Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 16-35mm f/2.8 ZA SSM ( Sony SAL-1635Z ) - APS-C Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published March 2010

This lens has been kindly supplied by Dieter Scherk!


The Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 16-35mm f/2.8 ZA SSM is a full format lens for the Sony Alpha system. Regarding its focal length range it is primarily meant for full format DSLRs but it can naturally be used on APS-C Alpha cameras where it field-of-view is equivalent to about 24-52mm - or in other words - it behaves like a short range standard zoom lens in this scope.

The build quality of the lens is very good based on a combination of metal and high quality plastic parts. Some users criticized the sheer existence of plastic in such a pricey lens but this does only apply to the middle part of the lens. The front and back portions as well as the petal shaped hood are made of metal. The physical length of the lens remains constant although the inner lens tube moves a little according to the zoom position. The focus and zoom rings operate very smooth.

The Zeiss lens benefits from an SSM ("Super-Sonic Motor") AF which operates extremely fast. The AF accuracy was fine on our test camera (A700). DMF ("Direct Manual Focus") is possible in single-shot AF mode.

Equiv. focal length24-52.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction17 elements in 13 groups inc. 2x ED and 3x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades9 (circular)
min. focus distance0.28 m (max. magnification ratio 1:4.2)
Dimensions83 x 114 mm
Weight900 g
Filter size77 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, snap-on, supplied
Other featuresultrasonic AF, DMF

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