Sony commits to A-mount SLT cameras with two new Zeiss lenses

Enhanced Zeiss 24-70mm and 16-35mm lenses boost Sony A77 II and A99 lens choice

Sony's lens range is actually very extensive. The main shot, above, shows all the current E-mount and A-mount lenses together, but the E-mount optics are for Sony's compact system cameras, while the A-mount lenses are for its SLT (single lens translucent) cameras, including the budget-priced A58, the advanced A77 II and the full frame A99.

The two new lenses fall under the more prestigious Zeiss brand, and both are designed for full-frame sensors, so they can be used on both the A99 (full frame) and A77 II (APS-C) cameras.

Zeiss 24 70mm f 2 8 II

Zeiss 16 35mm f 2 8 II

The Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 II (top) is a premium-quality standard zoom, while the 16-35mm f/2.8 II is a fast, super-wideangle zoom.

The Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70mm F2.8 ZA SSM II (SAL2470Z2) standard zoom is designed as a top-quality kit-lens replacement, and the f2.8 constant maximum aperture should make it ideal for low light shooting and defocused backgrounds.

The Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 16-35mm F2.8 ZA SSM II (SAL1635Z2) is a super-wideangle zoom offering a much wider field of view than a standard zoom. Again, it has a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture – perfect for low-light and dimly-lit interiors.

These are new versions of existing lenses, and Sony says they offer better image quality, improved ghost reduction and better autofocus – the SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) in each lens has been uprated and faster processing increases the AF accuracy. Sony says the tracking speed is four times faster than before. The new lenses also have a new dust and moisture-resistant design.

Both lenses have image-stabilization built in and take 77mm filters.

Formats and compatibility

While they will work on both full frame and APS-C Sony Alpha cameras, these lenses are best suited to full frame models. An APS-C camera won't use the full image area and you'll get an effective focal length increase so that the 24-70mm effectively becomes a 36-105mm, and the 16-35mm becomes a 24-53mm zoom – they both become a bit too 'long' for standard and super-wide zooms on an APS-C camera.

Zeiss 24 40mm f 2 8 II sample image

Zeiss 16 35mm f 2 8 II sample image

Sample images from the Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 (top) and 16-35mm f/2.8 (above).

You can also use the new lenses on Sony's A7-series full-frame compact system cameras, but you will need an additional adaptor.

'Vario-Sonnar' is the Zeiss term for 'zoom lens', and 'T*' is the proprietary lens coatings used by Zeiss to reduce internal reflections, ghosting and flare.

Pricing and availability

We have no word on prices yet, but Sony says the new lenses will be available to 'pre-order' right now.