What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?

Started 7 months ago | Questions
autonomy
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What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?
7 months ago

Hi, everyone. I've been a long-time user of a hand-me-down Canon Rebel until the shutter died right before a trip. My brother-in-law let me borrow his NEX7 with the 18-55mm lens, and I really liked the camera and the lens, the portability of both (compared to the Canon), and especially the fact that I could pick up the camera, turn it on, and by the time the camera was at face level, I could take a shot. I kept the camera off to conserve the battery only because the lag time from power on to the first shot was very minimal.

However, for various other reasons, I've been looking to purchase a NEX6 (cheaper, don't need 24MP, phase autofocus, etc.). The NEX6, however, comes with the 16-50mm powerzoom lens and I am concerned about how speedy it is in the real world. I was shopping at BestBuy and they had a 5N with that lens, so I played with it for a bit and felt like the powerzoom feature - both the slider on the lens and the rocker on the shutter button - were not much of an improvement over the zoom on my Canon S95 P&S. It was just slow to extend at power on (~2s), slow to respond to input. The camera would be used for travel a lot, for spontaneous shots and portraits, and I hate to miss shots because I was zooming or the camera was off and the lens took time to extend.

I could always get just the NEX6 body and the 18-55, but at that price point I am approaching the NEX7 kit, so might as well get the magnesium body. I haven't been able to find much info about this, so that's why I'm asking you - what has your experience been with the speed of operation of this lens? Any frustration due to missed shots? Ever wish you had manual zoom?

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Canon PowerShot S95 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS
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Sonyshine
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Re: What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?
In reply to autonomy, 7 months ago

I find the power zoom perfectly adequate.

I have owned both lenses and in the end I sold the 18-55 as I prefer the 1650pz.

The extra width at 16 is quite handy, I also like the fact that when its switched off my Nex7 with the 1650pz will fit in my jacket pocket.

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dro1
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Re: What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?
In reply to autonomy, 7 months ago

I think it's better than the 18-55 kit lens, and it does quite well on the Nex-7 too.

A little composite from the lens.

Dil

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viking79
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Re: What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?
In reply to autonomy, 7 months ago

The 16mm end is soft in the corners, so if you treat it like a 20-50mm that has a built in optical wide angle converter it does fairly well.  It is very small when stowed.  The 18-55mm is maybe a slightly better lens optically, but larger and doesn't go as wide.

You sound like you are more concerned with time on and off then you are lens size?  If so the 18-55mm would be the way to go.  NEX 6 and NEX 7 build quality actually feel very close.  There isn't as much difference between the two for feel as you might think.

You are right, I wouldn't want to pay more for the NEX 6 body and 18-55mm kit lens than I would for NEX 6 with 16-50mm.  I would think someone would be willing to trade an 18-55mm for an 16-50mm though.  I am not sure what m4/3 cameras would be comparable (small with viewfinder).

Eric

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jack scholl
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Re: What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?
In reply to autonomy, 7 months ago

autonomy,

There has been a wide variety of comments on the lens.  Our copy is excellent.  Copy variation is probably at work.  I would try to purchase from a supplier that will allow you to return it if you get a "bad" one.

The range is good, the OS handy and the size is wonderful.

Good luck,

Jack

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tomtom50
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Re: What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?
In reply to jack scholl, 7 months ago

jack scholl wrote:

autonomy,

There has been a wide variety of comments on the lens. Our copy is excellent. Copy variation is probably at work. I would try to purchase from a supplier that will allow you to return it if you get a "bad" one.

The range is good, the OS handy and the size is wonderful.

Good luck,

Jack

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I agree. Mine is good too, but my 16mm f2.8 is horrible so I know QC is not perfect. Make sure you can return.

It is not a fast lens, slowing down even faster than other kit lenses as you zoom in, but it is light and small and a good one has perfectly decent IQ.

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SimonOL
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Re: What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?
In reply to tomtom50, 7 months ago

Both the 16-50 and 18-55 are reasonable lenses - certainly not great but perfectly adequate for general use in decent light. Both have advantages and disadvantages; 16-50 is more compact and a little wider, 18-55 possibly marginally better IQ (and no waiting for it to power-up) but much larger.

You could always buy the NEX-6 kit, sell the 16-50 if you don't get on with it and buy a good used 18-55 which are in plentiful supply. You should break even on that.

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Vato915
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Re: What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?
In reply to autonomy, 7 months ago

autonomy wrote:

However, for various other reasons, I've been looking to purchase a NEX6 (cheaper, don't need 24MP, phase autofocus, etc.). The NEX6, however, comes with the 16-50mm powerzoom lens and I am concerned about how speedy it is in the real world. I was shopping at BestBuy and they had a 5N with that lens, so I played with it for a bit and felt like the powerzoom feature - both the slider on the lens and the rocker on the shutter button - were not much of an improvement over the zoom on my Canon S95 P&S. It was just slow to extend at power on (~2s), slow to respond to input. The camera would be used for travel a lot, for spontaneous shots and portraits, and I hate to miss shots because I was zooming or the camera was off and the lens took time to extend.

I don't use my 16-50 as much but, as you said, it takes about 2 secs. for it to be ready to snap a pic.  I slapped it on my 3N today to time it.  I had a picture at 16mm in 2.7 secs. from the time I slid the switch to "on".

The slider on the lens and the rocker on the camera are indeed slow but, zooming with the focus ring is quite snappy considering it's not manual.  I can go from 16mm to 50mm in about 0.3 secs. using it.

Disclaimer:  Times were recorded using a stopwatch app on a phone and may not be scientifically accurate!

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autonomy
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Re: What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?
In reply to SimonOL, 7 months ago

Thanks for the response, guys. Just to clarify, I am most interested in the operational speed (zooming/extension from start/focusing) than IQ or size of the 16-50, as I know that IQ is good.

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fip
fip
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Re: What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?
In reply to SimonOL, 7 months ago

As far as I am concerned, I simply adore the Zeiss quality, but I also can feel happy with my Sony 16-50pz - and, btw, my NEX 5R. Have a look here:

I want to emphasize that I can take technical and optical parameters very seriously, but on the other hand I sometimes don't give a damn on all that bad criticism this lens legitimately has to accept and enjoy the very practical utility of it.

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CameraCarl
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Re: What is the 16-50mm powerzoom like in the real world?
In reply to fip, 7 months ago

After about 2000 images in the real world (and about a dozen test images where I pixel peeped), I have no issues with my 16-50 on my NEX-6.  I haven't seen any corner sharpness issues of concern to me and really like its compactness. That is one of the reasons I bought a NEX-6.  If I want to haul around a one pound lens that is two to three inches in diameter and four inches long, I'll take my DSLR.

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