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Bob Andersson

SL vs A9 with their respective 16-35mm glass

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Hi folks,

Excuse the dodgy Photoshop composites but having had my eye on the SL together with its native 16-35 mm glass for a while I thought I'd see whether the Sony A9 and its admittedly brighter 16-35mm G Master lens was so much more compact that it might tempt me away from a future SL purchase. Here's my best effort (which may not be 100% accurate) at scaling the two side by side. I've superimposed an outline of the SL over the A9 to highlight the differences.

 

I've had the pleasure of playing with the SL plus its 16-35mm lens (and loved it) but not the A9 so, for me, this was a useful exercise and one which surprised me a little.

While the A9 is less wide it is only noticeably so around the grip which looks a little tight for my hands. The difference in price, specifications and performance for the two cameras plus their 16-35 mm lenses are out there for anyone to read and my needs and wants may not be yours - I'll keep saving for the SL, or SL2!  😀

Bob.

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I am working with the Vario-Tessar 4/16-35 - same specs as the SL lens - which costs in Germany exactly 1/4 of the price of the SL lens and I am highly satisfied both with the handling and especially with the optical performance.

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Interesting is also, that the turning direction fom wide to tele is different. Canon´s turn also like the Sony. Nikon´s turn the lens like the Leica.

Edited by greybear

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In addition to the size, weight is a big difference, I assume. I have the SL and 16-35 and it's a bit of a beast. I also have the 75MM-SL which is a great size and much smaller than the 16-35. Build quality, weather sealing and optical rendering is why I chose my gear.

 

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16-35 SL lens is terrific, but admittedly, I am let down by the corner performance between 16-19mm even when stopped down to f/11.  For this reason, I really consider this lens a 21-35mm.

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5 hours ago, Bob Andersson said:

 

 

I've had the pleasure of playing with the SL plus its 16-35mm lens (and loved it) but not the A9 so, for me, this was a useful exercise and one which surprised me a little.

- I'll keep saving for the SL, or SL2!  😀

 

I've never used the Sony, but every review that I read has said that the lens is poor wide open. You need to shoot it at f4 or greater, f8 being best. Rather defeats the purpose of paying for an f2.8 lens when you have to stop it down to make it useable.

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55 minutes ago, oronet commander said:

Using camerasize.com the size comparison seems a little more disproportionate...

http://j.mp/2PSgyIi

Thanks for that. I never realised the site had that functionality until today!

Following your link I had to manually reselect the 16-35 mm G Master lens onto the A9 body. I used Photoshop to do a quick selection and move of the A9 plus lens on my captured screenshot so that I could align the bodies rather than the base of the viewfinders. With that done the respective sizes are pretty close to those I started the thread with although yes, the Sony lens does appear a bit shorter on the CameraSize image. I'll take that with a pinch of salt, though, as the CameraSize image clearly has the G Master lens attached side on rather than top down. But the comparison has value (so Thanks) and it adds to the conversation. 😎

As mentioned in one of the earlier replies, maybe the biggest difference is weight with the Leica coming in about 35% heavier. That might be a deal breaker for some but if I want small and light I already have other options. Obviously the Leica kit is more expensive but amortised over time of ownership it may easily work out as cheap even without factoring in how well it holds value so, for me, the upfront cost isn't going to put me off even though I may have to wait a little longer.

I was a little surprised at the observation above that the 16-35 mm lens on the SL might be a little soft in the corners between 16 and 19 mm as I've not been aware of this being generally flagged as an issue. No lens is perfect, of course, but the sample images I've come across so far on the web don't look too bad to me. Maybe the forthcoming Panasonic S1R will tell a different story?

At the end of the day I think this is a heart versus head decision for yours truly. The cheaper option is plenty good enough for a photographer of my skills and ambition but that misses the point of whether or not I want to fulfil a long held ambition to own a grown up Leica and also to buy into the incredibly rich history of the brand. #StillSaving 🤣

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On 12/20/2018 at 5:10 AM, jplomley said:

16-35 SL lens is terrific, but admittedly, I am let down by the corner performance between 16-19mm even when stopped down to f/11.  For this reason, I really consider this lens a 21-35mm.

Absolute rubbish.

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On 12/19/2018 at 10:10 PM, jplomley said:

16-35 SL lens is terrific, but admittedly, I am let down by the corner performance between 16-19mm even when stopped down to f/11.  For this reason, I really consider this lens a 21-35mm.

This doesn't follow from my experience. Yes, there is some softness in the extreme Cornes towards 16mm wide open, but that's it based on e.g. Vieri's test or Andrew's test, as far as I can tell. 

 

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2 hours ago, sillbeers15 said:

Absolute rubbish.

 

1 hour ago, helged said:

This doesn't follow from my experience. Yes, there is some softness in the extreme Cornes towards 16mm wide open, but that's it based on e.g. Vieri's test or Andrew's test, as far as I can tell. 

 

That's reassuring and I wasn't really in any doubt but sometimes it's hard to know what another owner's needs are.

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2 hours ago, helged said:

This doesn't follow from my experience. Yes, there is some softness in the extreme corners towards 16mm when using the lens wide open, but e.g. Vieri's test or Andrew's test are (very) favourable, as far as I can tell. 

 

Sorry for the incomplete wording in my post #11 - see the above edit for what I intended to say...

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On 12/20/2018 at 5:10 AM, jplomley said:

16-35 SL lens is terrific, but admittedly, I am let down by the corner performance between 16-19mm even when stopped down to f/11.  For this reason, I really consider this lens a 21-35mm.

Show me where in the corners of the uncropped photo below taken at F8 @ 16mm of the 16-35mm SL lens which I own and shot that lets you down?

L1000046 by sillbeers15 Edited by sillbeers15

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7 hours ago, sillbeers15 said:

Show me where in the corners of the uncropped photo below taken at F8 @ 16mm of the 16-35mm SL lens which I own and shot that lets you down?

L1000046 by sillbeers15

 

Disclaimer; I don’t doubt this Leica lens performance.

Nice picture but poor example to illustrate corner performance, something like plain brick wall would be probably better.

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4 hours ago, mmradman said:

 

Disclaimer; I don’t doubt this Leica lens performance.

Nice picture but poor example to illustrate corner performance, something like plain brick wall would be probably better.

...particularly with a brick wall at infinity; The Great Wall, someone? 

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1 hour ago, helged said:

...particularly with a brick wall at infinity; The Great Wall, someone? 

Granted, much easier at 1 meter distance.  Proving all corner performance at infinity is alway going to be challenging.

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12 hours ago, mmradman said:

 

Disclaimer; I don’t doubt this Leica lens performance.

Nice picture but poor example to illustrate corner performance, something like plain brick wall would be probably better.

Read performance charts if you want to get technical. 

To me the camera lens is tool for artistic translation of a scene onto a 2D visual media. 

Why bother with brick walls when my pics provide straight lines and distant details right up to the edge of upper left hand corner?

Comparing brick wall pics is no different from counting pixels. Same goes for boys comparing car performances from spec sheets.

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3 hours ago, sillbeers15 said:

Read performance charts if you want to get technical. 

To me the camera lens is tool for artistic translation of a scene onto a 2D visual media. 

Why bother with brick walls when my pics provide straight lines and distant details right up to the edge of upper left hand corner?

Comparing brick wall pics is no different from counting pixels. Same goes for boys comparing car performances from spec sheets.

Could not agree more , good analogy about disconnected spec sheets .  I have 16-35 and have used it well.  Not only superb but , a bonus, when pressed, the lens is fairly forgiving.

 Between 16-35 and 75 , all most need.  Add remarkably versatile 24-90 and 90-280 , onus is now almost entirely on the photographer to produce.  Once SL 2 offers in body stabilization , no more yearning    

Interesting comparison and comments in this thread ;  actual owners of 16-35 recognize and appreciate; short supply of new copies and limited secondary sales , support their satisfaction     

 

 

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On 12/19/2018 at 11:48 PM, Brian C in Az said:

I've never used the Sony, but every review that I read has said that the lens is poor wide open. You need to shoot it at f4 or greater, f8 being best. Rather defeats the purpose of paying for an f2.8 lens when you have to stop it down to make it useable.

That's funny. I have read many Sony GM 16-35 reviews also during the last few days (thinking of maybe buying the lens in the near future) and none of the reviews I have read says the lens is poor wide open -quite contrary actually. I guess we have been reading different reviews altogether. 

For example dxomark  https://www.dxomark.com/sony-fe-16-35mm-f28-gm-lens-review-highest-rated-wide-angle-zoom/ writes: "The Sony’s sharpness performance is especially impressive, as it retains its ability to render high-resolution images across its entire focal range. It also delivers that sharpness from wide-open at f/2.8 until diffraction starts to get in the way at smaller aperture"

Digital picture https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Sony-FE-16-35mm-f-2.8-GM-Lens.aspx writes: "In the central and mid portions of the frame, this lens is remarkably sharp at f/2.8 over the entire focal length range with a slight drop in sharpness at 35mm being the exception. Throughout this significant portion of the frame, stopping down to f/4 makes little difference and a difference is not needed except perhaps at 35mm and at f/4, the 35mm results are also tack sharp."

Sans mirror http://www.sansmirror.com/lenses/lens-reviews/lenses-for-sony-efe-mount/sony-16-35mm-f28-gm-lens.html writes: "Sharpness: For a fast wide angle zoom, things are pretty darned good at the wide angle end. At 16mm the center is at or near excellent wide open, and there's not a terrible drop into the corners as you see with many similar lenses, including Sony’s f/4 lens. At 16mm there's a really broad band of sharpness across the frame that doesn't tend to deflate until you're well past halfway to the corner. At the other end (35mm) things aren't so great, reminding me a lot of my old Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8: we've lost some sharpness in the center, and the sharpness falloff into the corners is more significant and clearly visible. I’d say that the lens starts at very good in the center at 35mm and falls to fair-good in the extreme corners. In between (24mm), the lens performs much more consistently and better than the 35mm focal length: I’d call that excellent."

Sony is not perfect , especially at 35mm, but I would really like you to provide some links backing up your claim the lens is poor wide open.  

p.s. I have no doubt that SL 16-35 is a sharper lens still than Sony - it is double the price, stop slower and 300g heavier also so it well should be.

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