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Sony 20mm f/1.8 Hands On Review Albert Dros

The first new Sony FE Lens of 2020! Here's the 20mm f/1.8. Not an ultra wide prime, but a nice little fast wide angle that could be great for a number of uses. Sony asked me to try this lens out for a few days. One week in between 2 trips and during the moving of my house, my first response was : “sure!” . The bad weather in the Netherlands certainly didn’t help much, but I managed to test the lens in a variety of conditions. In this little article I’ll be addressing my first responses after having tried this lens for a few days.


First things first: It’s tiny! And light! It’s great to see Sony really pushing the size of mirrorless for what it was meant: smaller and lighter. This lens follows the design of the 24mm GM, and is surprisingly no GM lens, but merely a G. We might also see this reflect on the price tag :) (I don’t know the retail price yet). Being a G lens, this lens still looks quite identical to the 24mm GM lens. It has a similar design, has a dedicated ring for the Aperture (nice for video), has a dedicated AF/MF switch and is small and tiny like the 24mm.

Left (Sony A7III with the 20mm f/1.8), Right (Sony ARIII, 24 1.4 GM). The 20 1.8 is a little bit smaller than the 24 1.4 GM which is already very small.

The front is 67mm, which is again the same as the 24mm GM lens. Useful if you’re using ND filters so you don’t have to switch to different step-up rings.

The size and weight of the Sony A7 bodies combined with this lens is great. It’s a nice small package that can also be used greatly on for example a gimbal. Videographers and vloggers are going to love this lens. Not only because its compact form factor. It also has a beautiful bokeh. Something we’re used to from mainly the GM lenses of Sony. And it has quite a close focus distance, making it possible so shoot beautiful close ups with a very soft background. More on that later. Here are some images of the form factor of the A7III combined with the 20mm f/1.8:

A video setup with the rhode video mic mounted on top.

Characteristics & Performance

For the few days I got to use this lens I brought it into my city: Amsterdam, shot some landscapes around a near lighthouse, photographed some architecture and also did a lot of close ups. Unfortunately I didn’t get to test the lens on some star photography. I didn’t get any clear skies in the Netherlands during the days I had the lens.

Some of my observations:

Sony A7RIV, Sony 20mm f/1.8 G, f/11, 2 seconds, ISO 100, Tripod

As you can see I tested this lens mainly on my A7RIV. Even though this being a G lens, it performs excellent on the A7RIV with nice sharpness across the entire frame when we’re working on ideal apertures. On above example shot at f/11, the sharpness across the entire can be considered great.

Center crop of the frame, where we can read a lot of titles from the magazines :)

Crop of the (left) edge of the frame

Top left of the frame

When opened up the lens some vignetting occurred, and especially on the edges sharpness became less. But the center sharpness stayed impressive even wide open at f/1.8:

Center crop at f/1.8. Its a tiny bit softer than f/11 but it’s hard to notice the difference.

The top left of the frame definitely loses sharpness but its not extreme. (notice it’s a bit darker as the f/11 crop because of the vignetting at f/1.8, no lens profile available yet).

Keep in mind though, that these crops are from the demanding 61 megapixel A7RIV. The overall results are nice.

Sure, the lens is nice, but what about the library? Pretty cool architecture there right? Here are some more images of this impressive library:

Sony A7RIV, Sony 20mm f/1.8 G, f/8, 1/15s, ISO 800, Hand held

Sony A7RIV, Sony 20mm f/1.8 G, f/5.6, 1/15s, ISO 400, Hand held

And like I mentioned earlier, the bokeh is impressive for a lens like this. As you can get quite close to your subject you can create some very soft images with beautiful background blur. Some examples of this in the library:

Sony A7RIV, Sony 20mm f/1.8 G, f/1.8, 1/60s, ISO 400, Hand held.

Notice the nice ‘bokeh balls’ in the background from the lights and reflections.

Sony A7RIV, Sony 20mm f/1.8 G, f/1.8, 1/100s, ISO 100, Hand held.

Playing a bit mor