why has the 16mm f2.8 got such a bad rep?

Started Jul 29, 2013 | Discussions thread
parallaxproblem Veteran Member • Posts: 5,335
Re: You need to know the history

Mike Fewster wrote:

This lens was released with the very first Nex cameras. On those models, the lens had very soft corners. The reviews of the new camera and Nex at the time duely pointed this out and marked the lens down, although most said it was very good in the centre. Those reviews are still the reviews that people read when they look for evaluation of this lens.

These reviews are less than accurate on two grounds. The lens had highly variable performance with some copies much better than others. Clearly a quality control issue at Sony. Later releases of the lens tended to be considerably better. More importantly, on later Nex models, Sony changed the micro lenses in the camera and this made a significant difference to the edges.

There you have it, a later build lens on one of the later Sony models is much better than its reputation and an absolute bargain.

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Mike Fewster
Adelaide Australia

Not sure about all of this

- The soft corners and edges on the lens are a fact, even on good copies - every review comments on it and most sample images here and on other forums exhibit this property.  Actually it doesn't bother me because that is the compromise you make for getting a cheap(ish) pancake wide angle, as long as the softness is equal in each corner (decentering is really annoying on a lens with this characteristic)

- Sony pulled the first review sample of the lens saying it was a 'pre-production' lens and that they had 'made changes to the manufacturing process' since then.  This was almost certainly a lie or at least a distortion of the truth and what in fact they did was rather stupidly send out a bad copy for review.  There simply is no way that they could have implemented changes and released the number of lenses they did into the distribution channels after the bad reviews...  the review sample may even be the same 'pre-production' lens which is currently being used in Bremmen as a 'reference' to reject returned lenses (like the copy I sent back to them)

- Are we sure there are 'early' and 'late' releases of the E16/2.8?  Are we even sure that the lens is still being produced or that there was ever more than the initial production run?   I don't have the impression that Sony use JIT when manufacturing their NEX lenses so perhaps (this is what I suspect) they just produced a large number of lenses at the start, then realised they didn't make them that well and that the design itself was compromised (remember that they didn't believe enthusiasts would be buying NEX when he range was released so perhaps thought their customers would accept lower quality optics) and have been selling out of that initial stock since then, which is probably running-down now.  The E16-50 has replaced the lens in providing a small pancake of that range, and the 10-18 zoom covers the same range as the UW converter and makes more money for Sony when people buy it (price-owch!)

If you have a good copy of the lens you can be happy, but finding one is not easy as there are clearly more bad copies than good ones on the market

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