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Sony SELP1650 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens

Sony SELP1650 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens

Compact and lightweight design for excellent portability thanks to retract-ability down to a mere 29.9 mm

  • 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

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What customers say about Sony SELP1650 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens?

  1. 131 of 136 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Ignore the disparaging reviews – this is a fine kit lens, April 24, 2013
    Medical Marketing Maven (Stoneham, MA) –

    This review is from: Sony SELP1650 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens (Electronics)
    I’ve been motivated to write this review because I’ve used this lens on my NEX-6, and find many of the negative reviews here more a statement of photographer competence or expectations than valid criticism of the lens. Like so many people claiming competence to judge photographic equipment, they are big on technical gobble-de-gook, but are unwilling or unable to produce images that demonstrate the strengths or weaknesses of the equipment they review. My philosophy is, if you’ve captured a defect or an asset that impacts images, show it!

    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 4×5 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 16×24 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.


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  2. 131 of 145 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Buying for older NEX?? Buyer Beware!!! (Update – New firmware for some cameras available), December 22, 2012

    This review is from: Sony SELP1650 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens (Electronics)
    UPDATE – March 2013: Sony have “done the right thing” and released firmware updates for SOME of their older models. This lens is now compatible with the following cameras AFTER applying the firmware update – NEX7, NEX5n & NEX-F3. It was always compatible with the NEX6 and NEX5r. The lens is still NOT COMPATIBLE with any NEX body not mentioned above. Considering how “young” the NEX family is, this is still very poorly done on Sony’s part. Accordingly, I’ve raised my review to 2 stars, from the original 1 star.

    Sony leaves some very important information about this lens out of their marketing info, so let me save you some pain if you are considering this lens for any older (pre fall 2012) model NEX camera. This lens is designed for the NEX5r, the NEX6, and presumably, future NEX stills cameras. This lens is very small and convenient, but to get it this size, some huge optical quality concessions were made in terms of distortion and vignetting. The NEX6 (and other supported NEX bodies) have built in, real time correction for distortion and vignetting, which can not be turned off when this lens is attached to the body (hence many people do not even know how bad this lens actually is, unless they attach it to a camera without the in-body correction tables).

    If you have an older NEX camera, such as the original NEX5, or any NEX3 except the F3, then your camera does not have these correction tables built in, and the results you get from this lens are going to be so bad that most people with an eye for photography would label the results unusable. On any camera without built in correction, this lens exhibits massive barrel distortion, and at it’s widest angle, not only is there vignetting, but you are actually recording the inside of the lens barrel in each corner of your still or video image.

    I give this lens 3 stars when used on a NEX6, mostly due to it’s very convenient size for traveling. It finally makes the NEX cameras “pocketable” – as long as you have a rather large pocket – think cargo pants / cargo skirt. Outside of size and convenience, the image quality is acceptable, not great, but acceptable since the NEX6 is fixing the distortion and vignetting on the fly. Build quality is marginal – in your hands, this does not feel like a $350 lens, it barely justifies the $150 you pay for it as a kit with the NEX6. But the bottom line is that when used on a NEX6 (or other supported NEX body), it makes for a nice little package with acceptable image quality, certainly better than most pocket cameras, and similar to a DSLR with a cheap kit lens installed.

    With any of the NON-supported NEX camera models, this lens is truly a “Buyer Beware” situation… you are looking at either accepting very sub-par quality images, or doing a lot of work in your favorite photo editing app to make your images look acceptable.

    Conclusion: Get this lens in a kit (NEX6, NEX5R), or don’t get it at all unless there is a firmware update that supports YOUR particular NEX body model to include the in-body correction for this lens.

    TIP: if you shoot RAW on the NEX6, and your workflow includes Adobe products, then download the free “Adobe Lens Profile Downloader” application. There is an excellent user created distortion / vignetting correction profile in there for the NEX6 and SELP1650 created by Andreas Hinterleitner that will fix your RAW images so that they are indistinguishable from in camera corrected JPGs.

    TIP UPDATE: As of Lightroom 4.3 and ACR 7.3, support for the SELP1650 is now BUILT-IN, and it is no longer necessary to download the 3rd party lens profile mentioned above. If you are still on an older version of Lightroom or Photoshop, then the “Adobe Lens Profile Downloader” application can still help you out.


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  3. 48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Great ergonomics and features, average picture quality, December 9, 2012

    This review is from: Sony SELP1650 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens (Electronics)
    I got this as the kit lens with my nex-6 camera and I am still not sure whether I like it or not.

    - The lens is retractable so when it is turned off the camera + lens has a very thin profile which makes it great to carry. E.g. I can wear the camera around my neck and button up my jacket easily.
    - The zoom range is also great for an APS-C sensor camera. I was used to the 24-70 on my full frame canon and this is a very close approximate of that.
    - Focusing is super fast. Unlike some of the other sony lenses (like the e-mount 50mm f1.8) this one supports phase detection AF (even in contrast detection mode it is fast) which makes focusing soooo much faster than all of the sony primes for nex.
    - Image stabilization works extremely well – I’ve shot many handheld at 1/20 – 1/30 sec and they’ve all turned out

    - Aperture is too small to get good shots with shallow depth of field or super low light situations.
    - Bokeh is so so
    - Sharpness is much lower compared to my canon 24-70 MK I (but maybe not a fair comparison- this lens is $1000 cheaper)
    - You can zoom either using the ring or a toggle lever on the side of the lens. The ring works great, but this ring pulls double duty as focus ring as well, so when I am trying to fine tune the focus manually, my fingers keep brushing against the zoom lever and messing things up

    Bottom-line: Recommend it for travel/casual/daylight photography. Not a good lens if you primarily take people pictures.


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