Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking
Camera and Electronics Reviews

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens

The Sony FE 28mm f/2 is a fast wide-angle lens built for use on Sony's full frame E-mount mirrorless cameras. The images I've been able to get using this 28mm gem rival the output of lenses two and three times more expensive. 

The Sony FE 28mm f/2 is a fast wide-angle lens built for use on Sony’s full frame E-mount mirrorless cameras. There is a lot to love about this 28mm prime lens, and it starts with it’s low price. At $448, this is one of the few affordable Sony FE lenses. The size and weight of the 28mm f/2 is the other major selling point. At only 2.5in in length and weight of 7oz, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more portable full frame lens option. You might be thinking that Sony had to cut corners on the optics of the 28mm f/2 to provide it at this price, weight, and size, but as I’ll point out later in this review, nothing could be further from the truth. The images I’ve been able to get using this 28mm gem rival the output of lenses two and three times more expensive.


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Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens


Lens Construction, Handling, And Build Quality:

The Sony 28mm f/2 measures 2.52 x 2.36″ and comes in at 7oz. The lens is very light, and feels well balanced on my Sony a7ii. This is one of the few lenses that lets me bring my full frame Sony a7ii on hikes and backpacking trips without making me wish I my lighter APS-C Sony setup. At this price and weight, the build quality of the 28mm lens isn’t as robust as what you’ll find on the more expensive FE e-mount options. There is a lot of plastic on this lens, and although it’s dust and moisture resistant, there is no weather sealing.  I think this is a good thing, as I don’t always need my lenses to act like tanks.

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

The front end of the 28mm f/2 is mostly plastic, and can be protected using a 49mm filter. As you can see in the diagram below, the internals of the lens use 9 elements in 8 groups. There are rounded diaphragm blades that render a very pleasant bokeh, which you can see in the photos below.

Sony 28mm Gear Review
From Sony.com

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

The 28mm f/2 has a rather small front element, so I don’t find myself needing the included petal shaped lens hood very often. It has come in handy though on a few sunny hikes, where unpleasant lens flares were marring my images.

The autofocus on the 28mm f/2 has proven to be especially good, but you can also use the manual focus ring if need be. The minimum focus distance is .96ft while in autofocus, and .82ft when in manual focus. This comes in handy when trying to capture macro shots at close distance.

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Specs and Stats:

Dimensions: 2.52 x 2.36″
Weight: 7oz
Filter Thread: 49mm
Focal Length: 28mm
Aperture: f/2 to f/22
View Angle: 75°
Minimum Focus Distance: 11.42″
Elements/Groups: 9 / 8
Diaphragm Blades: 9 rounded blades


Image Quality And Performance:

With a fixed focal length of 28mm on this prime lens, I’ve found that the best applications for use are landscapes and street photography. With a fast maximum aperture of f/2, this lens excels in lowlight and near darkness. It doesn’t come close to Sony’s f/1.4 prime lenses, but at $448, I don’t think anyone is expecting it to. The combination of it’s light weight and small size allow me to take it anywhere I go. In the section below, I’ll provide a number of sample images organized by category.

Landscapes and Outdoors:

This is “Trail to Peak”, so the first category I’m going to cover is ‘landscapes and outdoors’ with sample shots from a few hikes and weekend outings. At 28mm, I’m able to capture exactly what I’m seeing on the trail with this lens. I prefer to shoot landscapes with my Sony 16-35mm  or Zeiss Batis 18mm, but those lenses come with a size and weight penalty.

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Low Light:

With a fast maximum aperture of f/2, this 28mm prime lens allows me to shoot handheld shots in near darkness. When I’m not out on the trail, I spend a lot of time in museums or walking around town with my family. It’s nice that I can use the same lens to capture memories in this wide range of settings. The 28mm f/2 is very impressive in low light, and allows me to keep my exposures noise free at lower ISO settings.

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Bokeh:

For those of you that are unfamiliar, bokeh is the term used to define the blurry out-of-focus area in a photograph. Not all bokeh is created equal though, and the more images you see with bokeh, the more you’ll develop a taste for it’s qualities. The 9 rounded aperture blades on the 28mm f/2, give my photos a smooth a pleasing quality. Again, it doesn’t compare to the more expensive Sony glass, but for this price, I am very pleased.

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Color Reproduction:

A lot of the color reproduction found in photos can be determined by the camera body sensor and image processor, but the glass composition and element coatings on a lens will also effect this by transmitting light differently. The color reproduction from the 28mm f/2 is a bright, vibrant, and accurate.

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Autofocus:

The autofocus on the 28mm f/2 uses a linear motor for smooth and silent focusing. Shooting a lot of landscapes with a wide angle lens means my focus distance is close to infinity most of the time. I do have two dogs and a highly active toddler though, so I get to test out the autofocus every now and again. In my months of testing the 28mm f/2, the autofocus has been very reliable, even in poorly lit conditions.

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Vignette, Flares, and Distortion:

The optics on the 28mm f/2 are pretty close to perfect when you consider that the lens only costs $448. There is a minimal amount of vignetting when shot wide open. The front element is small and isn’t very susceptible to flares. There is a minor bit of distortion when shooting RAW, but it’s hardly noticeable in most exposures. When shooting JPEGs, the in-body image processing of any Sony a7 series cameras will correct for this.

Sharpness:

You can do a little pixel peeping on the photos I’ve shared above to inspect the sharpness of the images. I’ve been very pleased so far with the sharpness of the Sony 28mm f/2. I’ve provided two copped photos below alongside their original images so you can see what I’m talking about.

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking

Gear Review: Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens Travel Hiking


Support Trail to Peak, Buy On: Amazon | B&H Photo Video


Closing Thoughts:

Photographer Chase Jarvis famously said, “the best camera is the one you have with you”. This quote is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Sony 28mm f/2. This lens is light, small, and highly capable, which means I can take it with me everywhere. At $448, it’s also very affordable for a Sony full frame lens option.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and small
  • Affordable
  • Performs well in low light
  • Very sharp
  • Can be paired with the Sony 21mm wide angle attachment or 16mm fisheye attachment

Cons:

  • No weather sealing

Disclosure: All product links provided in this post are affiliate links. Purchases made using these affiliate links go to support the content created here at Trail to Peak at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

I’m Drew, creator of Trail to Peak. Trail to Peak brings content to life on the web through breath-taking photography and captivating video. I launched Trail to Peak in 2014 with a goal to inspire readers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. I have traveled to 19 countries, walked Camino de Santiago, hiked the John Muir Trail, trekked through the Andes of Peru, and am constantly seeking new adventures in my home state of California. Joining me on my weekly adventures is my partner, Julia, our son, Owen, and our two goldendoodles, Isla and Lilly.

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