Review of Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

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Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G). increase.


  1. In short
  2. Main Specifications
  3. Assembly
  4. Focusing
  5. Image quality
  6. Sample photos (RAW+)
  7. My personal experience with the lens
  8. Results
  9. User Comments
  10. Add your review or question on the lens

In this review, I will abbreviate the Sony E 2.8/16-55G lens (model Sony SEL1655G) as Sony 16-55/2.8.

Important: Sony E 2.8/16-55G should not be confused with the “similar” Sony DT 2.8/16-50 SSM lens with Sony A/Minolta A mount, announced back in August 2011.

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

In short

Sony 16-55/2.8 – fast universal zoom lens for mirrorless cropped cameras with bayonet mount Sony E. It has a high-quality build, fast focusing, and is optically good/very good. Announced August 28, 2019.

Sony 16-55/2.8 belongs to the line of lenses Sony G Lens, which is designed to ensure high optical quality of the lens. Typically, Sony G Lens refers to lenses intended for professional use. True, it’s a pity that for Sony cameras with an APS-C sensor and E-mount TOP lenses from the GM line (G Master Lens) are not produced. Sony seems to emphasize that maximum image quality cannot be achieved using cropped cameras Sony NEX/ALPHA. Lenses from the Sony GM line are produced only for full frame Sony FE cameras.

The Sony 16-55/2.8 is very easy to use and can act as a good standard zoom lens for a large number of photographic tasks. It is worth special mentioning some shenanigans with auto-correction for vignetting/distortion on the Sony 16-55/2.8.

Alternatives for Sony 16-55/2.8 can be considered SIGMA 18-50mm 1:2.8 DC DN C (Contemporary, 2021) и Tamron 17-70mm F/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD Model B070 (2020). With some stretch, the Sony 16-55/2.8 can be replaced by an older lens Zeiss/Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar E 4/16-70 ZA OSS T* (Sony SEL1670Z).

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Main technical characteristics of Sony E 2.8/16-55G:

Review Instance Name Near the front lens: E 2.8/16-55G 0.33m/1.09ft Ø67′

On body 'E 2.8/16-55 G Sony E=mount'

On the identification plate 'SEL1655G Made in CHINA'

Basic properties
  • E (E-mount) – the lens is designed for mirrorless cameras/Sony cameras with an APS-C sensor and E-mount
  • SEL – Sony lens for 'E' mount mirrorless cameras. This lens has a short identifier name 'Sony SEL1655G'
  • XD Linear Motor (eXtreme Dynamic) - internal focusing motor
  • G (Gold?) - a lens designed and manufactured to the highest standards of optical performance
  • DMF (DDirectly Mannual Focus) - direct manual focus
  • FOCUS HOLD – focus lock/stop button, programmable
  • Nano AR - special optical coating
  • Internal focus
  • Electronic focus ring
  • Aspherical elements in the optical circuit
  • Low dispersion elements in the optical circuit
  • Included hood
  • Protected enclosure
  • Fluorine-containing protective coating on the front lens
Front Filter Diameter 67 mm, plastic thread for filters
Focal length 16-55 mm EGF for cameras Sony with APS-C sensor is 24-82.5 mm
Zoom ratio 3.44 x
Designed by for digital mirrorless cameras Sony NEX / Sony Alpha ILCE and Sony E APS-C film/video cameras/camcorders
Number of aperture blades 9 rounded petals
  • bayonet mount mark (white dot)
  • hood attachment marks (red stripe)
  • focal length values: 16, 24, 35, 45, 55 mm
Diaphragm F / 2.8 to F / 22 over the entire range of focal lengths
MDF (minimum focusing distance) 0.33 meters, maximum magnification ratio is 1:5 (0.2X)
The weight 494 grams, lens only (measured)
Optical design 17 elements in 12 groups, including 4 aspherical (2 advanced aspherical + 2 aspherical) and 3 low dispersion elements

schematic Sony E 2.8/16-55GThe scheme is clickable

Lens hood Bayonet, plastic, supplied, marked Sony ALC-SH127
Manufacturer country Made In CHINA (made in China)
Period Announced August 28, 2019.
Price About $ 850

The set of focal lengths for Sony 16-55/2.8 in conversion gives EGF 24-82.5 mm, which is even slightly larger than a similar full-frame lens Sony FE 2.8 / 24-70 GM/Sony FE 2.8/24-70 GM II.

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G) and Zeiss Vario-Tessar E 4/16-70 ZA OSS T* (Sony SEL1670Z)


Sony 16-55/2.8 is made in China. The lens feels pleasant and reliable to the touch.

Sony 16-55/2.8 uses a metal mount. There is a rubber seal on the bayonet side, it is stated that the lens is protected from dust and dirt, including a special protective fluorine-containing coating/coating of the front lens.

The focusing ring is not very wide, rubberized, and easy to use.

Changing the focal length is very smooth, without jerks. The zoom ring is wide, rubberized, and easy to use. The trunk of the Sony 16-55/2.8 does not spontaneously change its size under its own weight.

When changing the focal length the back lens remains motionless.

On the case there is a bayonet mount mark and a mark for quick installation of the lens hood. The lens uses a plastic hood, which is fixed in special grooves located near the front lens of the lens. The hood can be installed in the opposite direction for transportation. In this position, access to the focus ring becomes unavailable.

The diameter of the front filter is only 67 mm, and the weight is just under 500 grams. The Sony 16-55/2.8 itself is a small lens, its body and weight are significantly less than, for example, similar lenses for SLR cameras (similar Nikon AF-S Nikkor 17-55mm 1:2.8G ED IF SWM DX weighs as much as one and a half times more - 755 grams, and a similar lens for mirrorless cameras FUJINON ASPHERICAL LENS NANO-GI XF 16-55mm 1:2.8 R LM WR significantly larger in size).

The diaphragm consists of 9 rounded blades that form a well rounded opening.

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G) and Zeiss Vario-Tessar E 4/16-70 ZA OSS T* (Sony SEL1670Z)


Sony 16-55/2.8 uses a built-in “linear” type focusing motor XD (eXtreme Ddynamic). During auto focusing, the motor operates silently.

On the body there is focus mode switch 'AF/MF' (auto focus/manual focus).

Also on the body there is a button to “stop/hold” the focusing distance in one position. On some cameras, this button can be reassigned (reprogrammed through the camera menu) to some other function that will be useful to the photographer. The available functions depend solely on the specific camera on which the lens will be used.

Auto focus speed high, closer to very high. Focusing speed will vary slightly depending on the camera you are using. First cameras SonyNEX, used automatic contrast focusing, which is sometimes slower than hybrid focusing methods in subsequent generations Sony Alpha.

While working with the camera Sony α3500 (Sony ILCE-3500) the focusing accuracy was high. In good lighting conditions, there are practically no problems with accuracy, tenacity and refocusing. But in poor lighting, especially in the tele range, the lens can scour for a long time in search of the correct focusing. It is also very difficult to get the lens to focus at close focusing distances for pseudo-macro photography, especially at 55mm focal lengths. Sony a3500 has a primitive autofocus system, everything should be much better on modern Sony cameras.

Electronic focus ring responds to its rotation very well and does not cause any discomfort. During auto focus focus ring remains stationary.

During focusing, the front lens remains stationary, as the lens uses internal focus. Thus, it is possible to use any filters without problems, for example polarizing or gradient.

The minimum focusing distance is 33 centimeters, while you can get a maximum magnification for macro photography of 1: 5, which is a good indicator for such a lens.

Other focusing features:

  • Focusing speed is practically independent of the selected focal length.
  • After the lens has lost accurate focusing, refocusing is fast enough.
  • The lens does not have a depth of field scale, focusing distance, and tags for working in the infrared spectrum.
  • Focus shift (shift-focus) was not noticed during operation and testing.
  • The focusing speed depends heavily on the illumination, the selected focusing mode in the camera menu, and the focusing logic of each individual camera.
  • During manual focusing, the focus distance bar appears on the display of some cameras.
  • When changing the focal length, focusing is lost (the lens is not parfocal).
  • Sony 16-55/2.8 has almost no effect 'Focus Breathing' (changes in viewing angle during focusing).
Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Image quality

In general, the Sony 16-55/2.8 is good/very good, but there is a feature with software correction for distortion and vignetting.


  • good resolution in the center over the entire range of focal lengths already at F/2.8 (without any reservations)
  • a slight drop in resolution by 55 mm at F/2.8 in the corners of the image (when stopped down to F/5.6 it reaches a high level again)
  • even at 16 mm and F/2.8, the corners and edges of the image have a high level of detail (very rare for such lenses)
  • the lens is optimized for work at medium and long focusing distances; on MDF the resolution is slightly reduced


  • it's important: the lens is designed exclusively to work with automatic distortion correction in cameras or RAW converters
  • present strong barrel distortion at 16 mm, which becomes cushion-shaped at 70 mm
  • the nature of distortion is unified, easily corrected in the editor
  • Sony cameras automatically correct distortion
  • it's important: some cameras use “hidden” automatic distortion correction (in both 'JPEG' and 'RAW'), even if this correction is forcibly disabled in the camera menu


  • it's important: The lens is designed exclusively to work with automatic vignetting correction in cameras or RAW converters
  • strong uncorrectable vignetting at 16mm and F/2.8 (at the same Zeiss/Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar E 4/16-70 ZA OSS T* there were no such problems). Closing the aperture does not solve the problem (example of a photo without auto-vignetting correction). To put it bluntly, Sony 16-55/2.8 does not cover the APS-C sensor with crop factor 1.5X when working at 16mm focal length. The exact same situation is observed with the lens Sony E 3.5-5.6 / 18-135 OSS.
  • vignetting practically disappears at values ​​after F/4 in the range of 20-55 mm
  • Vignetting decreases slightly with increasing focal length
  • it's important: some cameras use “hidden” automatic vignetting correction (in both 'JPEG' and 'RAW'), even if this correction is forced to be disabled in the camera menu


  • the strongest chromatic aberration visible at the edges and corners of the image
  • the amount of chromatic aberration is at the level of other similar lenses
  • chromatic aberration well controlled by aperture and after about F/5.6 their level becomes very low
  • Sony's native EDIT utility is very good at eliminating chromatic aberrations from source RAW files automatically (function 'Lens Correction' -> 'Chromatic Aberration Correction')
  • there is significant freezing, which after about F/5.6 becomes very low


  • lens tolerates strong backlight well, only in very difficult situations can you get glare that significantly affects the final image
  • aperture blades form a rounded hole
  • the lens can create a pleasant bokeh, in the bokeh you can sometimes find concentric “onion” circles and “wormholes” due to the use of aspherical elements in the optical design, but this effect is weakly expressed (example)
  • on closed diaphragms you can get a pronounced effect of a 18-ray star (example)

For Sony 16-55/2.8 there is a profile in most popular RAW converters, for example, ACR and Lightroom.

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Sample Photos

Camera used Sony α3500 (Sony ILCE-3500) based on the EXMOR APS-C CMOS 20 MP sensor.

Source files in RAW format (Sony '.ARW') can be download or watch via this link (33 photos, 600 MB, Google Drive gallery). Shooting took place in RAW+JPEG mode.

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

My experience

Zeiss/Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar E 4/16-70 ZA OSS T* I liked it more than the Sony 16-55/2.8. At the same time, the Sony 16-55/2.8 is practically the only option for those who need a professional solution for everyday photography.

Alternatives to Sony 16-55/2.8 can be considered newer SIGMA 18-50mm 1:2.8 DC DN C (Contemporary, 2021) и Tamron 17-70mm F/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD Model B070 (2020).

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)

Sony E 2.8/16-55G (Sony SEL1655G)


Sony 16-55/2.8 is an excellent lens, one of the best fast standard lenses for cropped cameras. True, I would still like to have a built-in image stabilizer, like Zeiss/Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar E 4/16-70 ZA OSS T* and honest work on 16 mm (see the paragraph on software forced correction of vignetting).

10 main advantages:

  1. convenient range of focal lengths combined with a constant aperture ratio of 1:2.8 across the entire focal length range
  2. Nano AR enlightenment
  3. high-quality assembly, light weight
  4. internal focusing, focusing is very quiet and fast thanks to the XD motor (the same as the “older” lenses in the Sony GM line)
  5. programmable focus lock button (FOCUS HOLD)
  6. the lens trunk remains motionless under its own weight
  7. aspherical and low dispersion elements in the optical scheme
  8. lens from the Sony G Lens line, designed to provide high optical performance
  9. protected housing (including protective coating of the front lens)
  10. high resolution in the center of the frame even at full aperture across the entire focal length range

10 main disadvantages:

  1. there is no built-in image stabilizer (the Zeiss/Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar E 4/16-70 ZA OSS T* и Tamron 17-70mm F / 2.8 Di III-A VC RXD Model B070)
  2. a strange combination of “Sony G Lens” and “MADE IN CHINA”
  3. high price tag of around $1300 (e.g. Sigma C 18-50 / 2.8 costs about 500 dollars)
  4. there are no useful marks (the predecessor Sony DT 2.8/16-50 SSM had them)
  5. focusing falters while changing the focal length
  6. strong freezing on an open aperture
  7. glare under difficult working conditions in strong backlight
  8. the lens was designed taking into account the forced use of some automatic corrections (distortion, vignetting, etc.), and therefore from birth these shortcomings are built into its optical design and require in-camera correction or correction using RAW converters (my video on this topic)
  9. reduction in resolution at short focusing distances (in the MDF area)
  10. from 2010 to 2019 year Sony E APS-C system did not have a single fast universal lens in its arsenal (more of a problem with the system Sony E)

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Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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  • Natalia

    Bright photos of spring!

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