Customer Reviews

39
4.3 out of 5 stars
Sony SEL1670Z Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS
Price:$998.00 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 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. That leads me to my last point I wanted to make here - the optical steady shot (OSS) lens stabilization. I own some quite expensive Nikon lenses with stabilization, and they are notoriously good at that, providing at least 4 stops of margin. This lens here I regularly use at 1/10s with most of the shots sharp, and at 1/8s with about half of the shots sharp. None of my Nikon lenses can be used hand held at those shutter speeds and generate a comparable rate of good results.
So, in summary, is this lens worth the hefty price tag? In my opinion, it is worth every penny of it. I own virtually every E-mount lens there is (with the exception of the 18-200mm), and this is the best, both in regards to its useful zoom range and constant aperture, and also in regards of the superior picture quality it generates.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 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.

I personally can live with it, because my use is mostly a bunch of street portrait and "document the live event" type of candid rapid fire no-time-to-think get the shot before it disappears stuff. You could call my use sort of "advanced vacation photos stuff", usually always daylight, high shutter speeds, and a typical afternoon camera roll of 100 shots edits down to less than 50 "keepers" .. I have a bag full of great primes that I can bolt on if I need them, but here is the thing: The great strength of this lens is it versatility and speed of use. It's 10x faster for me to use this lens for what I do than to go to the primes. For me with OSS and auto focus and almost always crystal sharp center areas it beats the snot out of fooling around with switching through a bag full of primes just to get these "candid shots". I want these shots, but I need much better performance than the kit lens.. Don't get me wrong, the kit lens is a smashing good deal and I have taken hundreds of "keepers" with it. For $95 it is a steal. But eventually, when looking through your last roll from the kit lens, you get that nagging hair on the back of your neck bothering you. It tells you "darn a great candid shot, too bad that lens not just a notch higher in quality"

So onto #2;) From the above narrative you can see that just about anyone with my shooting style would say, sure its time to get better speed of use / performance over the kit lens. But, what is that worth? For the last 40+ years I have bought and sold, owned and parted with so many cameras and lenses I have lost counting them. But I never remember having to pay 1000% more than the lesser kit lens to accomplish the goal. This is the toughest part of owing this lens. It's kind of strange, usually to a photographer, these decisions are made on a technical basis. But here you have to make the decision based in large part on what your banker thinks of the deal.

Number #3 is just the usual with any new lens you add to your bag. Although here maybe a little more so. I spent the first part of the afternoon when the lens arrived shooting the usual flat brick walls until I was satisfied. My copy was "OK", I think if I had a way to go through 20 of them, I could probably have selected out one or two that were better, but I think what I have in hand is about what is generally the normal for this one. Later that afternoon, after the brick walls were shot, I moved on to an afternoon of real subjects. If it is of use to you: here is a link to the roll: [...] I know Amazon parses out these links so what that link is in plain text is [...]

Have fun and good shooting to you ! If your banker is good with the deal my recommendation is, go ahead and buy one!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2014
Verified Purchase
I poured over the reviews for weeks. I kept reading the criticisms that this lens was barely sharper than the kit lens. But I finally decided it was worth a try. Boy, am I glad I did! I am no expert photographer, so I can't tell you much about the pixel peeping details. What I can tell you is that this lens seemed VERY sharp for a zoom lens. But much more important to me than the overall corner to corner sharpness is the COLOR. This lens produces much more saturated colors than the other two kit lenses. I used the 18-55 for over a year before buying this lens, and it is a huge upgrade. Also, I noticed this lens focuses faster than the 18-55. I paired this lens with the a6000, and I feel like I now have a fantastic tool for taking great pics. So far I am getting sharper, more colorful pics. I would buy this lens again in a heartbeat.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2013
Verified Purchase
An excellent lens, and useful zoom range. The detail, color and overall "pop" of pictures taken with this lens make it worth every penny. After cycling through this and other lenses I have for the NEX, I don't even have to look at the EXIF tags to see which lens it was when reviewing the shots. It makes some of the others (particularly the 18200LE look positively dull and washed out in comparison.

After a firmware update (NEX6 1.02), focus is lightning fast. Construction is top notch, it definitely has a high quality feel, and the zoom is silky smooth. This will definitely be my go-to lens from now on.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2014
After almost 5000 images from an early summer swing through Italy I am highly impressed with the 16-70. My only complaint would be some low light hunting and inability to capture worthwhile images in some darker museums; I really regret not buying a 24 1.8 or other low light lens. The color rendering, clarity, image sharpness were all excellent. So much so that there is going to be very little processing for some of the larger sized images for wall mounting. Be prepared that this lens will NOT work with built in flash and wide zoom due to the lens length--you will definitely miss portions of your images and now requires a $400 flash kit to avoid it. Brutal upgrade vs a firmware update. This would be an even better lens if they can get this into a fixed 2.8 and I'd pay for it again!
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2013
I purchased this lens to use on my NEX-7. It appears to be a sharp as the other lenses I own including the 24 mm Zeiss. Unlike what other reviewers have found, it focuses as fast as the other lenses on my camera, including in dim light. The focal lengths cover 95% of what I shoot. The only issue I have is the maximum aperture of only f/4. Of course a larger aperture would have made the lens quite large and heavy.

In summary, a very high quality lens light enough to carry around all day with great resolution.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
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.
If this was supposed to be the best travel lens for the E mount system then I'm afraid my A6000 will be sold very soon...

Now onto the positives: the center is extremely sharp even at f/4.0, bokeh is very pleasant, it is ultra light compared to similar f/4 zoom lenses, and the range covered makes it in theory a fantastic travel lens. You also get a nice blue Zeiss logo on the lens.

If you decide to go ahead and get this lens, just realize that despite the price tag you may have to go through many copies before getting a 'good' one. As such, I can only recommend buying this from Amazon or anywhere with a hassle-free return policy.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2013
Bought this from a competing vendor on pre-order and received it on Monday. The construction quality is excellent and lens is much sharper than kit lenses on the NEX series. It's very quiet and AF is fast. The SEL1670Z is crisp and color is beautiful. Zeiss characteristics come through. The corners of the 16-70 are good on the NEX-7 at 4.0 both wide and long end of zoom. The lens takes fantastic pictures and is very flexible but it is limited to f4 so it's really a day use lens or use flash or tripod at night. I like the size and f2.8 would have have been much bigger/heavier. It's nice to have the same aperture throughout the zoom range. I see that as a big benefit especially in lower light as you change zoom length. OSS is nice and does give it a couple stops but doesn't help a lot at full zoom hand held which is expected.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2013
Verified Purchase
Received the 1670z this morning and immediately attached it to my Nex 6. The lens fussed a bit at first, it wouldn't focus and made a few 'interesting' whirring noises. I took it off and cleaned the contacts with a bit of alcohol and reattached it to the camera and so far it has been behaving itself.
The zoom action is very smooth but the manual focus ring is a little narrow and you don't have to turn it much to overshoot your focus, I am spoiled by the huge focus ring of the 24!

Don't get me wrong, this is an excellent lens, it really feels good in the hand and is not too heavy or large. It has very good close focus and the OSS works well. In fact this lens and the 24F18 make the perfect kit, as far as i am concerned and I recommend it.

I will keep an eye on any quality issues and update this review but with the contact cleaning I am hoping that only good images lie ahead.

CZR

11/3/13 Update
Today I had a similar issue with a different lens on the camera. So I have to conclude that the 1670Z lens was not at fault, which actually ticks me off since it was a very sharp lens! If I could do everything over again, I would just get the Nex 6 body and this 1670 lens as it covered all my needs very well.

10/6/13 Update
After a second failure, I cleaned the contacts and the pins in the camera with a cotton swab and some alcohol, so far so good, have not had any problems since.
Lens performs like a champ and is on par in every way with the high end CaNikon f4 zooms. Very Pleased.

10/12/13 Update
After a trip to the local farmers market this morning I have started the return process, the lens failed several times and I will have to get an exchange. Too bad as this one was very sharp and I am left to wonder if the replacement will be as least as good..
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2014
Verified Purchase
I really do enjoy this lens. Constant f4 aperture, well built, lightweight, good quality optics. The only problem is the price. At nearly $1000, this lens's usefulness is debatable. You get a little more zoom than the default 18-55mm and 16-50mm kit lenses that came with the NEX cameras, but those kit lenses are $300 retail and this is a grand. Is another 15 or 20mm more zoom and one f stop less worth another whopping $700??? The value just isn't there.

The focal length of this lens makes it a medium length lens. Not quite very wide, and not quite very telephoto. It does a little bit of everything well, but nothing great. I'm not sure what exactly you would use this for except for a replacement for the kit lens for walk-around use. 16mm equivalent is a reasonable wide angle length, but 70mm isn't exactly extreme telephoto. At f4.0, this lens isn't exactly night vision either. You'll get a bit more performance in a dim room, but you can't use this in low light and expect to use low ISO speeds and get less graininess. For that, you really need a much faster lens that is at least f2.8 or larger.

You want to take night shots and candle-lit shots? You need another lens. You want to take wildlife shots or sports photography from afar? You'll need another lens. You want artistic blur and beautiful portraits? You'll need another lens. What this lens is, is a super expensive replacement for the kit lens. You can do a little bit of everything but ultimately you'll be left wanting for more.

The quality of the optics is definitely great, you get a lot more sharpness/contrast/chrome aberration than the standard kit lenses. After all, for the price you pay, you'd better get something right? But for the same price of this one lens, you can buy the Sony 35mm f1.8 ($400), 50mm f.18 ($300) and the 55-210mm telephoto ($350). And these are all excellent lenses! I bought this lens as a part of a discount bundle with my a6000. I enjoyed trying this lens out but ultimately I'm going to be selling it. I just can't justify the price and utility for this. Ideally, this lens zoom/fstop specs should fall into a package for a $500-600 lens, not a $1,000 lens. It's simply way too expensive for the little benefit it provides.
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