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

Started Aug 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,704
Re: So maybe this is a lousy image, too

Mel Snyder wrote:

Since getting my SEL16F28 + UWA, I don't shoot 16mm often with my 1650PZ, and even less often with anything resembling full aperture - and even less with detail going right to all four corners.

I'm with you here.  I still use my 16 with and without the UWA, even when I have the 16-50, although I don't mind using the 16-50 if that's all I've brought.

And the 16-50PZ is actually pretty good at 16mm.  One review (DxO?) says it's the lens' sweet spot (despite the corners never getting truly sharp).

I shoot RAW/jpeg - this is an out-of-camera jpeg.

Vineyards of Aigle Castle, France

I like this one.

I don't know if this is a good lens or a bad lens. All I know is whenever I use it, I get results that please me.

You'd think that should be the bottom line.  All of this obsession about sharpness and corners and it so often just doesn't matter.  Oh sure, if it were REALLY blurry, like that 18-70 I have (when used wide open and at the widest angle), it could detract and be noticeable, but we now have 16mp (or more) and obsessing over the extreme corners?!  For what purpose?!

The compact nature and the fast PDAF focusing are also pluses.  If I use it in dim light and I get a lot of motion blur, it's not the lenses' fault except for not being a "fast aperture" lens... and that's still not the lens' fault, not really. The lens is a general-purpose lens and is not everything.

I don't own and 18-55 and have no intention of purchasing one.. It's a big honker by comparison, and I am not looking to acquire any big honkers. Any 99% of the comparison tests done on the forum are absolutely worthless - few own 4-5 randomly selected copies from different production runs of each compared lens.

I did a test one day, mostly at the wider angles, but also briefly at 50mm, and the 16-50 results looked better to me (than the 18-55).  If I had tested at 24mm, maybe results would be different-- I'll have to try that another day.  I don't think the 16-50 gives up a lot. The bokeh is definitely not as good at some focal lengths, which would be my main disappointment.

My problem is that, despite my pushback, I am influenced negatively by the negativity on the forum toward this lens. Even though I often need to go to the EXIF to remember whether I shot an image with the PZ or with a Leica M lens, if the perspective suggests a 35mm or a 50mm.

I eventually picked up the 16mm.  I probably would have bought it sooner had there not been so much negativity.  After using it, I was kind of annoyed that I let the naysayers' negativity affect my decision.  I've enjoyed it and I seem to get good results.

I'm not trying for optical perfection, and I don't give a rat's rear if my corners, on very close inspection, are a bit soft. An NEX-6 is capable of making serious images, but in my book, it's just a fun camera.

There's a difference between "perfection" and what is quite good enough.  At some point, we all draw the line.... Some people have posted that they need FF and f2.8 zoom lenses because of photographing nighttime sports and wanting to freeze the action. OK, if you put extreme demands on what is needed, then sure, you'll need to step up the game.  But if you don't really NEED more, then you can do fine with less.

More images with 16mm at near-open/optimum apertures:

-- hide signature --

Gary W.

 GaryW's gear list:GaryW's gear list
Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V3 Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 Sony Alpha NEX-5 +8 more
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