Lens review

Sony E 16 mm f/2.8

16 February 2011
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

There is no other mirrorless device the tested lens could be compared with. This chart, which compares different „pancakes” shows very clearly that small dimensions are probably their only common feature. Looking at the angles of view it becomes clear that they must be assigned to different classes. Small “prime” lenses of the Micro Four Thirds system (Olympus and Panasonic) feature the equivalent of 34-40 mm focal range. Also the already tested Samsung NX 30 mm f/2.0 has the equivalent of 45 mm. Only the wideangle usage of the Samsung NX 20 mm f/2.8, which has just been launched, could be considered similar to the tested lens. A simple optical design, consisting of 5-7 elements with usually one aspherical element among them, is another thing that connects the “pancakes” compared here. It’s worth noticing, though, that the tested Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 is, according to our chart, physically the lightest.

The dimensions of the indicated lenses are very similar. The photo below presents the Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 along the Olympus M Zuiko Digital 17 mm f/2.8 and the Panasonic LUMIX G 20 mm f/1.7 ASPH.

Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Build quality

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As it was in the case of the NEX-5 camera and the 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens, we have mixed feelings about the material the tested instrument is made of . At first glance it commands respect because a metal barrel is not a typical feature among the lenses of this class. On the other hand, though, we doubt whether it would stand the test of time, as the camera and the kit lens, mentioned above, had some serious problems with it.

Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Build quality

The construction of the lens, as it befits a „pancake”, is very simple. It starts with a metal mount behind which you can find the widest part of the lens with its name on it. Further on we see a ribbed focus ring - quite narrow but very precise. At the end we have a thread 49 mm in diameter. The same diameter features the kit NEX lens so the filter users will be able to swap filters between both models. The lens doesn’t change its dimensions during its work.

The optical construction consists of 5 elements in 5 groups with one aspherical element. The aperture is made of seven diaphragm blades and can be closed down to f/22.

The fact that Sony has also launched two screw- in converters which can be attached to the thread is an interesting tidbit. The first of them is a wideangle “fisheye” Sony VCL-ECF1. It consists of 4 elements positioned in 4 groups and it creates the fisheye effect with the effective focal length of 15 mm.

Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Build quality

The second converter is a wideangle VCL-ECU1, which transforms the tested model into even more wideangle one - the equivalent of the full frame 20 mm device.

Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 - Build quality


Due to small dimensions, the lens wasn’t equipped with stabilization.