how does the 16-50 PZ lens compare to the 18-55 kit lens on the NEX 5N specifically?

Started Apr 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 11,532
Re: how does the 16-50 PZ lens compare to the 18-55 kit lens on the NEX 5N specifically?

Rickj23 wrote:

salla30 wrote:

Well, you could always search the forum or Google, it's only been discussed one gazillion times ; the 5N is no different from any other Nex with a 1650 , with the exception of internal lens correction, or lack of it , in a few models .

The variables to look out for is competence variations .

thanks. perhaps you can point me to some forum link discussion threads (I did search of course but the search criteria varies wildly depending on nomenclature)?

The SEL1855 is a better lens for still photography by far.  The SEL1650 PZ has too much distortion at 16-20 mm and it is not very sharp fully extended.  It is not that compact either, the moment you switch the camera on.  The PZ lens was developed specially for the new range of the cameras that were to follow the NEX 3N it was never meant to be used with the upper range of the NEX cameras.  As Sony fell on the hard times .. they have decided to standardise instead of using 3 different standard lenses (NEX 7 uses black  SEL1855 that is made in Japan).  Optically, the PZ lens is really only usable within the 20 to 40 mm range and only with f11 or higher apertures.  I had that lens 24  hours and tried it on macro and portraiture / candids in the low light, no flash in my locall coffee shop ... side by side with SEL1855 on two NEX 5N cameras (I have one 5R and two 5N cameras).  Next day I went back to John Lewis in London and got my money back.  The lens is slow on start up, slow to operate, has the non standard 40.5 mm filter thread etc.

Maybe so, but I doubt that Sony is in the business of designing and manufacturing 'bad' lenses.

The Sony 'kit' lenses have a specific price/performance formula, but I see no difference from the E mount to the A mount, and for that matter, the Konica/Minolta products.

There are 'price leaders' and there are 'specialty lenses'. But even the price leaders must adhere to rigorous quality standards and the market is very non-forgiving for poor design.

The other manufacturers, and segments (such as m43), have pushed the bar higher, and Sony is a pretty good contender - see the reviews of the 1855 against similar lenses by Canikon.

The 1650PZ kit lens is not 'worse' than the 1855, not after corrections, and not in the 'sweet range'. Both lenses perform mid range and mid aperture.

The slow startup issue was remedied with a firmware update - did you get V1.02 installed? This also fixes the preview distortion and adds in-camera JPG correction. It sounds that you got caught in seeing the non-corrected behavior of both lenses - which points you to the 1855 by far.

Shooting in the coffee shop with a kit zoom lens means that you are probably using f/4 to f/5. That is fine, but you are getting ISO 800 or higher and 1/60th or lower. These will not be your sharpest shots anyways.

Try some outdoor scenery and daytime shots before you form an opinion. Most 'bad' images from the kit lenses are shot indoors under poor lighting (on subject), with longish shutter times. That does not make the lens bad, it is because of poor circumstances. Use a tripod, or a flash, or a prime lens, or turn on some lights, to get a better picture.

Similar to the A line, Sony is planning to release 'higher-end' zoom lenses, most notably the "G" lens. This will be a sharper, possible (a tad) faster, and a lot more expensive (3x?) lens. This shows that there is room for improvement, but it does not make the kit lens bad.

I have several 1855 lenses and one 1650, and I'd say that they are about equal. Early users gave the nod to the 1855 for several reasons, and I tend to agree, but the difference is minor, not major.

The black 1855 is identical to the silver 1855. The 1650 can be had in both black and silver.

There has been quality control issues with the 1855 per some posters here in this forum. So do check your lens for proper performance. I have three kit lenses, four actually if you add in the 1650, that perform near identical.

You do raise a very valid point - if you do not want or need the compactness, the 1855 is a much more durable and sturdy lens, and is likely to hold up longer (bigger components, more sturdiness  than the 1650 (flimsy extension, electronic zoom). I am not saying that the 1650 is a delicate lens (it seems alright), but the 1855 is by far a more 'traditional' design (but not 'beercan' design).

And also, aside from electronic zoom, the 1855 is easier to operate. Especially if you use DMF, and zoom-magnification assist. The 1650 can confuse at times.

Now, on a Nex-6, Nex-5R and presumably a Nex-7N, the 1650's electronic zoom can be driven from the shutter button (sub button), which makes it a bit easier, and you can add in the CIZ for range doubling. This does make the lens a bit easier to manipulate.

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