Is the Sony 16mm/F2.8 really that bad?

Started Nov 7, 2013 | Questions thread
Mel Snyder
Mel Snyder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,088
Re: Is the Sony 16mm/F2.8 really that bad?

Miki Nemeth wrote:

I was on the point to buy a NEX with the 16/2.8 lens when in a review of the Sony 16mm/F2.8 the verdict was

"The Sony E 16mm f/2.8 may be a controversial lens on lower resolution NEX cameras. However, it seems rather pointless to use it on the NEX 7 - 24 megapixel are way beyond the capabilities of this tiny lens. The center quality is certainly fine but the outer image region is extremely soft at max. aperture and just barely acceptable around f/8. The native vignetting characteristic of the lens is dismal and you should always activate the auto-correction in the camera to reduce the effect. The same applies to lateral CAs which are way too high for a prime lens. The idea of using front-mounted converters is surely attractive but it just doesn't make must sense on this basis. The VCL-ECU1 (0.75x converter) manages to keep the "performance" of the base lens (roughly) but the quality remains unusable except for very casual photography.

The nice build quality and the very attractive form factor of the pancake lens can't overshadow the conclusion that it should just be AVOIDED on the NEX 7. It is a bit hard to understand Sony's logic of releasing a camera with a difficult 24 megapixel sensor without a set of lenses that are capable of exploiting its potential. Hopefully this situation will improve soon ... please"

It was shocking to read this, since I saw a number of to-my-eyes excellent photographs published on this very friendly forum. How seriously these reviews can be taken? I am just a progressing beginner and I listen to the opinion of experienced photographers.


Don't believe the test charts, reviewers despite their nationalities - and least of all the incompetent photographers who slam damn near everything with which THEY can't take reasonable photos.

This is what you can get with the 16mm + UWA. Good enough for me. Maybe good enough for me. The 16mm f2.8 was bought used from a local wedding photographer who wasn't getting much use of it on his E-mount video system. I bought the UWA new from Amazon.

There is more manure slung at Sony lenses than you will find in any cow pasture. At least 90% speaks more of the slingers than their targets.

I'm on the road and don't have a lot of examples of other Sony lenses that get routinely slammed here, like the 16-50PZ and the 55-210mm. In my hands, they all are capable of images as good or better than this one.

I have no idea how this or any other Sony lens I own would test on a photo zone lens chart. If you shoot lens charts, pay very close attention to photo zone. I judge cameras and lenses by the results they get in the hands of more competent photographers than me - and there are plenty here on this forum who are better than me, and get better results.

If you were dropping $9000 on an M9 system, a lens like the 16mm f2.8 would be inappropriate. But you're considering an inexpensive camera without even an EVF.

For that kind of camera, Sony lenses - including the 16mm f2.8 - are more than "good enough" - they're GREAT!

 Mel Snyder's gear list:Mel Snyder's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony Alpha a7 Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS +12 more
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