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Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 and Sony 35mm F/1.4

 
 
Comparison at 35mm.  People have written to me and asked about how the new Sony Carl Zeiss zooms compare to the older AF prime lenses, such as the Minolta AF 35mm F/1.4, or in our case here, the updated but still old Sony 35mm F/1.4.  Well, the only way to find out the differences between the lenses is to do a direct comparison.  This time I cover center and corner sharpness, distortion and ghosting, and use the Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 at 35mm, and the Sony 35mm F/1.4.  
 
To sum up the differences quickly, the Sony 35mm is sharpest in the corners and along the sides, and also has much less light fall-off.  When stopped down to F/8, about the only differences are the light fall-off, which is very apparent in CZ crops.  The Sony A900 was used in this comparison.

Check out the center crops below.
 
 
Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 @35mm                                 Sony 35mm F/1.4

          F/2.8

          F/2.8

Jan2010/cz28ctrx.jpg
Jan2010/s28ctrx.jpg

          F/4

          F/4

Jan2010/cz40ctrx.jpg
Jan2010/s40ctrx.jpg

          F/5.6

          F/5.6

Jan2010/cz56ctrx.jpg
Jan2010/s56ctrx.jpg

          F/8

          F/8

Jan2010/cz80ctrx.jpg
Jan2010/s80ctrx.jpg

          F/11

          F/11

Jan2010/cz11ctrx.jpg
Jan2010/s11ctrx.jpg

 

Both lenses are very sharp in the centers, even at F/2.8.  The exposure values are slightly different, as the Sony 35mm produced a brighter image than the CZ with the same exposure, so I made small adjustments to make them match better.  Also notice the Sony 35mm has slightly less coverage than the CZ does at 35mm.

 
Now for some corner crops.

 

Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 @35mm                                  Sony 35mm F/1.4

          F/2.8

          F/2.8

Jan2010/cz28cnx.jpg
Jan2010/s28cnx.jpg

          F/4

          F/4

Jan2010/cz40cnx.jpg
Jan2010/s40cnx.jpg

          F/5.6

          F/5.6

Jan2010/cz56cnx.jpg
Jan2010/s56cnx.jpg

          F/8

          F/8

Jan2010/cz80cnx.jpg
Jan2010/s80cnx.jpg

          F/11

          F/11

Jan2010/cz11cnx.jpg
Jan2010/s11cnx.jpg

 

Noticeable here are the sharper corners of the Sony 35mm at F/2.8-4, which is a surprise.  As you stop down, the sharpness differences disappear.   Light fall-off is a bit heavy on the Sony CZ 16-35mm @35mm, and doesn't get any better by stopping down.  All corner crops taken from (near) the last 500 pixels of the left lower corner.  The crop level differences are caused by the opposite distortion of each lens.

 

Distortion control

 

Jan2010/cz35disg.jpg
Sony CZ 16-35mm @35mm
Jan2010/s35disg.jpg
Sony 35mm F/1.4

 

The Sony 16-35mm shows some gradual moderate pincushion distortion at 35mm, which is easy to correct in post processing.  The Sony 35mm has some gradual moderate barrel distortion, and can also be eliminated in post processing.

 

Ghosting samples below.

 

Sony CZ 16-35mm @35mm F/5.6

Sony 35mm F/5.6

Jan2010/czgst2.jpg
Jan2010/s35gst2.jpg

Sony CZ 16-35mm @35mm F/5.6

Sony 35mm F/5.6

Jan2010/cz35gst1.jpg
Jan2010/s35gst1.jpg

 

Both lenses have some undesirable ghosting, but the Sony 35mm seems to produce a little more in certain situations. 

 

Color fringing below.

 

Jan2010/czmid.jpg
Sony CZ 16-35mm @35mm

Jan2010/smid2.jpg
Sony 35mm

 

These color fringing crops were taken from about a third of the way to the middle, at the middle left side.  The Sony 35mm has more color fringing, seen mostly at the edges around the window, but what's more noticeable is the sharper details at this area of the image from the Sony 35mm, both taken at F/5.6. 

 

That's all for this comparison, hope you enjoyed it.

 

 

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Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 and Sony 28mm F/2.8

 
 
Comparison at 28mm.  As I said in the comp before this one, people have written to me and asked about how the new Sony Carl Zeiss zooms compare to the older AF prime lenses, such as the Minolta AF 28mm F/2.8, or in our case here, the updated but still old Sony 28mm F/2.8.  Well, the only way to find out the differences between the lenses is to do a direct comparison.  This time I cover center and corner sharpness, distortion and ghosting, and use the Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 at 28mm, and the Sony 28mm F/2.8.  
 
To sum up the differences quickly, the CZ 16-35mm is sharpest in the corners and along the sides, which is a surprise, and also has less light fall-off and distortion.  The only time the Sony 28mm comes out ahead is maybe in flare/ghosting control, but that's questionable.  Both lenses seem about the same in the centers, although for the absolute sharpest shots, the Sony 28mm has to be focused short from infinity at F/5.6-8.  The Sony 28mm F/2.8 is also relatively inexpensive at $269, and the Minolta version is about half of that.  The Sony A900 was used in this comparison.

Check out the center crops below.
 
 
Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 @28mm                                 Sony 28mm F/2.8

          F/2.8

          F/2.8

Dec09/cz2828ctr.jpg
Dec09/s28x28ctr.jpg

          F/4

          F/4

Dec09/cz2840ctr.jpg
Dec09/s28x40ctr.jpg

          F/5.6

          F/5.6

Dec09/cz2856ctr.jpg
Dec09/s28x56ctr.jpg

          F/8

          F/8

Dec09/cz2880ctr.jpg
Dec09/s2880ctr.jpg

          F/11

          F/11

Dec09/cz2811ctr.jpg
Dec09/s2811ctr.jpg

 

Both lenses are pretty darn sharp in the centers, even at F/2.8.  The Sony 28mm drops a hair in sharpness at F/5.6-8, but a slight short focus from infinity will sharpen those apertures (images) up in the middle, and will match the CZ at the same apertures, but that trick won't help in the corners.  All images have the same exposure values, although there are slight deviations visible.

 
Now for some corner crops.

 

Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 @28mm                                  Sony 28mm F/2.8 

          F/2.8

          F/2.8

Dec09/cz2828cn.jpg
Dec09/s28x28cn.jpg

          F/4

          F/4

Dec09/cz2840cn.jpg
Dec09/s28x40cn.jpg

          F/5.6

          F/5.6

Dec09/cz2856cn.jpg
Dec09/s28x56cn.jpg

          F/8

          F/8

Dec09/cz2880cn.jpg
Dec09/s28x80cn.jpg

          F/11

          F/11

Dec09/cz2811cn.jpg
Dec09/s28x11cn.jpg

 

Noticeable here are the sharper corners of the CZ 16-35mm zoom, which is a surprise.  The sides are the same as the corners on the Sony 28mm, and sharpness differences there are indicated in the color fringing crops at the bottom.  Light fall-off is a bit harsh on the Sony 28mm at F/2.8, but is almost gone at F/4.  Check out the color fringing on the corner crops of the Sony 28mm.  All corner crops taken from (near) the last 250 pixels of the right lower corner.

 

Distortion control

 

Dec09/cz28disb.jpg
Sony CZ 16-35mm @28mm
Dec09/s28disx.jpg
Sony 28mm

 

The Sony 16-35mm shows some gradual pincushion distortion at 28mm, which is easy to correct in post processing.  The Sony 28mm has some mild to moderate barrel distortion, although slightly wave-type, it can be almost eliminated in post processing.

 

Ghosting samples below.

 

Sony CZ 16-35mm @28mm F/5.6

Sony 28mm F/5.6

Dec09/cz28gst.jpg
Dec09/s28gst.jpg

Sony CZ 16-35mm @28mm F/5.6 sun centered

Sony 28mm F/5.6 sun centered

Dec09/cz28gst3.jpg
Dec09/s28xgst2.jpg

 

Both lenses have some ghosting, and personal preferences may kick in here, so pick your winner. 

 

Color fringing below.

 

Dec09/cz28cf.jpg
Sony CZ 16-35mm @28mm
Dec09/s28xcf.jpg
Sony 28mm

 

These color fringing crops were taken from the first 700 pixels of the middle/left side.  The Sony 28mm has more color fringing, but that's overshadowed by the sharpness issue, both taken at F/5.6.  That's all for this comparison, hope you enjoyed it.

 

 

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Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 and Minolta AF 24mm F/2.8

 
 
Comparison at 24mm.  People have written to me and asked about how the new Sony Carl Zeiss zooms compare to the older prime lenses, such as the Minolta AF 24mm F/2.8 lens.  Well, the only way to find out is to do a direct comparison.  This time I cover center and corner sharpness, distortion and ghosting, and use the Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 at 24mm, and the Minolta AF 24mm F/2.8.  
 
In a nut-shell, the Sony looks marginally sharper in the centers between F/4-8, but the F/2.8 and F/11 crops are very similar between the two.  The corners are easily sharper at larger apertures with the Sony, but F/11 looks a hair sharper with the Minolta.  Distortion is basically flat with the Sony zoomed to 24mm, which is no surprise, the Minolta showing mild barrel distortion. Ghosting was better controlled with the Minolta, with similar results from the comparison below with the Sony 20mm F/2.8 lens.  The Sony A900 was used in this comparison.

Check out the center crops below.
 
 
Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 @24mm                                 Minolta AF 24mm F/2.8

          F/2.8

          F/2.8

Dec09/cz28.jpg
Dec09/m28.jpg

          F/4

          F/4

Dec09/cz40.jpg
Dec09/m40.jpg

          F/5.6

          F/5.6

Dec09/cz56.jpg
Dec09/m56.jpg

          F/8

          F/8

Dec09/cz80.jpg
Dec09/m80.jpg

          F/11

          F/11

Dec09/cz11.jpg
Dec09/m11.jpg

 

Both lenses are pretty darn sharp, even at F/2.8.  I notice the Minolta 24mm looks slightly sharper at F/11, that's weird.  I'd say the Sony 16-35mm has marginally more contrast at F/4-8, so those crops look better in my opinion.  All crops above and below were taken at infinity focus.  You may notice the Sony 16-35mm shows greater coverage than the Minolta when set to the index mark at 24mm, so the Sony is at a very slight disadvantage in the sharpness crops.

 
Now for some corner crops.

 

Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 @24mm                                  Minolta AF 24mm F/2.8 

          F/2.8

          F/2.8

Dec09/cz28cn.jpg
Dec09/m28cn.jpg

          F/4

          F/4

Dec09/cz40cn.jpg
Dec09/m40cn.jpg

          F/5.6

          F/5.6

Dec09/cz56cn.jpg
Dec09/m56cn.jpg

          F/8

          F/8

Dec09/cz80cn.jpg
Dec09/m80cn.jpg

          F/11

          F/11

Dec09/cz11cn.jpg
Dec09/m11cn.jpg

 

The Minolta 24mm corners are quite soft unless stopped down to F/8, although the Minolta 24mm F/11 crop is sharper than the F/11 crop of the Sony 16-35mm.   The corner crops were taken about 350 pixels from the lower left corner.  Exposure differences are from light fall-off.

 

Distortion control

 

Dec09/sczdis.jpg
Sony CZ 16-35mm @24mm
Dec09/m24dis.jpg
Minolta AF 24mm

 

The Sony 16-35mm is in the middle of the zoom, and is flat at 24mm, which can normally be expected.  The Minolta 24mm has some mild distortion, but not enough to make much of a difference unless straight lines are near the edges of the frame as I show here. 

 

Ghosting samples below.

 

Sony CZ 16-35mm @24mm F/5.6

Minolta AF 24mm F/5.6

Dec09/sczgt.jpg
Dec09/m24gt.jpg

 

The Minolta 24mm looks as though it's a little cleaner when the sun is in the picture. 

 

Color fringing below.

 

Dec09/czcf.jpg
Sony CZ 16-35mm @24mm
Dec09/m24cf.jpg
Minolta AF 24mm

 

The Sony 16-35mm shows much less lateral color fringing than the Minolta.  These crops were taken from the bottom left/center of the image, at F/11.  That's all for this comparison, hope you enjoyed it.

 

 

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Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 and Sony 20mm F/2.8

 
 
Comparison at 20mm.  Quick sum up; I notice the Sony 16-35mm is slightly sharper at F2.8, which is a surprise, and seems to have a noticeable sharpness edge throughout most of the aperture range.  The Sony 20mm is sharpest at F/4, then degrades a very small amount as you stop down, I noticed this during the initial review during the close focus shots and it seems to carry through at infinity focus also.  If you short focus at F/5.6-11, you can gain a little better sharpness at those apertures.  Go here to see what I'm talking about.  For instance, at F/8, you would back off the infinity mark by about half the distance (in total width) of the infinity symbol.  This is a little out of the ordinary, but I see this also to a lesser extent in the Sony 28mm F/2.8.  The Sony 16-35mm is as sharp, or sharper at all apertures in the centers if you don't fuss with the focusing on the Sony 20mm, otherwise they're about the same.  The corners perform differently than the centers.  Although the Sony 20mm corners have slightly less contrast (and less light fall-off) between F/2.8-4, they sharpen up nicely at F/8-11, and the F/8-11 crops are noticeably sharper than the Sony 16-35mm crops beside them.  There are minor exposure variations between the two sets of shots, but the detail is what we're looking at.  The corner crop exposure differences are from light fall-off, and were taken from approximately 350 pixels from the very corner.  The Sony A900 was used in this comparison.

Check out the center crops below.
 
 
Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 @20mm                                                  Sony 20mm F/2.8

          F/2.8

          F/2.8

September2009/s28ctr.jpg
September2009/m28ctr.jpg

          F/4

          F/4

September2009/s40ctr2.jpg
September2009/m40ctr.jpg

          F/5.6

          F/5.6

September2009/s56ctr.jpg
September2009/m56ctr.jpg

          F/8

          F/8

September2009/s80ctr.jpg
September2009/m80ctr.jpg

          F/11

          F/11

September2009/s11ctr.jpg
September2009/m11ctr.jpg

 

It looks like F/4 is the sharpest for the Sony 20mm, and seems to match the 16-35mm at that aperture.  The Sony 16-35mm is sharper at all other apertures, you can see this by looking at the foliage.  As stated above, the Sony 20mm can be short focused at F/5.6-11 and will gain a small amount in sharpness.  All shots taken at infinity focus.

 
Now for some corner crops.

 

Sony CZ 16-35mm F/2.8 @20mm                                             Sony 20mm F/2.8 

          F/2.8

          F/2.8

September2009/s28cn.jpg
September2009/m28cn.jpg

          F/4

          F/4

September2009/s40cn.jpg
September2009/m40cn.jpg

          F/5.6

          F/5.6

September2009/s56cn.jpg
September2009/m56cn.jpg

          F/8

          F/8

September2009/s80cn.jpg
September2009/m80cn.jpg

          F/11

          F/11

September2009/s11cn.jpg
September2009/m11cn.jpg

 

The Sony 20mm is very sharp in the corners at F/8-11, and is also a little sharper at F/5.6, again, noticeable in the foliage.  Also notice the lack of color fringing on the Sony 20mm, whereas the 16-35mm has mild to moderate amounts in the corners.  All shots taken at infinity focus.

 

Distortion at 20mm.

 

September2009/a1635.jpg
Sony 16-35mm at 20mm
September2009/a20.jpg
Sony 20mm @20mm

 

I don't have the samples lined up exactly the same, but The distortion at 20mm is similar on both lenses, with the 16-35mm slightly flatter. 

 

Ghosting samples below.

 

Sony 16-35mm @20mm F/5.6

Sony 20mm F/5.6

September2009/s1635dis.jpg
September2009/m20dis.jpg

 

This is a surprise, I thought the new Carl Zeiss zoom would have better ghosting control, but the 20mm prime easily has the best control when the sun is in the shot.