Sony 20mm F1.8 first experiences (compared to 16-35 GM)

Started 10 months ago | User reviews thread
PWPhotography Forum Pro • Posts: 10,813
Re: Sony 20mm F1.8 first experiences (compared to 16-35 GM)

N4865G wrote:

Hallo all,

Ever since I got my 16-35GM I found it sitting in my bag rather than on a camera. Whilst the picture quality is fantastic I thought it is taking too much space in my bag for me to take it with me everywhere I go. I normally shoot telephoto, including landscape photography, but occasionally I come across a scene which just begs for wide angle. That was the whole point of me buying into the 1635GM. But the size and weight of it is prohibitive long term, so I thought I would experiment and get the widely praised 20mmf1.8 as a potential replacement

Got it yesterday and took it for a bit of a benchmark test against the 1635GM.

I am happy to discover that to my eyes, it is not softer than the zoom, in fact I find it's corners sharper - even at f1.8!

This is by no means scientific test, but just a casual shoot.


20mm f1.8

As mentioned above I am surprised to see the prime corners much sharper than the GM, yet the center is a tie in my eyes (maybe even slightly sharper on the zoom):

center crop, prime on the left, zoom on the right

corner crop, prime on the left, zoom on the right

Another scene:

16-35GM, this time stepped down to f8

20mm f1.8, f8 as well

Surprisingly, the prime beats the zoom at f8 as well.

zoom on the left, prime on the right

again, zoom on the left, prime on the right.

Last, but not least, here is the comparison of their sunstars.

prime left, zoom on the right, both shot at f22

Please do not take this post as provocative. I merely want to share my experience and decision making process in order to optimise my lens portfolio.

I think I will be selling my GM zoom and keeping the prime. Versatility of the zoom turned out not to be an advantage with my shooting style, but the weight and space savings (never mind the cost) are significant.



I heard this lens has copy variation. You might have a lemon copy. My copy is pretty sharp. I have Voigtlander FE 21/1.4 Nokton that has similar sharpness as Sony 20/1.8. I did side by side test between 16-35 GM and CV 21/1.4 Nokton and don't see that much difference shown in your test. My 16-35 GM is also very sharp at edges after stopping down a bit. It's a very versatile lens with great FL range and much needed 16mm wide. It's my default lens on A7r IV.

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