REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

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Sony20mm f/2.8 Alpha E-mount Lens
 
4.4

(based on 29 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (16)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

90%

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 29 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Lightweight and looks great!

By Clayton

from Undisclosed

Site Member

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

This lens is exactly what I was needing!
I own a Sony a6500 and I needed a lens for my Zhiyun Crane that was lighter than the lens I was already using (Sony 18-105 F4). This lens is super light and the F2.8 aperture really helps with blurring the background out. The autofocus is very fast and smooth, and even the focus ring is like butter! Functioned pefectly on my gimbal.
Very very happy with this purchase!

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Tested it and found as the best lens for a6500

By Adam

from Undisclosed

Site Member

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

I've tested and compared with other lenses mounted on a6500.
I took the same 4K video shot in the same enviroment.
Sony-Zeiss 16-70/4
Sony Kit lens 16-50
Sony 10-18
Sony 20/2.8

I've watched at all video clips on BenQ BL3201PH CAD CAM Professional Monitor 32", nVidia GTX 980.
My conclusion: The best, the sharpest and very steady (!!!) is Sony prime lens, the E20mm/f2.8.

(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Excellent handy lens

By Dan

from Dallas

Verified Buyer

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

I use it with my A6500 when I don't want to cary my large zoom around town but want casual memories.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Sony E20mm with Sony a6500.

By Perfect camera for travel and semi pro.

from Undisclosed

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

This lense is my go and run lense that goes with me everywhere I go. It produces great photo and video quality. It also creates good bokeh. I highly recommend this lense. Is the best for its price give the best wide angle possible.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Great image.

By Ciffer

from Undisclosed

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

Image is great. The lens isn't quite as thin as it looks in the photo.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Fun With a Prime Lens

By Mr Subways: Nabobswims

from Atlanta, GA

Verified Buyer

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

This lens was purchased to photograph in subway stations with limited lighting. I'm getting used to prime lenses. The 20mm focal distance and wide angle view are great for tight spaces where the option isn't there for backing up to capture more in the frame. There seemed to be a problem with having a direct line of sight that resulted in shooting off the horizontal.Hopefully, Lightroom's lens profile correction will take care of what was captured before compensating. The colors seemed to be a bit more saturated than with the other lenses.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Awesome Street Photography / Walk About Lens

By Stefan @ RVP

from Patchogue, NY

Verified Buyer

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

As an upgrade to a Sony 16mm that I had used and abused for a year and a half, I finally settled on something that got me a bit more reach. Paired with the cropped sensor of the Sony a6000, this is a perfect little package for some great images. Its fast, its crisp, it is a great fit with that body.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Surprisingly good and worth the price.

By Richard

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

As a general purpose lens to leave on any of the a6xxx bodies you can't beat this. Tiny, cheap, pretty good (though not outstanding) optical performance.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Small, sharp, light.

By Robert

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

Excellent sharpness and really love the size. Makes my gimbal so much lighter than my A7sii with 28mm lens.

(1 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

I would buy this product again

By Leandro

from Londrina, Brazil

Verified Buyer

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

I use this product to take photos to fields.

(24 of 24 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Good value lens

By James

from Ann Arbor, MI

Verified Buyer

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

I purchased this lens at the same time as my a6300, looking for a compact lens I could use while traveling. The effective 30mm length is a nice middle of the road length for me, allowing for landscapes, street, and environmental portrait photography.

The lens is relatively sharp for the price, and has decent bokeh wide open. There is quite a bit of barrel distortion and vignetting with this lens, but the default profile in Lightroom has no problem making quick and accurate corrections.

In medium to well-lit situations AF is very fast, quiet, and accurate in all modes I have tested. Low light performance is middle of the pack for an f/2.8 lens, with auto focus slowing noticeably (but remaining usable). In low light the a6300's Eye-AF mode can also struggle to find its mark, and it was easier to just switch to another focus mode than repeatedly hunt.

All things considered, this is a great lens for the price.

(7 of 16 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

APS-C Pancake Lens

By blackshoe

from the woods

Verified Buyer

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

Note this is an APS-C lens that does not cover full frame sensors.

(13 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Compact and Unobtrusive

By Olivia

from Topsfield, MA

Verified Buyer

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

Affordable and slim little piece of glass! Reads like a 35mm on the full-frame Sony A7RII, but is a great everyday focal length. Pared with the compact body of the Sony, this little camera/lens combo is a winner.

(13 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Signature Look

By Michael

from Delta, PA, USA

Verified Reviewer

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

I absolutely love this lens!

This lens has not come off my camera since I first took it out of its packaging. Focal length is subjective, but for me, this lens effectively renders compositional framing right in my sweet spot (effectively, 28mm-30mm). The lens handles well. And, the hood that so many so roundly criticize, I find to be a useful and welcome included accessory.

Image quality with this lens is very much to my liking, and this lens captures images with a signature look to them, especially when used wide open. Sharpness is impressive - the lens is very sharp, but not clinically so. Focus response is super fast. When shot at the widest aperture of f/2.8, the images taken with this lens exhibit a pronounce vignetting. I love this look and so I shoot this lens, nearly exclusively, wide open, to get it.

My rating is five stars, because this has become my go to lens on my NEX-6 and A6000. Honestly, when I got this lens, I mounted it on the NEX-6, and it has not come off since; I also have very rarely shot the A6000 since then. The A6000 has a Sony FE 28mm f/2 lens, which is also a great lens. For those who want to avoid vignetting and a signature look, perhaps another lens would be better. As for me, I like a lens with some character, and this one has it in spades!

(2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Great wide angle lens with not too bad distortion

By Micajah

from El Cajon, CA

Verified Buyer

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

Overall, I'm really impressed with this lens. I use it as my standard lens for outdoor/adventure photography. It is a little short in construction to fit in my water housing without vignetting...so that is the only issue I have had with it.

(16 of 16 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.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (46 of 49 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.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (3 of 4 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.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      (10 of 20 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.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      (16 of 19 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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