About 13 months after SONY's launch of the A7 series and after uncountable discussions about disappointing corner performance of many 3rd-party rangefinder lenses especially on A7R, the new Zeiss Vario Tessar FE 4/16-35 starts changing the game. Right after launch of the A7, 3D-Kraft was the first site substantiating the excellent performance when attached to the Leica WATE in the article "Ultra Wide Angle M-mount Lenses THAT WORK on Sony A7R". Consequently it is time for another analysis, how the new Zeiss compares to the WATE and while we're at it, I added three more 21mm lenses to that comparison.
The candidates this time were - from left to right (due to a shortage of Sony A7s, the Leica M body had to act as a fifth lens holder ;-)):
- Olympus OM Zuiko Auto-W 21mm f/3.5
- Voigtlander Ultron 21mm f/1.8 ASPH
- Sony Zeiss Vario Tessar FE 4/16-35mm ZA OSS
- Leica Wide Angle Tri Elmar (WATE) 16-21mm f/4 ASPH
- Leica Super Elmar 21mm f/3.4 ASPH
The Olympus Zuiko 21/3.5 was launched together with the debut of the legendary OM-1. It is a full frame SLR lens with a body length of only 31mm and a weight of 180g. Even with an E-mount adapter, it is still quite a compact solution. The other candidates (except the Zeiss FE 16-35) are M-mount rangefinder lenses, that you find discussed in other articles on this site already.
The comparison was shot with a Sony A7R on a cloudy November day, so contrasts were not too high but for a comparison like this, it allows to seperate good lenses from average lenses even better. All shots were taken from a stable tripod, the shutter was triggered by an infrared remote control. The focus was set manually using the 14.4x magnification in EVF (also the Sony/Zeiss FE 16-35 was focused manually). You can see the "making of" here: