Sony announces 20mm pancake and 18-200mm E-mount NEX lenses
By Simon Crisp
January 27, 2013
Sony has revealed a pair of new E-mount lenses for its NEX range of mirrorless cameras. A 20mm F2.8 pancake, while not the prime telephoto some NEX shooters have been crying out for, gives a good wide walk-around lens, and the new (but not quite new) 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS boasts impressive video-friendly credentials.
E 20mm F2.8 "pancake"
Because mirrorless cameras have been able to ditch much of the bulk associated with DSLRs, pancake lenses (particularly thin primes) make even more sense on them. And because the E 20mm F2.8 measures just 20.4 mm deep (0.8 inch) and weighs 69 g (2.4 ounces), while giving focal length equivalent to 30mm in 35mm format, it could certainly be a good "walkaround" lens for many people.
Some will no doubt have an issue with the speed of the lens, and point to the Panasonic 17 mm, F1.7 as an example of what can be done. But Sony claims that the lens configuration of six elements in six groups offers excellent contrast and resolution into the corners; making its lens equally suitable for shooting landscapes, street scenes or casual snaps.
E PZ18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS
If this newly announced lens looks familiar, it could be because it's not entirely new. The PZ18-200mm was previously supplied as the kit lens with the NEX-VG30EH, but will now go on sale on its own. Because the NEX-VG30EH is a camcorder, it's not at all surprising that the lens has some impressive video-friendly credentials … though the cost might make it overkill if you primarily shoot stills.
The PZ18-200 gives a useful focal length equivalent of 27-300mm in 35mm format, while Optical SteadyShot helps to reduce camera shake at longer lengths and slower shutter speeds. Active Mode even promises to enhance stabilization while you are moving, though obviously just at the wider end of the 11x zoom range.
Videographers will also be pleased to see the inclusion of a zoom lever and switch on the lens barrel which allows zoom speed to be selected in six steps. Whisper-quiet focusing will also be a bonus, as will the ability to control zoom directly from the NEX-VG900, NEX-VG30 and NEX-FS700. The lens measures 93.2 x 99 mm (3.7 x 3.9 inches) and weighs 649 g (1.4 lbs).
The new lenses for Sony α E-mount NEX cameras are both due to go on sale shortly, with the E 20mm F2.8 available from February for US$350, while the E PZ18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS will be released in April 2013 and will sell for $1200.