LensTip.com

Lens review

Sony E 16 mm f/2.8

16 February 2011
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

Pros:
  • small dimensions and weight,
  • very good resolution in the frame centre on slight stopping down,
  • decent resolution on the edge of the frame for f/5.6-f/11 aperture range,
  • low distortion,
  • well-controlled coma,
  • accurate and  problem-free autofocus.

Cons:

  • resolution by f/2.8 under the decency level,
  • average or weak resolution on the edge of the frame,
  • high lateral chromatic aberration in the whole aperture range,
  • noticeable vignetting in the whole aperture range.

”Pancake” lenses seem to play a very important role in mirrorless systems. A kit lens is mainly the standard device for amateur photographers, who perceive it as a “better compact camera” or a “smaller reflex camera”. A diminutive “prime” is often an interesting device for more advanced amateur users. They strive to achieve the best quality possible but they want it to be in the most compact form possible. Good fixed focal optics with decent fastness closed in a small barrel – all system “pancakes” would like to fit this description. If you put them on a good quality mirrorless camera’s sensor, they allow you to make the dream about “a reflex camera’s quality in your pocket” come true.


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It is important, then, that the optics doesn’t become the bottleneck of the whole set. Unfortunately the tested Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 joined with the NEX-5 is exactly the weaker link of that set. You can be disappointed especially by the work on the maximum relative aperture which is, to put it bluntly, lousy. Perhaps high aberrations and significant vignetting could be glossed over but such a low resolution is really hard to stomach even by less inquisitive users. You can find some solace in the really good resolution results (especially in the frame centre) in the aperture range from f/5.6 to f/8.0 though.

The Sony pancake is not as all-purpose a lens as many people would like it to be. If you forgot about the apertures lower than f/5.6 and if you turned a blind eye on aberrations and if you explained the high vignetting level by an unfair fight with small dimensions you could be satisfied with this lens. Don’t you think there are too many “ifs” here, though?

Conclusions? The Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 is certainly not the „pancake” which would set new standards. On the other hand currently this is the most wideangle lens available for mirrorless systems so it fights an unfair battle with other competitors. Whether its quality, compared to other features, is enough, every photographer should determine on his/her own. We, however, are waiting for the test results of other wideangle “pancakes” which are going to be launched soon.


Sample shots

Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/30 s, ISO 400
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 8.1 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 7.44 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/0 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 4.07 MB
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/0 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 4.57 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/640 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 4.54 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/320 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 5.04 MB
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/4 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 3.54 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/0 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 3.1 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 3.07 MB
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/2 s, ISO 400
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 4.04 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/3200 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 4.29 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/2500 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 4.32 MB
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/500 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 3.94 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 800
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 5.07 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/3.2, exp. 1/2500 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 3.44 MB
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/2500 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 3.69 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/22.0, exp. 1/15 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 3.32 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/11.0, exp. 1/60 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 4.32 MB
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Summary
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/11.0, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 6.1 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/11.0, exp. 1/320 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 4.54 MB
Camera: Sony NEX-5
Parameters: 16 mm, f/16.0, exp. 1/100 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4592×3056 pix, 4.32 MB



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