January 7 2013 - Photo Jottings

January 7 2013


Panasonic 12-35mm and Sony CZ 16-80mm comp.

Check out the comps below, all are at the wide end, which is 12mm for the Panasonic, and 16mm
for the CZ 16-80mm, the coverage area is the same with an equivalent of 24mm in 135 film format.  It’s easy to see the Panasonic is sharper in the centers (top image), and along the sides (bottom image), but what’s more surprising is that the Panasonic is at F/2.8, and the CZ at F/5.6!
The Panasonic 12-35mm is extremely sharp in the centers at F/2.8, but gets even better along the ides at F/4, but I won’t show those crops as people will get really mad if they own the CZ 16-80mm.  But wait, this test is only at the wide end, once you get to about 20mm (30mm equiv) or so on the CZ, the differences aren’t very noticeable, and beyond 24mm (36mm equiv), the CZ is almost as good in the centers stopped down, and noticeable better along the sides of the image, especially closer to the long end; that’s what’s really good about the CZ 16-80mm. The Sony 16-50mm SSM has the same performance as the CZ 16-80mm at 16mm, so this test applies to that lens too, go here at the very bottom of the review to see what I mean. The Canon G1X was involved as well, and was about the same as the Panasonic 12-35 at the wide end, but I didn’t include that comp because the G1X starts at the equivalent of 28mm instead of 24mm, so it’s not really fair.  I will say the underrated G1X is very sharp across the frame at F/2.8 at the wide end, easily out-performing the CZ 16-80mm.
Don’t bother writing me and saying the CZ was out of focus, I took over 22 images to get the perfect shot.  It’s not that the CZ is bad, it’s because the resolution and contrast of the Panasonic are so good!  When I tested this lens at F/1.4 I couldn’t believe how sharp the centers were.
The tests were done using the Sony A580 16mp camera, and the Olympus E-M5 16mp camera.  Crops were taken from the very center of the images, and the last 600 pixels on the (middle) sides.  Both sides very about the same on each lens, so it wouldn’t make a difference if I switched sides.  I tried this test with the 24mp Sony A77 and CZ 16-80mm, and the Olympus/Panasonic combo still showed superior performance at the wide end.  All images were taken in RAW and converted directly to jpegs with no adjustments.  Sharpening the CZ crops will not make up the difference, I tried!
If you enjoy using your APS-C Sony SLT cameras, the CZ16-80mm or 16-50mm SSM are both excellent once you zoom in just a bit.  If you enjoy photography and want a small camera system with tack sharp images, I’d jump to the micro 4/3 with the Olympus E-M5; I did, and it’s absolutely awesome with their newest lenses!  More lens reviews to follow!
CENTERS Panasonic 12-35mm on left, Sony CZ 16-80mm on right.
SIDES Panasonic 12-35mm on left, Sony CZ 16-80mm on right.
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