Sony 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS, a welcome compromise!

Sony 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS, a welcome compromise!


You might remember I had the opportunity to play with the Sony Nex-6 for a couple of hours and summed up my impressions compared to the Fuji X-E1 here. I love this new tiny kit lens, especially when compared to the monster flagship Sony 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS, which feels perfectly balanced on my Sony FS100/700 and produces fantastic footage. Can’t say it feels unbalanced on Nex5/6/7 body, just huge. If you are looking for a truly compact kit lens with image stabilization for stills, don’t need the long tele reach of the 18-200mm, it might just be the answer. I haven’t seen a serious, direct comparison between these two lenses and was curious if there was a noticeable compromise in optical performance. See for yourself after the break

As always, please keep in mind this test is by no means scientific, I was simply curious :)
Since I prefer to shoot raw, I converted all files to dng and processed at the default setting. If you shoot jpegs, in camera destortion correction does the magic. Click through to get the original size,
the file names contain the type of lens used, the focal length and the aperture setting.
Image above: 16-50mm at 18mm f3.5
Image above: 16-50mm at 18mm f5.6
Image above: 16-50mm at 18mm f8
Image above: 16-50mm at 50mm f5.6
Image above: 16-50mm at 50mm f8
Image above: 18-200mm 18mm f3.5
Image above: 18-200mm 18mm f5.6
Image above: 18-200mm 18mm f8
Image above: 18-200mm 50mm f5
Image above: 18-200mm 50mm f5.6
Image above: 18-200mm 50mm f8.

The 18-200 distorts less and you will notice when you look at these shots at full resolution and 100% that the 18-200 is a tiny bit sharper, neither will be a significant disadvantage in real life situations.
Video, I found the active OSS on the 18-200mm to be better, especially at the long end. So we finally have a well made, small kit lens which gets the job done and encourages us to carry the camera at all times :)
I find the 16mm wide end very useful, however, distortion is even more pronounced then at 18mm with strong vignetting wide open, again, nothing that could not be corrected in post and you won’t notice it at all if you shoot jpegs since the camera can automatically take care of it. Remember, the best camera is the one that’s with you.
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2 thoughts on “Sony 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS, a welcome compromise!

  1. Jens

    I agree, the 16-50 is a welcome compromise. Although sometimes a bit more reach would be great (something like 16-80) and Image quality might be better, you can’t find a smaller solution for the nex system that gives you a more practicable range. If you shoot jpeg, distortion and vignetting is not so much of a problem anymore.

  2. Pingback: Sony TidBits | sonyalpharumors

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