I just got a Sony Carl Zeiss 16-35mm f/2.8 ZA SSM zoom (Mfr# SAL1635Z) and I wanted to share with you my first impressions.
Obviously, this is a pro-level mechanical design. You immediately notice the weight of this zoom lens (at no less than 1.9 lbs (860g), this is not a cheap plastic lens). Some photographers may even find it too heavy for ease, but if you tend to use your wide-angle zoom on a tripod, you won’t notice it and it will bring some additional stability to the SLR Alpha-series camera body.
The bulk of the objective is in relation, but it offers several noticeable advantages:
- The lens length does not change when you zoom
- The front lens does not rotate when zooming or focusing (since you need very fine polarizers on such a wide-angle, it’s better that way)
- the focus and zoom rings are wide, well located and easy to reach
- The AF-lock button on the side is well located
- The depth-of-field window is large and quite readable
Now, if you start playing with the lens, as I did on a Sony Alpha 700, the operation is very smooth. Obviously, the presence of the SSM motor is helping a lot and AF operation is nearly totally silent, while very fast.
Now, I could not yet evaluate the image quality (the lens is announced as having a high IQ), and I will provide some more info when I will be able to play with it (probably during my trip to Nepal next week).