THe vario sonnar and vario tessar lenses just refer to different types of coatings on the lenses to reduce lens flare, reflections and increase the amount of light that passes thru the lens. The vario T*(tessar) lenses are the ones that are used in the more flagship cameras, and reputed to be the better lens designs with better multi-coating.
Carl Zeiss vs Nikkor? I'm not too sure, but i guess original Carl Zeiss lenses would be better?( Not those designed by carl zeis manufactured by sony types)