This is the Sony E 16mm f/2.8, one of the first lenses made for the E Mount system. It was released in 2010, a time Sony clearly wasn’t considering creating professional mirrorless cameras. Here’s why it’s the worst lens you can have as a Sony user.
Pancakes aren’t known for their image quality. You sacrifice great sharpness for portability. The 16mm Sony handles the size and weight aspect of a pancake very well, but the optical performance isn’t something to be happy about. Even though I bought my 16mm used, other users have reported the same problem – it’s absolutely hopeless in the corners. The reason I’m using “hopeless” to describe the corners is simple: Sony seems to have given up when it comes to anything but the center of the image. And the latter is decent for a pancake.
It’s A Prime
Before the E 16mm f/2.8, Sony released the 18-55mm and the 18-200mm lenses. Neither of these won any awards for optical performance, but at least they are much more versatile. Both of them have OSS and the latter can be a passable portrait lens if you have enough space to work with.
With the 16mm I found myself pretty limited. 24mm
It Could Have Been So Much More
Here’s the thing. When Sony launched the E Mount system we were promised a simpler way of taking photos, but with the same DSLR image quality. The “DSLR Gear, No Idea” campaign was funny and I remember wanting one of the NEX cameras.
The Sony E 16mm f/2.8 lens is a great proposition: compact and light, has decent autofocus and it can take adapters. Here’s the view at 16mm, and here’s what you get with the Ultrawide Converter: 12mm of awesomeness. That’s why despite all of its shortcomings, I find myself mounting it on my a6300 far more often than I would have thought. The focal length is great for architecture, street shooting, and even astrophotography if you don’t mind the horrible corners.
With the release of the new Fujifilm 16mm f/2.8 lens, there’s a small chance Sony could reconsider releasing a second generation.
And another reason this is the worst E Mount lens: Sony still sells this in silver-only.