Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM A-mount lens review by amarston22

reviewer#30696 date: Oct-2-2016
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:Tokina AT-X Pro II 11-16/2.8
Tokina AT-X 17/3.5
Sony DT 18-55/3.5-5.6
Minolta 35-70/4
Minolta 50/1.4
Minolta 50/2.8 Macro
Sigma DC HSM II 18-200/3.5-6.3
Sigma EX DC 30/1.4
Various vintage M42 lenses
price paid:$315 used
positive:Exceptionally sharp
Constant 2.8
SSM focus
24-75mm equivalent full frame range
Build quality
negative:Not internally zooming
Wasn't free
comment:This lens is my savior! I do nightlife photography on the weekends, and have been using my Tokina 11-16/2.8 in combination with a Sigma 30/1.4 on my a77II, and being limited to either super-wide or near-portraiture views was killing me. This lens has provided the very handy and very needed 24-75mm range that is so hard to get with APS-C. The results were nearly astounding.

This lens is surprisingly sharp, even wide open. On par with my primes, and outperforms any other zooms I own, with the exception of maybe the Tokina 11-16. The only prime I own that I can say is definitively sharper is the 50/2.8 Macro. There is little chromatic aberration, but some. Distortion is noticeable, but easily corrected in post, and the ACR/Lightroom correction profile is spot on. Color rendition is beautiful, and contrast is so much better than anything else I've owned. Bokeh is smooth and pleasing, with rounded aperture blades. The image quality overall is something like I'd expect from a G lens, or at the very least, a Sony Zeiss lens. I have only owned this lens for a few days but I am already in love with it.

SSM focusing is very fast, accurate, and much quieter than any screw-drive lens. I have seen people complain about the noise of it, but my Sigma HSM lens is no better. I have had backfocus issues with the Tokina while I'm shooting in the extremely low light, and so far I have not had any such issues with this lens.

A common complaint about this lens is that it is heavy, and it is. Significantly heavier than the Tokina, which is all metal construction as well. This is not a con to me. In this case, weight = quality, and this lens screams quality. It is solid and does not rattle. Zoom and focus rings are well damped and secure. The zoom ring is a bit on the tight side for my preference, but it's certainly not bad, and I will never worry about zoom creep. The focus ring is geared (not at a 1:1 ratio with the focus itself), and does not rotate with SSM focusing.

There is not much bad to say about this lens. I do wish it was internally zooming, but it doesn't extend much and it doesn't really bother me. Hmm, what else? It isn't f/1.2 and it doesn't spit money out at me I guess, but I have nothing to truly complain about.

In short, BUY THIS LENS!

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 101
  • sharpness: 4.74
  • color: 4.68
  • build: 4.83
  • distortion: 4.13
  • flare control: 4.44
  • overall: 4.56 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania