How Much is (Edge) Sharpness Worth?

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CameraCarl
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How Much is (Edge) Sharpness Worth?
4 months ago

I'm debating whether to buy a Sony 16-70mm lens to supplement a 16-50 and 55-210 on my NEX-6 system. Over the years I've accumulated $20-30,000 of Canon DSLR equipment; three bodies and five top-of-the-line "L" lenses, plus all the flashes, filters and other stuff to go along with it. I justified it when I was working in a relatively well-paying job by figuring that the best quality gear would help me sell images or do well in some the national and international contests I entered. Now that I'm retired my wife and I are taking more non-photo vacations and cruises, so I bought the NEX-6 to lighten my load when flying and living out of a suitcase. For most of my travel images, the 16-50 lens does surprisingly well. It is light, compact and easy to carry and use. But there are some photos where the edge and corner sharpness are not what I've become accustomed to with my Canon lenses. I do not want to use the Canon lenses on the Sony; I simply don't want the hassle of adapters and manual focus and the relatively huge lenses on the compact NEX body. (And I don't want to sell the Canon gear since I do still take photo-centric trips where I need all the heavy hardware.) So I've been looking at the 18-105 and the 16-70.  The 18-105 is not wide enough for my needs, so I'd have to keep using the 16-50 for about 20% of my images anyway. The 16-70 is a bit short on the tele end, but I could live with it considering that I have the 55-210. But since I am living on a pension and investments, I wonder if I should really spend $999 to improve sharpness (particularly on the edges) of images I'm primarily going to be shooting for myself in the future. Rationally, I can't justify the expense, but I worry that if I don't jump on the Sony deal for the A6000 + 16-70 before it goes away, I may regret it later. What would you do? Spend the money or live with the knowledge that your images are less than perfect even if no one else will ever notice? And is the 16-70 really worth spending $999 on?

 CameraCarl's gear list:CameraCarl's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS +1 more
Sony a6000 Sony Alpha NEX-6
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