Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report

Started Aug 4, 2013 | Discussions
dan801
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Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report
Aug 4, 2013

http://www.photozone.de/sony_nex/842-sony1650f3556oss

So looking at these results: I was about to buy myself a new nex camera 5r. The camera seems to be perfect for what I want and seems to be an outstanding sensor compared to say m43 cameras. However now looking at the results of all the latest lens test (I would use this lens quite a bit when travelling) I'm worried about all the issues mentioned in the article. Perhaps I'm better of buying a m43 camera with better kit lens and may still come out on top? At $600 max for a camera and lens kit what do you think I should do? Stick with nex or go to say a panasonic 4/3 camera?

Mel Snyder
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Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report
In reply to dan801, Aug 4, 2013

dan801 wrote:

http://www.photozone.de/sony_nex/842-sony1650f3556oss

So looking at these results: I was about to buy myself a new nex camera 5r. The camera seems to be perfect for what I want and seems to be an outstanding sensor compared to say m43 cameras. However now looking at the results of all the latest lens test (I would use this lens quite a bit when travelling) I'm worried about all the issues mentioned in the article. Perhaps I'm better of buying a m43 camera with better kit lens and may still come out on top? At $600 max for a camera and lens kit what do you think I should do? Stick with nex or go to say a panasonic 4/3 camera?

Hello, Dan - and welcome...

Check my recent postings regarding this lens. Don't get me wrong - I deeply respect Photozone. But their testing on an NEX-7 is completely inappropriate. The lens wasn't designed for a 24mp sensor - especially one that has issues with many lenses that work just fine on the 16mp sensors.

I posted countless images on an NEX-6 with this lens, as have others. Dan, despite all the criticisms of this lens, it is truly fine on a 5R, a 6, or just about any other camera. There is no other zoom within your price range that will deliver close to the results of the 5R/16-50PZ.

Ignore the critics unless they are willing to "show you the money images." I've repeatedly challenged all the detractors of this lens to show me images that prove this lens is bad, and NOT ONE has had the guts to back up their charges. Dan, it's just smoke. There's no significant QC issues - there are LOTS of cockpit issues from people who blame their inadequacies on their gear. But you will find people slamming gear on every forum.

There's an easy way to sort this out: When someone says a lens or camera is bad, ask them to show your their proof. Some web site's lens tests prove nothing, unless you plan to shoot lens charts for kicks - especially when the sensor on which it's tested isn't yours.

There are many nice m43 cameras and lenses. But there are just 2 companies (Olympus and Panasonic) supporting this now-aging format, and both are in financial trouble. I could as much make a case for you buying into a m43 as buying a nice Pontiac or Saturn. The NEX system has 67% bigger sensor, a superior crop factor - and the vastly greater superiority of Sony sensors which both Nikon and Canon use in their DSLRs.

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dquangt
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there's a huge post already
In reply to dan801, Aug 4, 2013

dan801 wrote:

http://www.photozone.de/sony_nex/842-sony1650f3556oss

So looking at these results: I was about to buy myself a new nex camera 5r. The camera seems to be perfect for what I want and seems to be an outstanding sensor compared to say m43 cameras. However now looking at the results of all the latest lens test (I would use this lens quite a bit when travelling) I'm worried about all the issues mentioned in the article. Perhaps I'm better of buying a m43 camera with better kit lens and may still come out on top? At $600 max for a camera and lens kit what do you think I should do? Stick with nex or go to say a panasonic 4/3 camera?

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51892473

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Ray Maines
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A different answer
In reply to dan801, Aug 4, 2013

dan801 wrote:

... what do you think I should do? Stick with nex or go to say a panasonic 4/3 camera?

I totally understand that we all want to make the best decision possible, but I'll let you in on a secret. Most of the camera buyers in the world use the wrong criteria to make their buying decisions.

Truth be told, ALL new cameras and lenses are more than good enough to produce fantastic pictures. I suggest you use the DPReview feature guide to filter your options down to three or four cameras and go to a store and hold those cameras in your hand. The camera that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy is the right camera for you. Ties are decided by price. Laboring over reviews and lab reports is the wrong way to pick a camera and/or lens.

Every brand and every camera has it's pro's and cons, and maybe in a year or two you'll want to buy a new one, but know ahead of time that new equipment isn't going to produce drastically better or even different results. A new or different camera might work better for you in the type of photography you become interested in, it might be bigger, smaller, lighter, more rugged, easier to use or just better looking than your current camera but the overall image quality really isn't going to change much from one system or set up to another.

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Ray Maines
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Another thought...
In reply to Ray Maines, Aug 4, 2013

All the major camera companies are continuing to import cameras buy the boat load while the sale of interchangeable lens cameras is falling. That indicates to me that there will be some very attractive sales on current models in December and maybe some even more attractive sales in January. And if you're willing to buy used equipment, the reduced price of new cameras will drive the price of used cameras on eBay down to very attractive levels. I think time is on your side if you don't need a camera right away.

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Cheezr
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Re: A different answer
In reply to Ray Maines, Aug 4, 2013

What he ( ray ) said!

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Ralph46
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Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report
In reply to dan801, Aug 4, 2013

I know there is another thread but is is too crowded for me now. What really floored me when comparing the Photozone reviews was the following difference for the Oly/Panny 14-42 and the Sony 16-50 PZ reviews.

For the 14-42 m4/3 lenses the gist of the text (not the actual quotations ) seemed to me to be: People, these lenses are fine and you are not bothered by distortions. - Incidentally, without correction they do have very severe (6%) distortion, but you will never see this, so forget about it.

The corresponding text summary for the Sony 16-50 mm PZ was more like this: People, this lens is so distorted as to be a nightmare? Almost 7% distortion - it is horrible! (And much later) Oh yes, and by the way there is a way of correcting this so you do not really nead to notice this.

Photozone is kind enough to point out that 20 - 50 mm gives very decent results, but is basically trassh below that. Do they remember what even large and expensive 24 mm (for FF) prime lenses were like for distortion, vignetting and corner softness? Any decent copy of the 16-50 PZ is much better than these used to be. So it is corrected? So what!

And also it is a small and inexpensive lens with the versatility of a good zoom range to boot. What is there to complain about?

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andrewD2
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Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report
In reply to dan801, Aug 4, 2013

dan801 wrote:

http://www.photozone.de/sony_nex/842-sony1650f3556oss

So looking at these results: I was about to buy myself a new nex camera 5r. The camera seems to be perfect for what I want and seems to be an outstanding sensor compared to say m43 cameras. However now looking at the results of all the latest lens test (I would use this lens quite a bit when travelling) I'm worried about all the issues mentioned in the article. Perhaps I'm better of buying a m43 camera with better kit lens and may still come out on top? At $600 max for a camera and lens kit what do you think I should do? Stick with nex or go to say a panasonic 4/3 camera?

The lens is a nice size, nicely built and light and has a better range than some kit lens starting a little wider than most. Its not a brilliantly sharp lens but its gives usuable results depending on what you are shooting. Corners can be poor, distortion is pretty extreme at 24mm but adobe camera raw has a profile for it. I'd say the test was both accurate and mostly irrelevant for a pocket travel lens.

I think you are right to assess the whole lens+camera package. Buying a camera for use with just one lens and I'd have probably looked elsewhere (x100s). The sensor on the nex5R is really nice, great DR at low ISO and its a smart little camera in many ways.

Andrew

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kernel panic
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Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report
In reply to Mel Snyder, Aug 5, 2013

Mel Snyder wrote:

dan801 wrote:

http://www.photozone.de/sony_nex/842-sony1650f3556oss

So looking at these results: I was about to buy myself a new nex camera 5r. The camera seems to be perfect for what I want and seems to be an outstanding sensor compared to say m43 cameras. However now looking at the results of all the latest lens test (I would use this lens quite a bit when travelling) I'm worried about all the issues mentioned in the article. Perhaps I'm better of buying a m43 camera with better kit lens and may still come out on top? At $600 max for a camera and lens kit what do you think I should do? Stick with nex or go to say a panasonic 4/3 camera?

Hello, Dan - and welcome...

Check my recent postings regarding this lens. Don't get me wrong - I deeply respect Photozone. But their testing on an NEX-7 is completely inappropriate. The lens wasn't designed for a 24mp sensor - especially one that has issues with many lenses that work just fine on the 16mp sensors.

I posted countless images on an NEX-6 with this lens, as have others. Dan, despite all the criticisms of this lens, it is truly fine on a 5R, a 6, or just about any other camera. There is no other zoom within your price range that will deliver close to the results of the 5R/16-50PZ.

Ignore the critics unless they are willing to "show you the money images." I've repeatedly challenged all the detractors of this lens to show me images that prove this lens is bad, and NOT ONE has had the guts to back up their charges. Dan, it's just smoke. There's no significant QC issues - there are LOTS of cockpit issues from people who blame their inadequacies on their gear. But you will find people slamming gear on every forum.

There's an easy way to sort this out: When someone says a lens or camera is bad, ask them to show your their proof. Some web site's lens tests prove nothing, unless you plan to shoot lens charts for kicks - especially when the sensor on which it's tested isn't yours.

There are many nice m43 cameras and lenses. But there are just 2 companies (Olympus and Panasonic) supporting this now-aging format, and both are in financial trouble. I could as much make a case for you buying into a m43 as buying a nice Pontiac or Saturn. The NEX system has 67% bigger sensor, a superior crop factor - and the vastly greater superiority of Sony sensors which both Nikon and Canon use in their DSLRs.

Corrections/Additions to your statements:

  • The E-mount (NEX) is supported by only 1 company and Sony is supporting Olympus with money (see below).
  • Micro Four Thirds is old, because it is the first MILC format. Followed by Samsung NX and then Sony. But how does age matter?
  • Micro Four Thirds has a bigger native lens selection than Sony E mount. This is partly due to the longer market presence
  • Canon does not use Sony sensors in their DSLRs! Canon uses their own sensors. Their latest sensor has some featurwise the current Sony sensors lack (until they in turn release their new generation and so on).
  • Nikon is not only using Sony sensors for their DSLRs, they are also using Toshiba sensors for some model(s).
  • Sony supplies Olympus with its Sensors, so the latest Micro Four Thirds cameras (E-M5, E-PL5, E-PM2, E-P5) are using the latest Sony senor technology.
  • Sony and Olympus are working together, which means more Sony sensors for Olympus and Olympus lens technology for Sony (A and probably E mount).

To the original poster:

Don't worry about the things written in this article. If you are looking for a camera there are more important factors:

  • Does the camera feel good in your hand? If it feels not right, you are more likely to leave the camera at home.
  • What lenses do you need in the system you are buying into? Assuming you don't own a mirrorless camera already.
  • Look at (unprocessed) sample images from the camera/lens you want to buy and decide for yourself if you like the presented quality.
  • Try to test the camera at a shop.
  • Sensor quality is only one part of the equation. If you want the best IQ you also need high quality glass. But with kit lenses and one or two generation old cameras (which can be bought used and are cheaper than current models) you can also take great images. It depends mostly on your skill as a photographer not so much on your gear.
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captura
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Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report
In reply to dan801, Aug 5, 2013

WRT your m43 alternative idea. Remember that a better sensor usually beats a better lens. Now most NEX-5R's are still sold with the older 18-55 lens. I suggest you get that kit, or another if you want to avoid the 1650. Damn fine camera, the 5R; I have one. I also have some m43's and I'd stick with the Sony.

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captura
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Re: and oh, the NEX-5T is going to be announced in 10 days.
In reply to captura, Aug 5, 2013

nada

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telefunk
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Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report
In reply to Mel Snyder, Aug 5, 2013

I had two selp1650's and their performance was pretty disappointing. On my Nex 7 the IQ was equal to the RX100.

On my Nex 3n, it was worse than my LX5.

LX5 left, NEX3n right

I would say, the 1650 is a nice, light & compact zoom, but it only gets OK results on the NEX 7.

There must be much sharper lenses out there, but I never found the 24mm equiv wide-angle I wanted.

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bryanchicken
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Re: A different answer
In reply to Ray Maines, Aug 5, 2013

Agree, i went into a camera shop with an eye on upgrading my E-PL1 body (which i am converting to IR). I had a play with the EP5 and decided it was way too expensive. Had a play with the OM-D and decided, as a glasses wearer, that viewfinders are not for me. A cheaper OMD without VF might have won the day.
Next were the newer sensor m43 cams, the EPL5 and the EPM2. I knew they weren't for me within about 30seconds of trying to use the teeny tiny controls.

Ended up with a 5R, even though i know there are rumours of an upgrade coming. It does way more than my skill as a photog deserve, so to the checkout i went. Well happy so far with just the 16-50 and awaiting a legacy adapter. The focus peeking (which i've never had before) was a feature that swayed me a bit.

The kit lenses on the comparatively priced m43 cams are not particularly better than the 16-50. Its dubious if even the 12-50 of the OMD is any better as it gets a mixed reception.
Unless you plump for the top of the range that comes with a prime then they're all much of a muchness IMO

Ray Maines wrote:

dan801 wrote:

... what do you think I should do? Stick with nex or go to say a panasonic 4/3 camera?

I totally understand that we all want to make the best decision possible, but I'll let you in on a secret. Most of the camera buyers in the world use the wrong criteria to make their buying decisions.

Truth be told, ALL new cameras and lenses are more than good enough to produce fantastic pictures. I suggest you use the DPReview feature guide to filter your options down to three or four cameras and go to a store and hold those cameras in your hand. The camera that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy is the right camera for you. Ties are decided by price. Laboring over reviews and lab reports is the wrong way to pick a camera and/or lens.

Every brand and every camera has it's pro's and cons, and maybe in a year or two you'll want to buy a new one, but know ahead of time that new equipment isn't going to produce drastically better or even different results. A new or different camera might work better for you in the type of photography you become interested in, it might be bigger, smaller, lighter, more rugged, easier to use or just better looking than your current camera but the overall image quality really isn't going to change much from one system or set up to another.

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captura
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Re: A different answer
In reply to bryanchicken, Aug 5, 2013

Hi Bryan,

I also have an E-PL1 and did you get any quotes on IR conversion? Good camera but I just bought the faster/smaller E-PM1. Thank you.

I am a glasses-wearer but being a bit nearsighted only, the adjustment on my EVF's works great for me (on a G1.)

I also didn't like the OMD, but because of it's fiddly little controls, plus it's a difficult camera to hold onto and operate. My main camera is also a 5R, and I doubt that the new 5T will be very much changed. Small, easy to operate, best ergonomics, one-handed shooting if needs be.

I disagree with you about m43 kit lenses as there have been a few good ones. Pana. 20/1.7 both old and new, 14/2.5, 14-45 mega OIS old kit, 14-42 II mega OIS new kit, come to mind.

Steve

bryanchicken wrote:

Agree, i went into a camera shop with an eye on upgrading my E-PL1 body (which i am converting to IR). I had a play with the EP5 and decided it was way too expensive. Had a play with the OM-D and decided, as a glasses wearer, that viewfinders are not for me. A cheaper OMD without VF might have won the day.
Next were the newer sensor m43 cams, the EPL5 and the EPM2. I knew they weren't for me within about 30seconds of trying to use the teeny tiny controls.

Ended up with a 5R, even though i know there are rumours of an upgrade coming. It does way more than my skill as a photog deserve, so to the checkout i went. Well happy so far with just the 16-50 and awaiting a legacy adapter. The focus peeking (which i've never had before) was a feature that swayed me a bit.

The kit lenses on the comparatively priced m43 cams are not particularly better than the 16-50. Its dubious if even the 12-50 of the OMD is any better as it gets a mixed reception.
Unless you plump for the top of the range that comes with a prime then they're all much of a muchness IMO

Ray Maines wrote:

dan801 wrote:

... what do you think I should do? Stick with nex or go to say a panasonic 4/3 camera?

I totally understand that we all want to make the best decision possible, but I'll let you in on a secret. Most of the camera buyers in the world use the wrong criteria to make their buying decisions.

Truth be told, ALL new cameras and lenses are more than good enough to produce fantastic pictures. I suggest you use the DPReview feature guide to filter your options down to three or four cameras and go to a store and hold those cameras in your hand. The camera that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy is the right camera for you. Ties are decided by price. Laboring over reviews and lab reports is the wrong way to pick a camera and/or lens.

Every brand and every camera has it's pro's and cons, and maybe in a year or two you'll want to buy a new one, but know ahead of time that new equipment isn't going to produce drastically better or even different results. A new or different camera might work better for you in the type of photography you become interested in, it might be bigger, smaller, lighter, more rugged, easier to use or just better looking than your current camera but the overall image quality really isn't going to change much from one system or set up to another.

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Tacoma, Washington, USA

 captura's gear list:captura's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Sony Alpha NEX-7 Samsung NX1000 NEX5R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R +10 more
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bryanchicken
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Re: A different answer
In reply to captura, Aug 6, 2013

In the UK the only place i could find who do it are:
http://www.advancedcameraservices.co.uk/?gclid=CJnZwKvG6LgCFUXKtAodUl0Abg
Its £250+VAT (so £300) which is very expensive IMO and still doesn't include shipping.

I haven't done it yet but i'm planning on doing it myself based on the lifepixel DIY instructions but leaving the dust system in place by not chopping the wires.

With regards to the viewfinder, it wasn't the adjustment to my eyes that was the problem it was me banging my glasses on it due to forgetting to remove them. I found it awkward to use with glasses in place. It was just a pain, for me, and having never shot with a viewfinder i'm not really missing out. I know there benefits such as bright light performance and stabilisation but not worth it for me. I find i can shoot pretty sharp at 150mm and 1/10 and the tiltable screen helps in all but the most blinding sunlight.
I'm a casual enthusiast, if there is such a thing, so i can get by without the vf.

I don't count the 20/1.7 or 14/2.5 m43 lenses as kit lenses (which bodies did they come with? The E-P5 can be had with the 17mm 1.8 which is great, but i don't count that either). They are both good lenses IMO (i own the 14/2.5), they are primes which the majority of are pretty good for m43.
I've had the Oly 14-42 (2 versions) kits and i wouldn't say they are better than the 16-50 tbh, but then the sensor is bigger/better on NEX so its hard to tell. The 16-50 is definitely better built.

captura wrote:

Hi Bryan,

I also have an E-PL1 and did you get any quotes on IR conversion? Good camera but I just bought the faster/smaller E-PM1. Thank you.

I am a glasses-wearer but being a bit nearsighted only, the adjustment on my EVF's works great for me (on a G1.)

I also didn't like the OMD, but because of it's fiddly little controls, plus it's a difficult camera to hold onto and operate. My main camera is also a 5R, and I doubt that the new 5T will be very much changed. Small, easy to operate, best ergonomics, one-handed shooting if needs be.

I disagree with you about m43 kit lenses as there have been a few good ones. Pana. 20/1.7 both old and new, 14/2.5, 14-45 mega OIS old kit, 14-42 II mega OIS new kit, come to mind.

Steve

bryanchicken wrote:

Agree, i went into a camera shop with an eye on upgrading my E-PL1 body (which i am converting to IR). I had a play with the EP5 and decided it was way too expensive. Had a play with the OM-D and decided, as a glasses wearer, that viewfinders are not for me. A cheaper OMD without VF might have won the day.
Next were the newer sensor m43 cams, the EPL5 and the EPM2. I knew they weren't for me within about 30seconds of trying to use the teeny tiny controls.

Ended up with a 5R, even though i know there are rumours of an upgrade coming. It does way more than my skill as a photog deserve, so to the checkout i went. Well happy so far with just the 16-50 and awaiting a legacy adapter. The focus peeking (which i've never had before) was a feature that swayed me a bit.

The kit lenses on the comparatively priced m43 cams are not particularly better than the 16-50. Its dubious if even the 12-50 of the OMD is any better as it gets a mixed reception.
Unless you plump for the top of the range that comes with a prime then they're all much of a muchness IMO

Ray Maines wrote:

dan801 wrote:

... what do you think I should do? Stick with nex or go to say a panasonic 4/3 camera?

I totally understand that we all want to make the best decision possible, but I'll let you in on a secret. Most of the camera buyers in the world use the wrong criteria to make their buying decisions.

Truth be told, ALL new cameras and lenses are more than good enough to produce fantastic pictures. I suggest you use the DPReview feature guide to filter your options down to three or four cameras and go to a store and hold those cameras in your hand. The camera that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy is the right camera for you. Ties are decided by price. Laboring over reviews and lab reports is the wrong way to pick a camera and/or lens.

Every brand and every camera has it's pro's and cons, and maybe in a year or two you'll want to buy a new one, but know ahead of time that new equipment isn't going to produce drastically better or even different results. A new or different camera might work better for you in the type of photography you become interested in, it might be bigger, smaller, lighter, more rugged, easier to use or just better looking than your current camera but the overall image quality really isn't going to change much from one system or set up to another.

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nevercat
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Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report
In reply to dan801, Aug 7, 2013

First: there is a big difference between real life pictures and test pictures.

Test pictures have a flat test chart as subject, made to reveal all the good and bad of a lens,

Real life pictures have all kind of subjects. You will most likely never realy see the difference between the differences between two lenses from the same class.

Second, about this given lens:

This lens is far from perfect, but many of its negatves are solved in camera, so when shooting JPG you will likely never see them. M43 have incamera lens correction too, so many of their kit lenses without correction are not much better as this lens.

When you want the best IQ you should go for primes on both the Nex or the M43.

Remember that you hardly ever look at a picture at 100% making many problems wit a lens unseen in real life pictures.

Start looking at the oictures you took in the past, take onky the pictures you realy like. Examen them closely, are the 100% sharp at pixel level, Are the corners super sharp? Is there CA or distortion in the picture? Did you ever bothered?

Digital and computers makes us looking at every technical detail of the pucture at pixel level, but we forget the whole picture. This may end up in rasor sharp pictures, without any distortion or CA, but also without anything interesting.

Now to your question: you will be able to take stunning pictures with both Nex and M43 with any of the given lenses. What camera you like best is more up to the ergonomics and the futures then to the quality of the kitlens. Check the cameras in a shop, go for the one you find handling best. Forget about minor IQ differences and enyou taking pictures.

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wictred
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Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report
In reply to nevercat, Aug 7, 2013

nevercat wrote:

This lens is far from perfect, but many of its negatves are solved in camera, so when shooting JPG you will likely never see them. M43 have incamera lens correction too, so many of their kit lenses without correction are not much better as this lens.

You can also make the corrections in PP and the results are OK (certainly better than in-camera corrections).

The corners are still not really good at 16mm, and that's the interesting FL for me (most kit lenses only cover 18mm instead).

I got the 16-50 with the NEX-6 and will keep my 5N as a backup body, so I'll probably leave the 16-50 on the 5N and use it as a compact APS-C zoom kit - really a great combo (touchscreen, high ISO, ...)  but the 16-50 is certainly not my lens of choice if IQ is important ... got the SEL35F18 and Sigma 19mm for that, and the Sigma 60mm will be next.

 wictred's gear list:wictred's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a6000 Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN Sony E 35mm F1.8 OSS Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN | Art +3 more
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kaiser soze
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Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report
In reply to dan801, Aug 7, 2013

dan801 wrote:

http://www.photozone.de/sony_nex/842-sony1650f3556oss

So looking at these results: I was about to buy myself a new nex camera 5r. The camera seems to be perfect for what I want and seems to be an outstanding sensor compared to say m43 cameras. However now looking at the results of all the latest lens test (I would use this lens quite a bit when travelling) I'm worried about all the issues mentioned in the article. Perhaps I'm better of buying a m43 camera with better kit lens and may still come out on top? At $600 max for a camera and lens kit what do you think I should do? Stick with nex or go to say a panasonic 4/3 camera?

Presently there are better values to be had with microfourthirds. At $600 max, and looking to get the best camera you can get for that amount, you almost certainly will find a better value in one of the recently-discontinued Panasonic cameras. More specifically, you can find the G5 with manual (non-power zoom) 14-42 zoom for about $500, and it is a steal at that price. If you want the power zoom, you can buy the G5 body for about $300, and buy the power zoom separately. And if you want something more compact, you might still be able to find the GX1 for an attractive price.

That said, the concerns you have with the Sony lens, based on that review, are not really warranted. Personally I have difficulty with that lens, but for one specific reason: I do not like the way that the manual focusing ring works. If you don't often focus manually, it makes no difference. But if you like to focus manually, there is something very annoying about how that focusing ring works, that, for me, makes it extremely annoying to try and use. It is of course a "control by wire" ring, i.e., it is not mechanically linked to the focusing mechanics of the lens. The same is true for the 1855 kit lens, which is on my camera, but focusing behaves completely differently for the two lenses. With the 1650 lens, sometimes when you turn the ring just slightly, the focusing changes abruptly, and although I'm not entirely certain, it seemed to me that sometimes it changed in the wrong direction. I'm not sure about that part, but the point is that whether you do or do not like this lens will likely depend on whether you do much manual focusing. Many people rarely use manual focusing, and many people do like this lens a lot.

Among the criticisms in that article, that I thought were silly, is the criticism about the length of the lens when it is being used. I don't much care that the lens extends when being used, and I assume that this is done to make it easier to achieve longer focal length, without other tradeoffs.

The criticism regarding geometric distortion is completely, entirely bogus. All that matters is the end result, and if there is no evidence of this distortion in the end result, then it doesn't matter, period. People who object to the use of lens correction as a means of achieving the desired result are simply behaving as Luddites. They need to read up on how lens correction is being used to compensate for atmospheric distortions with earth-based astronomical telescopes. It is pretty amazing what is possible, when you are willing to embrace a new way of getting something accomplished. People opposed to lens correction are taking a stand based purely on emotion, and not on reason. Again, if you cannot tell the difference in the final result, why does it matter? And if you only care about JPEG and have lens correction enabled in the camera, you would never, ever even be able to see any evidence that the lens even has any geometric distortion. Also, it may be relevant to note that much of the testing for barrel distortion is actually only proving the effect of perspective. If you walk up close to a doorway and get as close as you can while you are still able to see both sides of the door frame, both sides of the door frame will appear curved. This is an effect of perspective. If you put a camera in the same location and take a picture that includes the door frame, why shouldn't it show the same effect? So-called fish-eye distortion or whatever it is referred to is not distortion. It is perspective.

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JeffS7444
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It's a compromise (but a handy one!)
In reply to dan801, Aug 7, 2013

I traveled overseas a few months ago, using the NEX7 + 16-50 extensively. I think it worked out very well, all things considered.

Understand that "impossible" lens designs such as this assume that some of the corrections will be done in software, either by you or the camera's JPEG engine. Uncorrected raw files shot at 16mm do show hefty amounts of barrel distortion, vignetting, as well as chromatic aberrations, all of which clean up remarkably well in Lightroom, which contains the appropriate lens profile.

I do most of my shooting at around f/5.6-8 and brought a tripod for nighttime shooting. I thought the photos looked pleasingly punchy.

Same rules apply to M43 and other systems: "Impossible" designs rely more heavily on software correction.

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telefunk
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Re: It's a compromise (but a handy one!)
In reply to JeffS7444, Aug 10, 2013

A test of the selp1650 on the german site dkamera and it confirmed my experience. They tried this kitlens on the nex 6 and nex 3n: same result as I had: very average sharpness. They mention that a good P&S has better results.

Both nex's have class leading sensors which could resolve much more with a better lens. Also the in-camera jpg sharpening is very conservative.

So, everyone who is so happy with their nex 6 + 1650 lens have never compared their pictures with a good P&S!

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