Jump to content

Sony 16-70 mm Zeiss /f 4 or Tamron 17-70 mm /f 2.8


Recommended Posts

As the title itself suggests, I am torn between the two options.

The camera is a 6300 and the need is for a do it (almost) everything lens for some business trips on airline hand luggage in which I am limited to one camera and one lens since I will do some landscape and urban shooting in the spare time between business commitments. I will not use it for videos.

 I have the Sony 18-135 and the 15-50 kit, but they are too slow around 24-35 mm, which are the focal lengths I use the most.

I can live with /f 4, as long as sharpness widen open is acceptable.

The price difference between the two lenses is marginal, basically zero for me, because the Sony 16-70 is slightly more expensive but I don't need to buy additional filters, as I can use the 18-135 UV and polarizer. I have tried the 18-105 G /f 4 Sony but it was disappointedly soft and too bulky.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If the 18-105 is too bulky, then so is the Tamron 17-70. Quality wise however, definately pick the Tamron over the Sony Zeiss 16-70, which is a compromised and dated design and similar in quality to the 18-105. I was in the same boat as you for a while (also had the 16-50 kit lens and 18-105 f/4), and went with the Sony 16-55 F/2.8 G. Happy with the choice as it's more compact than the Tamron 17-70 and vastly better quality than the Zony 16-70. In your case however, the omission of stabilized optics might be a dealbreaker. Did you consider the tiny but decent Sigma 18-50 f/2.8?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks!
The 18-105 mm /f4 was PERFECT lens for my needs but a HUGE disappointed. I bought it with the camera, then I brought it with me on a trip. To my disappointed, all pictures came out slightly blurred, like the lens was slightly out of focus. Stepping down was not solving the issue. The kit lens was definitely better, to my surprise.

Thinking that I got a lemon, I went back to the shop where I bought It (luckily, I has bought both the camera and the lens in a brick and mortar store). We tested the lens on another camera and it was the same. Then we tested other copies of the same lens that the store had in stock and all showed the same lack if sharpness. All pictures slightly out of focus. In the end I returned the lens and used the money to buy other equipment. I must admit that it was a perfect lens for video but it is not what I use my camera for. Actually this was confirmed by the shop owner, most buyers of the 18-105 mm are interested in its video capabilities.

I will have a look at the Tamron, the Sony 16-55 is almost double the price, at least here, so I will keep it out of the picture, at least for the time being. The Sigma also looks as an interesting option.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Phormula said:

all pictures came out slightly blurred, like the lens was slightly out of focus. Stepping down was not solving the issue. The kit lens was definitely better, to my surprise.

That's a pity and certainly doesn't match with my experience with the 18-105: mine is definately on par with the 16-50 kit lens (which on its own was as decent as I could expect from such a cheap lens). Sure, dont expect sharp corners especially wide open, but in the center my 18-105 left little to be desired across most of the zoom range. The 16-55 does beat it in every regard except zoom range though. The Tamron 17-70 trades blows with the 16-55 and might be the better choice in some cases. I went for the 16-55 because of the smaller size (I also found the 18-105 too bulky most of the time) and slightly wider FoV. My camera has a stabilized sensor so stabilized optics was no requirement for me. As you noted, I kept the 18-105 on my old A6000 for the occasional video project.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the very useful information.

The 16-55 tempts me, I can live with the absence of stabilisation, what holds me is the price tag. As always, there is not such a thing like a free lunch in life. The Sony gives performance at a reasonable size but with no stabilisation and higher price tag, the Zeiss is compact, stabilised and reasonably priced but lower performed, while the Tamron provides performance at very good price and stabilisation at the expense of bulkiness. 😀

All in all, I think I will give a try to the Tamron, once I have taken in my hands.

Here are two cutouts taken close to the center of the picture. The sharper one is the kit zoom, the other is the 18-105 mm, at approximately the same lenght around 40 mm at /f 8. The difference is impressive and more impressive for me is that all the lenses in the shop had the same behaviour on two different cameras. At this point looks like a whole batch and not just a lens.

 

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm that's pretty dreadful indeed... My 18-105 for sure is sharper than that. If I have time tomorrow I'll shoot an example with mine at 40mm f/8 side by side with the 16-55. Sold my kit lens when I bought the 18-105 so can't compare those anymore.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok here goes. Did some testing on an appartment building close to my home. Weather was sunny with slight overcast. All images shot at around 40 mm (I had to guess with the 16-55, which turned out to be slightly wider than the 18-105). Camera on tripod with 2 sec self-timer, steadyshot off, Aperture-mode, ISO 100. I refocussed for the corner shots to compensate for field curvature and subject plane not exactly at right angle to camera axis. Scene is not ideal due to slight differences in object distance, but the depth of field seems to make up for this even at F/2.8.

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

Link to post
Share on other sites

In conclusion (at ~40 mm focal length): the 18-105 is soft at F/4 but sharpens up a lot at F/8, even into the corners. The 16-55 is sharp at all apertures all the way into the corners, with higher contrast at F/2.8 than the 18-105 at F/8. Some chromatic aberration at F/2.8 but this is mostly gone by F/4.

My 18-105 definitely seems sharper than yours, especially at F/8.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Thanks Pieter for the comparison.

Actually what surprised me, it was just not my copy of the lens but all the 18-105 mm ones that the shop had in stock. The owner of the shop was ready to replace mine with a "good" one but it was simply not possible. And we excluded a camera issue as the behaviour was the same with another camera (a 6500 if I remember well). I guess it was a whole batch that was affected by the lack of sharpness issue. Needless to say, the shop owner was as puzzled as me.

Coming to my initial question, in the end I went for the 16-70 mm /f 4 Sony Zeiss. 

While surfing online, I found a flash offer on an e-commerce website at 499 Euro, shipped, which is at least 100 Euro less than the Sigma, i.e. the cheaper of the pool. It was a take or leave, so I took it. I hope to get performance at least as comparable to the kit lens, which would be fine for my planned purpose.  

Edited by Phormula
Link to post
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Phormula said:

Actually what surprised me, it was just not my copy of the lens but all the 18-105 mm ones that the shop had in stock.

Yes that's indeed quite surprising...

4 hours ago, Phormula said:

in the end I went for the 16-70 mm /f 4 Sony Zeiss. 

While surfing online, I found a flash offer on an e-commerce website at 499 Euro, shipped

Back in the days when I was looking for a replacement for my kit lens I also considered the Zony 16-70 f/4, but was turned off by the poor reviews and €900 price tag. €499 is a good deal! Apparently there's strong copy variation, so let's hope yours is decent. I chose the 18-105 because optically it was on par with the 16-70 but with longer zoom range and 40% cheaper. I'm quite confident your 16-70 will be much better than your copy of the 18-105. Please do post your findings!

Edited by Pieter
Link to post
Share on other sites

Got the 16-70, tested at around 35 mm /f 8, center of the image.

As expected, the 16-70 mm is slightly better in the middle and far better in the corners, considering that I am starting from a good copy of the 16-50 mm.

Thanks for the advice.

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to hear! You'll surely appreciate the smaller size of the Zony compared to the Tamron.

What puzzles me a little bit is that in your initial post, you said the 18-135 is too slow in the 24-35mm range, and that this was the main reason to look for a new lens. Yet the 18-135 is F/4.0 at 24mm and F/4.5 at 35mm and now you've settled for an F/4 lens. With the Zony you've practically gained negligible aperture speed at your relevant focal lengths. Why switch?

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

Edited by Pieter
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I agree, the improvement is not so significant compared to the 18-135 mm that I already have. It is the price to pay to have a compact size and stabilisation. In the end, this lens will allow me to work a little more comfortably beyond 24mm, but not that much. Which could be a benefit because when travelling for business, I spend most of my time inside during the day, so my pictures are condensed in the early morning and late afternoon space. For dailight shooting, I am perfectly happy with the 18-135 mm.

Actually, my decision was a take or leave one, as the offer was out for a few hours only.

So, now that I have checked it and verified that I did not get a lemon (seems that sample variability affects Sony more than other brands), what I am planning to do is to test it on the field. If it meets my needs, happy days! If not I can always sell it and buy one of the alternatives minimising the economical loss, given the price I paid for it. My next business trips will provide the answer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes at that price you'll hardly suffer a loss if you sell it again. Lenses tend to hold value pretty well. I've often bought lenses on discount offers and sold them a few years later for about the same as I bought them for.

The size of the 16-70 is really a great benefit. In the end the best camera is the one you have with you. This is what kept me from switching to fullframe: if my gear is too bulky, I'm less likely to bring it with me on a hiking trip. For me, APS-C strikes a nice balance between image quality and gear size/weight.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I couldn't agree more. I have some Nikon SRL equipment but it is not used that much because of bulkiness and inconvenience when travelling with public transport. I will give a try for my intended use and come back with my impressions. What I can already say is that, when used wide open, the 16-70 mm is better than the 18-135 mm across the frame. They become almost equivalent around /f 8, with the 16-70 mm a touch better. So, more than the benefit of a faster lens, it seems that I gained the benefit of a lens that gives me better quality wide open. 

On an OT basis, I learnt how to take pictures from my father and from the owner of the small newspaper and photography shop in the village I was born. My father gave me an old 35 mm camera and taught me the basics of exposure. Since I had no exposimeter, by the age of eight I was shooting Kodachrome 64 by eye with pretty good results. The shop owner taught me the basic rules of composition and what, 50 years later, is for me the main lessons. Equipment does not matter as long as it does the job and more often than not you can overcome the limitations of equipment if you know what you want to achieve. He was always telling me that the picture has to speak for itself and the message is not which kind of equipment you used. This person took pictures of the village and the surroundings for nearly 60 years, from 1945 till his death using the same camera and the same 35 mm lens (only lens, a dog lens for modern standards), and the pictures, mostly black and white,  are the backbone of the history of the village in that period of time. When I bought my first reflex with hard earned money in the '80s, his reaction was something like "nice camera, now show me the pictures". With today's technology we tend to me carried away by equipment and forget that "the picture has to speak by itself".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha yes, in the end it's not the gear that takes the pictures, it's the photographer. The gear is merely a toolset. I actually only learned how to properly compose my shots when I bought my first prime lens (a 24mm, so kinda equivalent to the 35mm fullframe lens you're referring to). A prime lens forces you to walk and look better at a scene, rather than to just stand where you are and zoom until you like how the scene covers the frame. Now when I use a zoom lens, I first look at a scene, think of what focal length I want to use and then move to the spot where that focal length works best.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the reason why I like the 35 mm lens on full frame or 24 mm on APSC, it has been my only lens for more than ten years, first built into the camera and then as my only lens in the SRL. It is very versatile, as long as you have good feet! Actually, should not this being a lens for shooting while on business trips, where I need a zoom because I don't have the time I would like to have to compose the shot, I would had gone for a 24mm, and sooner or later I will do.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...