Sony 16-50mm image sharpness comparison on the Sony a6000

Started 3 months ago | User reviews thread
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Raiatea Arcuri Photography
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Sony 16-50mm image sharpness comparison on the Sony a6000
3 months ago

I've had the Sony a6000 for a few weeks now and it's met all me expectations. The autofocus is fast and it tracks very well. The high ISO performance is almost a full stop better than the NEX 6. It processes very fast and the viewfinder has no lag. It has lots of customizable buttons and the grip is a big upgrade over the NEX 5r.The only let down is the kit lens. It isn't the best and it's okay for general purpose use. I did a nice group portrait with 24 people at 32mm, f/5 and the sharpness let me down. I printed it on an 8x10 and the people on the edges weren't sharp. It was more than enough resolution to print, it's just that the edges weren't sharp.

I wanted to see just how sharp the lens was, so I went out and tested it at 16mm, 24mm, 35mm, and 50mm, with a range of apertures. I used a tripod with the timer in aperture priority mode @ISO 100 with manual focus to make sure the images were clean and that there was no shake. These were all shot in RAW and the only thing done to them was distortion and vignette correction.

Base image at 16mm.

Center 16mm.

Center edge 16mm.

Corner 16mm.

Base image at 24mm.

Center 24mm.

Center edge 24mm.

Corner 24mm.

Base image at 35mm.

Center 35mm.

Center edge 35mm.

Corner 35mm.

Base image at 50mm.

Center 50mm.

Center edge 50mm.

Corner 50mm.

Overall, this lens is a mixed bag. It might be sharper at a bigger aperture, or it might be sharper at a smaller aperture. I found that its sharpest point is at 35mm at f/8. When I use this lens I usually try to avoid 16mm because it has heavy distortion, vignetting, and it's very soft in the corners. Zooming to 18mm improves it a good amount. The 18-55mm kit lens has better sharpness and less vignetting.

Should I pay $150 more for this lens with the camera?

If you already have another lens you're happy with, than don't buy it. If you want a better mid-range zoom lens, than buy the 18-55mm, or the Zeiss 16-70mm, or the Sony FE 28-70mm.

If you’re looking at primes, I have the 50mm f/1.8 which is excellent for portraits. The 35mm f/1.8 is a good general use lens. The 20mm f/2.8 is much better than the 16mm f/2.8.

If you’re not going to print large prints or you’re using it for the web, than the 16-50mm is a good option. It's lightweight, compact, and is an okay all-purpose lens for travel.

If you have any questions or you would like me to do another comparison, please comment.

[My equipment: Sony a6000, Sony NEX 5r, Sony 18-55mm, Sony 16-50mm, Sony 50mm f/1.8, Sony 16mm f/2.8.]

 Raiatea Arcuri Photography's gear list:Raiatea Arcuri Photography's gear list
NEX5R Sony a6000
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Sony a6000 Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS
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