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Sony SAL16105 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6 Wide-Range Zoom Lens

by Sony
15 customer reviews
| 8 answered questions

List Price: $699.99
Price: $498.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
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From the experts at DPReview
Overall score: 84%
See review summary and sample images
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Gold and Silver Awards are given to products that deserve special recognition based on how well they perform relative to their competitors at the time of review.

  • 16-105mm focal length
  • 24-157.5mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras
  • F3.5-5.6 maximum aperture; F22-36 minimum
  • AF via camera body motor
  • 62mm filters
  • 0.40m/15.75" minimum focus
  • Sony Alpha mount for APS-C DSLRs
9 new from $498.00 10 used from $299.99
$498.00 & FREE Shipping. Details Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Sony SAL16105 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6 Wide-Range Zoom Lens
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  • Tiffen 62mm UV Protection Filter
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  • Tiffen 62mm Circular Polarizer
Total price: $541.84
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Technical Details

Review summary from DPReview

DPReview Tested March 2008
The versatility of the focal length range goes a long way towards making up for the inevitable optical compromises, and as such the lens easily earns our recommendation.
Andy Westlake Andy Westlake


This is a very good lens for Alpha users looking to upgrade over their kit zoom. The versatility of the focal length range goes a long way towards making up for the inevitable optical compromises, and as such the lens easily earns our recommendation.

Reasons to buy

  • Hugely useful wide angle to telephoto range - arguably the most flexible currently available
  • Extremely sharp at wide angle
  • Impressive resistance to flare
  • Small size and lightweight
  • Good build quality

Things to consider

  • Chromatic aberration at both wideangle and telephoto ends
  • Extremely soft in the middle of the zoom range at wider apertures
  • Somewhat soft at telephoto
  • Stiff manual focus ring with excessively short travel

Suggested for

Alpha users looking for a flexible, lightweight all-around lens.

Not suggested for

Those who won't accept softness and chromatic aberration.
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Image Quality
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
DPReview is the world’s most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography website. Since 1998 its mission has remained unchanged: to deliver the best reviews of cameras and lenses anywhere on the Internet, and help you find the right gear for your needs.

Product Description

Product Description

Sony SAL16105 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6 Wide-Range Zoom Lens

From the Manufacturer

Sony make . believe

DT 16-105mm F3.5-5.6 Wide-Range Zoom Lens

The 16-105mm rnage of this lens is a "sweet spot" for many photographers, wide enough at the 16mm end to capture indoor scenes and long enough at 105mm to fill the frame with relatively distant subjects. Comfortable handling is another plus, thanks to the compact and lightweight design.

DT 16-105mm F3.5-5.6 Wide-Range Zoom Lens


Circular Aperture
ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass
Aspherical lens elements

Circular Aperture

When changing your aperture to defocus the background, the light sources appear blurred. This ‘bokeh’ effect of the blurred background can be enhanced with circular aperture blades used in this lens. Conventional aperture blades have flat sides creating unappealing polygonal shaped defocussed points of light. α lenses overcome this problem through a unique design that keeps the aperture almost perfectly circular from its wide-open setting to when it is closed by 2 stops. Smoother, more natural defocusing can be obtained as a result.

ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass

As focal lengths get longer, lenses built with conventional optical glass have difficulties with chromatic aberration, and as a result images suffer from lower contrast, lower color quality, and lower resolution. ED glass dramatically reduces chromatic aberration at telephoto ranges, and provides superior contrast across the entire image, even at large aperture settings. Super ED glass provides enhanced compensation for chromatic aberration.

Aspherical lens elements

Aspherical lens design dramatically reduces spherical aberration while also reducing lens size and weight. Spherical aberration is a slight misalignment of the light rays projected on the image plane. This is caused by differences in refraction at different points on conventional spherical lenses which degrade image quality in large-aperture lenses. Specially shaped “aspherical” elements near the diaphragm restore alignment of light rays at the image plane, maintaining high sharpness and contrast even at maximum aperture and can also be used at other points in the optical path to reduce distortion. Well-designed aspherical elements can reduce the total number of elements required in the lens, thus reducing overall size and weight. Advanced Aspherical (AA) elements are an evolved variant, featuring an extremely high thickness ratio between the center and periphery. AA elements are exceedingly difficult to produce, relying on the most advanced molding technology to consistently and precisely achieve the required shape and surface accuracy, resulting in significantly improved image accuracy and quality.

Distance encoder

Distance encoder

The distance encoder plays an integral part in ADI flash metering, which delivers high precision flash metering that is unaffected by the reflectance of subjects or backgrounds. The distance encoder is a lens component that directly detects the position of the focusing mechanism, and sends a signal to the CPU in order to measure distance to the subject. During flash photography, this data is very useful in calculating how much flash output is appropriate to the scene.

Additional Features

Internal focusing

Only the middle groups of the optical system move to achieve focus, so the overall length of the lens does not change. Other important benefits include fast autofocusing and a short minimum focusing distance. Also, the filter thread at the front of the lens does not rotate, which is convenient if you’re using a polarizing filter.

Sony make . believe

2008 Sony Electronics, Inc.

All rights reserved. Sony, the Sony logo, Alpha, “&#945” and Super SteadyShot are trademarks of Sony. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches ; 1 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • Item model number: SAL16105
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
  • Manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service. Click here to make a request to customer service.
  • Date first available at June 17, 2003

Read about our customers' top-rated lenses and cameras on our review pages: Lenses, Digital SLR Cameras, Compact System Cameras

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 76 people found the following review helpful By The Experimentalist on February 15, 2010
I've been shooting this lens alongside the full-frame Zeiss 24 -70mm f/2.8 and Sony G 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, both of which are world-class. What I've found has surprised me: this lens has no apologies to make in that company. I bought the other two lenses only because I expect to transition to full frame in about 3 years. (I'm currently using an A550 body.) I haven't done any scientific measurements, but when I blow-up shots from this lens on a large monitor, I'm not finding any resolution issues at all. I've done shots of the same subjects with all three lenses, and simply haven't seen any loss of resolution or any color signature with this lens. Again, this is real-world shooting and subjective evaluation, not laboratory testing.

Someone commented on the lens being heavy. That's a relative thing. It is much, much lighter than the Zeiss 70-24. That's partly because the Zeiss has a wider aperture and works full frame. The 16-105 is, however, heavier than typical Minolta film camera lenses.

The feel of the build quality is impressive. It is very, very close to the subjective feel of the Zeiss 24-70, which is possibly the best made lens on the market. If you twist and wiggle the two lenses, you can detect a very slightly tighter tolerance in the Zeiss, but you have to try -- it's not readily apparent.

This is my walk-around lens of choice. I also considered the
...Read more ›
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By weeklyreader on February 21, 2011
Verified Purchase
I can't explain why I overlooked this lens and bought other Sigma, Tamron, and Sony lenses for my Sony Alpha camera bodies first. What a mistake! I never was satisfied with the performance of the less expensive (under $600) walk about lenses once I took pictures with the very fine Sony 24-70mm Carl Zeiss G lens. But often I found myself unwilling to take a $1500 lens outdoors or to places I was concerned about theft.

Recently I purchased and tried the Sony 16-105mm lens. I found that it produces results very similar to a G glass lens. In fact I am very impressed. I recently took portraits of 100 students during a choir tour. All the shots were taken from the aisle while the bus was moving with only a single external flash bounced from the ceiling and a small reflector positioned in the lap of each student.

When I reviewed the images on the computer I was amazed at the performance of this lens. Sharp (I look for the sharpness of the eye lashes at 100%)and beautiful colors with little need for any post processing. I love the image stabilization of the Sony alpha body. Image that sharp pictures in a moving bus with a shutter speed of 1/60 to 1/100. I liked my a700 and a55 camera bodies before but now I like them even better. A fine lens makes all the difference and I consider the Sony 16-105mm a fine lens considering it's price of $599. My only wish is that it had a lens lock.

My recommendation when buying an Alpha camera body (not full frame) would be to buy the Sony 16-105mm first, then a Minolta 50mm f1.4, a Sigma 70mm macro f 2.8 and then the very fine Sony CZ 24-70mm and 70-400mm when you can afford them. You will use these lenses the rest of your life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Philip on December 28, 2010
I got this lens when my Sony 18-200 broke. I did quite a bit of research. The natural competitor for this lens is the Carl Zeiss 16-80. I chose this lens over the Zeiss lens because of reports of poor construction in the Zeiss lens (I had no stomach for that idea, given the fact that the Sony had just died), and the extra range of the Sony 16-105. Being used to 18-200, going to 16-80 was just too restricting.

I've been using the 16-105 for about nine months now. I have to say, I love this lens. It's very sharp when you do your part. The construction quality is very high. It focuses quickly, and I've never had issues with chromatic aberration or color fringing. You can get some vignetting at 16mm, but it's usually very easy to take care of in post processing. Stopping down a bit also prevents the vignetting.

It's a little slower lens than the F stop range indicates; the maximum aperture drops quickly once you get above 16mm. That's probably my biggest issue with this lens. It's great as a walkaround lens in a sunny climate. For wintertime in Europe, you'll want something faster along with you. One other issue to be aware of; this lens needs slim filters if you're going to spend a lot of time at 16mm. When I put the polarizing filter I already owned on this lens (a Hoya 62mm (G SERIES) Circular Polarizer PL CIR Filter), it doesn't just vignette; the filter is actually visible on the corners of the image. The image is solid black in the corners. I've read that the
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Sony SAL16105 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6 Wide-Range Zoom Lens
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