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

  • 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


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
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year ago


New A6000 setup : Your opinions & input please to help a n00b!

I've recently moved on from an old Sony NEX C3 to the new A6000. I loved my C3 but I've always kicked myself for not buying the 5 when I had the chance (basically I was mis-sold by a dude who didn't know what he was on about and I hadn't done my research). In any case I've had some fantastic shots from my old C3 but the move to the A6000 has been a learning curve if I'm honest. Whilst I thought they would operate in a similar manner I've found they're quite different *but* I think it's for the better. So March next year my husband & I are planning a 2 week trip to Japan (much excitement!) and I thought I best get my learning cap on so I can get the best out of my camera when we get there! I've got a number of lenses from my old camera currently but I'd planning on selling the old body and renewing some of my lenses to keep the load under control etc. Currently I have the following; - SEL16F28 (+UWA) - SELP1650 - SEL1855 - SEL55210 - Sigma 50-500 (via Sony LA-EA4) I also have the ...

RCWensley asked
6 months ago


stop buying gear and learn how to shoot.  clearly you have G.A.S. i know because I've had it as well. Continue Reading

6 months ago

you are talking about buying zeiss primes for travel while being an admitted "n00b". im sorry, you have G.A.S. that said, I own a ton of gear and know exactly how I like to shoot, but for travel, i'd bring the 16-50 and 50/1.8, thats it. when i travel for travel, i do shoot a lot, but a lot of gear, even mirrorless gear, is not worth it for me on a regular trip. of course if im going somewhere for fun and plan to shooting specific things, i might bring more and even check a 5-series gitzo systematic. i'd be more focused on finding the right bag, and possibly a clip holster like the peak design capture. i'd also want to see if the amazing nissin i40 mini speedlight will be out by your departure date. Continue Reading

6 months ago

While I agree he comes across a little aggressive I do agree with him about the G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I've had it as well and lots of what the OP is resonating with my latent G.A.S. tendencies. I completely agree with the poster who said that the OP should focus on the type of photography they want to do and build a lens collection around that. Right now the OP already has quite a decent collection of gear, gear that will be capable of taking some very excellent pictures. For example, it's true, the 16mm with the UWA is not quite as good as the 10-80 or the 12mm zeiss but it's a perfectly capable combo that can take very nice pictures (see here for example: It's tempting to build a kit that offers the best possible performance at all possible focal lengths but it gets really expensive really fast. Often those high dollar performers just sit in the bag and never get used because they are either too big, too limited, too ... Continue Reading

gradyp answered
6 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
9 months ago


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

j0sh answered
9 months 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
9 months ago

+1 Good advice. Continue Reading

wb2trf answered
9 months ago

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