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Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens

You Pay: $348.00
Product Highlights
  • Aperture Range: f/3.5-36
  • 24-75mm Focal Range (35mm Equivalency)
  • E-mount Lens for Sony NEX Cameras
  • Compact Design Retracts to 30mm
  • Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • 9.8" (0.25m) Minimum Focus Distance
  • Four Aspherical Lens Surfaces
  • Internal Stepping Motor
  • Circular Aperture

The 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens from Sony is a retractable zoom lens with a focal length range of 24-75mm in the 35mm format equivalency. It covers shooting lengths from true wide angle to standard portrait length and is a great day-to-day type lens, especially since its unique retractability keeps it very compact. When powered on, the lens expands, but in its off position the lens is only 1.2" (30mm) which will fit in your pocket. When expanded, it has a surprisingly large zoom range and access to its dual-function control ring for manual focus and zooming. Its Power Zoom capability in AF mode and Internal Stepping Motor provide, fast, smooth and quiet autofocus which is helpful when shooting video with this lens.

The lens is a Sony E-mount lens that is compatible not only with the NEX cameras but also with the NEX Handycam Camcorders. The built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization system reduces the effect of camera shake which is particularly problematic when tracking moving subjects in video or shooting photos in low-light. The OSS provides approximately 4-stops of shutter speed correction to help create blur-free images no matter the shooting conditions. Four Aspherical elements and one ED element correct for curved perspective at wide-angle lengths and chromatic aberration at telephoto lengths to provide sharp, high contrast imaging across the entire frame.  

Retractable Design
Despite being a zoom lens covering 16-50mm(24-75mm equivalent) focal lengths, this E-mount lens is thin and lightweight thanks to a retracting mechanism that reduces the lens to just 1.2" (29.9 mm). When used on Sony NEX cameras, you have a truly portable camera system.
Image Stabilization
The built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization system provides a 4-stop (approximate) shutter speed advantage, making it significantly easier to achieve crisp, blur-free images and video.
Power Zoom
The Sony 16-50mm Retractable Zoom Lens is the first E-mount lens with an electrically driven zoom mechanism. As soon as the camera is powered on, the lens extends and is instantly ready for shooting. A dual-function control ring is used for both zooming and manual focus.
Optics
One ED and four Aspherical lens elements correct for curvature of field on the wide-angle side and spherical and chromatic aberration on the telephoto side for beautiful, accurate, high-contrast reproduction across the entire image.
Performance
Focal Length 16 - 50mm
Comparable Focal Length: 24 - 75 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/3.5 - 5.6
Minimum: f/22 - 36
Camera Mount Type Sony (E Mount for NEX)
Format Compatibility DSLR (APS-C Sensor)
Angle of View 83° - 32°
Minimum Focus Distance 9.8" (24.89 cm)
Magnification 0.215x
Elements/Groups 9/8
Diaphragm Blades 7
Features
Image Stabilization Yes
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Environmental
Physical
Filter Thread Front:40.5 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.55 x 1.18" (64.7 x 29.9 mm)
Weight 4.09 oz (116 g)
Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens
  • Front Lens Cap
  • Rear Lens Cap
  • Limited 1-year warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    Sony16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens
     
    2.9

    (based on 10 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (3)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (6)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    44%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Lightweight (6)
    • Durable (3)
    • Easy to use (3)
    • Reliable (3)

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Everyday (4)
      • Home (3)
      • Landscape photography (3)
      • Travel (3)
        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Enthusiast (5), Photo enthusiast (4)
        • Was this a gift?:
        • No (9)

      Most Liked Positive Review

       

      Excellent lens, but not for pixel peeper

      Optics:
      This is NOT a critically sharp lens.
      It has ok sharpness, pretty much on the same level with other kit zooms on the market. Terrible fisheye-like distortion at 16mm,...Read complete review

      Optics:
      This is NOT a critically sharp lens.
      It has ok sharpness, pretty much on the same level with other kit zooms on the market. Terrible fisheye-like distortion at 16mm, probably the worst I've seen, this is the main aspect of criticism on the internet.
      But to be fair, this issue is corrected in camera with newer bodies or newer firmwares right up to the preview level. So you won't notice it at all, whether after capture or when you're framing. Then if you shoot raw, this problem is easily fixed. Just remember that you'd be losing some sharpness at 16mm because some pixels are cut for in-camera correction.
      I'd say after correction, this lens is optically quite comparable to the 24-105L I used to own, without the L lens contrast, but with better work against CA and purple fringing.

      Real world usage:
      In the real world, for the right purposes, this lens is awesome!
      1. It makes a super light and pocketable zoom package, currently the only one of its kind if you want aps-c quality.
      2. Then it is dirt cheap bought with the combo, so you use it harsh rather than try to protect it.
      3. I first worried about the responsiveness of the lens, for it has to extend out on power up. But the procedure takes less than 2 seconds, during which time I would pull out the camera and aim my eye to it anyway, so has not been for me an obstacle in real use.
      4. The lever mechanism is a joy to use. You can zoom, focus, and control the speed of the zoom with just one finger.
      5. It's durable. I was worried about the durability of a low cost all electronic lens. But earlier this year when I was on a boat on a glacier lake in Argentina, an icy wave completely splashed on my camera, with this lens on. Water got into the camera but not the camera sensor, so first, tight mount construction. The water later vaporized forming a fog inside the lens, but was easily cleaned after throwing the lens on a heat radiator for a night. Vapor gone, and 0 problem with the functions after that. That's quite a test for durability I'd say.
      6. The autofocus is fast on the NEX-6 with the sensor based PDAF, not lightning fast, but at least common dslr fast. It's faster than the E 50 1.8, even with the firmware update to support PDAF.
      7. The 16mm range is wider than most people need for every day usage, makes a real difference. I also bought the E10-18 which is pretty decent optic for the journey in Argentina, but for outdoor shots, the combined advantage of 16mm wide angle and compactness made me rarely used the superior 10-18.

      To sum it up. It is a compact, durable and cheap piece of equipment that a joy to use and take with you anywhere, with nice range and acceptable optical performance. As a bonus, it provides near-silent operation and silky-smooth focusing for video.
      As long as you're not shooting commercials or printing posters, this is a great deal for the NEX system.

      VS

      Most Liked Negative Review

       

      Underperforms for such a good camera

      I purchased an NEX-6 and decided to include the retractable lens, since it was cheap with the package. I also purchased the 50mm 1.8 Sony lens, which gives some nice comparison for...Read complete review

      I purchased an NEX-6 and decided to include the retractable lens, since it was cheap with the package. I also purchased the 50mm 1.8 Sony lens, which gives some nice comparison for the review.

      The rule of thumb is to usually not expect much from the stock lens in a camera kit, and it definitely holds true here. I did some test shoots around Central Park and currently am in Africa using the camera, so I have quite a variety of landscapes to distinguish the performance. When I reviewed my first shots with the lens, I was underwhelmed and reasoned it to me not fully adapting to the camera yet. But after 2 months and comparing the shots against the 50mm prime lens, it's clear this is a cheap lens that stiffles the full performance of the NEX camera.

      Comparing photos side by side - this lens at around 45mm and the prime 50mm - the difference is shocking. First, the detail is completely lost. At times, I'd think I was using my higher end pocket camera. The NEX has 16 megapixels but looking at the pre-processed shots you'd never think it. The power of the sensor at least lets you utilize the RAW files to make a good final product, but it takes quite a lot of compensation to make up for what you lose.

      Second, the camera seems to have a hard time focusing. This may be a byproduct of the detail issue, but whereas you can boost some detail in post-production, focus is something you can never quite get right. Conversly, the 50mm prime lens is razor sharp and all the detail is there - this lens really shows the might of the camera.

      Third, I've also found the photos generally underexposed. The results on the JPEGs come out darker than I'd like and I can't quite get the shadows to come out right no matter how much I try to tweak the RAW files. Not just in darker conditions but in bright daylight too.

      I won't even comment on things like aberration just because the quality is so poor you can't even judge that detail. You'll go crazy when you get down to that level.

      The pro is the lens is super compact. But since the NEX cameras are already so compact, I don't find this all that important of an advantage. The 50mm lens is not any noticeably heavier either.

      Price wise, the lens is just cheap. If you want to have a lens just to throw on and snap some shots, this will do the trick.

      Overall, if this is the only lens you'll buy with the camera, there's no point in spending all the money on an NEX camera. You'll get similar results from a cheaper point and shoot or mirrorless camera. All the power of the sensor is lost on this lens.

      Reviewed by 10 customers

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      Displaying reviews 1-10

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      2.0

      Very dissappointed

      By Alexandra

      from Bucharest, Romania

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens:

            I've been using this lens for over a year and a half now, first on the NEX 5R and now on the Alpha a6000.

            After all this time I have come to a sad conclusion: my old kit lens 18-55 that I had on my first mirrorless, which was a F3, was much better than this.

            To say the lens is not sharp is an understatement. It is awful. I feel like I'm throwing away the excellent quality of the body (Alpha a6000) with this lens. The distortion is also a big problem.

            The only reason I bought it is because it is retractable and I travel on the mountain a lot (sometimes climbing) and I can't carry a big camera, I really need one that fits into a small bag.

            However, I am considering buying a different lens.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this review

             
            4.0

            Practical And Compact

            By Ed

            from Santa Clara, CA

            About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Durable
            • Easy To Use
            • Lightweight
            • Reliable

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Everyday use
              • Home
              • Landscape Photography
              • Traveling

              Comments about Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens:

              I use this lens on an NEX C3. Barrel distortion and vignetting are gone by around 22mm focal length. I get that by touching the zoom control twice quickly. If you want to use 16mm, you can eliminate the distortion in post with an editing program such as Photoshop. I use this rig as an alternative to a bulky DSLR for casual pictures. It's reasonably sharp, especially in the center. Way out in the corners, there is some softening, but I accept the tradeoff. I use the standard flash (F7S) and also the external mic with the NEX, the latter to cut down on wind noise for video.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

              (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              2.0

              very bad at wide angle

              By Nikolas 75

              from NJ Cliffside Park

              About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Lightweight

              Cons

              • Poor Design

              Best Uses

              • Home

              Comments about Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens:

              Shoot at the widest angle in raw, horizon showed up impossibly curved I was able to fix it by using Dxo ViewPoint 2. Soft was able to do the good job but this fact won't make me feel better about this very weak product Wide angle lenses are notoriously prone to distortion that is why only few example can be truly called wide angle lens Nikon and Canon come to mind but not this Sony
              Add the fact of no less than distortion a vignetting problem and at the end I rely have no idea why I keep this lens anyway the price probably is only good point and if you will avoid shooting in raw at wide angle not intend to shoot horizons not intend to shoot in poor lightning conditions then may be, but for rest of us who are even just a little bit understand photography should avoidavoid

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              2.0

              Not up to camera

              By Nikolas

              from Cliffside Park NJ

              About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

                Cons

                • Poor Design

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens:

                  Crazy vignetting at white angle, very slow start up, autofocus skip quite often weak product unless you are looking to ideal condition all the time may be then this lens would be up to task.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Share this review

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Very convenient lens, fast and simple

                  By Julio

                  from Mexico City

                  About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Use
                  • Lightweight
                  • Reliable

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Everyday use
                    • Home
                    • Landscape Photography

                    Comments about Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens:

                    I like using this lens for everyday shooting, is compact, light and easy to use.
                    Autofocus works well and without a problem.

                    The cons that I have found is the zoom function: is oversensitive, in a quarter of a turn goes from 16 to 50mm. Hard to have a fine adjustment.
                    I don't know why Sony only sells it in Black in the US while it sells it in Silver in other parts of the world.
                    Additionally, I find it a bit expensive.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                    (19 of 22 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    2.0

                    Underperforms for such a good camera

                    By D in Africa

                    from Chipata, Zambia

                    About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

                    Pros

                    • Cheap
                    • Lightweight

                    Cons

                    • Poor Detail
                    • Poor Focusing
                    • Underexposure

                    Best Uses

                    • Everyday use
                    • Landscape Photography

                    Comments about Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens:

                    I purchased an NEX-6 and decided to include the retractable lens, since it was cheap with the package. I also purchased the 50mm 1.8 Sony lens, which gives some nice comparison for the review.

                    The rule of thumb is to usually not expect much from the stock lens in a camera kit, and it definitely holds true here. I did some test shoots around Central Park and currently am in Africa using the camera, so I have quite a variety of landscapes to distinguish the performance. When I reviewed my first shots with the lens, I was underwhelmed and reasoned it to me not fully adapting to the camera yet. But after 2 months and comparing the shots against the 50mm prime lens, it's clear this is a cheap lens that stiffles the full performance of the NEX camera.

                    Comparing photos side by side - this lens at around 45mm and the prime 50mm - the difference is shocking. First, the detail is completely lost. At times, I'd think I was using my higher end pocket camera. The NEX has 16 megapixels but looking at the pre-processed shots you'd never think it. The power of the sensor at least lets you utilize the RAW files to make a good final product, but it takes quite a lot of compensation to make up for what you lose.

                    Second, the camera seems to have a hard time focusing. This may be a byproduct of the detail issue, but whereas you can boost some detail in post-production, focus is something you can never quite get right. Conversly, the 50mm prime lens is razor sharp and all the detail is there - this lens really shows the might of the camera.

                    Third, I've also found the photos generally underexposed. The results on the JPEGs come out darker than I'd like and I can't quite get the shadows to come out right no matter how much I try to tweak the RAW files. Not just in darker conditions but in bright daylight too.

                    I won't even comment on things like aberration just because the quality is so poor you can't even judge that detail. You'll go crazy when you get down to that level.

                    The pro is the lens is super compact. But since the NEX cameras are already so compact, I don't find this all that important of an advantage. The 50mm lens is not any noticeably heavier either.

                    Price wise, the lens is just cheap. If you want to have a lens just to throw on and snap some shots, this will do the trick.

                    Overall, if this is the only lens you'll buy with the camera, there's no point in spending all the money on an NEX camera. You'll get similar results from a cheaper point and shoot or mirrorless camera. All the power of the sensor is lost on this lens.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                    (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    4.0

                    Surprisingly great!

                    By DF

                    from San Francisco, CA

                    About Me Professional

                    Pros

                    • Durable
                    • Easy To Use
                    • Lightweight
                    • Reliable

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Everyday use
                      • Traveling

                      Comments about Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens:

                      This is a surprisingly good lens for the price. Very compact and flexible with a terrific stabilizer. It's not the sharpest lens and it does have some color issues especially in the wider focal lengths, but these are fair trade-offs considering it's price and size. Despite the quality issues, I've found that RAW images are very correctable and can produce excellent results. This is a surprisingly great "one lens" solution, especially for a light traveler.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      Share this review

                      (5 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      2.0

                      Not what I expected.

                      By L

                      from Adirondacks

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                            Comments about Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens:

                            I was looking forward to using the lens when traveling. It turns out the lens is not as compact as expected. SONY did not match the competition in terms of a short length that would help the NEX line be easier to fit in a smaller space. It also seemed that the amount of distortion at the widest angle was more than I thought there would be.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                            (22 of 23 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Excellent lens, but not for pixel peeper

                            By YEW

                            from Buenos Aires, Argentina

                            About Me Photo Enthusiast

                            Pros

                            • cheap
                            • Consistent Output
                            • Durable
                            • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                            • Lightweight

                            Cons

                            • Needs Correction
                            • Not critically sharp

                            Best Uses

                            • Landscape/Scenery
                            • Travel
                            • Video

                            Comments about Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens:

                            Optics:
                            This is NOT a critically sharp lens.
                            It has ok sharpness, pretty much on the same level with other kit zooms on the market. Terrible fisheye-like distortion at 16mm, probably the worst I've seen, this is the main aspect of criticism on the internet.
                            But to be fair, this issue is corrected in camera with newer bodies or newer firmwares right up to the preview level. So you won't notice it at all, whether after capture or when you're framing. Then if you shoot raw, this problem is easily fixed. Just remember that you'd be losing some sharpness at 16mm because some pixels are cut for in-camera correction.
                            I'd say after correction, this lens is optically quite comparable to the 24-105L I used to own, without the L lens contrast, but with better work against CA and purple fringing.

                            Real world usage:
                            In the real world, for the right purposes, this lens is awesome!
                            1. It makes a super light and pocketable zoom package, currently the only one of its kind if you want aps-c quality.
                            2. Then it is dirt cheap bought with the combo, so you use it harsh rather than try to protect it.
                            3. I first worried about the responsiveness of the lens, for it has to extend out on power up. But the procedure takes less than 2 seconds, during which time I would pull out the camera and aim my eye to it anyway, so has not been for me an obstacle in real use.
                            4. The lever mechanism is a joy to use. You can zoom, focus, and control the speed of the zoom with just one finger.
                            5. It's durable. I was worried about the durability of a low cost all electronic lens. But earlier this year when I was on a boat on a glacier lake in Argentina, an icy wave completely splashed on my camera, with this lens on. Water got into the camera but not the camera sensor, so first, tight mount construction. The water later vaporized forming a fog inside the lens, but was easily cleaned after throwing the lens on a heat radiator for a night. Vapor gone, and 0 problem with the functions after that. That's quite a test for durability I'd say.
                            6. The autofocus is fast on the NEX-6 with the sensor based PDAF, not lightning fast, but at least common dslr fast. It's faster than the E 50 1.8, even with the firmware update to support PDAF.
                            7. The 16mm range is wider than most people need for every day usage, makes a real difference. I also bought the E10-18 which is pretty decent optic for the journey in Argentina, but for outdoor shots, the combined advantage of 16mm wide angle and compactness made me rarely used the superior 10-18.

                            To sum it up. It is a compact, durable and cheap piece of equipment that a joy to use and take with you anywhere, with nice range and acceptable optical performance. As a bonus, it provides near-silent operation and silky-smooth focusing for video.
                            As long as you're not shooting commercials or printing posters, this is a great deal for the NEX system.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                            (9 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            2.0

                            A very mediocre lens

                            By DFP

                            from San Francisco

                            About Me Photo Enthusiast

                            Pros

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                  Comments about Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens:

                                  This lens is all about trade-offs. You get a versatile and very compact zoom but you trade it in for a lot of image quality. Sharpness is quite poor especially at the edges of the frame. Chromatic aberration is very pronounced even in the center of the image - at the edges it's unbelievably bad and can't be totally removed even with arduous post processing. The wide angle performance is dreadful - along with aberration and smearing you get the worst barrel distortion i've ever seen in any wide angle zoom. The telephoto performance is somewhat better but there is an overall lack of sharpness even at 50mm.

                                  The camera software will try and correct a lot of this lens' shortcomings but it can only do so much. You can further correct problems in post if you shoot in RAW mode, but ultimately "you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear" If you are a discerning photographer with more than low expectations, do NOT get this lens. If you don't care about quality and want something more compact for your NEX system then this may be for you.

                                  Share this review

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