Sony 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS E-mount lens review by Cliff

reviewer#12067 date: Dec-25-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Other E mount and lots of A mount lenses.
price paid:$100
positive:Size - It makes a wonderful pocket camera on NEX5N. Good build. OSS works.
Sharp, little distortion/vignetting - tested on JPGs it's great. LENS DEFECTS CORRECTED IN CAMERA! Use it as it was designed to be used, where it is very good. It is a mistake to down rate it for defects that only appear when it is misused.
negative:A little slow extending. Motor focus takes getting used to. Both very minor. F3.5-5.6 is not fast, but you already knew that.
comment:This lens has been a very pleasant surprise. It makes the NEX, and similarly sized cameras, a spectacular small and unobtrusive package.

Shooting fine JPGs gave very good color, sharpness and very little distortion or vignetting, even at 16mm and "wide open".

I care about outcomes, images. It doesn't matter that those are "fixed" in camera. That is what good software does. We learned that lesson years ago with the Hubble telescope. Here, the result is an inexpensive, very compact lens. When used as intended on a camera that supports it, the combination produces excellent images. Most E mount cameras will have correction routines for this lens if firmware has been updated.

In the US southwest I felt a little silly pulling out this little camera and smaller lens alongside people hauling big honking DSLR kits. I got big landscape shots that hold up well with exceptional detail in 11x17 prints.

Update: Tried it on a FF camera with APS-C size capture off. No vignetting at 50mm, approaching circular at 16mm, some better at f16 than f3.5. I'd guess it's a roughly 30mm circle, over frame vertical and under horizontal by about the same amount. Very nice images with JPG fine, 16mm is pretty wide on FF. Wouldn't routinely use it like that, but it's there. Surprisingly nice image at 50mm, in camera correction for this lens is clearly in the A7ii software. Turns that camera back into a compact.

Revision to emphasize that this lens is designed to be used on, and to work wonderfully with, cameras that support it.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 17
  • sharpness: 4.00
  • color: 4.41
  • build: 4.00
  • distortion: 3.00
  • flare control: 3.88
  • overall: 3.86 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania