Sony AF DT 16-105mm F3.5-5.6 A-mount lens review by andyken

reviewer#10275 date: Jun-8-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 18-250 f3.5-6.3
Minolta 28-135 f4-4.5
Sony 18-55 f3.5-5.6 SAM
Konica Minolta 18-70 f3.5-5.6
Sony 35mm f1.8
Minolta 50mm f1.4
Minolta 50mm f1.7
Minolta 50mm f3.5 macro
Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 EX
price paid:£275 (used, as new)
positive:Sharp.
Superb range on APS-C.
Reasonably small and light.
Utterly reliable and consistent.
negative:Could be brighter, maximum aperture slightly limiting in low light.
Slight corner softness at full aperture.
comment:I really love this lens. Despite currently owning around a dozen lenses for my SLT-A33, this is on my camera around 80% of the time. Over the years I have probably owned around 40 to 50 lenses at one time or another - this is my favourite lens of all, bar none. As far as its possible to form a strong emotional attachment to a small inanimate piece of glass, metal and plastic, its happened to me. The only lens that has come anywhere near is the 50mm prime/'standard' lens I got with my first SLR in my teens (a Minolta SRT101, I think) but that was just puppy love and doesn't compare to the deep mature emotional bond I feel for my 16-105.

Its not a criticism, the lens is what it is, but the only thing I would change if I could would be to increase the maximum aperture to f2.8. Then it would be near perfect, except that that would almost certainly necessitate an increase in size, weight and cost....

This covers such a valuable range on APS-C, that the only time I ever need to take it off my camera is either when I need to go long telephoto, ultra wide or very low light, other than that the 16-105 is more than up for whatever task I want to throw at it.

Centre sharpness is outstanding in my opinion, in a different league to the 18-55 or 18-70 kit lenses, visibly better than the Sony 18-250 or Minolta 28-135 and directly comparable to the 35mm and 50mm primes - its that good. Corner sharpness does drop off, especially at wide apertures, but is still very acceptable. CA is commendably low. Build seems excellent. Flare control, especially compared to my older Minolta lenses is very impressive. Distortion is remarkably well controlled in my opinion for a lens with such a good range (vastly less than the Sony 18-250, which has horrendous distortion).

I would love to be able to compare it directly to a CZ 16-80, a Sony 16-50 or a Tamron 17-50, but I don't own any of these lenses and unless (horror of horrors) my 16-105 dies, I feel no desire to stray away - if it did die, I would almost certainly buy another as none of the 3 lenses mentioned above have the same super-flexible range. I also find it hard to believe that IQ would be significantly improved, when the 16-105 is so close to top quality primes already.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 92
  • sharpness: 4.58
  • color: 4.62
  • build: 4.32
  • distortion: 4.07
  • flare control: 4.51
  • overall: 4.42
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