I'm thinking about buying the Sony A6000 over a Micro Four Thirds camera because of the sensor size, but I read in many reviews (such as this) that this is one of the worst lenses around. Now, since a common rule says "Invest in glass, not in the camera".
Since in this case, the glass doesn't seem like a good investment, is the camera worth it?

  • 2
    You've read the review - only you can say whether the price/performance of the system is right for you.
    – Philip Kendall
    Mar 14 '14 at 12:43
  • A typical "kit lens" is not the best piece of glass anyway. It is there so that you can start using the camera right away. A bare camera body alone takes rather dull photos. Mar 14 '14 at 18:20
  • That's almost like asking if one should avoid the Canon EOS system because the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 is such a poor lens. Obviously, it is not the only lens in that system. The bad performance of the 75-300 has no bearing whatsoever on the quality of images possible with, say, a Canon 1D X and the EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II.
    – Michael C
    Mar 15 '14 at 17:15
  • You read the DPReview review 1st of course, didn't you? Didn't you? !!! dpreview.com/reviews/sony-alpha-a6000/13 DPR "Gold" rating. Aug 9 '14 at 15:37

Most kit lenses don't get glowing reviews.

Where you have to take the "invest in the glass not the camera" philosophy to heart is in the overall lens selection for the mount you're about to buy into. Digital bodies come and go all the time. They depreciate at the rate of most digital electronics: rapidly. Glass is much slower to lose value or to become obsolete.

So if the sensor size of Sony NEX is what drew you in, next consider the glass in the E-mount system, and see whether it will cover your needs. Don't base your judgement on a single kit lens. The Sony systems are unusual in offering autofocusing Zeiss glass for digital cameras, and the selection's good (if you aren't going full frame with an A7).

Micro four-thirds, on the other hand, has a much wider selection of lenses, helped in no small part by the fact that Panasonic and Olympus together have been adding to the lenses, that the micro four-thirds mount electronic communication is part of a standard that's accessible to anyone who's a member of the four-thirds consortium, and that mft is about two years older than NEX as a system.

Sony E-mount has great glass. But you can't find a native autofocusing fisheye. There's no native 24-70/2.8 equivalent to choose from (vs. mft having two). There's no fast short telephoto for portraiture (e.g., an 85/1.8), etc. If you don't need these lenses, then no sweat. But if you do need them, then you may have to learn to adapt lenses to NEX, go with 3rd-party lenses, decide if you're willing to wait on the lens roadmap, or consider a different system that has the lenses you need.

Generally the choice between mft and NEX is a choice of which is more important to you: the glass or the sensor?

  • There is 50/1.8 (75 equiv.) lens for APS-C e-mount and manual-focus samyang 85/1.4
    – Andrew
    Aug 9 '14 at 20:04
  • An 85mm lens would be a 127.5mm film equivalent on APS-C, so not sure what you mean saying it's a 50/1.8 equiv. In addition, that lens is designed for dSLRs, not mirrorless--it's just had an E-mount slapped on it. It's huge compared to a NEX camera. And it's not only manual-focus, but also manual-aperture and does not communicate with the camera. The only Samyang lens that's actually designed for APS-C mirrorless is the 8mm f/2.8 fisheye (similar to the 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye for mft).
    – inkista
    Aug 10 '14 at 7:39

You're not buying the camera for the lens, nor planning to use only that lens, are you?

And the review is not that bad:

the lens is actually pretty good in the medium to upper range.

Mainly there seems to be two criticisms:

  • at the wide end, resolution is not good - but still better than not having it at all; other kit zooms just don't go that wide.
  • there is significant distortion and aberration that needs to be corrected in firmware or post-processing - when your software supports the lens this is a non-issue, otherwise it probably makes the lens unusable.

But top quality isn't what makes this lens worth having - convenience is. The best lens is the one you have with you, as they say, and the small form factor means that your camera will still fit into your pocket. And the range of focal lenghts it covers is really useful as well.

All in all, for some use cases (such as casual city sightseeing) this is a great lens.


The Sony A6000 is an interchangeable-lens camera. If you were stuck with a poorly-rated lens, that should indeed be a major factor. But you're not stuck with that. You can either buy the camera in a "kit" including the lens or without the lens for $150 less. It sounds like you might want to skip the kit lens and save the money towards something else from the Sony E system — depending on your budget and preferences, maybe some of the prime lenses, or a better regarded (but larger, heavier, and much pricier) zoom like the Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4.

The general point stands, though: you are right to also consider the lenses available, not just the features and price/performance of the body. Don't get hung up on the kit lens, though. You may be interested in How do lens lineups vary across Mirrorless camera systems? for an overview of differences across all mirrorless interchangeable lens systems, before you make your final decision.


The A6000 is impressive camera with very sharp sensor. Surely to use it at best you need better lenses than 16-50. The good news is that these lens exist: the Zeiss/Sony, the old MF lenses (Canon FD 50 1.2 1.4) Zeiss Planar and so on.

The little Sony 1650 is not bad in absolute, I can say that it is very good, considering the cost. If you use it with lenshood, with intermediate diaphragm, activated SW corrections in camera, you will have very good results. It's almost impossible have better lens at this price, same dimensions. Don't forget that it is an OSS lens with electric zoom to do good movies too.

A6000 definitely restarts the pleasure to take pictures, using old MF lenses and modern ones.


The Sony A6000 corrects about 95% of the lens optical problems and for prints less than 12x18 which is about 98% of what most people make you will probably be happy. If you need critical enlargements get a Sigma 30mm or 60mm lens. Both are optically great and relatively inexpensive. I have the A6000 and the kit lens along with the 60mm Sigma and the Sony 18-105 G lens which I really Like. Visited the Air Force museum in Dayton today and loved the compact size and weight while walking around there for 7 hours with the 16-50 kit lens! Just ordered the Hassleblad 18-200mm lens B&H has for $499. Sometimes I want a little extra reach, but I imagine the kit lens and the G lens will be on the camera about 85% of the time.


No: I love my NEX 5T. The kit lens, and the additional 16mm f/2.8 I purchased, are both unremarkable, (I really mean, they are terrible,) but I have a lot of fun, and have had some success, using an old Canon 50mm f/1.8 and and old Sigma 28mm f/2.8 with an adapter. The beauty of the NEX is that with a little practice you can get good results with manual focus--something I have yet to be able to claim with my Nikon D5100.

Yes: If you intend to use the kit lens only, then I would avoid the Sony. Also, walking around with the NEX body and a manual focus lens will limit you to only shots where you can take your time and focus deliberately.


Depends what you want to use it for. If you've got a good eye and understand the basics of photography, for general non enthusiast casual photos of family, pets etc, it is perfectly good.

I have had that lens with Nex 6, 7 and A6000, as well as legacy lenses and the Zeiss 16-70, and I can say unless you take landscapes and specialist photos in difficult and low light situations, you will not notice the difference.

Some bad reviews measure the optical performance of the lens, which without sonys digital correction does look pretty horrendous. Most of us need never worry about that though as in camera jpegs and RAWs you develop eg in Lightroom, will all be optically corrected.

So I do not agree that the 16-50 is a bad lens. In fact as kit lenses go it's pretty decent for general photography, esp with an A6000.

Now.... If you don't have a good eye.....that's a different story.

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