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

reviewer#32719 date: Dec-2-2016
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 2
flare control: 4
overall: 3.3
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:Sony DT 16-50 F2.8 SSM
Vario-Sonnar 16-80 F3.5-4.5 DT
Sony DT 16-105 F3.5-5.6
Tamron SP 17-50 F2.8
Sony E 18-55 F3.5-5.6 OSS
Sony DT 18-55 F3.5-5.6 SAM I & II
Sony DT 18-70 F3.5-5.6
Sony DT 18-135 F3.5-5.6 SAM
Sony DT 18-200 F3.5-6.3
Tamron 18-250 F3.5-6.3
price paid:348 USD (A5000 Kit)
positive:Small, especially retracted
Quiet focusing
Internal focus w/ minimal breathing
Very good IQ in the middle of the range
Flat focus plane
negative:Heavy distortion
Heavy vignetting
Noisy zoom motor
Low contrast at the long end
comment:A silver version included in an A5000 kit. The retail price is $350, $50 more than the 18-55 OSS, but it is often on sale separately for $300 new or about $100 used. "Made in THAILAND"

The image quality is similar to the A-mount 18-55 kit lenses--a bit better at the wide end and a little worse at the long end. The lens barrel is shortest at 25 mm. The barrel distortion at 24 mm is similar to the distortion of the A-mount 18-55 at 18 mm and the 16-105 at 16 mm.

The focus plane is quite flat--much flatter than the A-mount Carl Zeiss 16-80 or 16-105 or the E 18-55 OSS.

The zoom motor is rather noisy. It sounds and feels like it belongs on an inexpensive camera. The power zoom on my ancient PowerShot S1 IS operates much smoother.

The powered manual focus is actually pretty good--more precise than the mechanically clutched A mount lenses. The main control ring is accurate and effective if a bit laggy. A second ring might be nice in place of the zoom lever.

It is a disappointing way to spend $150 on what is probably an essential lens. It certainly doesn't help the argument for a small APS-C ILC over a smaller sensor sensor compact camera, but the optical quality is good enough for a small kit lens.

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