Lens review

Sony DT 16-50 mm f/2.8 SSM

Sony DT 16-50 mm f/2.8 SSM
25 April 2012
Arkadiusz Olech

1. Introduction

When it comes to full frame cameras we’ve got two types of fast standard zoom lenses – we are thinking here about 28–7x mm f/2.8 and 24-70 mm f/2.8 class. In the case of APS-C/DX sensors the situation isn’t so clear any longer. At the beginning 17-5x mm f/2.8 instruments appeared on the market. Such devices were presented by Canon, Nikon and Tamron; when you compare them to the performance of 24–70 mm and 28–7x mm lenses on full frame they could be placed somewhere in between. It’s worth remembering that the 24 mm focal length on full frame gives you an angle of view of 84 degrees and the 28 mm focal length – an angle of view of 75.4 degrees diagonally. The 17 mm focal length on a 1.5x multiple sensor (and such is used by Nikon, Sony and Pentax) gives an angle of view of 79.7 degrees and on a Canon sensor (1.6x multiple) – only 77.3 degrees.

If you want to get on a smaller sensor a performance similar to that of a 24-70 mm instrument on full frame you have to offer a lens which focal length starts from 15-16 mm. Only three companies have decided to do so. First the 16-50 mm f/2.8 models from Tokina and Pentax have been launched. In fact you can treat them practically as one lens - they are like twins because these companies had cooperated closely in their design. Sony was the next producer that decided to follow suit – they presented the Sony DT 16–50 mm f/2.8 SSM along with the SLT-A77 and the SLT-A65 reflex cameras.

The performance of the Tokina and the Pentax at the maximum relative aperture was hardly impressive – it proved that creating a 16-50 mm f/2.8 class optical construction is not an easy task. It made us even more interested how Sony managed, facing such a challenge.

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We would like to thanks the Polish branch of Sony Europe for making the lens available to us.

You are also invited to get acquainted with our test procedure, described in the article "How do we test lenses?" If you feel it’s still not enough, please go to our FAQ section where you can find some further explanation.

Sony DT 16-50 mm f/2.8 SSM - Introduction

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