words and image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak


I won't try to justify what this lens can or can't do against all the other reviews that have gone before about it. It's not a new lens so you'll find plenty of reviews that pretty much all say the same thing. But to put it simply, if you know the lenses claimed limitations and how to work around/with some of them via the buttons you have on your camera for different settings, then I reckon you'll be quite pleased with the potential results that you'd be able to glean from it, especially at the price. If you've used the 18mm kit lens, you will in fact notice that it is noticeably wider allowing you to fit a little more in the frame at 16mm. But for me that wasn't enough, as I wanted to get closer to an ultra wide 11mm viewing angle threshold with reasonably decent image quality at a more affordable price, since I currently don't have 500 quid spare at current to get super serious with a piece of Canon glass that has an ultra wide 11mm viewing angle. But more on that later. 



Summary

Solid build quality that has a high quality feel to it. Very compact and has decent quality for the price and compact size. Potentially has even better results to be gleaned when stopped down, although you can still get pretty decent results at f2.8. Strategic cropping in order to retain the wide angle feel might also help where more obvious softness and blurring at each of the extreme corners in very small areas might occur. But at the second hand price I got it and for what was also in pretty much near brand new condition I don't have much to complain about, especially with the results I was able to get with it.


...oh, and one other thing that's been doing my nut in about what loads of reviews claim about this lens... The NEX 16mm e-mount pancake lens is actually a less wide 22mm equivalent on a full frame sensor with EF lens??!

My first question is why a bunch of seemingly legit and reputable digital gear review websites keep saying this along with a bunch of other people who have reviewed the Sony 16mm pancake lens for the NEX camera.

My second question would be, are you sure? 

And finally I'm wondering if they're purposely trying to confuse the general public into maybe unnecessarily buying something else more expensive that requires a whole other pro rig at 3 to 4 times the price? 

And on a ps. note like question, if so why?


Try setting a Canon full frame camera with an EF lens capable of a 16mm viewing able to 16mm and take a look through the viewfinder. 

Then check what the 16mm e-mount pancake looks like with a nex camera body at the same distance from the photographic subject. You'll probably have to set it just a little bit further back at the focal plane  (about 10 or 15cm) to get it to look exactly the same (or at least close to something that resembles it), but overall its pretty much near enough the same distance.

Notice how they can fit roughly the same amount in the frame? The image curvature might look a tad bit more acute on the Sony e-mount 16mm pancake lens in combo with the nex body, where as on the full frame it will probably exhibit much less image elongation as you concentricly move away from the centre of the frame as you tilt the camera. 

Based on what I've just told you, consider again whether the statement that the Sony e-mount pancake lens in combo with nex aps-c camera body is actually a less wide 22mm equivalent on a full frame sensor in combination with an EF lens. Essentially the Sony e-mount 16mm pancake with Sony nex camera body is pretty much already a 16mm equivalent, not a less impressive 22mm with what would be a significantly noticeable smaller field of view.

By that same logic and measure, surely using something like the Sony VCL-ECU1 ultra-wide converter x0.75 (not to be confused with the much more barrel like image warping wide angle fish-eye converter) should in fact convert the 16mm pancake lens and give you roughly an even wider angle of 10mm!! (ie.16 to 10mm and not 22 to 16mm).