Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS


      Since its launch in September 2012, the SELP1650 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 Power Zoom lens has been a popular option as a kit lens for Sony’s E-mount cameras. Weighing only 116 grams, it’s a suitable partner for the α5000 camera we used for this review. It covers a zoom range equivalent to 24-75mm with the APS-C sized sensor, which many photographers will prefer to the 18-55mm kit zoom that is traditionally offered with these cameras.

      Like many recent lenses for compact system cameras (CSCs), this lens includes a power zoom setting that provides motorised control over its focal length via a slider on the side of the barrel or the zoom collar on the α5000’s shutter release. If the camera is in AF mode, the ring on the barrel can also be used to adjust the zoom; in manual focus mode, this ring controls focusing.

      The optical design features nine elements in eight groups and includes four aspherical elements and one made from ED (extra-low dispersion) glass. Autofocusing is driven by a micro-motor. Both power zoom and AF drive are well suited to shooting video as they are quiet and operate smoothly.


      Side view of the SELP1650 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 Power Zoom lens, showing its compact size. (Source: Sony.)

      In summary

      Most people will acquire this lens with one of Sony’s E-mount cameras and, as a kit lens it covers a useful range of focal lengths and performs reasonably well. The power zoom and image stabilisation are handy for video shooting and the AF motor is quiet enough to produce minimal interference in movie mode.

      One of the best features of this lens is its compact size, which will suit family snapshooters, travellers and street photographers. Mounted on a small camera body it provides a relatively inconspicuous kit.

      Potential purchasers should be aware that the inherent distortion and vignetting in this lens are high. Consequently, it is best used with a modern body that includes auto-correction for these aberrations. 


      Build 8.5
      Handling 8.5
      Image quality 8.5
      Versatility 8.5
      OVERALL 8.8