Sony 28mm f/2

Full-Frame E-Mount FE

Sample Images   Intro   Format   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Recommendations

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Sony 28mm f/2

Sony FE 28mm f/2 (covers full-frame and APS-C, 49mm filters, 7.1 oz./200g, 0.8'/0.25m close focus, about $398) bigger. I got mine at B&H. I'd also get it at Adorama or at Amazon. Sony also makes two dedicated converters for this lens; one to make it a 21mm f/2.8 full-frame ultrawide and another to make it into a 16mm f/3.5 full-frame 180º Fisheye, and both converters offer full EXIF data and communications.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to my personally-approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Sony does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, non-USA, store demo or used lens. Get yours only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

 

August 2017   Sony   Sony Lenses   Minolta Lenses   Zeiss   Canon   Nikon   All Reviews

 

Sample Image

(more throughout the review)

Top   Samples   Intro   Format   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Recommendations

Sony 28mm f/2 sample image - Seven Palms Oasis

Seven Palms Oasis, 01 August 2017. Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 at f/8 at 1/160 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear. bigger or full-resolution.

 

Introduction

Top   Samples   Intro   Format   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Recommendations

Converters   Good   Bad

Adorama Pays Top Dollar for Used Gear

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

Crutchfield

I buy only from these approved sources. I can't vouch for ads below.

This Sony 28mm f/2 is a tiny, flyweight full-frame wide-angle lens. It's also a fast f/2 for great results in low light. It's ideal for people who want to carry as little as possible; the whole point of mirrorless cameras in the first place, so long as you don't need a zoom. This is a small, non-imposing lens for great grab shots.

It autofocuses silently and essentially instantly over the entire frame on my Sony A9.

Zooms like the 24-70/2.8 GM and 70-200/2.8 GM are fantastic lenses, but if I wanted to carry that much I'd shoot the LEICA, Nikon or Canon systems I already own.

Sony pitches this lens as having superior "prime" optical quality over zooms, but the 24-240mm is just as sharp. The 16-35/2.8 GM and 24-70/2.8 GM are sharper if you look at the corners under a microscope at large apertures, but for taking real pictures, all of these are superb — and all are the same when stopped down. Any of the 24-240mm, 16-35/2.8 GM or 24-70/2.8 GM are many, many times bigger and heavier, but the zooms replace several fixed lenses.

 

16mm & 21mm Lens Converters

This lens is unique in that Sony makes two converters speciality designed for it: one to make it into a 21mm f/2.8 full-frame ultrawide and another to make it into a 16mm f/3.5 full-frame 180º Fisheye.

Both converters offer full EXIF data and autofocus and data communications.

I haven't tried either of them, but seeing how they aren't that expensive and that they are dedicated to the optics of this lens, they might be pretty good.

If you get this lens and are curious about either converter, by all means order one or both and try it for yourself. You can return it for a full cash refund if you get it from the links links above or a recommended source. You have nothing to lose if you want to try it.

I may try to get these for review in later this fall, but for now, I'd suggest you give them a try if you're interested.

 

Good

● Essentially instantaneous autofocus.

● Autofocuses over the entre frame on an A9.

● Silent autofocus.

● Tiny.

● Weightless.

● Fast f/2 aperture for really low light.

 

Bad

● Manual focus ring is electronic, not direct mechanical.

 

Sony 28mm f/2

Sony FE 28mm f/2. bigger.

 

Format

Top   Samples   Intro   Format   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Recommendations

This is a full frame lens and I'm reviewing it as such.

It also works great APS-C cameras, on which you may make the usual inferences. On APS-C cameras it becomes a fast fixed normal lens.

 

Compatibility

Top   Samples   Intro   Format   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Recommendations

This works on all Sony E-mount cameras, full-frame and APS-C crop-sensor. This includes all the variations of NEX, A9-, A7-, A6xxx and A5xxx series cameras.

It will not work on any Sony A-mount DSLR or any Minolta MAXXUM 35mm SLR of any kind. Those use the old A mount which was actually the Minolta MAXXUM mount from 1987.

 

Specifications

Top   Samples   Intro   Format   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Recommendations

 

Name

Sony 28mm f/2

Sony FE 28mm f/2. bigger.

Sony calls this the Sony FE 28mm f/2:

    FE: Full-frame coverage, E-mount.

It's also model number SEL28F20.

 

Optics

Sony 28mm f/2 internal construction

Sony 28/2 internal construction. Advanced Aspherical and Aspherical and ED elements. bigger.

9 elements in 8 groups.

2 ED extra-low dispersion elements, which help reduce secondary axial chromatic aberration.

3 aspherical elements, one of which Sony calls an "Advanced Aspherical Element.".

Internal focus.

 

Diaphragm

Sony 28mm f/2

Sony FE 28mm f/2. bigger.

9 rounded blades.

Stops down to f/22.

Makes a slight clicking as it operates on a silent camera.

 

Focal Length

28mm.

When used on APS-C, it sees the same angle of view as a 42mm lens sees when used on a full-frame or 35mm camera, which is actually a perfect normal lens on APS-C.

See also Crop Factor.

 

Angle of View

75º diagonal on full-frame.

54º diagonal on APS-C.

 

Autofocus

Silent internal focus.

Linear autofocus motor.

No external movement as focussed, so no air or dust is sucked in.

No focus-lock button.

 

Focus Scale

No.

 

Infinity Focus Stop

No.

 

Depth of Field Scale

No.

 

Infrared Focus Index

No.

 

Close Focus

AF: 1 foot (0.29 meters).

MF: 0.8 foot (0.25 meters).

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio

AF: 1:7.7 (0.13×).

MF: 1:6.25 (0.16×).

 

Filters

Plastic 49 mm filter thread.

 

Hood

Sony 28mm f/2

Sony ALC-SH112 hood for 28mm f/2. bigger.

Plastic bayonet ALC-SH112 hood included.

 

Size

2.52" maximum diameter × 2.36" extension from flange.

64 mm maximum diameter × 60 mm extension from flange.

 

Weight

7.1 oz. (200g).

 

Quality

Made in Thailand.

 

Announced

March 2015.

 

Included

Lens.

ALC-F49S front and ALC-R1EM rear cap.

ALC-SH112 hood.

 

Packaging

Sony 28mm f/2

Sony FE 28mm f/2. bigger.

Bubble-wrapped lens in corrugated cardboard box.

 

Sony's Model Number

SEL28F20.

 

Price, USA

$398, Late August 2017.

$448, Early August 2017.

 

Getting a Legal USA Version

(applies in USA only)

Top   Samples   Intro   Format   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Recommendations

In the USA, along with whatever else is in your box, be sure you get a folded USA Warranty slip like this that says "US Only" and has the (800) 222-SONY phone number:

Sony 28mm f/2 USA Warranty

Sony USA Warranty slip. bigger.

If not, you got ripped off with a gray market version from another country. This is why I never buy anyplace other than from my personally approved sources. You just can't take the chance of buying elsewhere, especially at any retail store, because non-USA versions have no warranty in the USA.

If a gray market version saves you $150 it may be worth it, but for $100 or less I wouldn't risk having no warranty or support.

Always be sure to check your paperwork while you can still return it, or just don't buy from unapproved sources or at retail so you'll be able to have your lens serviced as needed.

US versions like mine may also include manuals in extra languages and extra foreign warranty cards; so long as you have an English manual and a "(US Only)" warranty card, you're good.

Get yours from the same places I do and you won't have a problem, but if you take the risk of getting yours elsewhere, be sure to check everything while you still can return it.

 

Performance

Top   Samples   Intro   Format   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Recommendations

 

Overall   Autofocus   Manual Focus

Breathing   Bokeh   Distortion   Ergonomics

Falloff   Filters   Flare & Ghosts   Frame Rates

Lateral Color Fringes    Macro   Mechanics

Sharpness   Spherochromatism

Stabilization   Sunstars

 

Overall

Performance          top

The Sony 28mm f/2 works fast and gives great images in any light.

It autofocuses silently and operates its diaphragm nearly silently. Autofocus is essentially instantaneous on an A9.

 

Autofocus

Performance          top

Autofocus is silent and ultrafast.

My A9 focuses over the entire frame.

The DNF mode for instant manual override in AFS mode works great on an A9.

 

Manual Focus

performance          top

Manual focus is with an electronic ring on the front half of the lens.

It's relatively free-spinning; a fingertip will move it.

It's smart, at least on my A9: the manual focus speed varies by how fast you turn the ring. A fast flick goes quickly from one end of the range to the other in a fraction of a turn, while turning the focus ring slowly gives much more precise operation, something direct mechanical rings can't do.

 

Focus Breathing

Performance          top

Focus breathing is the image changing size as focused in and out. It's important to cinematographers because it looks funny if the image changes size as focus gets pulled back and forth between actors. If the lens does this, the image "breathes" by growing and contracting slightly as the dialog goes back and forth.

The image from this 28/2 grows (gets bigger) as focussed more closely.

 

Bokeh

Performance          top

Not much is out of focus with a wide-angle lens, but bokeh, which is the feel or quality of out-of-focus areas as opposed to how far out of focus they are, is beautiful. Nothing distracts:

Ryan at Mario's

Ryan at Mario's for lunch, 01 August 2017. Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 at f/2.8 at 1/60 at Auto ISO 100, Perfectly Clear. bigger.

 

Ryan checks his Apple Watch

Ryan checks his Apple Watch, 01 August 2017. Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 at f/2 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 250, Perfectly Clear. bigger.

As always, if you want to throw the background as far out of focus as possible, shoot at f/2 and get as close as possible.

 

Distortion

Performance          top

Guns of WW II

Guns of World War II, Palm Springs Air Museum, 01 August 2017. (Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 wide-open at f/2 hand-held at 1/30 at ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or full-resolution image.

Most Sony cameras correct distortion by default. On these cameras like my A9 shot as JPG, this lens has no visible distortion. If shot as a raw file and opened in random non-Sony software that doesn't correct, it probably has some barrel distortion.

In fact, on my Sony A9, I can't turn off the correction; it always corrects.

 

Ergonomics

Performance          top

Sony 28mm f/2

Sony FE 28mm f/2. bigger.

No mysteries here: it's a small lens with but one control: an electronic focus ring.

This is not as good as a mechanical focus ring as on the 70-200/2.8 GM, but if you set your camera controls well, it works fine.

 

Falloff

Performance          top

There is no significant falloff, at least on most Sony cameras which correct it by default.

If shooting blank walls are your thing, on my Sony A9 which corrects this, there is a little bit of smooth falloff at f/2, and it's gone by f/2.8.

 

Filters, use with

performance          top

No problem; 49mm is a more than an ample filter size for the tiny optics of this lens. Even on full-frame you can stack several 49mm filters before you see any vignetting.

Go ahead and use any normal filters and thick rotating polarizer and grad filters; there's no problem.

 

Flare & Ghosts

Performance          top

I can't see any ghosts. See samples at Sunstars.

 

Frame Rates

Performance          top

It shoots at 13 FPS on my Sony A9.

 

Lateral Color Fringes

Performance          top

There are no color fringes as shot on my Sony A9, which corrects them by default.

See samples at Sunstars.

 

Macro

Performance          top

This lens focuses to just inches in front of the lens, but it's so wide that it doesn't seem close at all.

It's not close, but it is sharp at normal apertures.

 

At f/6.3

Sony 28mm f/2 Macro Performance

Kienzle Flieger Automat 800/2843, 12 August 2017. Full-frame Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 at f/6.3 at 1/320 at close focus distance at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).

 

Sony 28mm f/2 Macro Performance

1,200 × 900 pixel crop from above. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).

The texture you're seeing is on the watch itself.

If this crop is about 6" (15cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 20 × 30" (50 × 75cm).

If this crop is about 12" (30cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 40 × 60" (1 × 1.5 meters).

 

Wide-open at f/2

It loses a lot of contrast at the close-focus distance at f/2, and spherochromatism makes it tough to get good real-world results due to the colored fringes on anything not in perfect focus:

Sony 28mm f/2 Macro Performance

Kienzle Flieger Automat 800/2843, 12 August 2017. Full-frame Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 wide-open at f/2 at 1/2,000 at close focus distance at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).

 

Sony 28mm f/2 Macro Performance

1,200 × 900 pixel crop from above. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).

The red and cyan color fringes are from spherochromatism in areas that aren't in perfect focus.

If this crop is about 6" (15cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 20 × 30" (50 × 75cm).

If this crop is about 12" (30cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 40 × 60" (1 × 1.5 meters).

 

Mechanical Quality

Performance          top

 

Sony 28mm f/2

Sony FE 28mm f/2. bigger.

It's a mostly plastic lens in a metal vanity shell with a metal mount.

 

Hood

Plastic bayonet.

 

Front Bumper

None.

 

Filter Threads

Plastic.

 

Hood Bayonet Mount

Plastic.

 

Front Barrel

Fixed part ahead of focus ring: Metal.

 

Focus Ring

Metal.

 

Rear Barrel

Metal.

 

Identity & Markings

Printed inside filter ring, sticker on bottom and engraved and painted on top of barrel.

 

Internals

Plastic.

 

Moisture Seal at Mount

No.

 

Mount

Dull chromed metal.

 

Serial Number

Sticker glued on bottom of barrel.

 

Date Code

None found on lens, but it is marked on the box:

Sony 28mm f/2

Sony FE 28mm f/2. bigger.

 

Noises When Shaken

Mild to moderate clicking.

 

Made in

Sony 28mm f/2

Sony FE 28mm f/2. bigger.

Thailand.

 

Sharpness

Performance          top

It's sharp and contrasty in the center at every aperture.

It's sharp and contrasty on the sides stopped-down, but the sides are a little softer wide-open at f/2. It's about the same as the 24-240mm set to 28mm, but not as good as the 16-35/2.8 GM or 24-70/2.8 GM set to 28mm. You'll never see any difference unless you waste your time at the Wall of Shame and look in the corners with a microscope at f/2, which people who actually make great pictures never do.

Here are some samples wide-open at f/2:

B-17, Palm Springs Air Musuem

Boeing B-17, Palm Springs Air Museum, 01 August 2017. (Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 wide-open at f/2 hand-held at 1/15 at ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or full-resolution image.

 

Life Magazine

Life Magazine, 01 August 2017. (Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 wide-open at f/2 hand-held at 1/15 at ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or camera-original © image.

The only limitation to picture sharpness will be your skill as a photographer. I have no problem making sharp images with this lens.

 

Sony 28mm f/2 MTF

MTF at f/2 at 10 cyc/mm and 30 cyc/mm. bigger.

 

Spherochromatism

Performance          top

Spherochromatism, also called "color bokeh" by laymen, can cause colored fringes on out-of-focus highlights, usually seen as green fringes on backgrounds and magenta fringes on foregrounds with fast, long lenses shot wide open. It's an advanced form of chromatic aberration in a different dimension than lateral color. Spherochromatism is most commonly seen in fast lenses of moderate focal length when shooting contrasty items at full aperture. It goes away as stopped down.

The Sony 28 2 has a lot of spherochromatism, seen as cyan fringes on the far (left) side and red fringes on the near (right) side of focus on this watch face:

Sony 28mm f/2 Macro Performance

Kienzle Flieger Automat 800/2843, 12 August 2017. Full-frame Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 wide-open at f/2 at 1/6,400 at close focus distance at Auto ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).

 

Sony 28mm f/2 Spherochromatism

1,200 × 900 pixel crop from above. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).

The red and cyan color fringes are from spherochromatism in areas that aren't in perfect focus.

If this crop is about 6" (15cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 20 × 30" (50 × 75cm).

If this crop is about 12" (30cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 40 × 60" (1 × 1.5 meters).

 

Image Stabilization

Performance          top

It has no built-in optical stabilizer, but with sensor-shift stabilization in my A9 I easily can hand-hold it at 1/8:

Spitfire Mk 14

Spitfire Mk 14, Palm Springs Air Museum, 01 August 2017. (Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 at f/7.1 hand-held at 1/8 at ISO 400, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or full-resolution image.

 

Douglas SBD Dauntless

Douglass SBD Dauntless at the Palm Springs Air Museum, 01 August 2017. (Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 at f/9 hand-held at 1/8 at ISO 400, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or full-resolution image.

 

Palm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air Museum, 01 August 2017. (Sony A9, Sony 28mm f/2 at f/4.5 hand-held at 1/8 at ISO 100, Perfectly Clear.) bigger or full-resolution image.

 

Sunstars

Performance          top

The rounded blades thankfully are only rounded at large apertures, and reasonably straight at smaller apertures so we can get sunstars. Click any for the camera-original files:

Sony 28mm f/2 Sunstars

Sony 28mm f/2 Sunstars

Sony 28mm f/2 Sunstars

Sony 28mm f/2 Sunstars

Sony 28mm f/2 Sunstars

Click any to enlarge.

 

Recommendations

Top   Samples   Intro   Format   Compatibility

Specifications   USA Version   Performance

Recommendations

This is a swell little fast wide lens for full-frame, and a swell fast normal lens on APS-C. It's tiny, nearly weightless and works great. If you want a tiny fixed lens, here you go.

The very best protective filter is the Multicoated Hoya HD3 49mm UV which uses hardened glass and repels dirt and fingerprints.

For less money, the BW 49mm 010 is an excellent filter, as are the multicoated B+W and the basic multicoated Hoya filters, but the Hoya HD3 is the toughest and the best.

Filters last a lifetime, so you may as well get the best. The Hoya HD3 stays cleaner than the others since it repels oil and dirt.

I got my 28mm f/2 at B&H. I'd also get it at Adorama or at Amazon

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Sony does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, non-USA, store demo or used lens. I use the stores I do because they ship from secure remote warehouses where no one gets to touch your new camera before you do. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection.

Thanks for helping me help you!

Ken, Mrs. Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

 

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12-13 August 2017