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September 17, 2011

Carl Zeiss® 16-35mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens (A-Mount) – Preview, Initial Impressions, Full Specs and more..

Carl Zeiss® 16-35mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens

The Carl Zeiss 16-35mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens (SAL-1635Z) for the Alpha Camera Systems (A-Mount) is one of the most wanted lenses in the Sony arsenal, and in this preview I’ll give you all the info available on this incredible piece of glass.

For starters the Sony SAL-1635Z 16-35mm f/2.8 ZA SSM Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Autofocus Lens is a professional-grade Fast zoom lens specifically designed for the Sony Alpha SLR series cameras. Carl Zeiss’ optical design and anti-flare T* coatings used for this lens help to reduce flare and to increase contrast. The effective equivalent 35mm focal length for this lens is 24-52.5mm which makes for an excellent wide angle range in my opinion. This lens is definitely on my Want List!!

This lens is best suited for Landscapes, Architecture, and Low Light work with its wide angle zoom range and its fast f/2.8 constant aperture. The 16-35mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss lens is also a killer for video, because it has the SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) which makes for incredible fast, smooth, and Silent autofocusing!! When recording HD video on Sony Alpha Cameras the standard autofocus motor on most sony lenses is very audible, and noticeable in the videos!  Check this video out to see what I mean 😉 Listen for the autofocus in the video. I used the  a35  and the Carl Zeiss 16-80mm lens for this video and the 18-80mm has a very good autofocus motor, but it still makes noise and you can clearly hear it >>

The Carl Zeiss 16-35mm lens also has three aspherical and two ED lens elements which correct visual aberrations and improve picture quality edge-to-edge across the entire zoom range. As you know these types of lens elements are huge money and make a bug difference so keep that in mind when you see the price tag on this monster 😉

Also be sure to check out all the A-Mount Lenses available for the Sony Alpha Cameras over in my NEW A-Mount Lens Guide >>

My Hands on Review of the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 Lens is coming soon…..


Carl Zeiss® 16-35mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens



Super Wide-Angle Zoom 16-35mm

Perfect for dramatic landscapes, interiors and unique perspectives on everyday objects. (35mm equivalent when used with APS-C format cameras: 24-52.5mm.)

Superb, corner-to-corner consistency

Resolution, contrast and image brightness are maintained not just at the image center, but also in the corners — a hallmark of Carl Zeiss design.

Short Minimum Focusing Distance

With the ability to focus as closely as 11 inches (0.28 m), this wide angle zoom lens also lets you move in for dramatic perspectives on people, natural subjects and close-up details

Focus Hold Button

For creative control a focus hold button conveniently located on the lens barrel lets you firmly lock in focus. Focus Hold also enables image preview with the ?900 D-SLR.

Super Extra-low Dispersion (Super ED) and ED glass

Newton showed that different colors bend at different angles when they pass through glass. In lenses, this causes the problem of chromatic aberration. Sony solves the problem with a Super ED and an ED glass element. You get sharp, clear images with well defined colors.

Auto Clutch

For reliable operation, the manual focus ring does not rotate in auto-focus mode

World-famous Carl Zeiss optics.

Carl Zeiss lenses are prized by photographic professionals. The SAL1635Z features the classic Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar zoom lens design.

Super low distortion

The lens minimizes field curvature even at wide angle settings.

SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor)

Large, wide-aperture zoom lenses tend to have larger, heavier elements that are harder to drive in Auto Focus. Sony achieves fast, smooth, near-silent automatic focusing with the Super Sonic wave Motor. It delivers high torque, high speed and rapid start/stop response.

Best-in-Class 0.24 Maximum Magnification.

(Among super wide angle zoom full frame lenses as of September 2008).

Circular Aperture

Because the aperture blades form a near circle at the wide openings used for low-light shots, spot-light sources have a pleasing circular defocused effect. The lens features nine aperture blades

Fast, constant aperture f/2.8

While typical zoom lenses lose maximum aperture toward the telephoto end, the SAL1635Z maintains a very fast f/2.8 across the entire zoom range for the utmost flexibility in challenging light conditions.

Carl Zeiss T* (T-star) coatings

Internal reflections on the glass-to-air surfaces can create veiling glare, which reduces contrast and takes the life out of your pictures. The SAL1635Z overcomes this issue with the famous Carl Zeiss T* coatings.

In-Camera Image Stabilization

Because Sony builds SteadyShot® image stabilization into the ? cameras, the SAL1635Z does what other lenses can’t. This is the world’s only large-aperture, full-frame capable wide-angle zoom with the benefit of image stabilization (as of Sept. 2008).

Multi-Element Design

The SAL1635Z incorporates 17 elements in 13 groups for superb sharpness, speed and edge-to-edge consistency.

Three aspherical elements

Fast lenses have a difficult time maintaining sharpness at maximum aperture. The SAL1635Z is amazingly fast for a 16-35mm zoom. Yet thanks to three aspherical elements, the lens achieves incredibly consistent, corner-to-corner sharpness at maximum aperture.

Supplied accessories

Carrying case, lens caps and petal shaped lens hood.

Full Specs


  • Lens Type : Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
  • Aperture (Max.) : f/22
  • Filter Diameter : 77mm
  • Lens Groups-Elements : 17 elements, 13 groups
  • Minimum Focus Distance : 12″ (0.3m)
  • Aspheric Elements : 3(3 surface)
  • Distance Encoder : Yes
  • Distance Scale : Yes
  • Non-rotating Focusing Ring : Yes
  • Tele-converter Compatibility – 1.4x : No
  • Tele-converter Compatibility – 2.0x : No
  • Aperture Blade : 9 blades
  • Focal Length (35mm equivalent) : 24-52.5mm
  • Focus-hold Button : Yes
  • Lens Weight : 1lb 14 oz (860g)
  • Magnification : x0.24

Weights and Measurements

  • Dimensions (Approx.) : 3-3/8×4-1/2 (83x114mm)
  • Weight (Approx.) : 1lb 14 oz (860g)

Best Price: ~$1998.00

Compare Prices @ >>, >>


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