Praising the SEL1670Z when it deserves - and drawing some first conclusions

Started Jan 16, 2014 | Discussions thread
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stoppingdown Regular Member • Posts: 405
Praising the SEL1670Z when it deserves - and drawing some first conclusions

Yesterday I ran a comparison between the SEL1670Z @ 30mm and the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DX | A. The Sigma is a lens praised for its very good sharpness and affordable price. The test was performed with the usual conditions, on the tripod, at ƒ/8, the focal I use for landscapes and the sweet spot of the SEL1670Z.

It turned out that in these conditions the two lenses perform roughly the same at the center and the left border; the Sigma is better at the right border, where the SEL1670Z has got a slight softness defect. Performing substantially like a prime, even though not the top in the list, is definitely something that deserves praise for a zoom lens. BTW, since I've already compared the Sigma with the Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8G, I can also conclude that the Sony Zeiss is better than the latter (at Ζ’/8).

It is to be said that the Sigma, according to MTF test, is reputed to have a better performance at Ζ’/4, and at this aperture I suppose it beats the Carl Zeiss. I'm saying this for completeness, but it's not an aperture I'm much interested into.

My partial conclusions so far:

  1. The copy of the SEL1670Z is a "good" lens;
  2. It has a clear slight decentering defect, and this confirms the common opinion on the web about Sony's questionable quality control;
  3. If my lens can be corrected so the soft borders are fixed to perform the same way as the opposite border at each focal, I'd evaluate the lens a "very good" one;
  4. Unless one is interested in large apertures (Ζ’/2.8, Ζ’/4) owning both the SEL1670Z and the Sigma prime has not much meaning; either one keeps the SEL1670Z alone, or searches for a sharper prime (I'll do the latter). This not to criticize the Sigma lens, as it's one of the best things around in terms of price/performance. It's also of course an evaluation that applies only to a specific class of photos (in my case, landscape).

Feedback welcome.

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Fabrizio Giudici

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