Sony 16-50mm - Distortion? What Distortion?

My thanks to Martin Irwin who posted the information over at the Soundimageplus Readers Group on Google + that the new firmware update for the NEX-7 eliminates the distortion from the lens even in the raw files. So no need for lens profiles.


I did run the same file through Rawker and the distortion was still there.


Obviously Rawker is unable to read all the information in the file. However for the majority of users there is no visible distortion either for the jpgs. or now for the raw files.

So is this a good thing? Well overall I think it is. This is a system specific lens designed for use on certain cameras. We all want high quality lenses for reasonable prices and its a bonus if they are small and light as well. This is obviously a way to provide just that. This isn't a Zeiss m-mount lens meant to work well on other manufacturers camera, this is a lens exclusively for the NEX system. It would be nice if the lens was distortion-free without software involvement, but that would make it more expensive without a doubt.

The 16-50mm is a useful lens for me as I've indicated before and once I corrected the distortion I found it be a decent quality lens as well. So it just got more useful for me. Many manufacturers do this anyway. Anyone with the latest Photoshop or Lightroom will have loads of lens profiles at their disposal. DxO have software fixes for all kinds of lenses. Nikon, Canon, Sony etc. all have lens correction profiles for their lenses, including the expensive top of the range models. Putting it in camera strikes me as a useful way to go. Ultimately its the picture that we get that counts and if that is satisfactory then I don't really see there is a problem. 

There is still a place for optical excellence and it has to be said that the 16-50mm was pretty much the worst lens I'd ever used in terms of distortion, but it serves little purpose to complain about something that works well with a little help and gives us a decent end product without emptying our bank accounts. Plus this isn't the first lens to do this and it won't be the last. In fact I see this as getting more and more commonplace. We have all this technology and if it works for us then why not use it?


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