I want to get a pancake lens for my NEX. Which lens would you recommend in terms of picture quality?

  • The answer to this question is pretty just the same as the one you posted yesterday and then deleted about the 20mm vs 35mm - they're different focal lengths, so you can't really compare the two.
    – Philip Kendall
    Jan 22 '14 at 8:18
  • Seems like people somehow manage to compare them: dpreview.com/forums/post/51880071 Also I don't care about 4mm focal length difference.
    – blez
    Jan 22 '14 at 8:20
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    Some people on the DPReview forums manage to compare superzooms with entry level DSLRs. That doesn't mean that would be a good question for this site either.
    – Philip Kendall
    Jan 22 '14 at 8:41
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    And since the 2 lenses have different focal length, you still need to decide based which of the photos each of them produce you like best. Simplest way to compare is to bring your camera to a shop, and ask if you can test these 2 lenses and see which one you like best.
    – Yao Bo Lu
    Jan 22 '14 at 8:49
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    On closer reading, this question differs from the previous one, which was comparing a wide angle lens to a fast normal. This is asking for the difference between that wide angle lens and a slightly wider one of the same speed (but lower cost).
    – mattdm
    Jan 22 '14 at 13:30

This is really a simple one, and you can find the answer in most reviews. They're close enough in focal length that I don't think anyone would take both and swap in the field. Both lenses are okay performers, neither is particularly stellar, and the more 40% expensive one is objectively better. Sony even says so, listing "superior image quality" as a feature of the 20mm but not the 16mm

If technical image quality is more important to you than size, you may want to consider the Sigma 19mm as well. It's not an optical paragon either, but it's in the same ballpark as the Sony lenses and better in some ways, for less money than even the cheaper of the Sony pancakes.

But, don't write the field of view completely out of the occasion. The wider 16mm lens includes over 50% greater area in the frame than 20mm, which is a meaningful difference which may outweigh the image quality consideration.

Again, neither of these lenses are optically amazing, and if you obsess over that too much, you're in for disappointment. Either, however, could help you take amazing photographs: focus on that.


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