Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ lens review with samples

This is the popular, and impressively small and feature-packed, kit lens for Sony mirrorless APS-C cameras. Its optics have a difficult reputation – let’s do some investigating.

All pictures taken by me on a Sony a6300 camera.

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Music:
‘Opportunity Walks’, Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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Comments

Jon Photo says:

Since this, like all kit lenses, is for the general public, I’ll just add that *one’s choices regarding the F stop* should take into account the effects of changes in *ISO* and *shutter speed* . In other words, *you may get a better image shooting at f/3.5 or even f/5.6 than you do at f/8* if you can therefore shoot at a *lower ISO* and/or *faster shutter* speed. This is especially the case if you don’t care so much about the corners. For intermediate shooters, I’ll just point out that since this lens has serious barrel distortion issues below 30mm, if you want to use it for a wider shot that’s still sharp you can do the following: Set it in manual mode and with manual ISO. Take *several shots* at the *distortion free* length of around *42mm* , each photo being next to the last. Use Microsoft ICE (a free download from MS) to stick together the individual shots “automagically.” Enjoy!
https://petapixel.com/2015/02/05/microsoft-unveils-image-composite-editor-v2-0-auto-completion-video-panorama/

killer ninja says:

perhaps review some of the new canon lenses? Theres a new stabilised 85mm 1.4L, a comparison with the other 85’s would ne great!

LandsOfDespair says:

Wow, that’s magical lens. It can quickly make everything you shoot at 16mm a BALL. No Photoshop needed.

Fletcher Luhur says:

One Question. Go for Sony A7 or Sony A6300? or A6000? My budget only allows me one of these choices. Please advise. Thank you!

Isogen says:

Hey Chris, can you review the Sony 18-105 F/4 and the Sony (Zeiss) 16-70 F/4?

zyconn says:

I, too, had major vignetting problems while fully being zoomed out. That was so disturbing. Replaced the camera and went back to DSLR. Nikon D5300. Looking forward to get my hands back on the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 ART. Best lens I ever owned.

SuperDigitalMe says:

Samos. Been there too, birthplace of pythagoras

Maxwell Starr says:

Great review. Sums up why I find the lens both indispensable and why I don’t use it much. I really wish Sony had a kit lens alternative for E-mount without going to the $$$$ 16-70 Zeiss and absurdly large 18-105PZ. It is excellent for video and travel though, but I tend to use my Sigma 19mm+FE 28/2+50/1.8 OSS combo more often due to the 1650PZ’s sacrifice in image quality.

Matthew Huizing says:

The 16-50PZ is all about appealing to what people want: small size. The 18-55 OSS makes more sense to me with the A6x00 series, but that is not a kit option. The A3000 is the only camera to come with the 18-55 OSS since the 16-50PZ came out with the NEX 6.

Tawhid Khan says:

Can you please give a vital info about what is the widest focal length we can go on this lens with minimal damage?
I mean,if 16 is too bad is 20cm quite usable?or do we need to be at least 24cm for acceptable results?
What do you think?

carmas54 says:

It’s rather see Fuji reviews from you instead of Sony 🙂 and Nixon but I won’t push it

Jon Photo says:

*To anyone who hates this lens:* Please tell me which lens (of any mount) is (1) cheaper (since this is currently about $150 new on E-Bay) (2) sharper, and yet still (3) smaller than this one when the camera is turned off. If you can’t then just admit that it’s just one that doesn’t meet *your* personal needs. Personally, I believe it is adequate for use as a beginning consumer-level lens — all the more so since it’s the *size* of Sony mirrorless APS-C cameras that is one of their *biggest selling points.*

Chua Say Peng says:

After watching this video, it makes me wonder how bad the distortion will be on a Sony SELP 18105G zoom lens at 18mm. Will you be testing this bigger zoom lens too?

Stanislav Nepochatov says:

Even older Sony E 18-55 were better. Currently I’m using A6300 + MC-11 + Sigma 17-50 f/2.8. It also soft at very edges but it kills kit lens in low-light. And good closeup from f/3.2 instead f/8.

Aerial Vision says:

I’ve actually been looking for something like this for a while.
No-one cuts the cake like Christopher Frost!

Milan Karakas says:

I like this honest lens review. I have plan to buy Sony a6300, but now I know that I should to spare more money for better lens, especially for 4K filming.

Michael Guan says:

Amazing. Can you teach me how to do the autofocusing at 2:27 so fast and without moving the camera?

Francisco Hestnes says:

Please review the Sony Zeiss 16-70mm f4! Please please! That’s the only available zoom lens with a fixed aperture and no power zoom nonsense; for photographers.

Francisco Alvarez says:

I know there are drawbacks, but the size and performance of the lens means its a compromise.  There are better lenses for more money.  ‘Compromise’ is the word here.  It is a nice lens to carry around.  Besides, composition is everything.  99% of people I know never look at the edges of pictures because the subject is usually more toward the center.

Rethink Image says:

Thanks for posting reviews! Sony 10-18 review would be great!

Cinematic elements says:

Thanks for uncovering the truth about this lens! Very detailed review.

airjaff says:

Worst lens I’ve ever seen!

Jack and the Lady says:

Really nice review!

Oliver Phillips says:

Hi Chris. Any chance when you do the performance against bright lights bit you could also stop the lenses down so we can see how the sunstars look?

Jeff Kenerly says:

Why don’t they make a better, kit lens?

vessk000 says:

The reason for the terrible quality of the lens is because it is made a couple of years ago for the first NEX cameras with 1.6x crop factor. 🙂

Nick Mayley says:

Great review as usual.You shouldn’t say “gotten” though, you’re British 😉 God bless.

Tim Deakin says:

Think you sum up this lens very well! I find my copy really inconsistent and frustrating. Every now and then get really soft images or it will just miss focus. Obviously very different cameras but can’t help thinking maybe something like an RX100 would be sharper than a A6000 and this kit lens.

Isaac Chang says:

Sony zoom lenses’ quality control is still a joke. You know what’s more frustrating? They are a lot more expensive than Canon’s counterparts. I think this is a huge reason for people who want to jump into the E-mount system to hesitate.

Achilleas Labrou says:

The 16-50mm is the 24-75mm (35mm equivalent) which is similar to the 24-70mm classic focal length range of zoom lenses. Usable for landscape/architectural photography at around 16mm and for portraits at around 50mm.
I know this lens and it is very soft at all focal lengths with unacceptable vignetting at 24mm. The internal software of the e-mount cameras solve many disadvantages and the lens is good for amateurs. With RAW photos all problems are obvious.
Sony shouldn’t sell its more expensive cameras like a6300 and 6500 with this kit lens. These cameras deserve something better. However this lens is cheap and keep the whole camera price low.
For 150$ this light, retractable, power-zoom lens with optical image stabilization is phenomenal. Maybe it is one of the factors for the Sony e-mount success. It is the jack of all trades and the master of none though.

Will Branson says:

Great review!

Martyn Fletcher says:

Very interesting and revealing review. Thanks.

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