Review Sony Vario-Sonnar® T* DT 16-80 mm F3.5-4.5 ZA (APS-C)


Sony 16-80 mm, fully named Sony Vario-Sonnar® T * DT 16-80 mm F3.5-4.5 ZA, is a so-called prosumer lens: a lens designed for amateur photographers, but with the performances of a professional lens. This Carl Zeiss lens has a large zoom range.


Sony Vario-Sonnar® T* DT 16-80 mm F3.5-4.5 @ 18 mm
Sony Vario-Sonnar® T* DT 16-80 mm F3.5-4.5 @ 80 mm

On a camera with an APS-C sensor, the Sony 16-80 mm has a zoom range equivalent to the zoom range of a 24-120 mm zoom lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor.

Construction and autofocus

The lens is fairly compact and has an exterior made of plastic. The zoom ring and focus ring are made of rubber and sufficiently wide.

The drive of the autofocus is fairly quiet, but not silent, and fast.

Searching in low light happens occasionally. This is not unexpected, as this lens is not very luminous and the Sony A77 uses only 25% of the light for the AF.

In-camera correction and image stabilization

The Sony 16-80 mm has been tested in combination with the Sony A77. During the test, the automatic compensation for vignetting, chromatic aberration and distortion was turned on at the camera.

At Sony, image stabilization takes place on the sensor and not in the lens. Image stabilization has not been tested with the Sony 16-80 mm, but the effectiveness of the image stabilization of Sony can be viewed in the tests of other Sony lenses, such as the Sony 16-50 mm and the Sony 24-70 mm.



If you compare the Sony 16-80 mm with the Sony 24-70 mm, the Sony 16-80 mm is more compact and the zoom range is larger, but this lens has even more problems with vignetting.

The jpg files show visible vignetting, despite the automatic shade compensation.

Move your mouse over the picture for the Imatest results for vignetting.



Despite the fact that the in-camera distortion correction was turned on at the Sony A77, the jpg files of the Sony 16-80 mm show visible distortion, especially in wide angle more. The automatic compensation of distortion in the camera has no effect here. Fortunately, it is easy to correct distortion with software afterwards.distortion-Sony-16-80-zeiss


The Sony 16-80 mm has a circular aperture; because of that you also get round Bokeh. The Bokeh is a bit restless.bokeh16-Sony-16-80-zeiss


The Sony 16-80 mm Zeiss lens has very little trouble with flare. Even if a light source shines directly into the lens, you usually do not have flare. On the right is the worst case we could achieve. We have not encountered ghosting in this test. The T* coating on the lenses works very well!flare-Sony-16-80-zeiss


The resolution of this Sony 16-80 mm lens is already very high from maximum aperture throughout the entire zoom range. In general, the resolution in the corners at all apertures is nearly as high as in the center. This is a top performance. At 80 mm, the resolution at full aperture is less and the corners remain behind on the edges more. At 16 mm and full aperture too, the edges remain slightly behind the center in terms of resolution. But this difference is only measurable and not visible to the eye.resolutie-Sony-16-80-zeiss

Chromatic aberration

The Imatest measurement results show that in practice, you will not (just yet) encounter visible chromatic aberration when using the Sony 16-80 mm.


Conclusion Sony Vario-Sonnar® T* DT 16-80 mm F3.5-4.5 ZA review


  • Very high resolution/sharpness
  • Extremely little problems with flare


  • At 80 mm, the resolution at full aperture is less and the corners remain behind on the edges more.
  • Visible distortion, in particular at 16 mm.

For those who love to take sharp pictures with a zoom lens with a large zoom range, the Sony 16-80 mm is the right one. Too bad for the distortion at 16 mm. Hopefully, there will be firmware for Sony cameras one day to correct this already in the camera. At this time, that is not yet the case, unfortunately.

Recently, this lens has a formidable competitor in the form of the Sony 16-50 mm. The latter lens does have a smaller zoom range, but scores better in the wide angle range and has a higher luminosity.


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