In the middle of November the waiting had an end and I was finally holding the long awaited wide-angle lens Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS (SEL1635Z) for my Sony A7r in my hands.
(Check out the price of Sony 16-35mm Vario-Tessar T FE F4 ZA OSS E-Mount Lens and Sony a7R Full-Frame Interchangeable Digital Lens Camera on amazon.com)
While I wrote about my initial experiences here, including a number of unedited photos for you to explore in full size for yourself and the story of me having to return my first copy of the lens due to quality problems, I now feel comfortable to share some more experiences of myself shooting with the lens. As I am currently traveling through New Zealand I basically am using it every single day and have produced the first set of images for my photo galleries with it.
You can find the photos of my trip through New Zealand here.
In summary I am now satisfied with the quality of the images that the lens is producing together with my Sony A7r.
Having to return the first copy of the lens left me very disappointed having desperately waited for the lens for a long time and even settling with the Samyang 14mm, f2.8 in the meantime for my landscape photography.
(Check out the price of Samyang SY14M-E 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens for Sony E-Mount on amazon.com)
After the exchange episode I was obviously very careful and scrutinised every single image in depth that I shot with the lens and by now am seeing good quality images being produced. However, I would like to highlight that I use the word “good” and not “amazing” or “outstanding”. Comparing the images with those that I produced and am producing with my Sony 24-70mm F4 Vario-Tessar T* FE OSS lens, it is clear that the 24-70mm is producing significantly sharper images. Obviously it is not fair to compare a standard zoom with a wide-angle zoom in that regard but as the lenses overlap in the range 24 to 35mm it is worth noting.
(Check out the price of Sony 24-70mm F4 Vario-Tessar T* FE OSS Interchangeable Full Frame Zoom Lens on amazon.com)
This observation is also being confirmed by DXOMark here.
Aside of the final image quality there is not much that I am interested in when looking at a lens. The build quality is really good as you would expect from a Zeiss lens and the handling is very comfortable having the experience with the 24-70mm lens.
In my personal opinion there is no alternative to this lens in the wide-angle area for a professional photographer using the Sony A7 camera system as it is definitely sharper than the 14mm Samyang lens and that is what you are looking for but for an amateur showing your photos on a computer screen or making the occasional smaller print I would say the price difference between the Samyang 14mm, f2.8 and the Sony Zeiss 16-35mm, f4 lens is too large to justify the investment.
To give you an idea of what images I produced with my new 16-35mm, f4 lens, please have a look at the following images and remember to check out the unedited photos in my previous post here.