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Sony FE 28mm f/2.0 Review

Sony FE 28mm f/2.0 Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the new 28mm f/2 lens for full frame mirrorless cameras.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Sony FE 28mm f/2
Price : BUY NOW£339
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

FE 28mm f/2

The Sony FE 28mm f/2 is a compact wide angle lens for full-frame E-mount compatible Sony cameras that sports a fast f/2 maximum aperture, a dust and moisture resistant design and a linear motor for silent autofocus during video recording. In this review, we'll take a look at how it performs.

Sony FE 28mm f/2 Handling and Features

Sony 28mm F2 0 Lens (4)

Build and design is typical of Sony's mid-to-premium range of E-mount lenses with a combination of robust plastics and metal used for much of the build, finished with a metal lens bayonet. This lens is compact and lightweight, tipping the scales at 200g. As a result, it makes a perfect companion for the Sony Alpha 7R body used for testing. 

Sony 28mm F2 0 Lens (2)

Auto focus is fairly quick and accurate, although some extra care may need to be taken when shooting at f/2 to ensure your image is correctly focused. Minimum focus is 29cm, which isn't all that close, but is fairly typical for a full frame lens of this type. The manual focus ring is nicely damped, but the travel between closest focus and infinity is very short, which can make it more difficult that it should be to apply very fine manual focus adjustments.

As focusing is performed internally, the 49mm filter ring does not rotate, which makes the lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters.


Sony 28mm F2 0 Lens (1)

Sony FE 28mm f/2 Performance

Sharpness is already very good in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture. Towards the edges of the frame performance is only fair at maximum aperture, gradually improving as the lens is stopped down to f/11, where clarity reaches excellent levels. Sharpness in the centre of the frame is outstanding between f/2.8 and f/11.


 

 
MTF
MTF

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony Alpha 7R using Imatest.

 

Chromatic aberrations are quite high, towards the edges of the frame at maximum aperture with fringing exceeding 2.5 pixel widths. This level of fringing may be visible along high contrast edges placed near the edges of the frame. Stopping down improves control of fringing with it falling below one-pixel width between f/4 and f/16.


 

 
CA
CA

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony Alpha 7R using Imatest.

 

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is quite pronounced, although not atypical for the kind of lens. At maximum aperture the corners of the frame are 3.25 stops darker than the image centre with visually uniform illumination being achieved with the lens stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond.

Distortion is very well controlled with only 0.175% pincushion distortion being detected by Imatest. If you require absolutely straight lines, you'll be glad to know that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make applying correction in image editing software afterwards a doddle.

The supplied lens hood does a decent job of shielding the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues with flare. The lens is quite resistant to flare although contrast can be noticeably reduced when shooting into the light. The bayonet fitting that the lens hoods attaches with can also accept a couple of dedicated wide angle converters. One provides a 21mm equivalent field of view and the other produces a diagonal fisheye effect and both are available separately.

Sony FE 28mm f/2 Sample Photos

Value For Money

This lens can be picked up for around £390, which seems very reasonable for a fast aperture prime lens. There are no direct alternatives covering a similar range for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras at the moment as Sony has a virtual monopoly on directly compatible lenses. For the sake of comparison, Nikon's AF-S 28mm f/1.8G lens costs around £500.

Sony FE 28mm f/2 Verdict

This lens has a lot going for it. It's capable of delivering high levels of sharpness, it's compact, relatively lightweight and not too expensive. It's a shame the aperture has to be stopped down to improve performance towards the edges of the frame, and to reduce chromatic aberrations, but overall the lens performs well. As a result, it should win over many fans amongst those who own one of Sony's full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Sony FE 28mm f/2 Pros

Excellent build quality
Excellent sharpness in the centre of the frame
Quick focusing
Dust and moisture resistance
Not too expensive
Low distortion

Sony FE 28mm f/2 Cons

Needs to be stopped down to reduce chromatic aberrations and to improve sharpness towards the edges of the frame

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Sony FE 28mm f/2 has a lot going for it, delivering high levels of sharpness.

 

Sony FE 28mm f/2 Specifications

ManufacturerSony
General
Lens Mounts
  • Sony E Mount
  • Sony FE Mount
Lens
Focal Length28mm
Angle of View75
Max Aperturef/2
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size49mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalent42mm
Internal focusingYes
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus29cm
Construction
Blades9
Elements9
Groups8
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens, Front and Rear Caps, Hood (ALC-SH112)
Dimensions
Weight200g
Height64mm

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Comments


20 Feb 2016 12:54PM
Thanks for your very clear review - in many ways, a throwback to those pioneered in the film era by Herb Keppler at Modern Photography and Popular Photography. Today, too many reviewers cannot resist the urge to obfuscate their reviews.

However, in the digital era of routine post-processing of raw images, it would always be useful to determine if detected issues like CA can be easily corrected in Lightroom - now common enough, and still available (thankfully) as a stand-alone program. Even in the absence of a preset lens correction profile, CA can be quite easily fixed by even the most casual Lightroom user in raw files.

Have you tried to correct the CA in this lens there?

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