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Lens review

Sony DT 16-105 mm f/3.5-5.6

10 November 2009
Szymon Starczewski

3. Build quality

The Sony DT 16-105 mm has a typical of that company’s products, classic but stylish look at the same time: a black barrel, made of composites, metal mount and two finely-ribbed, rubber rings. The first of them, positioned nearer the body, is used for zooming; it moves smoothly and is well-damped in the whole range. Above we find a clear distance scale and even higher- a manual focus ring. This one has a noticeable slack and on touching it wobbles sideways about one millimeter but without moving the distance scale. Only a stronger turn of the ring makes us feel noticeable resistance, the scale changes as a result and so does the focus. It is not the best way of operating because when we want to move the ring just slightly but precisely at the same time, we can’t always be sure whether or not the focus has already changed.

Sony DT 16-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Build quality

The lens’s focal length range is significant (6.6 x zoom ratio) and, with a possibility of using wide angles (at 16 mm as many as 83 degrees), it is truly a unique construction, not found in other systems. Small wonder the change of focal length from 16 to 105 mm makes the lens extend from 83 mm, given in specifications, to almost 140 mm. It is achieved by pulling out a dual telescopic barrel, a bit less stable solution than in the Zeiss 16-80 mm where it consisted of one solid part only.

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Sony DT 16-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Build quality

Sony DT 16-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Build quality

One thing that differs significantly the 16-105 mm model from the Zeiss 16-80 mm is the light. As the latter had almost fixed relative aperture, in the 16-105 mm model the f/3.5 we get at the very beginning of the range. Near 18 mm it passes to f/4.0, at 23 mm it is transformed into f/4.5 so the value the Zeiss showed at 80 mm. At 35 mm we speak already about f/5.0 aperture and at 55 mm – f/5.6.

The DT 16-105 mm, in spite of worse light, is a more complicated construction than the Zeiss. Inside we find 15 elements in 11 groups, one low-dispersion ED glass element and two aspherical among them. Apart from that, we have a 7 diaphragm blades aperture at our disposal, which can be closed down to f/22-36 and a non-rotating filter thread, 62 mm in diameter.

Sony DT 16-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Build quality

As in the case of the Zeiss, the buyer gets a lens hood and a soft pouch included in box.

Sony DT 16-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 - Build quality