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(Gear Review) | Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens with A7RII for Weddings

(Gear Review) | Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens with A7RII for Weddings

SEL28F20 – the official name. The code tag classification makes it look more legit. I can tell you though, that no matter what marketing scheme name tactic Sony PR gives this lens, it doesn’t disappoint. Let’s start off with some images I’ve shot with this lens at my most recent wedding, specifically at the reception. You’ll see the images being watermarked under my wedding photography brand. I chose to focus on reception photos because to me, that’s one of the most strenuous part of a wedding day to photograph. What’s the point in reviewing a piece of gear when all the variables are aligned and easy? I personally like to see how equipment performs when you need it to perform. I also have the 21mm wide-angle adapter, and also utilize the crop APS-C mode in my a7rii for a ~45mm (35mm equivalent) field of view.

Build Quality: 4/5
Optics: 4.5/5
Value for Price: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Would recommend. 

For a bargain buy: At the time of posting (10/24/2016), the Sony 28mm retails for $449 although I think it’s a bit overpriced for its retail face value. Check Amazon USED, and often the prices will be around $350-$400, which I think is a more fair price to pay for the optical quality you get. If you’re looking for the cheapest deal, stalk eBay postings and FM Buy/Sell forums, which average around $345 shipped, and have even seen them sold as low as $310. Best Buy open box is also a very good option.

Bargain Used Prices
eBay: $380
Best Buy Open Box: $375
FM Buy/Sell Forums: $320
Amazon Used: $360
Facebook Used Equipment Groups: $360

*Please keep in mind that these prices do not reflect available inventory at the time of search. These are rough average prices I see when checked at time of posting. 

kimjake-28mm-0622ISO 1250 | 28mm | f2.0 | 1/80 | Flash + OCF

This little lens is fast and sharp. Coupled with the AF-Assist beam on my A7RII and using center focus + recomposing technique, I was able to capture this spur-of-the-moment dip kiss after their reception introduction. (Side note: I’m usually not a fan of center-recompose, but at f2 and at a decent distance away, you’ll hardly miss focus with good technique. Spot focusing for receptions to capture candids like this is a bit difficult with the current Sony system method of selecting a focus point)

kimjake-28mm-0627ISO 800 | 28mm | f2.0 | 1/125 | Flash + OCF

Not only is the lens sharp optically, but adding dimension with off camera lighting truly helps make this 28mm shine. On-camera with MagMod Sphere bounce (pointed straight) on TTL, with an OCF positioned behind for backlighting (Yongnuo 560III) set on SLAVE MODE powered at 1/64, no diffuser, and a third OCF positioned far camera right for rim lighting (Yongnuo 560III) set on SLAVE MODE powered at 1/64, no diffuser.

kimjake-28mm-0633
ISO 1250 | 28mm | f2.0 | 1/160 | Flash + OCF

The Sony 28mm handles bokeh decently. Check out the out of focus area near the bottom 1/3 of the frame. Although it does render (as a whole) smooth bokeh, some peak highlight areas can be a bit rough (check out the candles).

kimjake-28mm-0642ISO 1000 | 28mm | f2.0 | 1/160 | Flash + OCF

SO SHARP. I used APS-C crop mode for this, to get a bit more telephoto in my field of view. This doesn’t necessaryily change the perspective in terms of background compression, but it helps get more in-the-moment closeup of the frame. Coupled with my FF 42 MP Sony A7RII sensor, cropping is absolutely no problem, as I have still more than 20+ MP to work with in post.

kimjake-28mm-0682ISO 1000 | 28mm | f2.0 | 1/80 | Flash + OCF

It might be hard to tell, but this would’ve been a difficult scene for a Canon + Metabones setup to focus on. Behind them is a glass window, which was glaring some of the LED light used by the videography guys. Not to mention that there were Christmas lights coming from the back, so the couple’s faces were not too contrasty. Luckily the sony af-assist beam helped immensely and focusing was sharp and accurate.

kimjake-28mm-0691ISO 1000 | 28mm | f2.0 | 1/200 | Flash + OCF

I just love the 28mm focal length in general. I’m a 35mm guy at heart, but the 28mm hits that perfect spot between too wide and too tight. Especially in the reception where you want to capture the ambient vibe, going a bit wider on your field of view (versus say a 35 or 50 or even an 85) will help capture some of the “story elements” of the day. I’m really digging the kids in the foreground.

kimjake-28mm-0782ISO 500| 28mm | f2.0 | 1/125 | Flash + OCF

First off, I want to say that I’m an advocate of cranking a high-iso and getting the background ambient in. Usually… There was really nothing spicy worth capturing in the background (was just a wall divider), so I lowered my ISO to get subject isolation in the mid ground. Shooting 28mm + getting in nice and close helps fill the frame and really a unique perspective. A technique I often use in street photography.

kimjake-28mm-0830ISO 1000 | 28mm | f2.0 | 1/100 | Flash + OCF

The 28mm focal length is also great in general for group portraits. f2 is ridiculously sharp (again if you mind your distance relative to the subject), I have no concerns using it wide open for group shots like this.

kimjake-28mm-0978ISO 320| 28mm | f2.0 | 1/125 | Flash + OCF

And finally, the resolving power of this lens is astounding, given its size. f2 is a perfect sweet spot between being wide open so you get some good depth-of-field and the trade offs of keeping the actual physical size relatively small. Once you start hitting f1.4, you start getting bigger glass, as we’ve seen with the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 for Sony FE and the Sony GM lenses. The texture on this couple’s face and clothing speaks for itself on the capabilities of resolution.

In conclusion, overall I think this lens is a great bang for your buck. Coming from all Canon L glass and the Sigma Art series, I have to be honest in saying I was a bit hesitant purchasing this lens. If you’re anything like me and suffer from GAS, you always want the best in terms of optical performance. Shooting weddings every weekend and doing travel wedding work does take its toll, so a trade off for size was a big factor for me. I think the real secret is the fact that the resolving power of this lens is quite good, that it can be utilized both as a telephoto with APS-C crop mode and also with a 21mm wide angle adapter, making this a wide/med/short telephoto setup all with 1 main piece of glass. I usually am sticking to the 35/85 combo throughout the entire wedding day, but usually once the reception time arrives, I get a bit fatigued. It’s a great switch to bust out the 28mm which weighs practically nothing. Keeping an on camera flash helps keeps the weight of the camera solid and firm, so that it’s not too light when you’re hand holding shots to avoid handshake vibrations. I’ll be keeping this in my kit and will be posting updated samples as time goes on.

If you enjoyed my review, please consider using the link below when purchasing. It’s an Amazon affiliate link and a small % comes back to me, in which I use to fund other equipment to review. Thanks for reading!

Sony SEL28F20 FE 28mm f/2-22 Standard-Prime Lens for Mirrorless Cameras
Sony SEL075UWC 21 mm f/2.8-22 Ultra Wide Converter Lens for Mirrorless Cameras

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