Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50

Started 2 months ago | Discussions
JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 27,465
Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50
35

The kit lens for the Z50 is a tiny little thing. It's a 16-50 mm f/3.5 to f/6.3, that collapses into a pancake a bit over an inch long. It's made of plastic and glass, and it's dirt cheap, especially if you buy it with the camera. It's hard to imagine that it's any good at all.

But it is.

It's so good, in fact, that I didn't post this morning's results of my informal test against the excellent Nikon 24-70mm f/4 Z-mount lens because I couldn't believe how good the lens was, and thought I'd screwed up. So I ran another test with a Siemens Star target.

Here's the scene:

The images were exposed at f/4.5 and 1/4 second at ISO 100, except for the 50 mm pair from the 16-50, which was exposed at f/6.3 and 1/4 second, because it doesn't open up to f/4.5 at that focal length.

I developed the images in Lightroom with the following settings:

  • Adobe Color Profile
  • Sharpening amount 20, radius 1, detail 0 (this is much less sharpening than Lr's default)
  • White balance to the gray background of the Siemens Star
  • Exposure + 1 stop for the f/6.3 image

Let's look at some really tight crops of the star, at about 400% magnification. First at 24 mm in the center:

16-50

24-70

Look at that! The cheap lens is almost as sharp, and both lenses are laying down a lot more detail than the sensor can deal with.

In the corner:

16-50

24-70

There’s more falloff with the 16-24, and it’s not quite as sharp, but it’s still doing an excellent job.

At 50 mm in the center:

16-50

24-70

The 16-50 doesn’t have as much contrast, and is not quite as sharp. We are being a bit tough on the 24-70 here, since it’s a stop wider.

In the corner:

16-50

24-70

The cheap lens is not as sharp as the 24-70, but it’s not bad. Interestingly, sagittal/meridionol preferential directions are reversed.

Questions, comments welcome.

Jim

-- hide signature --
 JimKasson's gear list:JimKasson's gear list
Nikon D5 Sony a7 III Nikon Z7 Fujifilm GFX 100 Sony a7R IV +2 more
RodneyCampbell Forum Member • Posts: 94
Re: Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50
2

Thanks Jim

I was thinking of getting the lens as a small walkaround for my Z7 - presumably I'll have to wait for the firmware update to allow the Z7 to support the lens

 RodneyCampbell's gear list:RodneyCampbell's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 Nikon Z 14-30mm F4
GFinzi New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50
1

Thank you for this. I have been reading good things about this setup. I would love a Z50 to go with my Z7. Currently, I have an X-T20, and while I dislike the ergonomics, I don't know if I can trade the sharpness of the Nikon lens for the speed of the XF 18-55mm 2.8-4.0 (not to mention the swag of fast XF primes that I have). Am I unduly favouring speed over everything else?

 GFinzi's gear list:GFinzi's gear list
Nikon Z7 Fujifilm X-T30 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS +8 more
Serjojeee Senior Member • Posts: 1,204
Re: Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50
1

Looks like another one "best ever" lens in it's class from Nikon (this time a class of 150USD kit lens). Looks tempting to get one for street photo. Saw some full res photos (close to 16 mm range) in very challenging conditions (high contrast scenarios), no flare, sharp. A bit unbelievably sharp (almost at the Sigma 18-35 level) for 150 USD.

chambeshi Senior Member • Posts: 2,363
using Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 pancake on Z7
3

RodneyCampbell wrote:

Thanks Jim

I was thinking of getting the lens as a small walkaround for my Z7 - presumably I'll have to wait for the firmware update to allow the Z7 to support the lens

These are very interesting results, and for my uses they confirm the veracity of the official MTF data. Nikon posted these charts when they announced the new Z-DX trio...

https://www.nikon-image.com/products/nikkor/zmount/nikkor_z_dx_16-50mm_f35-63_vr/spec.html

I will definitely get the 16-50 DX for the Z7 - ideal for events and walkabout etc in crop mode.

This niche should help Nikon sell more of this pancake-cake IF they fix the compatibility. We should be able to shoot it in 1:1 [approx 30mp image] and in fact FX mode (as on a DSLR)

Nikon 16-50_3.5-6.3 f3.5 wide

Nikon 16-50_3.5-6.3 f6.3 tele

 chambeshi's gear list:chambeshi's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon Z7 Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR +19 more
I like Lenses
I like Lenses Regular Member • Posts: 139
A typo

There’s more falloff with the 16-24, and it’s not quite as sharp, but it’s still doing an excellent job.

Emphasis mine.

 I like Lenses's gear list:I like Lenses's gear list
Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 EX DG
Robert1975 Regular Member • Posts: 216
Re: A typo

I like Lenses wrote:

There’s more falloff with the 16-24, and it’s not quite as sharp, but it’s still doing an excellent job.

Emphasis mine.

Should be 16-25.

Well Nikon did it again... They've always had the best kit lenses. I shoot almost everything with 18-55 VR II and have 2 copies. They're like $80 or less taken out of kit...

This new one is a great match to Z50.

I like Lenses
I like Lenses Regular Member • Posts: 139
Also a typo?
1

Robert1975 wrote:

I like Lenses wrote:

There’s more falloff with the 16-24, and it’s not quite as sharp, but it’s still doing an excellent job.

Emphasis mine.

Should be 16-25.

Getting warmer...

 I like Lenses's gear list:I like Lenses's gear list
Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 EX DG
Virtual Photon Senior Member • Posts: 1,062
Re: Also a typo?
3

I like Lenses wrote:

Robert1975 wrote:

I like Lenses wrote:

There’s more falloff with the 16-24, and it’s not quite as sharp, but it’s still doing an excellent job.

Emphasis mine.

Should be 16-25.

Getting warmer...

Another 25 posts and we'll nail it. 

On one hand, it is pretty amazing to put this little guy in the same league as the 24-70 f4 (which itself is considered one of the finest, albeit f4, 24-70's available fr0m Nikon).  On the other hand, if they are going to make a lens that slow, it really ought to at least show great sharpness!

 Virtual Photon's gear list:Virtual Photon's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED +7 more
larrytusaz Senior Member • Posts: 2,641
Better Than Sony's? Close to 18-55 AF-P? (Re: Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50)
1

A former A6000 user, I dumped them mainly because the 16-50 has a poor reputation and you have to spend so much to get a good landscape lens, whereas the Nikon 18-55 AF-P is cheap but good.

Would you say this is more like the 18-55 AF-P and less like the Sony 16-50 in that respect? If so, I'm in. The only thing left to do is to sell the excess to help fund it, I have enough I could buy it right now but I'm trying to be responsible and sell the excess first.

 larrytusaz's gear list:larrytusaz's gear list
Sony RX100 III Nikon D3300 Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +3 more
JimKasson
OP JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 27,465
Re: Better Than Sony's? Close to 18-55 AF-P? (Re: Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50)
5

larrytusaz wrote:

A former A6000 user, I dumped them mainly because the 16-50 has a poor reputation and you have to spend so much to get a good landscape lens, whereas the Nikon 18-55 AF-P is cheap but good.

Would you say this is more like the 18-55 AF-P and less like the Sony 16-50 in that respect? If so, I'm in. The only thing left to do is to sell the excess to help fund it, I have enough I could buy it right now but I'm trying to be responsible and sell the excess first.

I don’t know anything about the current Sony 16-50. A long time ago I used the silver version that came as the kit lens on the NEX-5. That lens was awful.

-- hide signature --
 JimKasson's gear list:JimKasson's gear list
Nikon D5 Sony a7 III Nikon Z7 Fujifilm GFX 100 Sony a7R IV +2 more
larrytusaz Senior Member • Posts: 2,641
Re: Better Than Sony's? Close to 18-55 AF-P? (Re: Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50)
1

They haven't changed the design so I'd say it's the same (although it sounds like you used the Sony 18-55 which used to be the kit lens).

The Sony 16-50 for E-mount is typically considered to be one of the worst kit lenses you can get. Now, people have gotten good shots from it, and I did when I had it, but at the same time you can't get over that bad feeling or whatever it is when shooting with it, that feeling of "if only I could be shooting with the Fuji 16-50 or Nikon 18-55 AF-P." Yes there are better lenses available, but they're much more expensive and/or bigger (by which time you could've had a newer Nikon Z50 body anyway) whereas the Fuji kit lenses or m4/3 ones (like the Panasonic 12-32) are considered much better. The trouble is either the Fuji's AF is wanky compared to the competition or it uses the Trans sensor instead of the Bayer, making it more difficult to process the RAW files. The m4/3, the sensor isn't terrible but it's behind the 24 APS-C. There are compromises everywhere.

This could be the first one with no compromises other than I had to pay more for the body, and at least that makes sense since it's a newer and higher-line body.

 larrytusaz's gear list:larrytusaz's gear list
Sony RX100 III Nikon D3300 Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +3 more
thomas2279f
thomas2279f Veteran Member • Posts: 3,297
Re: Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50

Thanks for your testing and lens seem good ( potentially seems better than Sony 16-50).

Hope Nikon add more Z DX's lenses and wonder what AP is the rumored 18-140 ?.

Would be good if Nikon could do a F4 and as good as the Sony 18-105 F4 OSS.

-- hide signature --

David Thomas

 thomas2279f's gear list:thomas2279f's gear list
Nikon D800 Sony a5000 Nikon D7200 Nikon D850 Sony a6400 +24 more
NCB Senior Member • Posts: 1,159
Re: Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50

Thanks for the info, Jim. I'd already decided the Z50 would complement my Z6 nicely, and this confirms it.

 NCB's gear list:NCB's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Nikon D3100 Nikon Df Nikon Z6 Nikon Z50
JimKasson
OP JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 27,465
Re: A typo

I like Lenses wrote:

There’s more falloff with the 16-24, and it’s not quite as sharp, but it’s still doing an excellent job.

Emphasis mine.

You're right. Fixed on my blog. I can't fix it here.

Thanks,

Jim

-- hide signature --
 JimKasson's gear list:JimKasson's gear list
Nikon D5 Sony a7 III Nikon Z7 Fujifilm GFX 100 Sony a7R IV +2 more
JimKasson
OP JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 27,465
It also does well at 16 mm
3

This morning I tested the 16-50 at 16 mm against the Nikon 14-30 at 16 mm:

https://blog.kasson.com/z50/nikon-16-50-3-5-6-3-on-z50-at-16-mm/

It did quite well.

Jim

-- hide signature --
 JimKasson's gear list:JimKasson's gear list
Nikon D5 Sony a7 III Nikon Z7 Fujifilm GFX 100 Sony a7R IV +2 more
JimKasson
OP JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 27,465
Re: Better Than Sony's? Close to 18-55 AF-P? (Re: Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50)

larrytusaz wrote:

They haven't changed the design so I'd say it's the same (although it sounds like you used the Sony 18-55 which used to be the kit lens).

I think you're right.

The Sony 16-50 for E-mount is typically considered to be one of the worst kit lenses you can get. Now, people have gotten good shots from it, and I did when I had it, but at the same time you can't get over that bad feeling or whatever it is when shooting with it, that feeling of "if only I could be shooting with the Fuji 16-50 or Nikon 18-55 AF-P." Yes there are better lenses available, but they're much more expensive and/or bigger (by which time you could've had a newer Nikon Z50 body anyway) whereas the Fuji kit lenses or m4/3 ones (like the Panasonic 12-32) are considered much better. The trouble is either the Fuji's AF is wanky compared to the competition or it uses the Trans sensor instead of the Bayer, making it more difficult to process the RAW files. The m4/3, the sensor isn't terrible but it's behind the 24 APS-C. There are compromises everywhere.

This could be the first one with no compromises other than I had to pay more for the body, and at least that makes sense since it's a newer and higher-line body.

-- hide signature --
 JimKasson's gear list:JimKasson's gear list
Nikon D5 Sony a7 III Nikon Z7 Fujifilm GFX 100 Sony a7R IV +2 more
mosswings Veteran Member • Posts: 9,570
Re: Nikon 16-50/3.5-6.3 on Z50
1

thomas2279f wrote:

Thanks for your testing and lens seem good ( potentially seems better than Sony 16-50).

Hope Nikon add more Z DX's lenses and wonder what AP is the rumored 18-140 ?.

Would be good if Nikon could do a F4 and as good as the Sony 18-105 F4 OSS.

I don't know, but I suspect that it will be f/3.5-6.3  or f/3.5-5.6- if it's a convenience lens.  The well-regarded Sony 18-135 is remarkably tiny and it's a 3.5-5.6.  For DX, Nikon is stressing compactness, and a constant aperture f/4 would be a  bit of a beast.
Frankly, as I've mentioned, Nikon could probably do a walkaround tour de force 16-135 f/4-5.6 that would raise eyebrows.  As it stands, the 18-140 is a nice FL range but needs more wide end.  And more cowbell.

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Nikon D7100 Sony a6400 Nikon Z50 Olympus XZ-1 Olympus Stylus 1 +8 more
JimKasson
OP JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 27,465
No AA filter

By the way, it's pretty obvious from these images that the Z50 has no anti-aliasing filter. I think that was a mistake on Nikon's part.

jim

-- hide signature --
 JimKasson's gear list:JimKasson's gear list
Nikon D5 Sony a7 III Nikon Z7 Fujifilm GFX 100 Sony a7R IV +2 more
mosswings Veteran Member • Posts: 9,570
Re: No AA filter

JimKasson wrote:

By the way, it's pretty obvious from these images that the Z50 has no anti-aliasing filter. I think that was a mistake on Nikon's part.

jim

Aliasing artifacts masquerading as acuity?

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Nikon D7100 Sony a6400 Nikon Z50 Olympus XZ-1 Olympus Stylus 1 +8 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads