Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4

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withoutid Regular Member • Posts: 168
Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4

For those who still decide whether to buy 18-135 or 16-70. Dislaimer: I own the 16-70 and my friend owns the 18-135.

16-70 at 70 f/4

16-70 at f/5.6

18-135 at 70 f/5.6

18-135 at 135 f/5.6

dbronson
dbronson Contributing Member • Posts: 658
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
5

please review the images again, i see contradictory results.

16-70 left 18-135 right 100% crop

i not only see more contrast and sharpness, but less CA with the zeiss....as is expected with a premium lens. sorry to sound combative, your statement isnt supported by the images supplied. its close for sure, but not sharper. ( i have neither lens)

in fairness, the zeiss 5.6 image appears to be OOF...so perhaps try the test again?

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dbronson
dbronson Contributing Member • Posts: 658
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
2

and here is 100 crop of the zeiss images,  the 5.6 is OOF .

16-70 both, f4 on left f5.6 on right.

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skanter
skanter Forum Pro • Posts: 22,160
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
12

The slightest breeze makes these tests invalid. Shoot indoors with a chart if you want to test.

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maccam
maccam Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
1

My copy of the 18-135 was absolute crap. My copy of the 16-70 is really good. I didn't pursue a second copy of the 18-135. If you think you have a keeper, then keep it. Oh, and, don't let other people tell you how you should or should not test a lens.

JAW

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skanter
skanter Forum Pro • Posts: 22,160
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
3

maccam wrote:

My copy of the 18-135 was absolute crap. My copy of the 16-70 is really good. I didn't pursue a second copy of the 18-135. If you think you have a keeper, then keep it.

If you think you have a crapper, than crap it. (Yours was probably defective).

Oh, and, don't let other people tell you how you should or should not test a lens.

I never have. But I did recommend to the OP not to test with flowers outdoors because of motion blur.

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JohnNEX Senior Member • Posts: 1,891
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
4

Thanks for the test shots!

As someone who has posted quite a few test shots in the past, the most common response is usually some version of "you did the test wrong". Its very difficult to get a test totally right, and even if you do, the question of sample variation comes up - "your lens might be bad but my copy of it is amazing!"

I suggest a brick wall test for the mid and long end, with the camera about 8-10 metres away (30-ish feet). Remember you will then get predictable responses of, "I shoot real stuff not brick walls", but just ignore them. Turn OSS off, camera on tripod with the 5 second timer. If you are going to do test shots then you might as well go the whole way, and do a test which covers edge and corner performance as well as centre. When you test the wide-angle, find a scene at close to infinity, but not including trees which may sway in the wind or where the objects are so far away that atmospheric haze is a big factor. A nice city skyline is good, but not through glass!  Finding a good scene for a test is tough, but people here will appreciate it.

The Sony/Zeiss 16-70 is, by far, the most controversial E mount APS-C lens. There has been more forum flaming over it than any other lens, particularly before the 18-135 was released.

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brilly Senior Member • Posts: 1,962
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4

maccam wrote:

My copy of the 18-135 was absolute crap. My copy of the 16-70 is really good. I didn't pursue a second copy of the 18-135. If you think you have a keeper, then keep it. Oh, and, don't let other people tell you how you should or should not test a lens.

JAW

ofc you should let others tell you how to test a lens if you do it wrong - if its outside in the wind and they have different amounts of movement then the test is utterly useless.

(though i am not certain this was outside?)

probably enough for someone to declare their copy of a lens was absolute crap regardless of its quality

with the shots above - comparing at f5.6 shows the 18-135 as better but the 16-70 at f4 to be better

as the test data on 16-70 suggests 5.6 is its sharpest it should be the other way round if anything indicating test flaw or large sample variation

rjjr Forum Pro • Posts: 14,745
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
2

JohnNEX wrote:

The Sony/Zeiss 16-70 is, by far, the most controversial E mount APS-C lens. There has been more forum flaming over it than any other lens, particularly before the 18-135 was released.

Maybe that's because some like me who had no luck with the 16-70 (several in my case) found the 18-135 to be a better lens than the 16-70s tried and went with the 18-135.

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dbronson
dbronson Contributing Member • Posts: 658
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
4

skanter wrote:

maccam wrote:

My copy of the 18-135 was absolute crap. My copy of the 16-70 is really good. I didn't pursue a second copy of the 18-135. If you think you have a keeper, then keep it.

If you think you have a crapper, than crap it. (Yours was probably defective).

Oh, and, don't let other people tell you how you should or should not test a lens.

I never have. But I did recommend to the OP not to test with flowers outdoors because of motion blur.

when is examined the photos, i noticed the SS was 1/320, which kind of ruled out motion blur or most of it, so i didnt mention it in my first post, but certainly the vase wasn't going to be affected, and it was OOF in the zeiss 5.6 image  anyway, i think sometimes people want they to see, in this case the OP likes his lens, and they are both close in sharpness...i just disagree that one could conclude that the one lens is sharper over the other, when in this case, there are contradictory results.  the zeiss has been slammed more often, and the 18-135 seems to get generally good reviews...but this particular set of images  sure does raise suspicion on the zeiss lens, ie being OOF at 5.6  ( why was it ?  the vase was out of focus along with everything else) and if someone just had the 5.6 zeiss image to go by, they would be disappointed in its performance.  the F4 shot is quite stellar on the other hand...sharp, contrasty, and devoid of purple fringing like the 18-135 lens.

i have neither lens...i like the kit lens.

( off topic, i liked your recent NY posts...especially the mummy pose )

cheers.

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dbronson
dbronson Contributing Member • Posts: 658
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
6

and just because i like to beat a dead horse, i took the zeiss f4 image and the sony at 135 and compared them,  they both are close, but where the zeiss wins hands down is the lack of CA and or purple fringe. this may not be important...but it seems like the more expensive lenses control this artifact better..so zeiss costs more cause of better glass and therefore less CA...or so the theory goes.

all  pics are 18-135 lens on left, zeiss f4 right.  ( both great lenses imho, you really have to look hard to notice the differences)

again with all due respect to the OP, i don't think the 18-135 is sharper...but it is a damn fine lens.  thanks for taking the time to post the pics.  one day i may buy one of these lenses, i think it will come down to price...the sony is half the price, but not half the quality...cheers.

sharpness close  i think edge to zeiss

i think the zeiss has a more pleasing OOF bokeh...but thats personal taste. dont like the red shift in the sony images.

200% crop to exaggerate purple fringe of the 18-135; almost none if any from zeiss lens.

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hungrylau Senior Member • Posts: 1,306
CA, purple fringing, highlights and shadows etc
2

dbronson wrote:

and just because i like to beat a dead horse, i took the zeiss f4 image and the sony at 135 and compared them, they both are close, but where the zeiss wins hands down is the lack of CA and or purple fringe. this may not be important...but it seems like the more expensive lenses control this artifact better..so zeiss costs more cause of better glass and therefore less CA...or so the theory goes.

all pics are 18-135 lens on left, zeiss f4 right. ( both great lenses imho, you really have to look hard to notice the differences)

again with all due respect to the OP, i don't think the 18-135 is sharper...but it is a damn fine lens. thanks for taking the time to post the pics. one day i may buy one of these lenses, i think it will come down to price...the sony is half the price, but not half the quality...cheers.

sharpness close i think edge to zeiss

i think the zeiss has a more pleasing OOF bokeh...but thats personal taste. dont like the red shift in the sony images.

200% crop to exaggerate purple fringe of the 18-135; almost none if any from zeiss lens.

Having swapped the 1670z for the kit lens, the 24z for the e35 and the 12mm Touit for the 12mm samyang, I can say that the difference was in pleasing colour, contrast, shadow and highlight control straight out of camera.

The Zeiss/sony lenses simply gave me more pleasing results to the eye, especially with skin tones and significantly reduced my editing time.

Even second hand, none of these lenses have been cheap but as time flies and with more photos taken, they have paid for themselves imo.

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BrentSchumer
BrentSchumer Senior Member • Posts: 1,333
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
1

Is the Zeiss still a quality crapshoot?

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José B
José B Forum Pro • Posts: 19,261
+1 Re: CA, purple fringing, highlights and shadows etc
3

hungrylau wrote:

dbronson wrote:

and just because i like to beat a dead horse, i took the zeiss f4 image and the sony at 135 and compared them, they both are close, but where the zeiss wins hands down is the lack of CA and or purple fringe. this may not be important...but it seems like the more expensive lenses control this artifact better..so zeiss costs more cause of better glass and therefore less CA...or so the theory goes.

all pics are 18-135 lens on left, zeiss f4 right. ( both great lenses imho, you really have to look hard to notice the differences)

again with all due respect to the OP, i don't think the 18-135 is sharper...but it is a damn fine lens. thanks for taking the time to post the pics. one day i may buy one of these lenses, i think it will come down to price...the sony is half the price, but not half the quality...cheers.

sharpness close i think edge to zeiss

i think the zeiss has a more pleasing OOF bokeh...but thats personal taste. dont like the red shift in the sony images.

200% crop to exaggerate purple fringe of the 18-135; almost none if any from zeiss lens.

Having swapped the 1670z for the kit lens, the 24z for the e35 and the 12mm Touit for the 12mm samyang, I can say that the difference was in pleasing colour, contrast, shadow and highlight control straight out of camera.

The Zeiss/sony lenses simply gave me more pleasing results to the eye, especially with skin tones and significantly reduced my editing time.

Even second hand, none of these lenses have been cheap but as time flies and with more photos taken, they have paid for themselves imo.

I hate freaking CA and I totally agree with you my 16-70/4 has been amazing not just in CA control but the colour rendition and contrast as well. And the bokeh at f/4 70mm is excellent too.

Regarding the above tests, I couldn't care less about the 18-135mm----it doesn't do anything for me since I prefer a classic 24-105mm FF equivalent like the 16-70/4. I can use it as a one lens solution for travel. A standard lens starting at 18mm doesn't cut it for me.

Cheers,

José

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PhotoFactor Veteran Member • Posts: 3,176
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
1

rjjr wrote:

JohnNEX wrote:

The Sony/Zeiss 16-70 is, by far, the most controversial E mount APS-C lens. There has been more forum flaming over it than any other lens, particularly before the 18-135 was released.

Maybe that's because some like me who had no luck with the 16-70 (several in my case) found the 18-135 to be a better lens than the 16-70s tried and went with the 18-135.

I'm glad I never bought the 1670 although the size would be nice. But not the price/performance ratio.

The 18-135 for me was the first Sony zoom I can recommend as a good lens and a pretty good value.

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Craig Gillette Forum Pro • Posts: 10,047
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
2

JohnNEX wrote:

The Sony/Zeiss 16-70 is, by far, the most controversial E mount APS-C lens. There has been more forum flaming over it than any other lens, particularly before the 18-135 was released.

Except maybe the 16-50? 

Sympa Senior Member • Posts: 1,902
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
2

PhotoFactor wrote:

I'm glad I never bought the 1670 although the size would be nice. But not the price/performance ratio.

I bought mine used with a camera and some original spare batteries. For the price I paid I cannot complain - the camera is making someone else happy, and I have my lens for 400 euro and some batteries thrown in.

I think 800 or 900 is just too much money given the imperfections the lens has.

But one important point: the 16-70 does not always sharpen up when stopped down a little. I think the 16-50 neither.

I wish I had a zoom that was nice and sharp all around at f/8 for landscapes...

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rjjr Forum Pro • Posts: 14,745
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
2

Sympa wrote:

I wish I had a zoom that was nice and sharp all around at f/8 for landscapes...

I use my Sigma 18-35/1.8 Art/MC11 combo as my serious landscape zoom, and my Sigma 16/1.4 C as my serious landscape prime. For a casual walkaround/landscape lens I find my 18-135 to be excellent.

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Jpm888 Regular Member • Posts: 133
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
2

Im happy with my 18-135

The price of the 16-70 is simply too expensive

I can buy a Sigma 30mm F1.4 or a Samyang 12mm F2 for the price difference

niceeye87
niceeye87 New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Sony 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 is sharper than ZA 16-70 f/4
1

I know this is an old thread, but I had the similar issues trying to decide between 16-70 vs the 18-135mm, and I ended up buying both with the intention of selling the subpar lens after running through number of tests.

Both lenses I got had no apparent softness in one side of the image, an I also ran a simple decentering test and that didn't point anything obvious. So I assume my lenses are within the QC standards.

I did some lens chart tests and I documented findings in a blog article as the number of tests alone wouldn't be possible to write up as a single post in here.

https://theredblacktree.wordpress.com/2019/10/10/comparison-sony-e-18-135mm-f3-5-5-6-vs-zeiss-16-70mm-f4/

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