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Sony 16-50mm F/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Lens Review

John Riley has been putting the compact Sony 16-50mm F/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS power zoom lens to the test, paired with the 24MP Sony ZV-E10.


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Sony E 16 50mm On Sony ZV E10 | 0.4 sec | f/16.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100
 

There are many “kit lenses” available, usually having in common a very low price, especially when purchased as part of a kit, a small and light form factor and an often indifferent performance. Here we have Sony's kit lens for the APS-C line of E mount cameras and it certainly fits the profile of being light, compact and inexpensive, but can it raise its head above the parapet, buck the trend and shine optically as well? Let's couple the lens up to the 24MP Sony ZV-E10 body and see what its capabilities are.

 

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Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Handling and Features

Sony E 16 50mm Vertical View | 1/6 sec | f/16.0 | 135.0 mm | ISO 100
The lens is tiny and light, weighing in at just 116g. There is no weather resistance, which is a shame. There is also no lens hood provided, also a shame. The filter thread is 40.5mm and it would suit well one of those small screw in lens hoods provided by some other marques. However, there is none, nor do Sony provide one for purchase separately.

Switching the camera on, the lens immediately extends. There are only two controls available. The focus/zoom ring is electronic and operates as a focusing ring if the camera is set to MF or DMF (Direct Manual Focus, where AF can be tweaked any time) and as a zoom ring if the camera is set to AF. There is also a small zoom lever that also operates the zoom. As if that were not enough, the camera's zoom control will also zoom the lens. Even with all this control, the zoom action is one speed and is a little difficult to move to a specified value, although the actual focal length is shown on the camera monitor. That is potentially helpful, but the zoom action is too jerky and also a bit too noisy for video work.

 

Sony E 16 50mm Rear Oblique View | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 135.0 mm | ISO 100
 

Focusing is down to 0.25m (0.82 feet) at 16mm and 0.30m (0.98 feet) at 50mm. The maximum magnification is 0.215x, around 1:4.8. This is reasonably close at 16mm and closer than average at 50mm. Given that the “35mm equivalent” field of view is 24-75mm, this will enable very effective close-up portraits.

The optical construction is 9 elements in 8 groups, including 4 aspherical and 1 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion). The 7 bladed diaphragm offers a circular aperture for improved bokeh. The OSS (Optical Steady Shot) is highly effective, giving, with care, an advantage of up to four stops.

Being compact, light and having lightning-fast AF, the lens has a lot going for it as a travel companion and as part of a vlogging kit. The downfall is the zooming action - the power zoom is quite noisy (so zooming during vlogging will be heard) and quite jerky, so that camera shake may well be seen if we zoom during video handheld. There are three ways to zoom, unfortunately, all with the same characteristics, so no comfortably smooth way is really possible. It does improve with practice, but at best seems a bit crude in its action. In all other respects, the lens is good to handle.

 


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