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Sony SEL1670Z Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS

by Sony
53 customer reviews
| 27 answered questions

List Price: $999.99
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  • Carl Zeiss mid-range zoom lens
  • High lens technology in a compact body
  • Optical Steady Shot image stabilization
18 new from $998.00 15 used from $619.00 2 refurbished from $729.99
Warranty Information: This product comes with a 1 Year warranty
$998.00 & FREE Shipping. Details In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

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  • Sony SEL1670Z Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS
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Total price: $1,422.99
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Technical Details

Product Description

Product Description

Outstanding contrast and resolution throughout the image area at all zoom settings are the hallmark of this high-performance Carl Zeiss mid-range zoom lens

From the Manufacturer

Sony make . believe

Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS Lens

The latest advances in optical design technology have made it possible to deliver prized Carl Zeiss contrast and clarity in a high-performance mid-range zoom. Four aspherical elements combine with one ED glass element to bring you breathtaking rendering.

Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS Lens


Circular Aperture
ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass
Aspherical lens elements

Circular Aperture

When changing your aperture to defocus the background, the light sources appear blurred. This ‘bokeh’ effect of the blurred background can be enhanced with circular aperture blades used in this lens. Conventional aperture blades have flat sides creating unappealing polygonal shaped defocussed points of light. α lenses overcome this problem through a unique design that keeps the aperture almost perfectly circular from its wide-open setting to when it is closed by 2 stops. Smoother, more natural defocusing can be obtained as a result.

ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass

As focal lengths get longer, lenses built with conventional optical glass have difficulties with chromatic aberration, and as a result images suffer from lower contrast, lower color quality, and lower resolution. ED glass dramatically reduces chromatic aberration at telephoto ranges, and provides superior contrast across the entire image, even at large aperture settings. Super ED glass provides enhanced compensation for chromatic aberration.

Aspherical lens elements

Aspherical lens design dramatically reduces spherical aberration while also reducing lens size and weight. Spherical aberration is a slight misalignment of the light rays projected on the image plane. This is caused by differences in refraction at different points on conventional spherical lenses which degrade image quality in large-aperture lenses. Specially shaped “aspherical” elements near the diaphragm restore alignment of light rays at the image plane, maintaining high sharpness and contrast even at maximum aperture and can also be used at other points in the optical path to reduce distortion. Well-designed aspherical elements can reduce the total number of elements required in the lens, thus reducing overall size and weight. Advanced Aspherical (AA) elements are an evolved variant, featuring an extremely high thickness ratio between the center and periphery. AA elements are exceedingly difficult to produce, relying on the most advanced molding technology to consistently and precisely achieve the required shape and surface accuracy, resulting in significantly improved image accuracy and quality.

Carl Zeiss T* (T-star) coating
Lens-based optical image stabilization

Carl Zeiss T* (T-star) coating

Coated optics were pioneered by Carl Zeiss - and this superb lens features the Carl Zeiss T* (T-Star) coating that virtually eliminates lens flare, internal reflection and light scattering that can otherwise occur at glass-to-air surfaces. The T* coating contributes to outstanding image quality, with high contrast and uniformly excellent resolution right out to the image edges. Not simply applied to any lens - the T* symbol only appears on multi-element lenses in which the required performance has been achieved throughout the entire optical path, therefore guaranteeing the highest quality.

Lens-based optical image stabilization

Gyro sensors built into the lens detect even the slightest movement, and the stabilization lens is precisely shifted to counteract any image blur that might occur. The use of precision, quiet linear motors and technology inherited from high-end Sony professional camcorders results in exceptionally quiet, effective image stabilization that contributes to high-quality movies as well as stills.

Additional Features

Internal focusing

Only the middle groups of the optical system move to achieve focus, so the overall length of the lens does not change. Other important benefits include fast autofocusing and a short minimum focusing distance. Also, the filter thread at the front of the lens does not rotate, which is convenient if you’re using a polarizing filter.

Sony make . believe

2013 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony is not responsible for typographical and photographic errors. Features and specifications are subject to change without notice. All rights reserved. Sony, the Sony logo, Alpha, (a) and Super SteadyShot are trademarks of Sony. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.

Product Details

User Manual [426kb PDF]
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 2.6 x 2.6 inches ; 10.9 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • Item model number: SEL1670Z
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
  • Manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service. Click here to make a request to customer service.
  • Date first available at August 26, 2013

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A. Tegtmeier VINE VOICE on March 16, 2014
Verified Purchase
You always read the question "Is it sharper than the kit lens?". Because for 8 times the money, you certainly can expect some superior optical performance over the cheap kit lens. And fortunately, this is exactly what you get - superior optical performance in the areas of contrast, color rendition, vignetting, and distortion. And although sharpness is not a real distinguishing factor in lens design these days anymore (the factors mentioned before are way more important and much costlier to achieve at a high level), much like the pixel count on the camera, rest assured that this lens is very sharp and provides extremely detailed pictures that are utterly crisp and have absolute stunning colors and contrast. I use this lens mostly for indoor shooting at concerts, sports events and the like and yes, sometimes I wish it was a little faster than f4, but generally it works real fine even at the necessary high ISO settings for those subjects. The constant aperture of f4 is very useful, and in my experience you need to step down the aperture to get the best results. The mechanical quality of the lens is also a cut above the rest, the zoom ring is smooth and responsive, and the whole look and feel of the lens oozes professionalism. Some reviewers commented that the lens was constantly "pecking and hunting". I know what they mean, my Zeiss Touit 12mm/2.8 does this, too - but not this lens. I must have gotten a real good specimen. Since the lens is about double as long as the kit 18-55mm lens, and quite a bit heavier, I prefer to use it on my NEX-6, for added stability when pressing the camera against my forehead when using the viewfinder. But it also works on my NEX-5T, although it takes some practice to aim it and then hold it steady with two arms stretched out.Read more ›
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Seb on January 18, 2015
Verified Purchase
I've now owned FOUR of these (three of which were returned), and also tested one more in a local store, they all had issues that are hard to swallow given the price tag.
The one I'm stuck with (I didn't realize the de-centering defect in time to return it) will have to be RMA'd to Sony, or sold used at a considerable loss.

Many refer to de-centering issues plaguing this lens, it shows up as a portion of the image being abnormally blurry.
I'm not talking about corner softness which is expected especially on a zoom of this range, but a good chunk of the upper half right side of the image being completely blurry while everything else is sharp.

Three copies of this lens were bad at 70mm with one corner being abnormally blurry whereas everything else was sharp.
The one I'm stuck is perfect at 70mm but the right side is awfully blurry at 24mm (consistent with one lens review posted online), so was the one I tried at the local store.
Stopping down to f/8 (I mostly shoot landscapes) unfortunately doesn't help in any way.

I don't think I had crazy expectations for this lens, I'm perfectly fine with border/corner softness wide open. However, I do expect sharpness shooting landscapes at f/8.0 where everything is at infinity focus.
Depending on your shooting style, even bad copies may work for you (close ups or portraits with defocused background are great with this lens), but for landscapes the unpredictable image quality is just not acceptable.

Having tried so many copies I have lost hope finding a good one that won't show any de-centering across the entire zoom range.
In retrospect, I should have kept one that was bad at 70mm but OK on the wide end because that's the range I'm most likely to use for landscapes.
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Coarsegold on January 10, 2014
Verified Purchase
Well, I agree with a previous reviewer of this lens, in that this one is hard to put your finger on.

There are about 3 questions you need to answer Yes on if you are going to be a candidate to own one.

First, 1.) Do you have a use pattern that will overlay with what this lens strengths are, and not its weaknesses ? 2.) Are you OK with winking-off purchasing an obviously over priced lens, being an early adopter with this one is paying a price that is clearly at a painful pinch-point. 3.) Do you have a good copy, as it is clear that the QA is spotty in the early production runs.

I'll discuss these in turn: The first item above is that this lens is like most of these new breed of computer designed high performance lenses. The fact is that the lens operates over such a wide range of focal lengths and ability to near focus, that it can not help but have a lot of sweet points and contrary with those corollary sour points, so therefore performance tends to run all over the map. It would take a large spreadsheet and someone with a lot of time to map out a lens performance chart here. For example at infinity focus at 16mm the barrel distortion, and the edge focus issues are present, but go to 24mm and focus from 3 feet to 12 feet and you're good to go, but focus issues change and come and go with F stop changes and focal distances all across the lens range and the whole thing quickly degenerates into a grab-bag of "what you see is what you get". Some time excellent Zeiss like performance but sometimes just good here, bad there, and back again in a constantly changing pattern that you quickly realize becomes either a deal killer or you can live with it.
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