Sony 28mm f/2 Lens Review for Alpha Mirrorless Cameras

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As someone who carries their camera on a lot of outings, it’s important to have a compact lightweight lens that can capture a variety of subjects well.

The Sony 28mm f/2 is becoming my go-to lens if I can only take one small lens or I want a prime that is just a little wider than the 35mm.

It’s an ultralight and compact Sony lens but offers excellent performance in so many scenarios.

Sony 28mm f/2
Sony 28mm f/2

Compact, lightweight lens offering excellent image quality without breaking the bank.

Check Current Price

Many people, including me, love the 35mm and 50mm focal lengths for their versatility but I recently re-discovered the Sony 28mm f/2 and I’m very happy with what it offers.

In many cases, 35mm is just a little too narrow of a focal length for my outdoor adventure pursuits. At 28mm I can capture beautiful landscapes as well as close-ups of action.

As a focal length, it’s not too wide or too telephoto – the perfect balance. If you haven’t checked this lens out, read on to hear why I think it’s an excellent choice for anyone with a full-frame Sony mirrorless camera.

Sony 28mm f/2 Wide Angle Lens Specs

 
Pros
  • Very compact
  • Lightweight
  • Tack sharp in the center
  • Fast minimum aperture
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • No auto/manual focus switch
  • No extra features (focus hold button, stabilization)
  • Not as sharp at edge of frame
  • Sony E-mount/full-frame lens
  • Aperture range: f/2 – f/22
  • Minimum focus distance: 11.4″ / 29 cm
  • Weight: 7 oz / 200 g
  • Length: 2.4″ / 60 mm
  • Diameter: 2.5″ / 64 mm
  • Filter size: 49 mm

Build & Ergonomics

The Sony 28mm f/2 is impressively compact and lightweight.

The Sony 28mm f/2 is impressively compact and lightweight.

The Sony 28mm f/2 is as simple as it gets. This lens is no frills, it utilizes just a simple manual focus ring. However, what it lacks in features it makes up for in size and weight.

At only 200 grams (7 oz), the Sony 28mm f/2   lens weighs about the same as an average iPhone or about 1/3rd of the weight of the new Sony A7 IV. This means it balances very well and makes a super compact setup when mounted.

It would be nice to have an auto/manual focus switch on this lens but I can definitely appreciate the minimalist design.

Although it has a metal mount, I suspect the majority of this lens is constructed from plastic. Nevertheless, despite its lightweight design, it has held up quite well to my rugged usage.

If you want an ultra-simple and compact lens, definitely check out the Sony 28mm f/2. There’s something to be said for simple and minimalistic – there’s not much that can go wrong.

Focus Performance

sony-28mm

Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2 | 1/2000 f/2 ISO 2500

Despite being more than seven years old, this lens focuses very well. The focus is snappy and responsive. It grabs focus quickly regardless of where in the frame you put your subject.

With a minimum aperture of f/2, it also focuses well in low light. The focus motors are essentially silent which video shooters will appreciate.

The manual focus ring can be used to override the autofocus when using the “direct manual focus” setting on Sony cameras. This can be useful in situations where you want to quickly get focus and then fine-tune to lock focus exactly where it needs to be.

For such a small and affordable lens, I was pleased with the focus performance.

Image Quality

Woman hiking in mountains

Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2 | 1/800 f/4 ISO 100

For an inexpensive and compact prime lens, the Sony 28mm f/2 has great image quality.

It has good sharpness in the center of the frame at all apertures but tends to be a little soft on the edges at wider apertures.

If you want corner-to-corner sharpness with a 28mm lens, I’d check out the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM, but for most people, the Sony 28mm f/2 will be more than adequate.

When it comes to chromatic aberration, this lens does have some color fringing. In a practical sense, it’s not that noticeable, but you may notice it in the right conditions.

For the majority of photographers, things like chroma are not going to be the reason you choose a lens – so for the most part, this is irrelevant.

As for distortion, this lens has some but it’s easily corrected in Lightroom. This is almost always one of the first steps I apply when editing photos and it’s built into my standard preset for editing all my images.

Overall, for the price, this lens offers excellent image quality. If you’re taking your first steps into full-frame lenses, this is a great option for a midrange prime.

Sony 28mm f/2 Sample Images

Here are some sample images taken with the Sony 28mm f/2, using a Sony A7 III.

Man climbing in snow Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2

Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2 | 1/640 f/5.6 ISO 250

Indoor rock climbing

Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2 | 1/320 f/2.8 ISO 2000

Woman walking in forest of giant trees

Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2 | 1/200 f/4 ISO 400

Panning shot of person on bike

Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2 | 1/40 f/3.2 ISO 100

Car and tree silhouette

Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2 | 1/320 f/11 ISO 1000

Man walking in forest path

Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2 | 1/8000 f/3.5 ISO 640

Man rock climbing

Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2 | 1/640 f/4 ISO 320

Couple standing on rocks

Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2 | 1/80 f/4.5 ISO 100

Castle in blue lake

Sony A7 III + Sony 28mm f/2 | 1/500 f/2.8 ISO 100

Alternatives to Sony 28mm f/2 Lens

Although this lens has been around for over seven years, I’m not aware of any alternatives that have the same characteristics. Often the more expensive native Sony lenses will get copied by off-brand manufacturers and sold for lower prices.

In this case, there is only one other 28mm lens available: the Sigma art 28mm f/1.4 which is much larger and more expensive.

Many people consider the 35mm lens a comparable option to the 28mm focal length. So, if you’re willing to increase the focal length when looking at alternatives to this Sony lens, many options exist.

There are a lot of 35mm prime choices ranging in minimum aperture from f/1.4 to f/2.8. I’d say the most comparable is the Sony 35mm f/1.8 which is a few hundred dollars more expensive.

Optically, the Sony 35mm f/1.8 is going to be a little higher quality with most other traits being similar.

Additionally, there is the Samyang 35mm f/1.8 for around US$330. The Samyang is similar to the Sony 35mm f/1.8 but at a lower price (likely sacrificing some optical quality).

If you’re set on the 28mm focal length, the Sony 28mm f/2 will be your best choice. Since it has been around so long there are also some great deals on used camera gear websites.

Value for Money

Sony 28mm f/2 mounted on the Sony A7IV

Sony 28mm f/2 mounted on the Sony A7 IV

At around US$450 (see the latest price here), this lens is a solid value. It strikes a nice balance between quality and price.

Sure, you could get more expensive lenses with higher optical performance but they would cost much more. Conversely, there are cheaper lenses available but they’re not going to be as well designed.

The Sony 28mm f/2 is an excellent entry point for a “do it all” prime lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras.

As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for even more value, you could shop on second-hand websites. Typically, the longer a lens has been around, the better deal you can find on sites like eBay.

There is some risk involved in buying used gear but I found my copy of the Sony 28mm f/2 for $180, which is a substantial saving. For that price, I’m ok with some risk in order to be able to justify making space for it on my gear list.

Given I have zoom lenses that cover the focal length, I don’t drastically need a 28mm wide angle lens. That said, it’s a really great lens to have around for those times when it’s the perfect solution for my needs.

There’s something awesome about shooting with a prime lens – the simplicity of only having one choice and using your feet to zoom is something that can make the experience of shooting feel smooth.

If you’re reading this review, maybe you’re already a fan of primes like I am.

Sony 28mm f/2 Lens Review | Conclusion

As you may have noticed, I’m a big fan of the Sony 28mm f/2. There are so many expensive and flashy zoom lenses coming out recently that it can be easy to forget a classic prime like the Sony 28mm f/2.

Sometimes a classic and simple lens is all you need for the job, especially when it’s small and relatively inexpensive.

I’ll definitely be keeping this lens in my bag because it is so compact, lightweight, and useful that I can’t be bothered to leave it behind.

I find myself using it when I need a good all-around lens that can shoot a variety of subjects and not be obtrusively large.

If you’re in the market for a solid, inexpensive prime lens, the Sony 28mm f/2 is definitely worth consideration.

The focal length is a fun one because it’s just a little wider than 35mm, allowing you to capture landscapes that the 35mm is sometimes too narrow for, while still being great for close-ups.

Sony 28mm f/2
Sony 28mm f/2

Compact, lightweight lens offering excellent image quality without breaking the bank.

Check Current Price

Marc and Brenda Bergreen are photographers based in the Rocky Mountains.

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