Sony has just announced two impressive new zoom lenses for its NEX cameras and a black version of its current Zeiss 50mm f/1.8 lens. The first of the two lenses is a Vario-Tessar T* 16-70mm f/4 OSS designed by Zeiss. The second zoom lens has an even more impressive focal length range of 18-105mm whilst also sticking to f/4 aperture throughout and being optically stabilized. Both new lenses instantly make Sony NEX compact system cameras that much more attractive to serious amateurs and enthusiasts.
1) Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 OSS Lens Overview
The new Zeiss lens is designed for APS-C sensor cameras and features a 24-105mm full-frame equivalent focal length. This is the first lens in this class for APS-C cameras that also has a constant f/4 aperture throughout the zoom range. And you know what? Finally. Much older APS-C DSLR systems lack important lenses with similar parameters, not to mention a number of primes. Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR DX instantly springs to mind – it is very capable, but the slow variable aperture leaves something to be desired. The addition of the Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 OSS lens makes the whole NEX system quite a bit more inviting to serious photographers unwilling to sacrifice versatility and quality over small size. If Sony keeps up with such serious lenses, it is well on its way to providing both.
As you would expect from Zeiss, 16-70mm f/4 OSS has lens coatings to minimize flare and aspherical and ED glass elements. Lens barrel is, traditionally, made of metal and should feel very solid.
2) Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 OSS G Lens Overview
If a zoom range of 16-70mm is not enough for you, the new 18-105mm f/4 OSS lens will give up a couple of millimeters on the wide end in favor of an additional 35mm on the long one. More impressively, it managed to give such a wide range of focal length without sacrificing speed. Aperture of f/4 throughout the zoom range is rather impressive for a 27-157mm full-frame equivalent lens. Again, this is the first lens of its kind and is long overdue for the rest of the manufacturers, as we have already talked about.
The 18-105mm f/4 OSS G lens may not be branded as Zeiss, but don’t think build quality has been compromised. G lenses in Sony lineup are considered as premium products and are always built to very high standards to compliment impressive optical design. The lens is quite big, but does not extend during focusing and zooming as both actions are internal – a sign of a pro grade lens. Another noteworthy feature is the powerzoom which allows you to change focal length of the lens as you would with a compact point-and-shoot camera. The zoom lever is located on the lens barrel and should ensure very smooth change of focal length, something videographers will be quite happy about. In addition to all the discussed features and optical image stabilization, the lens also has ED and aspherical elements to counter aberrations and distortion.
3) Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens Overview
This lens is not new in Sony E-mount line-up, but was previously only available in silver. Already popular, this fast prime is nicely suitable for portraits. Wide aperture is not its only party piece, though – as the other two lenses, it also features optical image stabilization. With its new color option, users of black Sony NEX compact system camera bodies may find it more attractive.
4) Official Press Release
Here is the official press release for all three lenses:
SAN DIEGO, August 27, 2013 – Sony has announced three new additions to its line of E-mount interchangeable lenses, including a versatile mid-range zoom (16-70mm F4) by Carl Zeiss, a power-zoom G lens (18-105mm F4) optimized for video – Sony’s first ever G Lens™ for E-mount cameras – as well as a new black finish option for the popular 50mm F1.8 portrait lens.
The ever-growing family of E-mount interchangeable lenses now totals 18 different models from Sony, Carl Zeiss and now G lenses, giving shooters an impressive selection of creative tools to enhance their photography.
Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS Zoom Lens (SEL1670Z)
The new Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 16-70mm F4 zoom lens gives photographers the opportunity to experience legendary Carl Zeiss optical excellence in a supremely compact, easy-to-carry zoom lens. A practical 4x zoom range of 16-70mm (24-105mm in 35mm full-frame equivalent) makes this model ideal for a wide range of everyday photo situations, from landscapes and portraits to informal snapshots and everything in between.
This premium lens provides outstanding contrast and resolution at all zoom settings, and it has a renowned T* coating on optical surfaces that reduces glare and ghosting for natural color reproduction, superb definition and clarity. Lens size and weight are minimized thanks to Advanced Aspherical lens (AA lens) technology, which combines four aspherical elements with one ED glass element.
Additionally, the new Carl Zeiss E-mount lens maintains a constant F4 maximum aperture at all focal lengths, reducing the need for high ISO settings when zoomed in and allowing the use of high shutter speeds to freeze fast-moving action. It also has an extra refinement in the circular aperture which enables naturally smooth background defocus, and features Optical SteadyShot image stabilization for reducing the effects of hand shake.
Aesthetically, it has a stylish metal exterior and the premium look, feel and construction expected from Carl Zeiss.
E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS Power Zoom Lens (SELP18105G)
The new E 18-105mm F4 G power zoom lens is the first ever G lens created for Sony’s E-mount line of cameras. The premium all-around lens covers a generous 5.8x zoom range from 18mm – 105mm (full frame equivalent 27mm – 157.5mm) and is an ideal choice for travel photography as well as every day, general purpose shooting.
The innovative optical design of the new zoom reflects its G Lens pedigree. Two ED glass elements are combined with three aspherical elements for high resolution and contrast throughout the entire zoom range, minimizing distortion and color aberration.
Featuring a remarkably smooth, quiet autofocus and powerzoom operation, the premium G lens is particularly suited for video shooting. The conveniently-placed zoom lever on the lens barrel allows fixed or variable-speed power zooming, with easy fingertip operation to reduce unwanted camera shake. Further, the overall lens length remains unchanged during focusing and zoom operation, maintaining consistent handling and delivering a more natural shooting experience.
Like the new Carl Zeiss zoom lens, the E 18-105mm F4 G model has a circular aperture that enables smooth, professional quality background defocus, and maintains a constant F4 maximum aperture for plenty of brightness at all zoom settings. It also features Optical SteadyShot to cut the effects of camera shake while shooting.
50mm F1.8 Portrait Lens in Black
In response to user demand, the E 50mm F1.8 fixed-focal length lens is now available with a stylish black finish to match any black E-mount interchangeable lens camera. This bright, wide-aperture prime lens is ideal for capturing atmospheric handheld portraits with flattering background defocus. It also has Optical SteadyShot for reducing camera shake and smooth, quiet autofocus capabilities.
5) Pricing and Availability
Here is a quote from Sony about the pricing and availability of the new lenses:
- The new Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 16-70mm F4 zoom lens will be available in late September for about $1000
- The new E 18-105mm F4 G Series zoom lens will be available in December for about $600
- The new E 50mm F1.8 portrait lens in black will be available in late September for about $300