Sony Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80mm f3.5-4.5 ZA - Quality

Quality

Sony DT 16-80mm vs Sony DT 18-70mm resolution comparison, with Alpha A100


Sony DT 16-80mm lens
results continued…Outdoor / Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting
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To measure and compare the Sony DT 16-80mm’s resolving power we photographed the Enhanced Digital Camera Resolution Chart with it and the DT 18-70mm kit lens using the Sony A100 body set to its best quality JPEG and default image tone and sharpening settings.The crops are taken from the original images, saved as High Quality JPEGs in Photoshop CS2 and presented here at 100%. Each number represents 100 lines per picture height (lpph), so a figure of 20 means a resolution of 2000 lpph.

 

We tested the Sony DT 16-80mm and DT 18-70mm lenses with the Sony A100 body at a focal length of 35mm and at each aperture setting. The sharpest results on both lenses were found at an aperture of f8, where the DT 16-80mm delivered 2200 lpph of horizontal and vertical resolution respectively.This result places the DT 16-80mm fractionally ahead of the kit lens, although both perform well in terms of sheer resolving power in the middle of the frame. The differences between the lenses become clear in our other tests though, particularly the real-life outdoor results, so be sure to check out each our these pages to see the full story. Next up, the Sony DT 16-80mm corner sharpness.

 

Sony DT 16-80mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony DT 18-70mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony DT 16-80mm horizontal resolution
Sony DT 18-70mm horizontal resolution
2200 lpph, DT 16-80mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
2150 lpph, DT 18-70mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
Sony DT 16-80mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony DT 18-70mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony DT 16-80mm vertical resolution
Sony DT 18-70mm vertical resolution
2200 lpph, DT 16-80mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
2150 lpph, DT 18-70mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO

Sony DT 16-80mm vs Sony DT 18-70mm corner sharpness

Sony DT 16-80mm lens results continued…Outdoor / Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting
To compare the corner sharpness of the Sony DT 16-80mm against the DT 18-70mm, we photographed the Enhanced Digital Camera Resolution Chart with each lens at their shortest and longest focal lengths and various apertures in Aperture Priority mode using a Sony A100 body.The A100 was set to its best quality JPEG and default image tone and sharpening settings. The crops are taken from the extreme lower left corner of the chart and presented here at 100%.

 

Zoomed-out to its shortest focal length, the DT 16-80mm clearly suffers from softness in the corners when shooting subjects at close range; indeed you need to close the aperture significantly before the result becomes sharp. Interestingly this is pretty much the same result found with the kit lens, although the Carl Zeiss model leaps ahead in terms of corner sharpness when dealing with more distant subjects as seen in our Sony DT 16-80mm outdoor results page.

Zoom both lenses in and the corner sharpness at close range is greatly improved, and respectable even with the aperture wide open – and again the optical characteristics of both lenses remains quite similar here too. Our next results page tests the Sony DT 16-80mm fringing and macro performance.

 

Corner sharpness, wide angle

Sony DT 16-80mm at 16mm using Sony Alpha A100
Sony 16-80mm at 16mm f3.5
Sony 16-80mm at 16mm f5.6
Sony 16-80mm at 16mm f8
Sony 16-80mm at 16mm f16
16-80mm at 16mm f3.5
16-80mm at 16mm f5.6
16-80mm at 16mm f8
16-80mm at 16mm f16

 

Sony DT 18-70mm at 18mm using Sony Alpha A100
Sony 18-70mm at 18mm f3.5
Sony 18-70mm at 18mm f8
Sony 18-70mm at 18mm f16
18-70mm at 18mm f3.5
18-70mm at 18mm f5.6
18-70mm at 18mm f8
18-70mm at 18mm f16

Corner sharpness, telephoto

Sony DT 16-80mm at 80mm using Sony Alpha A100
Sony 16-80mm at 80mm f4.5
Sony 16-80mm at 80mm f8
Sony 16-80mm at 80mm f11
Sony 16-80mm at 80mm f16
16-80mm at 80mm f4.5
16-80mm at 80mm f8
16-80mm at 80mm f11
16-80mm at 80mm f16

 

Sony DT 18-70mm at 70mm using Sony Alpha A100
Sony 18-70mm at 70mm f5.6
Sony 18-70mm at 70mm f8
Sony 18-70mm at 70mm f11
Sony 18-70mm at 70mm f16
18-70mm at 70mm f5.6
18-70mm at 70mm f8
18-70mm at 70mm f11
18-70mm at 70mm f16

Sony DT 16-80mm vs Sony DT 18-70mm purple fringing comparison

Sony DT 16-80mm lens results continued…Outdoor / Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting
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To compare the purple fringing of the Sony DT 16-80mm against the DT 18-70mm, we photographed a test chart with areas of very high contrast using each lens at their shortest and longest focal lengths and with their apertures wide open. The crops are taken from the upper left corner of the chart and presented here at 100%.Both lenses exhibit purple fringing at their shortest focal lengths, although the DT 16-80mm shows a very clean result when zoomed-into 80mm. It’s also worth checking our DT 16-80mm outdoor results which show the kit lens exhibiting much greater fringing.

 

Sony DT 16-80mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony DT 18-70mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony 16-80mm at 16mm f3.5
Sony 16-80mm at 80mm f4.5
Sony 18-70mm at 18mm f3.5
Sony 18-70mm at 70mm f5.6
16-80mm at 16mm f3.5
16-80mm at 80mm f4.5
18-70mm at 18mm f3.5
18-70mm at 70mm f5.6

 


Sony DT 16-80mm vs Sony DT 18-70mm macro comparison

To compare the macro capabilities of the Sony DT 16-80mm against the DT 18-70mm, we photographed a custom chart at a focal length and distance which delivered the maximum possible reproduction. The dark lines are 10mm apart and the result is not cropped. Smaller areas are preferred in this test.

 

Sony DT 16-80mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony DT 18-70mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony 16-80mm macro
Sony 18-70mm macro
16-80mm at 80mm f8
Max area of 92x62mm
18-70mm at 70mm f8
Max area of 82x54mm
The best result we could get from the Sony 16-80mm was zoomed-into 80mm where it delivered an area measuring 92x62mm. The 18-70mm kit lens can deliver a fractionally smaller area, but only by a couple of millimetres so we’ll call this one a draw. If you want better close-up reproduction on your Alpha, get a dedicated macro lens. Next up are our Sony DT 16-80mm distortion results.

Sony DT 16-80mm vs Sony DT 18-70mm wide-angle geometry comparison

 

Sony DT 16-80mm lens results continued…Outdoor / Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting
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To compare the geometric distortion of the Sony DT 16-80mm against the 18-70mm at their shortest focal lengths, we photographed a test chart consisting of a grid pattern at an aperture of f8. The images were then analysed with Imatest using 5th Order line calculation and the full areas presented here at a reduced resolution. Smaller percentages are better.Zoomed-out to 16mm, the Sony DT 16-80mm exhibited 4.03% barrel distortion which is slightly worse than the DT 18-70mm kit lens at 18mm, although it’s not a massive difference and barely noticeable in practice; to be fair, the DT 16-80mm of course also offers wider coverage.

 

Sony DT 16-80mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony DT 18-70mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony 16-80mm at 18mm f8
Sony 18-70mm at 18mm f8
16-80mm at 16mm f8
Distortion: 4.03% barrel
18-70mm at 18mm f8
Distortion: 3.6% barrel

 


Sony DT 16-80mm vs Sony DT 18-70mm telephoto geometry comparison

To compare the geometric distortion of the Sony DT 16-80mm against the DT 18-70mm at their longest focal lengths, we photographed a test chart consisting of a grid pattern at an aperture of f8. The images were then analysed with Imatest using 5th Order line calculation and the full areas presented here at a reduced resolution. Smaller percentages are better.Zoomed-into its longest focal length, the Sony DT 16-80mm exhibits 0.52% pincushion distortion, which is measurably worse than the kit lens when it’s zoomed-in. It’s not terrible by any means though, especially when compared to other 5x lenses with similar ranges; the Canon EF-S 17-85mm for example exhibits 0.967% pincushion distortion when zoomed-in. Our final results page tests the Sony DT 16-80mm light fall-off.

 

Sony DT 16-80mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony DT 18-70mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony 16-80mm at 80mm f8
Sony 18-70mm at 70mm f8
16-80mm at 80mm f8
Distortion: 0.52% pincushion
18-70mm at 70mm f8
Distortion: 0.27% pincushion

Sony DT 16-80mm vs Sony DT 18-70mm wide-angle uniformity comparison

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To compare the vignetting and light fall-off of the Sony DT 16-80mm against the DT 18-70mm at their shortest focal lengths, we photographed a white target with a highly diffused filter; each lens was focused to infinity with its aperture wide open. The images were then analysed with Imatest and the full areas presented here at a reduced resolution. Bigger percentages are better.Light falls off to 53.4% of the maximum when it reaches the corners of the Sony DT 16-80mm when it’s zoomed-out to 16mm. This is measurably worse than the 63.3% of the kit lens when it’s zoomed-out. So you may notice slight darkening in the corners of some wide angle shots taken with the DT 16-80mm, although again to be fair it’s roughly the same as Canon’s EF-S 17-85mm while boasting wider coverage.

 

Sony DT 16-80mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony DT 18-70mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony 16-80mm at 16mm f3.5
Sony 18-70mm at 18mm f3.5
16-80mm at 16mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 53.4 %
18-70mm at 18mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 63.3%

 


Sony DT 16-80mm vs Sony DT 18-70mm telephoto uniformity comparison

To compare the vignetting and light fall-off of the Sony DT 16-80mm against the DT 18-70mm at their longest focal lengths, we photographed a white target with a highly diffused filter; each lens was focused to infinity with its aperture wide open. The images were then analysed with Imatest and the full areas presented here at a reduced resolution. Bigger percentages are better.

With the DT 16-80mm zoomed-into its longest focal length, the light falls-off to 71.8% of the maximum in the corners. The kit lens beats it comfortably in this respect, although the DT 16-80mm has a longer range and a brighter maximum aperture when zoomed-in; you’re also unlikely to notice any light fall-off with it in practice when zoomed-in. Now for some real-life results, let’s head on over to our Sony DT 16-80mm sample images.

 

Sony DT 16-80mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony DT 18-70mm
Using Sony Alpha A100
Sony 16-80mm at 80mm f4.5
Sony 18-70mm at 70mm f5.6
16-80mm at 80mm f4.5
Mean corner fall-off: 71.8 %
18-70mm at 70mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 87.7%
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