REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Sony20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens
 
4.3

(based on 14 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (8)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

85%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Lightweight (8)
  • Durable (5)
  • Easily interchangeable (3)
  • Strong construction (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Travel (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Enthusiast (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (12)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Excellent at Being What It Is

I primarily use an NEX-6 (which I absolutely LOVE!). On my NEX-6, Sony's 35/1.8 is my primary walking-around everyday lens... but sometimes, you need something a little...Read complete review

I primarily use an NEX-6 (which I absolutely LOVE!). On my NEX-6, Sony's 35/1.8 is my primary walking-around everyday lens... but sometimes, you need something a little bit wider to take in the full scope of what you're looking at. That's why I got the 20/2.8, and it excels at that purpose.

Is this the sharpest lens Sony offers? Nope. But it's a pancake lens, after all, so I wasn't expecting it to be - and neither should you. What it is is reasonably sharp, even at the edges of the frame; unless you're a pixel-peeping sharpness fanatic, I'd anticipate that you'll be pleasantly surprised at and satisfied with the level of sharpness this lens can deliver (more on that in a moment). If you feel that you need extreme center sharpness, there's always the Zeiss 24mm... at nearly three times the price.

I shot a couple hundred frames with the 20/2.8 before I decided that I liked it - honestly, for the first fifty frames or so, I was pretty sure I didn't like it. From that experience, I have a few points to make that may shorten your adjustment curve and help you love this lens straight out of the box... to start with, be aware that this lens focuses very accurately in good light, but will frequently only focus "good enough" in lower light situations. To compensate and achieve precise focus in less-than-optimum light, here's what I learned that I needed to do: set the focus point at Center; keep the focus mode set at DMF so I can fine-tune the focus (if desired) after AF-lock in anything other than outdoors/daylight; enable 2-second MF Assist so the image is briefly magnified while I'm fine-tuning the focus; enable focus-peaking so that I can quickly confirm that the area of highest contrast is, in fact, what I meant to have in focus (through trial and error, I've found that Red/Medium is the all-around best highlight setting for me - White often got lost in daylight).

A few more things... the focus motor is quiet, which I appreciate, and very fast, which I also appreciate. There is broad depth of field, except with VERY close subjects (this IS a WIDE prime after all!), so expect minimal background and foreground defocus (as you should; this IS a WIDE prime, after all!). As to getting a good shot with a wide prime, there's an old saying with news/street photogs - "f/8 and be there." Well, not with this lens. In my opinion, it's "f/4 and be there", or maybe f/5.6 if you must. That's the range where I think this lens best balances sharpness with depth of field.

Finally, and not inconsequentially, is the included lens hood. It's design is simply brilliant! I really wish Sony had something just like it that would fit the 35/1.8! The lens hood is essentially a bayonet-mounted lens CAP with a 16:9 ratio horizontal opening just large enough for the lens to cover the sensor. It's threaded externally on its front so you can attach filters or the (also-included) lens cap directly to the hood and without having to remove the hood - in fact, you should NEVER have to remove this hood at all, except perhaps to periodically clean the lens - and you really won't need the lens cap, since the hood does a remarkable job of protecting the lens; better, I suspect, than any other lens hood ever made. Nice touch, Sony - really! (Now how about offering a hood like this for the 35/1.8? No, seriously... how 'bout it, Sony?)

Bottom line: I love the Sony 35/1.8 lens - if you don't have one, get one; you'll love it too. If you, like me, also need something a little wider now and then, this is it: I definitely recommend the Sony 20/2.8.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Just barely better than 16mm pancake

I tested it in general purpose, bright light, low light, indoors and out.

Focus is somewhat slow and clumsy compared to the larger lenses.
Sharpness: It's very similar to...Read complete review

I tested it in general purpose, bright light, low light, indoors and out.

Focus is somewhat slow and clumsy compared to the larger lenses.
Sharpness: It's very similar to the 16mm pancake except that you don't have to stop down to f/8 to get decent usable results. f/4 will do.
Mustache distortion makes RAW processing a hassle at times.
It is way, way too expensive for its level of performance.

I would say it's about on par with the kit lens when stopped down as far as the kit lens (f/3.5) at 20mm. So it's like having the kit lens locked at 20mm, with a bonus 2/3rds stop added brightness, and of course the small size. But, you lose stabilization.

It comes with a hood similar if not identical to the hood on the 30mm macro. It looks nicer than the original 16mm pancake and it's about 1mm shorter.

There isn't anything especially nice to say about the lens. It's acceptable and it's small. Coupled with the NEX-5R it makes a very small combination. If that's not critical, I'd recommend saving a little more cash and buying the far better 35mm f/1.8 OSS. In fact, I'd rather shoot with the kit lens with stabilization since I would only shoot this 20mm lens at f/2.8 if desperate.

Reviewed by 14 customers

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great lens for a5000, a5100, a6000, and a6300

By John from TN

from Knoxville, TN

About Me Semi-pro Photographer

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Durable
  • Easily Interchangeable
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Lightweight
  • Nice Bokeh
  • Rugged
  • Strong Construction

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Indoors/Low Light
    • Night Photography

    Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

    This lens is is a fantastic lens for APS-C E mount cameras. Sharp across the frame and is small! This lens has a 30mm (35mm full frame equivalent) view and is lovely. This lens stays on my a6000 99% of the time. If you are trying to find a nice lens to walk around with or shoot the family without adding bulk to your already fantastic Sony camera, this would be the lens.

    PS Skip the 16mm version because it stinks.

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    (12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Sharpness is a Bourgeois concept anyway

    By devtank

    from Seattle

    About Me Pro Photographer

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Durable
    • Easily Interchangeable
    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
    • Lightweight
    • Nice Bokeh
    • Rugged
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

    • Focus Ring Is Too Small
    • Poor in Low Light

    Best Uses

    • Documentary
    • Environmental Portraits
    • General Purpose
    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Sports/Action
    • Street Photography
    • Video
    • Weddings/Events

    Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

    I've been using the Zeiss 24/1.8 which btw is not sharp at 1.8 or 2.0 and starts to get there at 2.2 and beyond. And I've been using all the Zeiss primes for the A7r and A7s, and over the years Ive owned a fes ASPH Leica, Kern, Zeiss, Rodenstock and Schneider Kreuznach optics as well as using Cooke lenses for cinematography. I've also tested and calibrated optics on a collimator too, so I think I can safely say that I know what a lens needs to be.

    So lets call a spade a spade here; Within the parameters of a 2.8 pancake lens, the SEL20F28 is an outstanding lens at 2.8. Its as sharp as the Zeiss 24/1.8 SEL24F18Z at 2.8. Its also as sharp as the Zeiss 35/2.8 SEL35F28Z for the A7 series cameras. Its not as sharp as the 55/1.8 SEL55F18Z, because that lens is quite mind blowing.

    Having a field of view of a 30mm in FF terms, give the freedom of visual breathing space like a 28, without the distortion of a 28. It recedes like a 28 without any of the perceptive angular distortion: it looks like a 35mm for its complete LACK of distortion, but its wider. It reminds me of the Leica 24/2.8 Elmarit-M, a 24mm lens with no perceivable angular distortion (it shot like a 50 or 60 macro for its flatness of field).

    Our little gem here vignettes, and its got barrel distortion, but we never see that because if we are smart we use smart software to compensate for that, so in effect those issues do not exist. What we do see is that it smears at the extreme 10% edges left and right, buts ok because generally I point the lens at the subject and use the center 60% 99.99% of the time.

    It will take a standard B+W MRC under the hood. And if you want to add a Polarizer, or any other 49mm threaded filter or step-up ring, you can, using the threads on the outside of the hood.
    I wish more manufacturers would make hoods like this, or the reverse hood on the SEL35F28Z for the A7 series. It's so nice and wee. Fuji did a nice job with their 18 and 35 metal hoods when the X-Pro 1 came out.

    It would have been nice if they had made the focus ring overlap part of the body of the lens giving the fingers an additional 3mm purchase. Ive modified my lens by adding a 3mm strip of PU plastic behind the focus ring and bonded a 5mm strip of the same material to the actual focus ring itself so that I can manually focus the lens more easily. I tried a cable tie but the nub gets lost because the lens is a focus by wire design.

    For video work, the AF is silent, except when using onboard microphones in a silent room. It behaves well with the AF drive speed and Tracking duration on the A6000. I'm excited to see how it works on the A6300.

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Does well as a walkabout lens.

    By Digitalobscura

    from Lafayette, Colorado

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Durable
    • Lightweight
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

    • Lens Shade Is Limited

    Best Uses

      Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

      I bought this lens as a walkabout lens for foul weather conditions. So far I have not experienced bad weather. My other lenses are Zeiss and I do not choose to risk glass of that price under such conditions. My testing indicates the lens will do fine for its purpose.

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      • No

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      (3 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

       
      2.0

      Over Easy

      By WallyW

      from Navarre, FL

      About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Clever Compact Lens Hood
      • Durable
      • Easy To Use
      • Fast Focus
      • Lightweight
      • Reliable

      Cons

      • Not very sharp

      Best Uses

      • Ever-ready Camera
      • Traveling

      Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

      I purchased this lens to make a slim package with my NEX-7 to allow me to carry a camera at all times. So many pictures pass without a camera available. This lens corrects my bad habit.

      On the other hand, to be kind, this lens is not sterling by any means. Sharpness is pretty low at any distance, and becomes particularly bad at closer distances. Macro or head-and-shoulder is beyond it's capabilities. And, RAW is overkill.

      The NEX/lens combo; however, is much better than a smart phone. Handy JPEG's.

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      • No

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      (4 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      About that lens hood/cover

      By Oregonian stuck in Indiana

      from Indiana cornfields

      About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

      Pros

      • Conveniently Compact
      • Lightweight

      Cons

      • Not A Sharp Zeiss Touit

      Best Uses

      • Traveling

      Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

      Quick note: bought USED here for its compact size and usefulness as a city/landscape walkabout option that would have minimal battery drain (no zooming in and out). I don't normally buy used, but this was rated as a 9 (it was!), has BWs 90 day warranty, and has no moving ZOOM parts--just the internal focusing motor. Wanted this slim lens for travel ease, but would have bought Sigma's 19mm for IQ alone. Now for the real commentary...

      You won't find information anywhere on using a UV filter on this lens UNDER the odd front lens hood. Sony was no help. But I'm here to tell you that a slim UV filter, like the B+W 49mm UVa HAZE #010 (purchased here!), will fit between the lens and the bayonet hood. I took a chance on the slim B+W instead of a thicker UV, like the Hoya MRC on my SEL55210, and it works. I plan to shoot without the lens hood most of the time, but with a circular polarizer mounted on the front of this 20s quirky hood, I also have a quick-change option for those outdoor shots where I want more contrasty shadows, stronger skies, etc.

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      (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      great compact lens f2.8 e mount

      By Chuck

      from Metro NY

      About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Lightweight
      • Reliable

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Everyday use
        • Home
        • Landscape Photography
        • Macro Photography
        • Traveling

        Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

        Compact, wide angle, light, macro

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        • No

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        (4 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Nice Wide Angle lens

        By Peter

        from Oxford, PA

        About Me Casual Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Durable
        • Easily Interchangeable
        • Lightweight

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Video

          Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

          Bought this to use with my Sony A6000 to capture wide angle videos with a fast lens and it does the job nicely.

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          • No

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          (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Fantastic Pancake Lens

          By T-LOC

          from Silver Spring,MD

          Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

          Great quality for the dollar. Better than previous model.

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          (5 of 18 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          It comes with a strange lens hood

          By cshen

          from Fremont, CA

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Compact
          • Lightweight

          Cons

          • No Oss

          Best Uses

          • Street Candid

          Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

          It comes with a unusual lens hood with a rectangular opening without any petals, which make my nex-7 look like a compact camera. As for its pros and cons, everybody knows: compact but not zoomable. Go for it if you want your nex camera look unconspicuous.

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          • No

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          (60 of 60 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Excellent at Being What It Is

          By Copper Mike

          from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

          See all my reviews

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Quick Quiet Focus
          • Reasonably sharp
          • Useful Focal Length
          • Very compact

          Cons

          • Imprecise In Low Light

          Best Uses

          • General purpose
          • Street shooting
          • Travel

          Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

          I primarily use an NEX-6 (which I absolutely LOVE!). On my NEX-6, Sony's 35/1.8 is my primary walking-around everyday lens... but sometimes, you need something a little bit wider to take in the full scope of what you're looking at. That's why I got the 20/2.8, and it excels at that purpose.

          Is this the sharpest lens Sony offers? Nope. But it's a pancake lens, after all, so I wasn't expecting it to be - and neither should you. What it is is reasonably sharp, even at the edges of the frame; unless you're a pixel-peeping sharpness fanatic, I'd anticipate that you'll be pleasantly surprised at and satisfied with the level of sharpness this lens can deliver (more on that in a moment). If you feel that you need extreme center sharpness, there's always the Zeiss 24mm... at nearly three times the price.

          I shot a couple hundred frames with the 20/2.8 before I decided that I liked it - honestly, for the first fifty frames or so, I was pretty sure I didn't like it. From that experience, I have a few points to make that may shorten your adjustment curve and help you love this lens straight out of the box... to start with, be aware that this lens focuses very accurately in good light, but will frequently only focus "good enough" in lower light situations. To compensate and achieve precise focus in less-than-optimum light, here's what I learned that I needed to do: set the focus point at Center; keep the focus mode set at DMF so I can fine-tune the focus (if desired) after AF-lock in anything other than outdoors/daylight; enable 2-second MF Assist so the image is briefly magnified while I'm fine-tuning the focus; enable focus-peaking so that I can quickly confirm that the area of highest contrast is, in fact, what I meant to have in focus (through trial and error, I've found that Red/Medium is the all-around best highlight setting for me - White often got lost in daylight).

          A few more things... the focus motor is quiet, which I appreciate, and very fast, which I also appreciate. There is broad depth of field, except with VERY close subjects (this IS a WIDE prime after all!), so expect minimal background and foreground defocus (as you should; this IS a WIDE prime, after all!). As to getting a good shot with a wide prime, there's an old saying with news/street photogs - "f/8 and be there." Well, not with this lens. In my opinion, it's "f/4 and be there", or maybe f/5.6 if you must. That's the range where I think this lens best balances sharpness with depth of field.

          Finally, and not inconsequentially, is the included lens hood. It's design is simply brilliant! I really wish Sony had something just like it that would fit the 35/1.8! The lens hood is essentially a bayonet-mounted lens CAP with a 16:9 ratio horizontal opening just large enough for the lens to cover the sensor. It's threaded externally on its front so you can attach filters or the (also-included) lens cap directly to the hood and without having to remove the hood - in fact, you should NEVER have to remove this hood at all, except perhaps to periodically clean the lens - and you really won't need the lens cap, since the hood does a remarkable job of protecting the lens; better, I suspect, than any other lens hood ever made. Nice touch, Sony - really! (Now how about offering a hood like this for the 35/1.8? No, seriously... how 'bout it, Sony?)

          Bottom line: I love the Sony 35/1.8 lens - if you don't have one, get one; you'll love it too. If you, like me, also need something a little wider now and then, this is it: I definitely recommend the Sony 20/2.8.

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          • No

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          (7 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          A good lens

          By Iron Creek Photography

          from Tucson, AZ

          See all my reviews

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • good focal length
          • Light-weight
          • Small

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • landscape

            Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

            I'm new to the whole Sony lineup so will only express what my limited know is. Brought a Sony NEX-7 to be converted to infrared and just got the camera back. The lens came with a 18-55 but I wanted a smaller lens and picked the 20 as it fits (focal-length) between my two-most used medium format lenses.

            So far and with very limited usage due to harsh conditions I'm very pleased with the overall files.

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            • No

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            (6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            At least not bad quality and nice design

            By Anatoly

            from Moscow, Russian Federation

            Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

            I'm owner of NEX-6. It's well known sad fact that lines of Sony' Nex lenses is not so fantastic as we'd like and thanks to Sigma we have a little bit better choice to find something suitable according a personal test...
            I use Sigma 19mm f2.8 EX DN as an incredibly inexpensive and generally good walking/travel lens and I almost happy with it.
            But we always try to find something better :)
            I bought this Sony' newest lens to replace Sigma because my copy of 19 mm Sigma is not the champion of sharpness on the borders and corners at all. And apparently I'm right.
            Sharpness of Sony 20mm lens on picture's borders and especially on corners much better than its Sigma's sister can provide. Sigma's center is the best and Sony' lens doesn't beat Sigma there.
            Generally this Sony lens provides at least not bad optical quality, especially in terms of sharpness/resolution, high contrast and color rendering. I found the lens optical quality is not a perfect but more than acceptable, the main weak points are Geometrical pincushion distortions (I think it's about 3%, you won't notice it at all if you shoot landscapes, but it may be really noticeable on pictures of interiors and architecture) and moderate, but noticeable level of Chromatic Abberations. The both disadvantages is the matter of several seconds to remove with help of RAW' any converter, and it seems my camera removes CA from its JPG files.
            I must notice that the lens design is lovely and perfect. I would even say that the lens has incredible design of its attached hood that also defends a glass surface against any unexpected/undesirable contacts, I believe any photographer will appreciate a fantastic lightness and usability of the lens let alone a nice picture that is creating by so small and light toy...

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            • No

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            (12 of 20 customers found this review helpful)

             
            2.0

            Just barely better than 16mm pancake

            By ZTJ

            from Salt Lake City, UT

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Improvement Over 16mm
            • Small

            Cons

            • No stabilization
            • Slow Af Motor
            • soft wide open

            Best Uses

            • Smallest Nex Combo

            Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

            I tested it in general purpose, bright light, low light, indoors and out.

            Focus is somewhat slow and clumsy compared to the larger lenses.
            Sharpness: It's very similar to the 16mm pancake except that you don't have to stop down to f/8 to get decent usable results. f/4 will do.
            Mustache distortion makes RAW processing a hassle at times.
            It is way, way too expensive for its level of performance.

            I would say it's about on par with the kit lens when stopped down as far as the kit lens (f/3.5) at 20mm. So it's like having the kit lens locked at 20mm, with a bonus 2/3rds stop added brightness, and of course the small size. But, you lose stabilization.

            It comes with a hood similar if not identical to the hood on the 30mm macro. It looks nicer than the original 16mm pancake and it's about 1mm shorter.

            There isn't anything especially nice to say about the lens. It's acceptable and it's small. Coupled with the NEX-5R it makes a very small combination. If that's not critical, I'd recommend saving a little more cash and buying the far better 35mm f/1.8 OSS. In fact, I'd rather shoot with the kit lens with stabilization since I would only shoot this 20mm lens at f/2.8 if desperate.

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            (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Very nice lens

            By Soliman A. Shamsalddin

            from Saudi Arabia, Jeddah

            Verified Buyer

            Comments about Sony 20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens:

            This is a better lens than the 16mm. No softness noticede so far even wide open. The awasome thing that it works nicely with Sony NEX VCL-ECU1 ultra wide converter 0.75x which gives you 15mm to the crop sensor. Nice wide angle baby.

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            • No

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