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Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G Lens Review

We review the new Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G full-frame wide-angle prime lens for Sony E-mount cameras. Designed to be compact and lightweight, how does this lens perform?

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SONY FE 20mm F1 8G SEL20F18G (8)

The Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G lens is a wide-angle prime lens, with a relatively bright aperture of f/1.8. The E-Mount lens covers the full-frame sensor, but can also be used on Sony's APS-C mirrorless cameras, giving a crop to 30mm in 35mm equivalent terms. We tested the Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G lens on the Sony Alpha A7R III, 42mp camera.


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Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G Handling and Features

SONY FE 20mm F1 8G SEL20F18G (4)

The Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G lens weighs in at 373g (13.2oz) without the hood, and the size of the lens, at 84.7mm long, makes it a relatively compact lens for a full-frame 20mm lens with a bright f/1.8 aperture. The lens feels very well made, using a combination of metals and plastics in its construction.

The lens has a dust and moisture resistant design, with seals throughout the lens. In addition, the rear metal lens mount features a rubber gasket for a weather-seal between the lens and camera.

The front lens element has a fluorine and Nano AR coating, designed to repel water and grime, as well as reduce flare and ghosting and internal reflections.

The lens does not feature built-in optical image stabilisation, instead, you'll need to use a Sony camera with in-body image stabilisation if you need this.

Included is a petal-shaped hood, with a bayonet fitting, that can be reversed if you're looking to reduce the size. You'll also find a front and rear lens cap, as well as a soft case in the box. There's a 67mm filter thread, and as the lens has internal focusing, this stays still when the lens is in use.

There's a front focus ring which is electronically linked and gives smooth control of the focus, however, there is no distance scale on the lens. On the side you can find an AF/MF switch, and above this is a Focus hold button, which on default settings, also activates a magnified view to aid manual focusing. It can be customised to your needs. Further back there is the aperture ring with A (for Auto), as well as settings from f/22 all the way to f/1.8, with 2 steps in between each main aperture setting. There's another switch that lets you switch the Aperture click on or off, and for video use this means you can switch off the click stops, for silent aperture adjustments.

The minimum focusing distance is 19cm with 0.2x magnification, however, we suspect the 19cm figure is measured from the sensor, as we are able to have the front lens element roughly 10cm away from the subject and still get a photo in focus. You can also get closer than this when using manual focus.

SONY FE 20mm F1 8G SEL20F18G (6)

Optical construction is made up of 14 elements in 12 groups, with two AA (Advanced Aspherical) elements, designed to minimise aberration, and three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements to minimise sagittal flare. The lens has 9 aperture blades to give a round and smooth bokeh.

The lens has "floating elements" which means that when the lens (camera) is switched off (or removed from the camera) you can feel some of the glass elements moving when you tilt or move the lens forwards or backwards. This is nothing to worry about, as these move into the correct position when you switch the camera on, and they make up the "focus group" which Sony call large. The lens uses two XD (eXtreme Dynamic) Linear Motors to drive the AF system and to move the "large focus group."

The focus system is relatively quick, and also quite quiet. Certainly, it doesn't stand out as loud, like some other lenses. However, there is some noise from the aperture blades as the open and close. Again, this isn't particularly loud, but is noticeable if you're listening for any noise in a quiet environment. In day to day use, when out and about shooting, none of this was noticeable.

SONY FE 20mm F1 8G SEL20F18G (12)

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josa 10 25 Czech Republic
29 Jun 2020 3:02PM
No more sharpness charts???
30 Jun 2020 10:30PM

Quote:No more sharpness charts???

No signatory either.

A poorly edited draft ("Highly Recommend").
1 Jul 2020 1:15PM
Typo corrected, thanks for pointing this out.

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