Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

Started Oct 4, 2013 | Discussions
Dimitris Roubos New Member • Posts: 19
Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.
9

The contestants ..!

Hi Guys, i have been following dpreview for quite some time and i just registered to share my experience with shooting @16mm (f4/6.3/f8/f11/f14/f18/f22) with the above 3 lenses. Few clarifications first:

1. Don't hate me, i have such a hectic work schedule, cant post any photos or crops, i am glad i found the little time to write this mini personal review.

2. I am just a random guy that loves to take his camera everywhere he goes, definitely not a pro or a semi pro and certainly not a pixel peeper. A nex fanboy, have owned previously nex 3/5, have never used primes, the Zeiss 16-70 is the first Zeiss i own, for 1 week or so..

3. Nex 6 @ Iso 100, default settings brightness/constrast/sharpness, landscape mode, aperture priority. Multi AF (made sure all focus points were the same in all lenses and in all apertures - took some effort...)

4. I examined all shots @ all apertures @100% and @200%

5. The Test Image

The view from my balcony, a nice combination of trees, nearby buildings - the clouds on the left and the town buildings on the right gave me (at least imho a very good idea of the upperish corner performance of the lenses. Yes lower right part dominated by the shadows not the ideal scenario for examining the lower left performance.

Annotations. (16mm Pancake "Pancake", 10-18mm "UWA", 16-70mm "Zeiss"

Results and personal thoughts:

1a. F4 Center: Pancake/Zeiss/UWA

Very little to distinguish between the Zeiss and the Pancake, both lenses very sharp. UWA falls little short behind, hardly noticeable, overall very good sharpness

1b. F4 Corner Performance: Pancake/Zeiss/UWA

Again very good performance from the Pancake and the Zeiss. On the other hand UWA does not do well at all here. The trees looked very mushy with very little detail

2a. F6.3/F8 Center: Zeiss/Pancake/UWA

The Zeiss get the upper hand in fine detail but just about. Again the UWA is very close behind someone could call it a draw, especially @f8 the sharpness of the UWA is 98% in par with the rest.

2b. F6.3/F8 Corner Performance:

Situation is a bit different here at both f6.3 and f8 where in my eyes the Pancake has the edge compared to the Zeiss. UWA's sharpness and detail is definitely a lot better especially @f8 where is really not lagging much behind the Zeiss.

3a. F11 is the UWA's Transformation! - Center: Draw

In my eyes (and i spent a good lot time peeping,) there is virtually no difference between the three. All perform exceptionally well across the central axis.

3b F11 Corner Performance: Draw / 2nd Place = Zeiss

Well that was quite a surprise checking the UWA's corner crops. I mean, i was kinda see this coming due to the big improvement from F4 to F8 but i wasnt prepared for that. @f11 the UWA shines. Period

Zeis not far behind, but i was expecting a bit better

4a F14/F18/F22 Center : Draw

At these apertures i really could not tell the difference between the 3.

4b f14/F18/F22 Corner Performance: Zeiss/Draw

The Zeiss has the edge over the other 2 which is more evident @f18/f22 where the Pancake really struggles in terms of detail, where the UWA actually does a tad better.

Final Thoughts and further Observations.

1. Considering the Price, the Pancake is a solid performer, very good sharpness from corner to corner, very good center performance, the most consistent results of the 3.

2. Don't Shoot with the UWA @F4 please.... @f6.3 Its ok, @F8 Really good, @F11 Super.

3. Not very impressed with the Zeiss Corner Performance in this focal length especially considering the price - well its not bad, but definitely not Wow either. Should it be better in that price point ? I think so, In general it Performs really well @f4/6.3/8 with excellent center sharpness. But what will really make you love the Zeiss, is its contrast, it blew me away. Its color reproduction is amazing, never had to do so little PP in my life. In terms of color retention is the closest thing to my eyes as of date. I can talk for hours about that, I really love it and it compensates me a lot i have to say for not being that sharp. Does it worth the money? Well cant really tell. Yes it has a very versatile focal range, and as i said already it but i leaves me desiring a little more in terms of sharpness. But with PP that should be dealt quite easily, especially if you shoot raw (and with Nex's mediocre Jpg engine but then again so excellent and malleable raw outputs i don't see why anybody would shoot jaypegs - no offence).

Last but not least, in terms of build quality the Zeiss is indeed excellent. It really feels quite more sturdy than the UWA. And the UWA's built quality is by no means bad.

4. My beloved UWA that i have for sometime now, is like a baby. The more you take it away from f8/f11 the more it will complain. It is certainly at its best around those apertures. Yes that will probably force you at times to flirt with Iso 400-800 handheld, but hey you got a Nex.. I never have post purchase thoughts buying it, love everything about it. Love even its distortion, with very little fringing better than the Zeiss and the Pancake. In my test shot there was purple fringing around some clouds, but not in the samples taken with the UWA, and that is not the first time i notice that. It also handles flare superbly well , Zeiss does that well too by the way. 18mm is not its forte in terms of picture quality but in a parallel world if i can say, I was not that impressed with the Zeiss @ 60-70mm either.

Conclusion:

I will sum this up with a few more words about the Zeiss since is the latest addition to my collection, and to be frankly honest with you, if it wasn't for its contrast and its rich colors i would not recommend it at this price point. It has to be stepped down quite a lot around f11+ to get its best corner performance when its best center performance in my eyes is @f6.3. Having said that, out of the box the Zeiss produces the nicest looking images, with great and little "special" contrast and colors. Some might think that is easily attainable but i think different. Is like wearing to your camera a great pair of glasses. Do i have regrets buying it ? Well i was between the Zeiss and the 18-200le and as a landscape lover i find that 16mm really useful. But its mediocre output @70mm leaves me desire for more. Between 24-50 it shines with better corner performance at all f's.

I am planning to get the 18-200 Le in the future and then i will make this time a 50mm comparison between the 18-55/Zeiss/18-200le.

Hope you enjoyed reading this, please let me know what you think and again once more sorry i am not posting any visuals, i will try to do it on a later date.

PatrickNSF
PatrickNSF Regular Member • Posts: 406
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

Great comparison and observations. Thanks for doing this.

As an aside, I just sold my 18-200 LE in favor of the 16-70. I had the original 18-200 for a short while, then the 18-200 LE since March 2012. Paired with the NEX-7 and then the NEX-7, it just never felt right on the camera (so much so, that I'd opt for my A77 when I specifically wanted a long zoom). I thought the image quality was fine, but nothing spectacular.

The 16-70, on the other hand, pairs well with the NEX-6 and fells no different than my recollection of sing the 18-55 kit as far as size and weight. YMMV.

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Clayton1985 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,752
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

Thanks for taking the time to do this.   I don't have the pancake but I agree with most of your observations between the 16-70 and the 10-18.   At f4 the 16-70 is clearly better in the 16-18mm range.

Jerry R
Jerry R Forum Pro • Posts: 11,031
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

Your results is what I would expect in comparing a prime with 2 zooms of different focal length ranges.

Do you have on conclusions on the relative appearance of the images, color resolution, perceived image detail, and what some call "3D" effect?

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shaolin95
shaolin95 Senior Member • Posts: 1,889
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.
2

Thanks for the report!

Makes me a happy owner of the SEL16 with UWA and Fisheye specially since I got them cheap used!

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Jonathan_Whiteman Contributing Member • Posts: 962
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

Thanks for sharing, this is great.

Chewbokeh Regular Member • Posts: 234
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

Hi

How do you find the IQ between the CZ16-70 vs the original 18-200 and LE?

thanks

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parallaxproblem Veteran Member • Posts: 5,335
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

Thank you for the comparison

I think a few people might have got confused by the 10-18 being called the 'UWA' in your tests and think you are talking about the 16/2.8 with the 'UW' adaptor fitted!

It sounds like you got a particularly good copy of the 16/2.8 and a poor copy of the 10-18, unfortunately both lenses are known to have some sample variation

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PatrickNSF
PatrickNSF Regular Member • Posts: 406
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

I don't have the original 18-200 anymore. I had it for a brief time but didn't think the size and weight made any sense with the NEX. I used the 18-200 LE from March last year and sold it this week. 
In the photos I took side-by-side, I found the colors and contrast much better with the 16-70, and the photos overall sharper. I only cursorily pixel-peeped, as that's not how I view or use my photos. I haven't tested for any decentering yet, but nothing has jumped out.

Overall, the 16-70 performed better than the 18-200 (for me), and the both performed better than the 16-50 (which I'm holding on to for pure portability). I should add that I have a real bias against the 18-200 and didn't enjoy using it with the NEX, even though I primarily use zooms (other than the 24mm). I'm fine with the 16-50 and 50-150 Sigma on the A77, but both of the 18-200 zooms on the NEX were awkward (for me). The 16-70 feels about right.

I also noticed when scanning the EXIF info for my images that I rarely push up past 50-60 mm even when using the 18-200.

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PVCdroid
PVCdroid Veteran Member • Posts: 4,397
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

parallaxproblem wrote:

Thank you for the comparison

I think a few people might have got confused by the 10-18 being called the 'UWA' in your tests and think you are talking about the 16/2.8 with the 'UW' adaptor fitted!

It sounds like you got a particularly good copy of the 16/2.8 and a poor copy of the 10-18, unfortunately both lenses are known to have some sample variation

Thanks OP. Good information. I'm glad I saw this reply because I initially thought in terms of the UWA adapter for the 16mm. Looking back I just didn't read the intro carefully.

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KBKB Senior Member • Posts: 2,907
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

Thank you very much for recording your thoughts here.  As an owner of the 10-18 and the 16-70, I'll revise my shooting habits somewhat.  I've been stopping down to f/8, but you suggest that f/11 is better for these lenses, especially the 10-18.  This will be better for many of the shots that I like to take anyway due to the increased DOF.

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HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,176
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

Thanks for the experience in context of other lenses which is always interesting. I think it’s reasonable to expect to see weaknesses on the ends of the range. Like 16mm not the best in the corners and 70mm wide open. I too think the lens is a bit on an expensive side for the f4 lens. It is about £150 more than 24/1.8 Sonnar in UK. its price would suit it better even considering early life of the 16-70 V-Tessar, some very nice qualities that have been reported notwithstanding.

This is a summary of a user report it was referred to here before I saw yesterday for anyone interested.

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captura Forum Pro • Posts: 27,478
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

You have gone to a lot of trouble to compare a cheap prime with a couple of zoom lenses. Why?

A better comparison is to the Sigma 19/2.8 prime. I have both lenses. Although not as wide, the Sigma is a far better lens in every respect, and available even more cheaply.

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parallaxproblem Veteran Member • Posts: 5,335
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

HSway wrote:

Thanks for the experience in context of other lenses which is always interesting. I think it’s reasonable to expect to see weaknesses on the ends of the range. Like 16mm not the best in the corners and 70mm wide open. I too think the lens is a bit on an expensive side for the f4 lens. It is about £150 more than 24/1.8 Sonnar in UK. its price would suit it better even considering early life of the 16-70 V-Tessar, some very nice qualities that have been reported notwithstanding.

This is a summary of a user report it was referred to here before I saw yesterday for anyone interested.

Aaaarrghhhh...  decentering *again*!!!!!

On a $1,000 lens!

Why are Sony incapable of assembling their lenses properly?

Surely it's time for Sony to move lens production back to Japan or find a third part that can make their lenses for them as quality issues in their current lens production plant seem endemic

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PVCdroid
PVCdroid Veteran Member • Posts: 4,397
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

HSway wrote:

Thanks for the experience in context of other lenses which is always interesting. I think it’s reasonable to expect to see weaknesses on the ends of the range. Like 16mm not the best in the corners and 70mm wide open. I too think the lens is a bit on an expensive side for the f4 lens. It is about £150 more than 24/1.8 Sonnar in UK. its price would suit it better even considering early life of the 16-70 V-Tessar, some very nice qualities that have been reported notwithstanding.

This is a summary of a user report it was referred to here before I saw yesterday for anyone interested.

In the US, the prices are opposite. On Amazon, the SEL24F18Z is $1,098 and the SEL1670Z is $998. The SEL24F18Z went up to $1,098 per an announcement from Sony last October I believe with a price hike on most Alpha and E-mount lenses. However, the 24mm was recently on special for about 4-6 weeks in the US at $900 which ended a couple weeks ago. All of the major US vendors are in line with these current prices. The release date price in December, 2011 for the SEL24F18Z was $999.

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PVCdroid
PVCdroid Veteran Member • Posts: 4,397
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

parallaxproblem wrote:

HSway wrote:

Thanks for the experience in context of other lenses which is always interesting. I think it’s reasonable to expect to see weaknesses on the ends of the range. Like 16mm not the best in the corners and 70mm wide open. I too think the lens is a bit on an expensive side for the f4 lens. It is about £150 more than 24/1.8 Sonnar in UK. its price would suit it better even considering early life of the 16-70 V-Tessar, some very nice qualities that have been reported notwithstanding.

This is a summary of a user report it was referred to here before I saw yesterday for anyone interested.

Aaaarrghhhh... decentering *again*!!!!!

On a $1,000 lens!

Why are Sony incapable of assembling their lenses properly?

Surely it's time for Sony to move lens production back to Japan or find a third part that can make their lenses for them as quality issues in their current lens production plant seem endemic

Yea right on decentering again. It's the same guy and same lens that caused the initial decentering stir but a different thread on fredmiranda. He's no longer complaining about the lens and the pics he took are beautiful. I've had mine for two weeks from BH Photo and the first was checking corners. The second week I gave that up since I couldn't find any problems on my NEX-7. It was kind of a let down to see all that come out when I was excited to get this lens. I've looked at his thread over and over and am still not sold on his decentering theory and comparing against his second thread pics.

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PVCdroid
PVCdroid Veteran Member • Posts: 4,397
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

PVCdroid wrote:

parallaxproblem wrote:

HSway wrote:

Thanks for the experience in context of other lenses which is always interesting. I think it’s reasonable to expect to see weaknesses on the ends of the range. Like 16mm not the best in the corners and 70mm wide open. I too think the lens is a bit on an expensive side for the f4 lens. It is about £150 more than 24/1.8 Sonnar in UK. its price would suit it better even considering early life of the 16-70 V-Tessar, some very nice qualities that have been reported notwithstanding.

This is a summary of a user report it was referred to here before I saw yesterday for anyone interested.

Aaaarrghhhh... decentering *again*!!!!!

On a $1,000 lens!

Why are Sony incapable of assembling their lenses properly?

Surely it's time for Sony to move lens production back to Japan or find a third part that can make their lenses for them as quality issues in their current lens production plant seem endemic

Yea right on decentering again. It's the same guy and same lens that caused the initial decentering stir but a different thread on fredmiranda. He's no longer complaining about the lens and the pics he took are beautiful. I've had mine for two weeks from BH Photo and the first was checking corners. The second week I gave that up since I couldn't find any problems on my NEX-7. It was kind of a let down to see all that come out when I was excited to get this lens. I've looked at his thread over and over and am still not sold on his decentering theory and comparing against his second thread pics.

FYI - I do admire Phllip Reeves skillset and fortitude in checking his new lens. He had me nervous though. I think people are checking all there lenses now for decentering. Ha!

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alterstill
alterstill Regular Member • Posts: 331
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

ichatpatrick wrote:

I don't have the original 18-200 anymore. I had it for a brief time but didn't think the size and weight made any sense with the NEX. I used the 18-200 LE from March last year and sold it this week.
In the photos I took side-by-side, I found the colors and contrast much better with the 16-70, and the photos overall sharper. I only cursorily pixel-peeped, as that's not how I view or use my photos. I haven't tested for any decentering yet, but nothing has jumped out.

Overall, the 16-70 performed better than the 18-200 (for me), and the both performed better than the 16-50 (which I'm holding on to for pure portability). I should add that I have a real bias against the 18-200 and didn't enjoy using it with the NEX, even though I primarily use zooms (other than the 24mm). I'm fine with the 16-50 and 50-150 Sigma on the A77, but both of the 18-200 zooms on the NEX were awkward (for me). The 16-70 feels about right.

I also noticed when scanning the EXIF info for my images that I rarely push up past 50-60 mm even when using the 18-200.

These are exactly my thought about (original) 18-200. In fact it is the only lens I returned day after purchase.

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alterstill
alterstill Regular Member • Posts: 331
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

PVCdroid wrote:

HSway wrote:

Thanks for the experience in context of other lenses which is always interesting. I think it’s reasonable to expect to see weaknesses on the ends of the range. Like 16mm not the best in the corners and 70mm wide open. I too think the lens is a bit on an expensive side for the f4 lens. It is about £150 more than 24/1.8 Sonnar in UK. its price would suit it better even considering early life of the 16-70 V-Tessar, some very nice qualities that have been reported notwithstanding.

This is a summary of a user report it was referred to here before I saw yesterday for anyone interested.

In the US, the prices are opposite. On Amazon, the SEL24F18Z is $1,098 and the SEL1670Z is $998. The SEL24F18Z went up to $1,098 per an announcement from Sony last October I believe with a price hike on most Alpha and E-mount lenses. However, the 24mm was recently on special for about 4-6 weeks in the US at $900 which ended a couple weeks ago. All of the major US vendors are in line with these current prices. The release date price in December, 2011 for the SEL24F18Z was $999.

AFAIR at launch UK price for both Sony Zeiss lenses was exactly the same.

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PVCdroid
PVCdroid Veteran Member • Posts: 4,397
Re: Sweet Sixteen.. (16/2.8 Pancake vs Sony 10-18 vs Zeiss 16-70) A Personal Opinion.

alterstill wrote:

AFAIR at launch UK price for both Sony Zeiss lenses was exactly the same.

Very interesting... They are the same in UK on Sony site (839) but a big savings on Amazon (726). In the US, Amazon and Sony are the same with the 24mm costing $100 more. This is what was happening during the sale and it ended around a week ago in the US. You may have a special still running on Amazon that might expire soon for the 24mm since the Sony/Amazon price in the UK is identical for the SEL1670Z

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