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Sony SELP1650 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens
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- POWER ZOOM for smooth zooming with superb operability and quietness
- ED glass and Aspherical lens elements for excellent performance with reduced aberrations
- Built-in image stabilization
- This lens is designed for Sony α camera system E-mount cameras. You cannot use it on A-mount cameras
- Minimum focus distance - 0.25–0.3 m (0.82-1 ft)
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The Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens 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.
Color: Black | Style Name: Retail Packaging
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I'm a simple guy who's sort of new to this game - I've been shooting professionally for only 53 years, since I got a driver's license - from 4x5 Speed Graphics through Leica M4P and Hasselblad, up through a pair of D7000s today. My video work has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, local TV and many medical web sites; my stills have been on the business and feature pages of magazines and newspapers worldwide. I bought my NEX-6 to use my languishing Leica M mount lenses, and they are spectacular on the NEX-6. I bought the 16-50 with my NEX-6 because it was cheap when the combination was selling at $200 less than it is today.
Now, for this lens. Let's be aware of what this lens is: A small, very light and very inexpensive lens spanning a wide range at a cost that has no parallels in size/weight/cost/quality. It's not a Zeiss or Leitz. It's a lens designed to produce good images in an essentially pocketable camera-lens combination, at a sub-$1000 price (NEX-6).
And it does precisely that. It's a relatively slow (aperture-wise) compromise, and yes, it does require in-camera jpeg or post-processing (RAW images) to correct distortion at its widest setting.
But it's really sharp. Can you hand-hold a 50mm lens at 1/15th, and get reliably sharp images? Well, thanks to the optical stabilization in this lens, you can. I uploaded a sample image of mountaineer-photographer Ed Webster at a book signing (you can buy it on Amazon), and as you will see, the image is SO SHARP you can read the manufacturer's branding on the inside right (your left!) earpiece of his reading glasses. I also submitted a shot of the Manhattan skyline from Hoboken - produced from a RAW image with no post-processing - and you can see every window detail on all the buildings, even across town to the Empire State building - across the frame.
I can beat it with my Leica M lenses, which are faster by far. I can beat it with my 24mm f2 Canon FD. But not by much, and not that you would notice in a print 16x24 inches or smaller at normal viewing distance.
If you buy a NEX camera of any type, I would strongly suggest you consider buying this lens with your selected body.
When you are out to shoot a cover for National Geographic or Sports Illustrated, take it off and use a $1000-3000 prime lens.
For everything else, like family and travel, it's more than competent for the task. I give it 4 stars only because, like all kit zooms, it's a compromise - but a VERY competent one that's likely to please you, and all who see its images.
In this particular case though it’s more than just a few dollars, it’s substantially more than half price. Despite all of the warnings about not intended for sale in the U.S. and possible incompatibility issues, the reality is that this is the identical lens that’s sold in the retail box … there’s no value to anyone to make a special cheaper version. It all comes down to will you get a new unused one or will it be damaged and the fact that there is no warranty of any kind. Is that worth the risk and gamble? With some products, probably not, but with a lens if it works out of the box it’s probably going to continue working unless it gets physically damaged … and manufacturer warranties don’t cover that anyway.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM
This lens has been reviewed in depth in hundreds of places including some very respected and detailed pro photo sites so it would be a waste of time to repeat all that here. If you are looking at this model you know that it is an excellent value for the price and is well suited as a walkabout lens for the NEX series of cameras. It has a lot of potential if used properly and it certainly compliments the NEX series compact size by delivering a 24-75mm equivalent lens that folds into itself and only adds about an inch-and-a-half to the depth of the camera (not even really that since it doesn’t stick out much further than the handgrip). To get a lens with decent optical performance, a motorized zoom with that goes wider than average, and optical stabilization for the price and that has the Sony name on it is quite the bargain. I tried it side-by-side with the official retail boxed version and they were identical in look, feel and performance.
WHAT DOES BULK-PACKAGING MEAN
The term may be unfamiliar to you, most things you buy are in colorful retail containers complete with instructions, warranty info and accessories. In this case what you get is just the lens wrapped in bubblepak. That’s all. You can and should expect it to be clean, new and with both protective lens caps and of course you should expect it to work. All that was true with mine. You have no idea what the region of origin is but Sony has factories all over the world. In my case the country was Thailand. Also important to note is that various different sellers rotate on this page depending on who offers it for less that particular day, some may be better than others but you are the one who chooses which one so it has nothing to do with rating the actual lens.
I didn’t get this for pro studio work, which should be obvious because the lens is intended for a middle-of-the-line consumer point-and-shoot camera. You can’t expect Leica quality for the price. As a general-purpose lens for vacation trips the compactness, zoom range and image quality is highly acceptable and I like it.