Putting e=mount lenses in perspective

Started Jan 16, 2012 | Discussions thread
Ron Parr
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Re: Putting e=mount lenses in perspective
In reply to jtyoung, Jan 18, 2012

jtyoung wrote:

Ron Parr wrote:

The 16mm 2.8 has issues that are measurable and quantifiable, and these things have been measured and quantified by sites such as photozone.

I've seen this statement before and I think it's a bit disingenuous.

Really? You think that pointing out objective, quantifiable deficiencies in the lens is disingenuous. You must have a different understanding of that word than I have.

There simply aren't that many lenses in that focal length, speed and size range. It's not as if the lens is competing in a field of dozens where there are truly excellent choices that exhibit none of the problems in the 16/2.8 exhibits. To the best of my knowledge, none of 16 pancakes exhibit excellent optical characteristics through the entire field/at all apertures. So if the Sony 16/2.8 is the "worst" of the bunch, it's perhaps in last place out of 3 or 4 where none are truly excellent (at least according to reviews).

Why should we settle for the worst?

It turns out that anybody can legitimately want a sharp lens. It's hard to imagine that I would need to justify that, but the group-think and rationalization around here has created an environment where people need to be reminded of this.

I think there's a distinction between simply accepting "poor" equipment and understanding the limitations of the equipment at hand; something that does come from experience. If all lens design is a matter of compromise, then you have to recognize kind of trade offs you're going to get at a given price level and set of design constraints. It doesn't serve anyone any good to be endlessly bombarded with a litany of complaints where the expectations may be unrealistic.

As it turns out, edge to edge sharpness with little to no distortion is actually a fairly difficult design challenge, particularly with wide angle lenses. An experienced photographer recognizes that and compensates for them accordingly, including adjusting expectations as such. People seem to be making a ruckus that as a $250-$300 lens by itself, the 16/2.8 provides poor value for the money. My experience is that once you've factored out the nifty-50, that price range is not even an entry point yet into lenses for a system.

Even at small sizes, on screen, the corner softness in the 16mm 2.8 is noticeable in many shots. You're right that for $250 people shouldn't expect miracles, but people could reasonably expect the only lens that Sony offers with a 24mm equivalent field of view to have deficiencies that are apparent at small viewing sizes even when the lens is stopped down.

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