Sony E 20mm f/2.8 is great for street photography

I want to write a proper review for the Sony 20mm f/2.8 pancake lens. Until then, I thought I’d write a short article stating the obvious: it’s great for street photography. Up until getting this small lens, I frequently switched between the 16mm f/2.8, the 30mm f/1.4 Sigma and the 18-105 f/4. Although the 16mm’s size was great, the image quality was not. The others had a different problem

Sony E 20mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN, Sony 18-105mm f/4 G OSS mounted on a Sony a6300

Although the Sigma has the best image quality out of the three, its field of view is limiting sometimes. The 18-105mm is definitely the most versatile and it lets me get closer without bothering people. However it’s too big and heavy.

This is where the 20mm f/2.8 comes in. It’s not too wide, nor is it tight. It’s ridiculously light and compact and the focusing ring is very smooth. But most important: image quality is good enough for me. There are better lenses out there, but none of them is as compact as Sony’s black pancake. Here are some photos I took yesterday, all of them at f/8:

Comments (3):

  1. kunal

    March 12, 2022 at 11:01 am

    Great pics and I appreciate your article. I am using the Sigma 30 as well and find it too front heavy while shooting from the Hip. I have been using the Sigma 30 f2.8 recently for its tiny size. However, as you mentioned, 30mm is too tight. I am looking at the 20mm f2.8 now for its focal length. Any insight into its AF capabilities on a modern body like the A6400?

    • Dan Pandrea

      March 14, 2022 at 11:18 am

      I’m perfectly happy with the way the lens focuses on my a6300. I assume the performance on the a6400 is better. If you’re shooting outside, you’re not going to have any problems. You can check out more photos taken with his lens in my Rome article.

  2. Mat

    May 11, 2023 at 11:41 pm

    Nice shots, which prove it is good enough. I agree it’s great for street, especially when you want to be stealthy or ultra slim and lightweight.

    The Sigma 30mm used to be my daily lens and is far sharper, but the 20mm has it’s place due to the size, plus arguably more versatile focal length.

    I currently have it as part of my travel trio: the 20, Sigma 18-50mm and the Sigma 56mm. Sometimes I also take the fisheye converter lens that screws into the 20mm.


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