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10 239948 12/25/2012
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Keywords: Sony Wide Mid Tele Zoom A-Mount DT APS-C SSM Tested


Registered: June 2008
Posts: 8
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 DT SSM SAL1650 review by sflorio
Review Date: 12/25/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $750.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent center sharpness
Cons: Needs to be stopped down more than the tests indicate

I have to say that this lens takes amazingly clear photos at fairly wide apertures. It doesn't hurt that it's connected to my 24 megapixel A77, which itself is an amazing camera. The two together almost never flub a shot; they're almost always clear, sharp, and in focus. The color might be a little warmer than I like (My other camera is a Canon, and their lenses seem to have cooler color temperatures, which I like), but I'm sure I can make any adjustments I need in the camera settings. The widest setting 16mm is excellent, corresponding to 15mm on a Canon. I was able to capture an entire 20 story building from just a couple hundred feet away, and the in-camera distortion correction ensured that it looked nice and square, without curved lines.
I agree with most everything else I've heard others say about this lens; that it's heavy, well built, has distortions that the firmware corrects, and all that. One thing that I disagree with almost all other comments on this subject, is that at 35mm and above I find I have to stop it down to f/5.6 before the corners and edges sharpen up to their best. The center does indeed seem very sharp to me at most settings, but the edges tend to show a bit of smeary fuzz without stopping down. The review at seems to bear out my findings. One does have to remember that this is an unusually wide angle lens, and I suppose that they are harder to engineer than more conventional focal lengths.

Update: OK I tried some more shots out my window and can say that the lens does indeed provide very good sharpness from edge to edge at f/4.0 and above, but only at 16mm. This is great for me because the wide focal length is the reason I bought this lens in the first place, and it turns out that it's been optimized for maximum wide. Above that, at 24mm and 35mm, I find that the edges and corners snap into maximum clarity right at f/5.6. As for the center, it seems almost indifferent to the aperture. It's sharp at just about every setting -- maybe a little softer at f/2.8.

Registered: July 2012
Posts: 3
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 DT SSM SAL1650 review by lenslover
Review Date: 7/24/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $684.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Useful range 11-50mm, excellent sharpness, solid built, overall image quality
Cons: little softness at corner at 50mm

If you are looking for a lens in this range ( 11-50mm ) for your Sony APS-C, try to make some savings and only buy this Sony DT16-50mm F/2.8. Sony did a very good job to produce this kit lens ( I'd say '' a G kit lens '' ) Its performance is well worth the money you spend. Tamron and Sigma also had their beautiful products as alternatives ( also tested at SLRGEAR ) but, you will discover some points that they still cannot match the Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 quality.
translucent mirror

Registered: February 2012
Posts: 4
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 DT SSM SAL1650 review by translucent mirror
Review Date: 5/23/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $798.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: quiet, beautiful colors
Cons: not for full frame cameras

An excellent lens for the price. Silent and good for video as well. Reasonably lightweight unlike the CZ lenses.
Check out the shots at

Registered: December 2010
Posts: 22
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 DT SSM SAL1650 review by Beachrider
Review Date: 4/11/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $615.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Light, Bright (f/2.8), Quick/Silent (SSM), High IQ, Primary Zoom for Alpha & NEX (w/EA-2) users
Cons: At the Wide end, distortion & CA correction needed for best results (automatic in JPEG for a77) , plastic body

A very useful APS-C lens for Alpha and NEX. Very useful focal range. Fstop 2.8 is still special vs f/4.5 & 5.6 for more entry-level lenses. It isn't a cheap lens ($615), so the plastic-everywhere (but the back-bracket) is a little surprising (vs NEX's metallic finish on lenses).

Once you have learned the cameras with starter-lenses, this can be a solid second-year purchase. Probably a first-year purchase with NEX7 or Alpha 77.

Registered: October 2011
Posts: 8
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 DT SSM SAL1650 review by infocus
Review Date: 3/27/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $575.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: excellent results throughout zoom range and from landscape to close-up
Cons: a bit stiff zoom ring

In this focal range it is as good as it gets using the Sony a77 to reveal the full capacity of the lens. It is sharp from edge to edge when focused correctly, and only a little flare is seen even when the sun is in front and low. On top of this the lens is quite reasonably priced. The zoom range is extremely useful, with minimal distortion and CA with in-camera lens comp., from a very wide 16mm to a useful 50mm, which can be cropped a bit for further reach thanks to the very high resolution even at 50mm. The Sony DSLR in-camera image stabilisation allows a large aperture construction at a very reasonable price. The lens is comparable to CZ optics in a high quality composite barrel. The AF is fast and precise. The best every-day photographic tool I have used in my 50 years of photographic experience. Regards JvE.

Note spring 2013: As all sorts of flowers pop up now in April, I'd like to mention that this lens on the a77, with the TILTABLE LCD screen and both AF and IS, is very useful in the close-up range zooming in as close as 4 inches from the lens even at the 50mm setting. (Check out Kurt Munger's shot of a US stamp! Click on it for actual 100% view). The results are very sharp indeed, and the background smooth. Placing the camera flat on the ground gives a beautiful view of small flowers - almost impossible to do with a fixed LCD screen DSLR camera.

Note January 2014: Look out for the Sony a77 kit with this lens in the shops now, the price may be extremely favourable. This is one of the best photographic tools I can think of, even at much higher price. Using anything else with a passive optical finder I feel like shooting blindly, having to check the result afterwards. I know what I get when I press the button!!!

Registered: January 2012
Posts: 3
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 DT SSM SAL1650 review by dfwatt
Review Date: 1/16/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $699.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: 1) exceptional sharpness; 2) great value; 3) firmware correction in A65/A77 virtually eiliminates classic optical distortions 4) fast and quiet focusing
Cons: 1) weight; 2) somewhat stiff zoom ring; 3) not cheap compared to standard 18-55mm kit lens (but faster, sharper and quieter) 4) should be bundled with Sony A65

I think that the review on this website of this lens, although plenty positive, understates its overall excellence. SLR Gear literally drools over Canikon zooms that are less sharp than this lens and that cost twice to three times as much.

This is in fact a very remarkable lens, easily the sharpest 16-50 on the market for any APS-C body. As sharp or in some cases sharper overall than many pro-grade 24-75 lenses for full frame cameras (Canikon, and Carl Zeiss) that cost $1500 and up. Testing on this website confirms what my own shooting shows. Very, very sharp, with just a hint of (only relative) corner softness compared to excellent central sharpness, at just f4.

With firmware corrections in the A65, no CA virtually at all, and no barrel distortion at all. Becomes one of the strongest arguments in favor of the Sony a65 and a77 bodies. It is nothing less than a screaming best value in a pro-quality walk around zoom lens, and at f4-f5.6, it is actually sharper than several Sony primes.

A tour de force in walk around zoom lens optics. If you have an APS-C sensor Sony, you simply should buy this lens, no questions asked. Highly, highly recommended.

Registered: January 2012
Posts: 3
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 DT SSM SAL1650 review by Nas79
Review Date: 1/2/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $799.99| Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, Fast, Quiet, Smooth, Bright and solid build quality
Cons: No focus hold button (like on the 70400G), Not optimized for full frame

I love this lens, on my A77 I would put it up against any Prime or Zoom in the 16mm to 50mm range from any competitor. I have gotten VERY sharp images from this lens especially when stopped down to F4. This is a fantastic walk around lens and if you need one in this focal range buy it, you will not be dissapointed.

Registered: February 2009
Posts: 1
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 DT SSM SAL1650 review by pruus
Review Date: 11/10/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $799.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: fast, smooth, bright
Cons: large

This lens does mount very well an the body. no twist. Quality. If it had Zeis on it, i would agree. It's an straight forward lens nog only for the A77. Thanks Sony. i like it!
Vancouver Video

Registered: November 2011
Posts: 1
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 DT SSM SAL1650 review by Vancouver Video
Review Date: 11/6/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $786.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Cost relative to Nikon & Canon, fast f/2.8, parfocal, wide on APSC/Super35mm
Cons: Barrel extends when zooming

I just love this lens, especially for use on the Sony NEX-FS100 video camera. One of the requirements on video is that the lens holds focus when you zoom out. This is known as parfocal and the SAL1650 16-50mm f/2.8 is parfocal!

Here is my review with some video comparisons to two other lenses:

Registered: October 2011
Posts: 2
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 DT SSM SAL1650 review by ABETTERDJANDPHOTOGRAPHER
Review Date: 10/28/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $600.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: blazing fast, extremely sharp, outstanding color, weather sealed, silent when used for video
Cons: not great out of flash range

This SONY 16-50MM 2.8 lens goes with our new SONY A77s like peanut butter and jelly. For outdoor shots in good light it is razor sharp through the full range.

Tonight was the first time we shot indoors and the SONY 16-50 lens performed wonderfully except when shooting beyond flash range. We weren't planning on shooting much so we left the external flashes in the bag just to test the lens in low light. After reviewing the photos at home we wished we would have gone ahead and mounted a flash because the photos in range were perfect and most of those over 20' were a bit grainy and not as sharp.

This lens produces excellent color and sharp photos and is well worth the price. This lens could have easily been a "G" lens. We have samples posted under the SONY|MINOLTA tab on our site at

If you have been thinking about purchasing a SONY A77 we also highly recommend it, it is a fabulous camera!


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