Sony A77 - User Experience - Part 6 - 16-50mm f/2.8 "Kit" zoom

Sony A77 16-50mm f/2.8
All images - Sony A77 16-50mm f/2.8

So how good is the 16-50mm f/2.8 zoom, available as a kit with the a77? A difficult question to answer objectively since I have nothing to compare it with. Plus the performance of a lens and a sensor doesn't exist in isolation, particularly when the camera "sees" the lens and performs "corrections" regarding CA, distortion etc. as in this case here.

If you already own a set of Alpha mount lenses, then the lens may not be of particular interest, other than it fills in a gap for you, but if like me, you currently own no other lenses, then its performance could be significant.

Sony A77 16-50mm f/2.8

Significant because this is certainly a good value lens. It gives an idea of how Sony rate the a77, as they have chosen to release it not with an 18-55mm zoom, in a similar fashion to other cameras from a variety of manufacturers, but with a "pro-spec" lens. This is after all the APS-C equivalent of a 24-75mm f/2.8 (35mm / FF) which many consider essential for serious, "professional" work. These are often one of the "top of the line" lenses for other systems and they can be heavy duty in terms of size, weight and price. The 16-50mm f/2.8 is relatively small, light and inexpensive for a lens of this type, and while no lightweight I've had no problems carrying it around for the last few days.

Sony A77 16-50mm f/2.8

As far as I'm concerned the option of the Zeiss 16-35mm f/2.8 is out of the question. Having tried one out, its incredibly heavy and would make the combined camera / lens weight in excess of 1.5kg. For my work, which involves a substantial amount of walking, I wouldn't even consider it. There are the alternatives of the Zeiss 16-80mm or the 16-105mm, neither of which get particularly great endorsements from photographers. I have ordered an 85mm f/2.8, which I used before with the a55 I had, and I'm undecided about whether to get a 30mm f/2.8 or a 35mm f/1.8 to use as a 2 lens prime outfit. Again I used both with the a55 and they worked well with that.

But I will be keeping the 16-50mm f/2.8, and I'm actually very pleased with the results. I'm not going to be doing any serious comparitive testing with it. As I indicated in a post a short while ago, I have neither the time or inclination to do that anymore. This, and all future, reviews will be based around my use of equipment as part of my work. I'm not setting anything up anymore, and my decisions as to whether to keep a lens and my opinions about it are based totally on how it fits in with the way I work and what I use it for. If that helps others come to a decision then great. If people want more, then there are a range of other reviews and user experiences to view also. This is, after all, just one persons opinion.

Sony A77 16-50mm f/2.8

So why do I like the 16-50mm?

It has good colour and contrast, distortion is well-controlled and sharpness is excellent at all apertures. For the most part I'm going to be using it around the f8 - f11 mark, and it produces excellent results there.

If you want a more scientific test with graphs and charts, there is an excellent one here:-
http://www.photoreview.com.au/reviews/cameraaccessories/sony-dt-1650mm-f28-ssm-lens.aspx

Sony A77 16-50mm f/2.8

Sony A77 16-50mm f/2.8

Sony A77 16-50mm f/2.8

Sony A77 16-50mm f/2.8

Finally, while out shooting yesterday, I ended up at Broadway Tower on the edge of the Cotswolds. A Bride and Groom were being photographed and captured on video.

Sony A77 16-50mm f/2.8

I shamelessly got myself into position to grab a few shots of my own. Including the one below, which will be useful as a stock shot, since no faces are visible. The fact that this is a serious crop from the original, yet still retains the quality needed for using this image for publication, shows the quality of both the a77 sensor and the lens.

Sony A77 16-50mm f/2.8