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

Started Aug 4, 2013 | Discussions
Sol Invictus
Sol Invictus Regular Member • Posts: 465
Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report

The SEL1855 was not only a tiny bit sharper but also 1/2 stop or less brighter (@ f/8 the shutter speed for the 1855 was 1/15 whereas for the 1650 was 1/20). Overall, the 1855 gave better results even though the difference was marginal.

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Pete_S Regular Member • Posts: 215
Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report

Sol Invictus wrote:

The SEL1855 was not only a tiny bit sharper but also 1/2 stop or less brighter (@ f/8 the shutter speed for the 1855 was 1/15 whereas for the 1650 was 1/20). Overall, the 1855 gave better results even though the difference was marginal.

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Yes, I was wondering about the shorter shutter speed but brighter image!  Thought perhaps the lighting had changed between shots...   Very odd.

Sol Invictus
Sol Invictus Regular Member • Posts: 465
Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report

Pete_S wrote:

Sol Invictus wrote:

The SEL1855 was not only a tiny bit sharper but also 1/2 stop or less brighter (@ f/8 the shutter speed for the 1855 was 1/15 whereas for the 1650 was 1/20). Overall, the 1855 gave better results even though the difference was marginal.

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Yes, I was wondering about the shorter shutter speed but brighter image! Thought perhaps the lighting had changed between shots... Very odd.

Actually, there is nothing odd with those pictures. This tiny exposure difference is to be expected as the 1855 gave a bit slower shutter speed (let more light in), so we have a brighter picture overall.

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DLeeT
DLeeT Contributing Member • Posts: 575
They say it's lousy at 16mm:

Sol Invictus
Sol Invictus Regular Member • Posts: 465
Re: They say it's lousy at 16mm:

DLeeT wrote:

Lousy maybe compared to another kit lens like the 1855. You'll never know unless you've got some comparisson shots. I did make the test and although the difference between the two was marginal, I will keep the SEL1855 not only for it's IQ but also for it's ergonomics. Working below 18mm is taken care of by my SEL1018.

Nice shot btw, still not a 16MP one.

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DLeeT
DLeeT Contributing Member • Posts: 575
Re: They say it's lousy at 16mm:

Sol Invictus wrote:

DLeeT wrote:

Lousy maybe compared to another kit lens like the 1855. You'll never know unless you've got some comparisson shots. I did make the test and although the difference between the two was marginal, I will keep the SEL1855 not only for it's IQ but also for it's ergonomics. Working below 18mm is taken care of by my SEL1018.

Nice shot btw, still not a 16MP one.

"Still not a 16MP..."  I don't understand; it was taken with a NEX-6.

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viking79
viking79 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,147
Re: They say it's lousy at 16mm:

DLeeT wrote:

Sol Invictus wrote:

DLeeT wrote:

Lousy maybe compared to another kit lens like the 1855. You'll never know unless you've got some comparisson shots. I did make the test and although the difference between the two was marginal, I will keep the SEL1855 not only for it's IQ but also for it's ergonomics. Working below 18mm is taken care of by my SEL1018.

Nice shot btw, still not a 16MP one.

"Still not a 16MP..." I don't understand; it was taken with a NEX-6.

It isn't a full sized image you posted, and f/13 diffraction limit puts your actual resolution around 5.6 MP anyway. I.e. any lens looks about alike at f/13, and with the diffraction limit the picture wouldn't have looked any different on say one of the old Sony 6 MP sensors in the early DSLR cameras.

Short point being the image doesn't show the lens's potential or lack thereof. All that really matters is if the lens performs how you need it to.

My point with that lens is it is a 6-10 MP lens, not a 10-20 MP lens.  Nothing wrong with that.

Eric

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DLeeT
DLeeT Contributing Member • Posts: 575
Thanks Eric:

viking79 wrote:

DLeeT wrote:

Sol Invictus wrote:

DLeeT wrote:

Lousy maybe compared to another kit lens like the 1855. You'll never know unless you've got some comparisson shots. I did make the test and although the difference between the two was marginal, I will keep the SEL1855 not only for it's IQ but also for it's ergonomics. Working below 18mm is taken care of by my SEL1018.

Nice shot btw, still not a 16MP one.

"Still not a 16MP..." I don't understand; it was taken with a NEX-6.

It isn't a full sized image you posted, and f/13 diffraction limit puts your actual resolution around 5.6 MP anyway. I.e. any lens looks about alike at f/13, and with the diffraction limit the picture wouldn't have looked any different on say one of the old Sony 6 MP sensors in the early DSLR cameras.

Short point being the image doesn't show the lens's potential or lack thereof. All that really matters is if the lens performs how you need it to.

My point with that lens is it is a 6-10 MP lens, not a 10-20 MP lens. Nothing wrong with that.

Eric

That aspect of lenses always did confuse me, and your explanation helps.  Cheers, Lee

Sol Invictus
Sol Invictus Regular Member • Posts: 465
Re: They say it's lousy at 16mm:

I tried to find some technical info on the term "that lens can't exploit the full potential of that camera/sensor". So it seems that some lenses should not be put on cameras with specific sensor specs. Is it the megapixel issue? I read a review on the SEL-16F28 that ended up NOT using this lens on a NEX-7.

So, how is it that a 24MP sensor can render a lens inapropriate compared to a 16MP sensor and how can we determine which lens to use according the MP of our camera sensor?

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Mel Snyder
Mel Snyder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,088
So maybe this is a lousy image, too

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

Vineyards of Aigle Castle, France

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.

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.

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'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.

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

Yeah, schmutz on sensor blown off later...

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Sol Invictus
Sol Invictus Regular Member • Posts: 465
Re: So maybe this is a lousy image, too

Mel Snyder wrote:

An NEX-6 is capable of making serious images, but in my book, it's just a fun camera.

Would you care to elaborate?

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 6,192
Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report

The review is a bit of a numbers exercise in a physics lab. Their machine does not seem to print out figures for compactness so that does not seem to interest them. Also as they can presumably fit their test grid or blank wall into the field of view of a 20mm lens if they can stand far enough back so the extra given by 16mm is not important. I cannot see they really allow for how small the lens is and they compare it with the NX 20-50 which is a much more limited lens in practical use even if it chucks out the right statistics.

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?

Sol Invictus
Sol Invictus Regular Member • Posts: 465
Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report

Mel Snyder wrote:

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.

Can you please shed shome light on why this is so? I happen to bump on this conclusion now and then when reading lens revies but can't figure out how someone comes to this conclusion. I guess it is related to border sharpness and megapixels.

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GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,617
Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report

Sol Invictus wrote:

Mel Snyder wrote:

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.

Can you please shed shome light on why this is so? I happen to bump on this conclusion now and then when reading lens revies but can't figure out how someone comes to this conclusion. I guess it is related to border sharpness and megapixels.

This is my assumption -- it may be sharp over most of the field for 14mp or 16mp, but the lens may not be able to keep up with 24mp.

The other issue, and probably more what Mel was hinting at, might be that the Nex-7 has trouble with some more compact, RF-style lenses, particularly at the wider angles (requiring cornerfix, for instance). I'm not sure if this applies to the 16/2.8 or 16-50PZ.

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Gary W.

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GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,617
Re: They say it's lousy at 16mm:

Sol Invictus wrote:

I tried to find some technical info on the term "that lens can't exploit the full potential of that camera/sensor". So it seems that some lenses should not be put on cameras with specific sensor specs. Is it the megapixel issue? I read a review on the SEL-16F28 that ended up NOT using this lens on a NEX-7.

So, how is it that a 24MP sensor can render a lens inapropriate compared to a 16MP sensor and how can we determine which lens to use according the MP of our camera sensor?

If a lens produces sharp details at the pixel level on a 16mp sensor but is not able to resolve the same sharpness on a 24 mp sensor, then I'd say don't use it on the 24mp sensor camera if you can help it, just because you're not taking full advantage of your more expensive 24mp sensor. Maybe try a more expensive lens, rather than Sony's cheapest?  What am I missing?

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Gary W.

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Mel Snyder
Mel Snyder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,088
Re: So maybe this is a lousy image, too
2

Sol Invictus wrote:

Mel Snyder wrote:

An NEX-6 is capable of making serious images, but in my book, it's just a fun camera.

Would you care to elaborate?

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Sure.

What I mean is, a NEX-6 has a great sensor, a great EVF, an easy range of menu options, and the ability to utilize about any hunk of glass except perhaps the bottom of a Coke bottle as a lens.

But to meet size and price limitations, it lacks some features most serious digital camera owners would want.

It lacks twin SD slots, so one cannot have the option of protecting one's shoots with a mirroring or storage of jpegs on one card, and RAW on the other (e.g. the D7000).

It lacks a serious audio system for video, like even a D7000. You cannot plug in an external mic except for one Sony model, and that audio has AGC, which pumps to pick up room tone when a speaker or musician pauses.

As continually complained here, it lacks a comprehensive line of fast native lenses - and for good reason: That's not the market Sony targeted with it.

It has no weather sealing. Just as a small Cessna 170 without IFR capabilities is a fun fair-weather aircraft, the NEX-6 is a fun, fair-weather camera.

Now, it's possible to sail a 19' O'Day Daysailer from New York to Plymouth, England, or to fly a Cessna 170 from New York to Los Angeles. And it is possible to get shots as good or better than a Nikon D4 or Canon 6D using a NEX-6. But it's not likely to be the camera of choice for many challenging settings.

It's a fun camera. I love it. Lots of people do. One can make serious images with it, if you accept its strengths and limitations.

I do.

Enlarged to 16x24 on my wall, along with this one, same size:

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GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,617
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:

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Gary W.

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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
QuazyLogic New Member • Posts: 6
Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report

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?

Kawika Nui Contributing Member • Posts: 673
Re: Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ (SEL-1650) - Review / Test Report

Don't know if slrgear is a "detractor" but they did post images which revealed a lot of distortion & vignetting. Also softness. Here's their summary:

"The Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS is a compact and inexpensive kit zoom lens that produces decent results, although it suffers from heavy barrel distortion at wide angles and produces images that are only super-sharp at the center. That said, it does better than most kit lenses, to the point that you may not feel the need to immediately rip it off and replace it with something better. It’s a very serviceable shooter. The big selling points here are its compactness as well as the powerzoom and image stabilization features, both of which come in handy for video shooting."

So this appears to be an OK lens.  I just bought one with an a6000; the camera was discounted and the lens only cost $150 when bundled as a kit.  At that price, I'm sure I can live with the issues, especially since I'm doing mostly outdoor shooting, very little with geometrical lines which would make the distortion stand out.

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