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Sony E 16mm f/2.8

Sony E 16mm f/2.8
Weight: 2.36oz
Filter Size: 49mm

   It seems almost too good to be true. A somewhat pocket-able APS-C sized sensor, interchangeable lens camera coupled with a 24mm f/2.8 equivalent lens. I jumped on the idea and had to test it out. Thus we have the Sony E 16mm f/2.8 pancake lens on the Sony Nex-5.
    I'll keep it short: Pocket-able? Barely, only if you are wearing a jacket. It's too large to fit comfortably in pant pockets, and even it a jacket its presence is obvious. Performance? It's good if you treat it like a f/5.6 lens. Performance is simply dismal at f/2.8.

For Nikon users an easy way to get an idea of its size, the Nex 5 and 16mm f/2.8 next to the Nikkor 70-300VR.

In nice light it can easily rival a dSLR.

Sony Nex-5, Sony 16mm f/2.8 @ 1/800s f/5.6 ISO 400

A quick 100% crop shows decent detail.

Sony Nex-5, Sony 16mm f/2.8 @ 1/800s f/5.6 ISO 400

  Of course even some compacts are close to rivaling SLRs in bright light. So how does this combination perform in tough situations? Unfortunately, rather dismally.  Of course the internet is a tough place to ascertain real image quality.

Nice lighting, but dark so the camera and lens are being pushed to their full extent.

Sony Nex-5, Sony 16mm f/2.8 @ 30" f/2.8 ISO 3200

Looks ok online, but how about a 100% center crop?

There is some star movement from the long exposure, but the tree retains remarkably little detail.

Out of curiosity I had to go back and try the shot with a different camera and lens. Lighting wasn't nearly as good.

Nikon D700, Nikkor 28mm f/2 @ 20" f/2.8 ISO 6400

The real difference shows at 100%. Oh yes, some texture in the tree and grass.

Noise levels are pretty similar in the sky, stars less blurred because of a shorter exposure.
  Build: 7/10                     - Light, feels like it could break with a small impact, yet not loose or sloppy. 
  Handling: 8/10              - Not much to handle with no zoom, but the focus ring is mediocre in feeling with a decent throw.
  Performance: 5/10        -  Terrible all over wide open. Literally no resolution in the corners. Think of it as a slow prime.
  Value: 8/10                    - Value is actually pretty good considering the low price point of $250
  Overall: 7/10                 - Ok performance stopped down and incredibly light.

     Hard to call it anything close to a fast lens due to poor performance wide open. Odd filter size for a Nikon user. Still decent value if you want something light  for carrying around, especially with a current market value of $150. I'd expect to see better offerings in this range from other manufacturers in the future, but at a higher price point.