Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/6.3
Exposure1/1000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/6.3
Exposure1/2000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length37.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/2500s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length39.0mm
Aperture:f/6.3
Exposure1/400s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length24.0mm
Aperture:f/7.1
Exposure1/500s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/7.1
Exposure1/320s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length55.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/1000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length22.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/640s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length25.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/1000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length23.0mm
Aperture:f/6.3
Exposure1/400s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length55.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/800s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed640
Focal Length55.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/100s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length44.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/1000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length55.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/640s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/9.0
Exposure1/200s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/400s

Competition

There are probably two competing lenses in this lens class. The Sony/Zeiss ZA 16-70mm f/4 OSS (center below) is an oldie by now. It offers more reach at the tele end but it is clearly inferior in terms of performance specifically in the image corners. A more serious contender is probably the new Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 Di III VC. While it gives up a little at the wide end, it adds a little more at the long end (equiv. "26-105mm") which is certainly interesting for some. It also offers image stabilization which is especially attractive for users of the A6100/6300/6400. It's somewhat more affordable, too. While we haven't tested the Tamron yet, it's certainly worth a look.

Image courtesy of camerasize.com

Verdict

Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way immediately - the Sony E 16-55m f/2.8 G is not meant to be used without image auto-correction - Sony is making this clear in the settings as well. You can't switch off distortion correction for JPGs. While this may be disappointing at this price point, most users won't really care about this question anyway.

With activated image auto-correction it's probably the best APS-C standard zoom lens there is on the market today. It shows no weakness in terms of image resolution and there are no CAs to speak of. The corrected distortions are - obviously - nothing to worry about. There is still some visible vignetting at f/2.8 but it's not excessive and stopping down helps, of course. The quality of the bokeh is on a decent level for a standard zoom lens. Out-of-focus highlights are a bit busy but mostly circular and the general rendition is impressively smooth actually.

The build quality is very high but we expected no less from a G-class lens. Sony used quality materials and implemented sealing against the elements. The lens extends during zooming. This may not be ideal but if you want to achieve a decent optical quality, it's still the way to go for all manufacturers. The AF is pretty speedy and silent. The biggest drawback is probably the lack of an image stabilizer. If you own an A6500/A6600 you won't care but the vast majority of Sony APS-C users can't use in-camera stabilization. That being said ... if you can afford the rather expensive Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G you probably tend to have the latest and greatest camera body anyway. While Sony's APS-C lens lineup is still far from being complete, it has now assembled an interesting gang of quality zoom lenses - the Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS, E 16-55mm f/2.8 G, and E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS represent a quite compelling compact and low-weight combo.

Optical Quality RAW:    
★★★★★
Optical Quality Corrected:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★

What does this mean ?