Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM A-mount lens review by A68noob

reviewer#45619 date: Dec-5-2020
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.9
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:Zeiss 16-80
price paid:200€
positive:+ center sharpness is always epic across the entire FL even at F2,8 (on par even with minolta 50mm macro - sick!)
+ very useful range
+ fast AF
+ best standard zoom for alphas (considering the price to zeiss)
+ good portrait potential at 50mm F2,8 and in general very good to isolate objects, thanks to 2,8 (most important thing to me)
+ zoom lock.. but why?
+ thanks to F2,8 also very usable at overcast weather
+ especially 2nd hand, even in mint condition, very good price/performance
+ good, solid build
negative:- 50mm feel like 45mm (certainly a very noticable difference compared to 50mm primes)
- strong focusbreathing (a 50mm macro is highly recommended in your lineup to overcome this, as the magnification is poor)
- often unreliable AF to lock on targets (even at good light and landscapes - especially at 16mm [maybe it is caused by SLT, as testing on older DSLR went better])
- some purple CA wide open and stopped down to F8 it will turn into red abberations (not as horrible as a beercan ofc, but often still noticeable)
- questionable bokeh in some ways (i would call it mobilephone bokeh to a certain degree)
- very questionable flare control at lower FL
- corner sharpness not the best, considering of how sharp it is in center
- not the lightest standard zoom, but tolerated considering build and F2,8
comment:I'm torn. On one hand this is the best standard zoom you can get, but on the other one you can still expect quite some (heavy) flaws.

I own two examples and both of them are identical.. and both of them make me laugh. Why? Because this lens features a zoom lock. Great, isnt it? Well.. both lenses are stiff (not in a bad way) and therefore dont need any lock whatsoever.. but meanwhile huge lenses like 70-300 & 70-400 SSM dont have one. Sony'd once again..

Tested on A68 & A77ii - great pictures on both. On A580 it seems like a kit lens to me (IQ wise).. maybe the 16MP sensor is just poor.

The only reason not to choose this over the CZ1680 is the loss of ~35mm FL, as it is quite short at 50mm - otherwise better in every regard. I wish i would have never bought the Zeiss and went straight to this lens - many opportunities wasted.

The useful range of this lens eliminates wide-angle and multiple primes from your lens bag. Pair it with a decent 70-200 + a small macro and you are able to have a lot of fun and cover almost all needs without much trouble. Recommended!

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