- Sony SEL16F28 which is a 16mm f2.8 wide-angle lens.
- Sony VCLECU1 which is a 12mm ultra-wide angle converter.
- Sony VCLECF1 which is a fisheye converter.
- Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4 – just for fun.
The two converters are to be used on the SEL16F28 lens, so without that lens, the converters are worthless. Other than that, it’s really easy to use. When you have the 16mm f2.8 (SEL16F28) lens on, you can easily clip on any of the converters, depending on what you need.
The thing about fisheye converters are that they distort a lot. Some people like it, some hate it. I think it’s a fun effect, and it can also be used to make fun pictures of people and animals – just make sure you shoot down on them and place the lens just inches from their head – it will make their head look really big and the body really small. Fun!
Quality-wise, all three Sony lenses/converters are decent, in my book. At f2.8, wide open, they are a bit soft in the corners, but I doubt you’re going to notice unless you usually look at your pictures at 100% zoomed in (who does that?!). But if you want to play it safe, stop it down to f4 and it’ll be good, or f5.6 if you want to be even safer – but in my book, f4 is plenty, and if I have to use f2.8 due to low light, then I don’t mind doing that at all, either.
For the test shots below, I used a Joby Gorillapod with the BH1 ballhead and attached it to a chair – it was pretty solid, that’s the great thing about Gorillapods, they’ll attach to many things and keep it steady!
Here are the three shots with Sony, taken with a Sony NEX-5N:
Notice how, with the fisheye (1st shot) you can actually see the tip of the armrest on the chair on which the camera is hooked up? That’s how much a fisheye will include in the shot – you get a lot in the shot!!
And just for fun, here’s the same shot but with my favorite walk-around lens, Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4:
The good thing about a lens with a wide aperture such as f1.4, is that you can blur the background – in this case, not so much (because of the scene), but you can clearly see the difference between the photo above, and the one just below. Also, the one below was shot at f1.4, ISO 100 and 1/4000 shutter speed, and it was still overexposed by about 1 f-stop, luckily nothing that couldn’t be dealt with in the RAW file.
Anywho, this blog post is about the Sony lenses/converters and not Voigtländer, I just wanted to show the difference between using a 35mm lens compared to the wide-angles in the 16mm’ish area.
So, let’s say you currently own the 16mm f2.8 lens (SEL16F28) which is bundled with some Sony NEX camera packages – and you want to add a converter to it, which one to get, fisheye or ultra-wide? If you’re mostly into landscapes, the ultra-wide is going to best for you. It doesn’t give that much extra wide angle compared to the 16mm alone, but it does make it more wide angle than just 16mm (I believe it takes it out to 12mm). The fish-eye is a more speciality lens which is a lot of fun but can also be useful, just make sure you don’t put straight lines (or people) near the edges of the frame.
Here’s what I did:
Since the SEL16F28 lens came bundled with my NEX-5N, I sold my DSLR lens, Tokina 12-24mm f4, for about $450 and purchased both the fish-eye converter for about $110 and the ultra-wide angle converter for about $160. I’m now a happy camper 🙂
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Related articles you might find interesting:
- Sony NEX-5R – the best compact camera yet?
- Tamron 18-270mm PZD review – well, kinda, it’s just my impressions!
- Photography: Want better pictures, but not ready to go DSLR? Sony NEX Cameras!
- Sony NEX-5N firmware update 1.01 improves autofocus speed [video]
- Sony Products for Review: Camera (HX5V), Headphones (MDR-750) & iPhone Docking Station (DS11iP)