20mm f/2.8 Wide-Angle Lens
The Sony 20mm F/2.8 (made in Japan) is a light weight, compact lens. If you are looking for wide angle, fast lens this is the lens for you. Pictures come very sharp in low light condition using F/2.8. It is easy to carry around, good to take landscape photos as well as architecture. I also use Sony 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Zoom Lens, when I compare between two of them, vignetting at the edges and distortion is almost none. Bokeh is much better controlled and photos are very sharp, you can see any detail in every pixel. I use 11-18mm when I take inside of narrow rooms, small areas, it gives good results, however distortion of the edges is not pleasant unless you want to give this effect on the architecture photos. I end up correcting with photoshop or sometimes cropped the images.
You can not really use filters ( like Sky, UV, Haze and so on ) on the lens , because of heavy vignetting on the edges.
11-18 is heavy lens, it gives you to opportunity to zoom the image, but also a bit dark lens. When weather is clear and sunny, fun to use, in dark environment, you need to use with flash. You can not use with built in flash because it gives terrible shadow of the lens. You can use with external flash without problem though.
On the other hand Sony 20mm, no problem with low light environment, you can use built in flash, you will not see lens shadow on the photo. I got attracted to being carrying fast, sharp, light weight lens. I was a bit worried if the images around the edges will not be sharp enough. When I examined the photos, I was pleased with the result.
This lens is well constructed, very quick focus, sharp and have a loud snap sound! It took a bit time to get used the sound.
The bokeh is really nice on the background of the photos. One of the main reason I got this lens because I like taking photos in downtown Portland. Especially old buildings are great, but weather is not cooperative most of the time. About six months, rainy, grey, overcast, dark in Portland Oregon. It’s total disaster try to take blue sky city photos. I enjoy cityscape images. For that reason, you really need a fast, sharp lens! The lighter is better for me. The lens is light, Sony Alpha 550 is a light camera compare to Canon or Nikon ( they are brick and too big for my hands). It’s crucial how you hold your camera, how steady you are. The more heavier the camera, pictures will be more fuzzy, unless you use tripod. I developed a habit to carry monopod when I am climbing on trails. It’s quite useful, helps me to balance on the sloppy ground and photos are not blurred.
For me I should be able to hold my camera with one hand comfortably. I travel a lot, I would not carry tripod everywhere. Being a geek wherever I go I have a laptop, ( now I am using more and more ipad 2 , because it’s light!) other gadgets and the camera with many lenses. There is no real value being sherpa when you travel. I also became much quicker changing lens with one hand. Fix lenses are much sharper than zoom lenses unless you pay quite a bit more and go for Carl Zeiss lenses or G series. So for more affordable choice comes within Sony fixed lenses.
l would recommend this lens if you are into architecture or landscape photography.
Here is the sample landscape photo from Kah Nee Ta high desert Oregon:
Lens Type : Wide Angle & Wide Angle Zoom
Aperture (Max.) : f/2.8
Aperture (Min.) : f/22
Filter Diameter : 72mm
Lens Groups-Elements : 9 groups, 10 elements
Minimum Focus Distance : 9.6” (25cm)
Minimum focus, end of lens barrel to subject: 5.6″ (142mm)
Aspheric Elements : no aspheric
Depth-of-Field : Yes
Distance Scale : Yes
Aperture Blade : 7 blades (Circular aperture)
Focal Length (35mm equivalent) : APS: 30mm (35mm Equivalent: 20mm)
Angle of view: 94° full frame, 70° APS-C.
Lens Weight : 10 oz (285g)
Magnification : x 0.13
Min. F/stop: F/22
Dimensions (Approx.) : 3 1/8 x 2 1/8” (78 x 53.5mm)