Sony needs at least one really good pancake lens

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 9,313
Re: Sony needs at least one really good pancake lens

migus wrote:

"sharpness of the best GM lens are a VERY tough subject for a tiny 16-24Mpix APS body with a pancake...

Have you tried it? As long as I can get a clean (not blurry) shot, I pretty much don’t worry about not having enough resolution."

Yes, i'm ok with cameras from 7Mp and above; my 3 nex bodies of 16Mp are plenty good for Sony's kits and pancakes. My 20 and 24Mp alphas work best with adapted primes.

I bought an old 58mm f1.4 which I've used a couple of times, mostly at f2.0, where I needed all the help I could get in low light with movement. But f1.4 is too soft and only a sliver is actually in focus, so f2 became a more practical compromise.  But using this lens isn't just for sharpness -- it has an interesting character, plus you do have the option of f1.4 if absolutely necessary.  Maybe a shorter focal length at f1.4 would work better?  (More DOF to work with...)

For years, I've used an old 50/1.7 as well.  The problem with these is that it's easy for find a prime in this range, but it's really more suited to 35mm film/sensor -- a bit long for APS-C except for portraits or certain situations.  24mm primes are  harder to come by (and more expensive).

If I need ultimate sharpness, the Sigma 30mm/2.8 is probably the best that I have -- has a decent resolution on the edges.  (The 18-105 isn't too far behind, though.  It surprised me that it does well on the edges.)  While the 30/2.8 isn't at its best at f2.8, it's known for being decent even at f2.8.  So, sure, it's a bit of a compromise still, but you can actually use the lens at f2.8.  Many years ago, I did run into a party situation where this was not enough; they turned off most of the lights, and it was crazy-dark.  With moving people and f2.8, that was kind of a disaster.  With normal indoor lighting, high ISO will get you there, but there's always a point where you need more.
I'm not ready to run out and buy a 16mm/f1.4, but it's nice to know that the option is there.  It just doesn't fit into my small-and-cheap mentality. 

Generally I'm glass-limited for my compact systems: ie., if i want Sony's compact lenses, shot fully open i must accept their lower IQ (except ca. 1/3 around the center).

Yes, they are very sharp in the center.  They are not at their best fully open, to say the least!  Most lenses don't seem to be at their best fully open, and a lot of them are downright soft (at least my two 50-ish primes).
The 16mm/2.8 is the one that you really have to worry about with wider apertures, but the center is sharp as long as you stay away from f2.8 -- it's the corners that are the problem with this lens.  I think this is a case where it often doesn't look so bad (seems better indoors?), combined with not often finding corners so important.  Or use f8.

For example, the flags have sufficient detail, but aren't really critical to the photo.  Nothing in the corners looks so bad that it distracts, while the center is plenty sharp.  Here's a case of "low-light".  Yeah, I would have been better off with an f2.0 lens, but for what I'm doing, this is just fine.  This is a case where I'm willing to live with the compromise of a compact lens rather than try to use an adapted 50/1.7 and not be able to get the framing indoors, but at least I'd get another stop or two of light in on the framing I didn't want. 

I must try Laowa's 9mm, and also the Fuji X-A7 15-45kit, perhaps (Fuji got a really good SooC jpg engine, though Sony's most recent ain't bad either - but not in a5k series).

In the past, Sony has been a bit heavy-handed with the noise reduction or something, but photos out of the 6500 look really good, IMHO.  Regardless, I generally use RAW+JPEG in case I need better results.

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Gary W.

 GaryW's gear list:GaryW's gear list
Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a6500 +10 more
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