Sony just announced three new compact wide angle lenses for APS-C cameras after a long while. Let's take a look at what’s new with these lenses and if they are worth checking out.
For the past couple of years, Sony has been mainly focused on full frame cameras and lenses. A few weeks back, the brand refreshed the well-loved 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master with a newer version. For a while now, we haven’t really seen any new APS-C gear aside from the Sony ZV-E10 that came as a surprise in 2021. That is why it might just be the perfect time to see these three new wide angle lenses for photographers and filmmakers who use the compact crop-sensor format.
Sony E 11mm f/1.8
This new ultra-wide angle prime comes in a very compact form but offers a lot of potential. This 16.5mm full frame equivalent lens offers ultra-wide angle perspective with a large maximum aperture of f/1.8, which should translate to better low-light capabilities for both photography and filmmaking.
The Sony E 11mm f/1.8 comes in at a mere 193.2 grams thanks to the mostly plastic build. It’s just 2.42 inches long with a diameter of 2.53 inches and a filter thread size of 55mm. This lightweight lens also features a standard petal lens hood, an autofocus switch, and a programmable focus hold button on one side. Unlike the other two lenses in this batch release, this lens does not have its own manual aperture ring.
This 11mm ultra-wide angle prime is the equivalent of a 16.5mm full frame lens but offers a maximum opening of f/1.8. This makes it valuable in a variety of applications from shooting wide vistas in landscape photography, photographing the night sky, wide environmental portraits, interiors, and videos. For a significantly compact ultra-wide angle lens, it shows very minimal distortion alongside good quality optics and responsive focusing.
Sony E 15mm f/1.4 G
With a full frame equivalent of 22.5mm, the Sony E 15mm f/1.4 G is pretty much the APS-C counterpart of the 24mm f/1.4. This super-wide angle prime comes in at just 236.6 grams with a size of 2.98 x 2.65 inches with a similar filter thread of 55mm. It has a prominent zoom ring on the distal end of the lens, which is followed by a thinner manual aperture ring. This is paired with a click switch for aperture adjustments that allows videographers to smoothly shift apertures while recording. Alongside those is a standard autofocus switch as well as a programmable focus-hold button.
A 15mm f/1.4 prime on APS-C cameras is a great option for a multipurpose prime. This can be a good option for photographers and videographers who shoot in low-light situations such as events, weddings, or concerts. Landscape photographers can also benefit from the wide aperture for nighttime landscapes with the night sky and wide angle astrophotography.
The fast and responsive focusing, especially when paired alongside eye aut-focus tracking, can be an easy-to-use companion for video creators and vloggers.
Sony E 10-20mm f/4 G PZ
This is, without a doubt, the APS-C version of the recently announced Sony 16-35mm f/4 G PZ, and it just makes sense to have a crop-sensor equivalent for such a valuable option when it comes to lenses. The new Sony E PZ 10-20mm f/4 G is a viable ultra-wide angle lens option for APS-C cameras with updated features and optics. It comes at just 2.36 x 2.72 inches and weighs 192.1 grams. It comes with a distal electronic zoom ring followed by a thinner manual focus ring. In the middle of the barrel is an autofocus switch, a programmable focus hold button, and the power-zoom control slider which allows for smooth zooming in and out when using the lens for video.
For shooting stills, the lens performs quite well in terms of sharpness and has pretty consistent image quality from the center to all corners. At the widest opening of f/4, there is no visible vignette, which is remarkable considering the size of the lens. It also exhibits very minimal and negligible distortion.
This lens is a great general option for photographers and videographers who shoot with APS-C cameras. Alongside the essential qualities such as sharpness and focusing, it has features that make shooting more convenient for any genre. Considering the lightweight and compact form, landscape photographers who like to keep their gear minimal and portable can definitely benefit from the existence of this lens. Event photographers and videographers can also use this for wide angle shots and group photos; however, performance may be limited in low light compared to the wide angle prime options. The fact that this lens has minimal and easily correctible distortion means it can also be an option for architecture, interiors, and real estate photos and videos. Altogether, it is a compelling option for many genres, especially those done outdoors and in the abundance of ambient light.
These three new wide-angle prime lenses for Sony APS-C cameras definitely make the lens options for crop sensor shooters more diverse. While they share many common features and attributes, these lenses don’t entirely make up a set and have a lot of overlapping indications of use. The three lenses come in very convenient forms and barely add any bulk to a photographer's or videographer’s existing kit, but can contribute a lot to their creative process. All three lenses perform quite well optically giving good sharpness and reliably reactive focusing. Considering that these lenses are being announced together and were probably design within the same time frame, it would have been great if they were given similarly sized filter threads considering the fact that their barrel diameters are very close to each other. That convenience, especially if applied to most, if not all, future compact lens releases would be helpful for photographers and videographers who use filters and other screw-in accessories.
What I Liked
- Compact and lightweight
- Good additions to focal length options
- Generally good optical and AF performance
What Can Be Improved
- Standardized filter thread size for similar sized or compact lenses