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

reviewer#9485 date: Oct-10-2011
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 5
overall: 4.1
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 used to own this lens
compared to:18-200 Sony
18-55 Sony
17-50 2.8 Tamron
price paid:$500 USD (IIRC)
positive:Very useable range
Good resolution - sharpness
Good build quality for the price
negative:Not enough range for wildlife
Could be faster
comment:I bought this lens used from a web site. I beleive I paid $500, If I Remember Correctly. It was in excellent condition. I was torn between this lens and the Carl Zeiss 16-80. Kurt Munger convinced me that this lens was the better choice. Having since handled a 16-80 in person, I'm glad I went with the 16-105. I'm not paying more for a lens that feels less well made. The Zeiss felt cheap, and the IQ was (again, according to Munger) very close.

Overall, I was very pleased with this lens. It gives good sharp images. Not outstanding, but very good. The zoom range really worked out well. I had been coming from the 18-200 Sony, and I hardly ever missed the extra 95mm. And there was no comparison between the 18-200 and the 16-105 in image quality; the 16-105 was worlds ahead, and better built. The only time I missed the extra reach was when trying to get a photo of a bird or deer.

Besides the obvious (if this were an F2.8 constant aperture...), there are two primary drawbacks of this lens. One is vignetting. Unless you are stopped down fairly hard, the corners will be noticeably darker than the center of the shot. Sony Image Data Converter doesn’t do a great job of fixing that for this lens, either. I usually fixed it with the smudge or clone tool. One more note; the vignetting wasn’t exactly symmetrical. The upper right corner had the most, followed by the upper left. It was rarely noticeable on the bottom edges, but that’s probably because it shows up more in the sky than on the ground. The other drawback is the distortion. It’s not simple barrel distortion; it’s moustache distortion, which isn’t easily fixed in the editor I use, Photoshop Elements 9. If isn’t bad enough to be an issue for landscapes or any shots that don’t have straight lines near the top or bottom of the shot.

Overall, I really liked this lens. My copy died when I dropped it on stone. I replaced it with a Tamron 17-50 F2.8, but I’m sure there will be times I miss this lens.

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 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania