Sony 16mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens (NEX E-Mount)

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Tried & Tested
Clearly there's a price to pay for such a small, inexpensive wideangle, but the performance at the most commonly-used apertures (F5.6-11) should satisfy all but the most demanding of users.”

Key Features

  • 16mm focal length
  • 24mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras
  • F2.8 maximum aperture; F22 minimum
  • 49mm filters
  • 0.24m/9.45" minimum focus
  • Sony E mount for NEX interchangeable lens cameras

Product Description

The Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake is an inexpensive fixed wide-angle prime lens for Sony's APS-C format NEX interchangeable lens cameras. With an equivalent focal length of 24mm, it offers an attractive combination of decent optical quality and very small size and weight, and usefully complements the 18-55mm kit zoom. Optical quality is fine for the most part when stopped down, but distinctly iffy towards the corners at larger apertures.


Principal specifications
Lens type Prime lens
Max Format size APS-C / DX
Focal length 16 mm
Image stabilisation No
Lens mount Sony E (NEX)
Maximum aperture F2.8
Minimum aperture F22.0
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 7
Aperture notes circular
Elements 5
Groups 5
Special elements / coatings 1 Aspherical element
Minimum focus 0.24 m (9.45)
Maximum magnification 0.073×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Micromotor
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Internal
Distance scale No
DoF scale No
Weight 74 g (0.16 lb)
Diameter 62 mm (2.44)
Length 23 mm (0.89)
Materials steel mount, aluminium alloy barrel
Colour Silver
Filter thread 49 mm
Filter notes does not rotate on focusing
Hood supplied No
Tripod collar No
Notes Sony E mount


User Reviews

4.66667 out of 5 stars
  • zygh, Jan 10, 2013 GMT:
    Fantastic wide-angle for the price!

    I have been using the 16mm f/2.8 E-mount Sony lens for about two years now and for the latter year coupled with the great wide-angle adapter VCL-ECU1 that essentially converts the 16mm to 12mm. There are many detractors concerning this lens, however, few seem to account for the cost vs. performance. Basically, for less than 150$ one gets a 24mm equiv. (35mm format) wide-angle lens that is small, light weight and pocketable. Certainly, wide open at f/2.8, the optical performance shows ...

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  • chanpion01, Mar 25, 2012 GMT:
    Great Lens

    I really loved shooting with this because of how wide angle it is. a bit of distortion round the edges but great for when you are in the corner table of a restaurant and you are squeezed in the corner you can still shoot everything in the picture. i like the aperture. 2.8 so it has great low light performance. Problems: i would like it to be smaller so that it could fit in my pocket easier. i don't like looking like a tourist so i hide it in my pocket.

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  • pwmoree, Dec 21, 2013 GMT:
    very positive about this lens

    Have been using it for 2 years. Interior shots are great. Good quality and very cheap. I got it foor 110 us$ on ebay.

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Questions & Answers


Terrible blur on 16mm f2.8 on sony nex 5n

I recently bought a second hand pancake online, and was concerned by the level of blur and distortion. I updated the firmware and that helped to reduce the distortion in the corners however it still refuses to focus on anything further that 30cm from the lens. Is this normal? I've seen other results using the 16 mm an its crystal clear. Could it be a bad lens or am I doing something wrong? I've been shooting in both manual and auto and cant seem to make it any better. Thanks.

jwatt asked
6 months ago


I think you have a faulty lens -- my copy is much sharper than that. I'm guessing autofocus isn't working? Continue Reading

Digital Nigel answered
6 months ago

The on auto the lens makes some noise but doesnt focus properly Continue Reading

jwatt answered
6 months ago

jwatt wrote: The on auto the lens makes some noise but doesnt focus properly Just to confirm the problem with autofocus, have you tried manual focus? If you can get sharp pictures with manual focus, but not autofocus, you'll know where the problem is. Continue Reading

Digital Nigel answered
6 months ago


Is the Sony 16mm/F2.8 really that bad?

I was on the point to buy a NEX with the 16/2.8 lens when in a review of the Sony 16mm/F2.8 the verdict was "The Sony E 16mm f/2.8 may be a controversial lens on lower resolution NEX cameras. However, it seems rather pointless to use it on the NEX 7 - 24 megapixel are way beyond the capabilities of this tiny lens. The center quality is certainly fine but the outer image region is extremely soft at max. aperture and just barely acceptable around f/8. The native vignetting characteristic of the lens is dismal and you should always activate the auto-correction in the camera to reduce the effect. The same applies to lateral CAs which are way too high for a prime lens. The idea of using front-mounted converters is surely attractive but it just doesn't make must sense on this basis. The VCL-ECU1 (0.75x converter) manages to keep the "performance" of the base lens (roughly) but the quality remains unusable except for very casual photography. The nice build quality and the very attractive ...

Miki Nemeth asked
5 months ago


That's the review? Just ignore it. There have been occasional reports of decentered E16 lenses, but most of us seem to have a good copy. I have two copies that are fine. Use it at f/4 or f/5.6 and above, and the corners are quite reasonable. At f/2.8 the corners can go very soft, depending on scene, framing, and foreground (closeness). With the UWA adapter, it does improve a little, with the ECF adapter it gets a little worse. The E20 is definitely a lot better in the corners than the E16, and adapts the same UWA and ECF adapters. Below two examples of sharp and soft corners on the same lens: Sharp edges with UWA adapter on E16 at f/4 Soft corners with ECF adapter on E16 at f/2.8 E16 +UWA OOF result E16 + UWA corrected result E16 corrected result Anyways, you should get the idea.... Continue Reading

blue_skies answered
5 months ago

I guess it's not surprising, but the really bad thing here is the logic being thrown around. "That bad" implies a relation to some kind of standard. If the standard is other NEX lenses, then the 16mmn doesn't fare very well. I write this based on test results--to my knowledge, no lens has actually tested worse than this one. If I'm wrong, someone please correct me. Compared to lenses from other systems, it's still pretty bad. Spend some time reading the lens reviews in and you'll see what I mean. Notice that saying that the lens is worse than other lenses doesn't say anything about its absolute quality. It's just worse. One could argue that all lenses these days are pretty good, so even the worse-performing among them will still be quite capable. And the most important question is (or should be): "is this lens good enough for my purposes?". The answer for most people is probably "yes". But what completely doesn't wash is showing images that are somehow supposed to ... Continue Reading

tjuster1 answered
5 months ago

Or how you want your photos to be enjoyed. Some works of art are about the physical attributes of the pictures - the stunning color, sharpness, contrast, fine details, tonal range, etc. Don't use this 16mm pancake for that! It just can't deliver the optical quality demanded by this type of work. Others are about telling a story, an experience. And yes, do use this lens for that! Its ultra wide attitude can capture both the subject and the environment in good details, reproducing the story or experience that can perfectly be enjoyable. Continue Reading

prime instinct answered
5 months ago


Best lens for new a6000?

I am a photography novice and am hoping to receive an a6000 for my birthday and need recommendations on lenses to go with the new device. I plan on replacing my old Canon Rebel which had a 18-55mm and a 75-300mm and also my Panasonic AVCHD video camera. I am not sure if I should order the camera kit with the 16-50mm power zoom lens or just the camera body by itself. I hate to pay for a lens that I may never use. I know that I will need several lenses to do all that I want but this is the order I want to be able to use the camera for first: 1. Inside photography of family events 2. Inside HD video of family events 3. Inside video/photography of school plays, graduations, etc that will be from a distance in the audience 4. Outside sports photography 5. Outside nature/bird photography eventually: travel photography, inside architecture Can someone give me a starting shopping list? I have read *lots* of lens reviews but many reviewers tend to focus on one aspect of a lens that has ...

4BeachBums asked
26 days ago


Inside shots: Sel35f18 Outside nature/sport Sel55210 Keep the 1650 for travel if you can Continue Reading

j0sh answered
26 days ago

Thank you both for the great suggestions! I will get the camera with the kit lens and then add (1) E 35mm F1.8 OSS (2) E 55-210mm F4.5 – F6.3 OSS then the (3) E 16-70mm F4 ZEISS OSS as my camera skills and money progress. If I win lotto then reverse the order of my choices as I love the images from the Zeiss 16-70 :) Continue Reading

4BeachBums answered
25 days ago

+1 Good advice. Continue Reading

wb2trf answered
25 days ago

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