name a few. Professionals buy high end lenses because they need them to work under any condition and get the pictures that pay the money. Even then many of those pictures will mostly be seen as web images or in newspapers where even today print quality is probably well below the lens' resolution.

    I have a copy of the Canon EFs 10-18mm which despite being a plastic mount 'cheap' lens is remarkably sharp. That said I don't expect for one minute that it would match the pro-quality EF 16-35 mm L lens at huge print sizes nor last as long under intense use but it does give me results that I am more than happy with. Equally I recently cropped a 24Mp shot taken with my 70-200 f4L down to a mere 5mp and the resolution still matches the best of my cheaper lenses. The same could not be said of those lenses though - they would struggle at such a severe crop.

    Arguably it boils down to a matter of whether you are prepared/able to buy the best quailty lens you can even though you may never fully utilise it's capabilities or are prepared to live with something that's not quite the dog reproductive organs but is more than good enough for what you are doing. I only have the one pro-quality Canon lens but I still get perfectly usable results that don't disappoint - quality wise at least - from the 'lesser' glass. As an example this image is from the 70-200L while this one is from the much cheaper EFs 55-250mm, for me both are more than good enough.
    Dan S likes this.
  8. Dan S

    Dan S Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that post :)

    So, I think I know where to go a bit more. The last thing to factor into the decision is whether there is any benefit in getting that extra 20mm reach on an aps sensor or whether I'd be better going for a longer lens.
  9. Dan S

    Dan S Well-Known Member

    I missed these posts! thanks, it's really helpful to get some opinions based on experience with lenses.

    I'm looking forward to my trip to the camera shop... When I finally get a day off, a Christmas present to myself I suspect :D
    Catriona likes this.
  10. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    The most useful lens I've bought recently is a Tamron 16-300 for my Sony A65. The quality may not be perfect but I don't print A1 pictures to be peered at with a magnifying glass. For me speed and flexibility is the key and the Tamron has it in spades. I previously used a Sigma 28-300 on a Canon 5D for the same reason. However everyone is different and each person really needs to decide what matters to them.

    Some examples from the Tamron / A65...

    Sony A68 8GB Untitled DSC01485.JPG

    Sony A65 8GB Unnamed DSC01265.JPG

    Sony A65 8GB Unkown DSC01536.JPG

    Sony A65 8GB UnNumbered DSC00524.JPG
  11. Dan S

    Dan S Well-Known Member

    Thanks Andrew.

    Maybe I should be looking at a longer focal length.
  12. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I used to have a Sony A850 for which I had a couple of the Sony/Zeiss lenses, the 85mm f1.8 and the 135mm f1.8. Very well made and excellent IQ. When I sold the whole system I replaced them with the Samyang equivalents in Nikon mount, which if you don't mind manual focus are actually very good indeed at a fraction of the price.
  13. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Not quite what you asked, but may be relevant.

    When I got my FF Sony body, I used my Dynax 7 Konica Minolta 28-75mm, and it really wasn't that good, particularly in the corners. I bought a Sigma 28-70mm EX DG, and that was a lot better - flatter focus field, and sharper in the corners. Then Sigma bought out the beast - 24-70mm f:2.8 DG EX HSM at 800 grams and 82mm filter thread. It look promising, so I arranged to check it against the Zeiss 24-70mm. The Zeiss was better, but by a vanishingly slim margin, and not worth twice the price.

    However, when compared against the original FF 'kit' lens (the Sony direct equivalent of the KM 28-75mm) there was a huge difference, well worth the price. I got lucky, as I was in the market for an upgrade when Sigma upped their game. If there had been no Sigma upgrade, then I would have definitely got the Zeiss.

    Incidentally, the late dr. Geoffrey Crawley reviewed both lenses in AP, and the final score was Zeiss 93% Sigma 92%. Unless there is a standout Sigma or Tamron in the range you are looking at, I would go for the Zeiss. There is another point - if you don't go for the Zeiss, you will always be wondering if you should have! I have never heard anybody be disappointed by a modern Zeiss lens.
    Dan S likes this.
  14. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    That all depends on what you want the lens for.

    Having been used to a 24-105 on full-frame I'll probably swap my 18-55 Fuji kit lens for the new 16-80 mm because for a general purpose lens I find 18 mm not wide enough and 55 mm too short. It usually takes me about 2 years to make a lens decision which softens the price issue a bit because I put money away every month regardless of whether I have a wish list or not.

    When I was expanding my Canon system (FF) my second lens was a 70-200 mm F2.8 to take pictures of the kids running around. My third lens was a 17-40 F4 for wider land-scapes. After that purchases were filling more specific needs.
  15. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    You can never have too much reach, in fact you can never have enough reach. No matter how long the lens you have on the camera may be you always find yourself wanting that bit extra...:rolleyes::D

    My normal walkabout lens at the moment is a 17-85 but I also have a 17-70. If I want anything longer when I have the full kit with me I normally use a something-200ish zoom. If I'm travelling light then I do have the option of an 18-270 Tamron - which as I say above still isn't always long enough...;) In terms of absolute quality it doesn't quite match the shorter/more specialist lenses but for convenience of use it is a boon.

    Anyway this is all moot, sooner or later you're likely develop a severe case of GAS* which is terribly bad for the bank balance...:D

    * Gear Acquisition Syndrome.
    Dan S likes this.
  16. Andytw

    Andytw Well-Known Member

    A useful resource for any one who shoots Sony (either A or E mount) is Dyxum.com.
    They have a lens data base with user reviews here https://www.dyxum.com/lenses/results.asp (change the filters as required to get only E-mount lenses).
    Dan S likes this.
  17. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Ain't that the truth! It is a salutary lesson, if you have LightRoom, to search by metadata/lens focal length. I can guarantee that you will find a fairly even distribution of shots over the zoom range, but with a whole lot of shots bunched up at the extremes.

    I have to say, however, that I prefer a range of short-range zooms (not above 3:1) to super-zooms, purely on quality grounds. The exception is when in non-photographer company, when speed is of the essence if you do not wish to raise the ire of your companions.
    Dan S likes this.

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