This summer, the main manufacturers again seriously took up their APS‑C lines: we saw new crop cameras and lenses from Canon and Nikon, and Fujifilm does not change itself. But what about Sony? Many were sure that the company had completely abandoned its APS‑C system, and suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, three special Sony E lenses appeared at once. And not simple, but tailored to the needs of video bloggers.
Today we’re going to take a look at Sony’s APS‑C blogging lenses: the new 11mm f/1.8, 15mm f/1.4, 10–20mm f/4 PZ, as well as the main alternatives on the market.
Sony E 11mm f/1.8
Sony E 15mm f/1.8
Sony E 10–20mm f/4 PZ
Alternative Sony E lenses for bloggers
To begin with, none of the new lenses have optical stabilization. And this, frankly, is not very good news, given that the main APS‑C blogging camera (which, first of all, the new glasses fit), the Sony ZV-E10, also does not have a built-in stub. So you will either have to use electronic stabilization, which crops the frame a little, or shoot with a steadicam.
Having noted this important point, let’s continue.
Sony E 11mm f/1.8
11mm f/1.8 gives you a very wide-angle coverage (equivalent to 17mm at full frame), which is good for the tight space of a home studio, blogging on the go, all kinds of travel blogs and so on. Even with such a lens, several people will fit into the frame at once, so this is a good option for shooting interviews.
Of course, this is not a very “portrait” focal length: if you bring the camera close to your face while shooting, you will get characteristic distortions in proportions (do you still remember gifs with a big nose?) — this must be borne in mind.
The model is very light — only 180 grams, and very compact, with a 55mm thread for ND filters in the front. The lens received protection from dust and moisture, and comes with a beautiful lens hood. In terms of controls, there is an autofocus/manual focus switch as well as one custom button.
Sony E 15mm f/1.8
This lens on an APS‑C camera produces an image equivalent to 22mm full frame. That is, it is a more versatile wide-angle distance compared to the previous model and more typical for vlogging. However, keep in mind that if you’re shooting a vlog on the go with the ZV-E10 and turn on the electronic stabilization, you’ll get extra cropping that further “narrows” your shot.
The Sony 15mm f/1.8 is part of the advanced G‑Master series, which means you get top-notch body quality and a full range of controls. Firstly, there is a cool clicky aperture ring that can be turned off for video shooting (using the button on the side). There is also a standard autofocus/manual focus switch and an additional custom button.
The lens barrel is weatherproofed and the lens is about the same weight as the 11mm model. It is slightly larger, but still very compact. Front thread for 55mm filter.
Sony E 10–20mm f/4 PZ
There was a zoom in the lineup with an interesting set of focal lengths. Of course, 20mm can be a bit narrow for vlogging: at arm’s length, you can only fit the head and shoulders into the frame. However, if you’re shooting a travel blog and want to show viewers the streets of the city or the natural landscapes behind you, this is a very interesting focal length. At the other end you have 10mm, which is quite wide for vlogging. But here we get the beauty of zoom — you have a wide range of focal lengths between these extreme points, so you can easily find the right option for your situation.
This is again a glass from the G‑Master series, with convenient aperture, zoom and manual focus rings. Plus, you have a power-zoom rocker that allows you to smoothly zoom in on the picture while shooting a video. As in past models, there is an autofocus / manual focus switch and a custom button.
Despite the fact that this is a wide-angle zoom with a weatherproof housing, Sony managed to make it very compact and light — 180 grams in weight and a thread for a 62mm filter in the front.
So all three new glasses are very compact and lightweight, which is a huge plus for any video filming on the go, from travel blogs to event reporting.
All three lenses share the same autofocus motor, allowing them to focus quickly and accurately in both stills and video.
An additional bonus for video is smooth refocusing and almost zero “focus breathing” (manifested by noticeable jitter during video shooting when focusing from zero to infinity due to changes in focal length).
As for the macro capabilities, these are clearly not the models you want to use for shooting small objects due to their small zoom factor. Although for subject shooting and various reviews of equipment it will do.
In terms of image sharpness, the lenses are very similar: both primes, 11mm and 15mm, are very sharp in the center even at wide open aperture, and if you cover it a little, the difference is not very noticeable. But most importantly, they are very sharp and in the corners of the frame even wide open — so you can shoot at f / 1.8 and f / 1.4 without much worries.
A slightly different story with the 10–20mm f/4 zoom. At the wide end (10mm) it still looks great both in the center and around the edges, both at f/4 and f/8.
But when shooting at the telephoto end (20mm), the picture changes. If everything is exactly the same with the central part of the frame (that is, excellent sharpness), then at the corners of the frame at an open aperture (f / 4) the picture is quite sharp, and at a covered aperture (f / 8), on the contrary, the corners of the frame become softer — a very strange effect .
In general, we can say that all three lenses are optimized for shooting at an open aperture — for working in low light and visually separating the subject (blogger) from the background.
Alternative Sony E lenses for bloggers
What makes the new items especially interesting is that Sony has released quite a few specialized APS‑C Sony E lenses during the existence of the line that are suitable for bloggers. Although there are some interesting offers from third-party manufacturers.
Let’s start with the alternative wide-angle zoom. And here in the luggage Sony has native APS‑C glass with interesting characteristics: Sony 10–18mm f/4.
First of all, the lens has built-in optical stabilization, which gives huge advantages when shooting on the go.
Secondly, it has an excellent range of focal lengths for shooting vlogs. It falls short at the far end of the zoom to the new power zoom, but for blogs it’s not that critical. The main thing is that at the wide end you still have the same 10mm.
Of the minuses: Sony 10–18mm f/4 did not receive protection from bad weather, while it weighs more: 225 grams versus 180 grams, although it is still a very compact and lightweight lens.
A third-party alternative would be the Tamron 11–20mm f/2.8. This lens, although declared as designed for APS‑C cameras, still covers the full frame, respectively, it is larger and heavier than its competitors — 335 grams. Although, of course, this “glass” has an advantage in aperture ratio, while the lens does not have optical stabilization (like the Sony 10–20mm f / 4). Plus, you lose 1mm at the wide end, which may not seem like much, but sometimes that millimeter may not be enough (especially considering crop with electronic stabilization).
As far as wide-angle primes go, Sony hasn’t given much thought to the production of dedicated APS‑C lenses at all. All fixed-widths of the company are designed for full-frame cameras, which affects their size and weight.
But third-party manufacturers who have several offers are saving.
Firstly, this is the budget 7Artisans 12mm f/2.8 wide. Quite a solid lens for the money, from which, nevertheless, you should not expect the same sharpness (especially at the edges of the frame) compared to native glasses. It is less fast, heavier, but the main problem is the lack of autofocus. However, for more or less static frames such as “talking head” and blog interviews, you can do it this way, having previously covered the aperture.
The same goes for the Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero‑D, which also only has manual focus. At the same time, you get an ultra-wide-angle image, which will fit several members of your blog without any problems at once. The optics in Laowa are more interesting than in 7Artisans, but still without autofocus, this is not the best option for shooting on the go.
But do not despair — there are still wide-angle autofocus fixes for Sony E on the market. So, for Sony 15mm f/1.4 there is an interesting alternative in the form of Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN. This is a fairly heavy model (405 grams) with protection from bad weather, excellent optics and a very nice price. As in the native “glass”, there is no optical stabilization, however, in terms of price and quality, the option is very worthy.
If you still want a native prime designed specifically for crop cameras, then the closest alternative would be the Sony Sonnar T 24mm f/1.8 ZA. Its equivalent focal length is 36mm, which is certainly not as wide-angle coverage as other models, but it is very close to the “universal” 35mm, which is suitable for many genres of photography and video. For a blogger shooting on the go, this will be a head-and-shoulders option, while shooting in a home studio will require you to move the camera to a decent distance, but you will get excellent sharpness throughout the frame thanks to high-end optics from Carl Zeiss. The bonus is full compatibility with Sony’s autofocus camera systems, high aperture and quite a sane price tag.
Sony has released a very interesting trio of lenses suitable for shooting vlogs. The models are aimed at use with the Sony ZV-E10 blogging camera: these are glasses specially designed for the APS‑C format, which for Sony is more an exception than a rule.
The Sony 11mm f/1.8 may seem too wide for vlogging, but once you turn on the ZV-E10’s electronic stabilization system, all the “extra” part of the frame will be instantly cropped. So it can be considered a necessary reserve. Otherwise, it’s a very handy compact wide-angle prime with excellent edge-to-edge sharpness — a great choice for shooting on the go and in tight spaces. The cost of the model is 550 dollars.
The more expensive ($750) Sony E 15mm F1.4 G, although it looks like a more suitable option for blogging in terms of focal length, nevertheless, can be a bit “narrow” with cropping from electronic stabilization. But for photography, it can become an excellent universal lens — thanks to its high aperture and steep sharpness.
The Sony E 10–20mm F/4 PZ G zoom will also retail for $750. And it looks like a very interesting option for vlogging — for video shooting, it provides a picture much sharper than any 4K material, and f / 4 is quite a decent aperture for video. It is also very compact and lightweight. The zoom feature is a very handy option in many situations.
As for the alternatives, Sony has another very interesting APS‑C zoom with stabilization: the Sony 10–18mm f/4. From wide-angle fixes, you can pay attention to the Sigma 16mm f / 1.4 DC DN, although this “barrel” is not too light. Of the less wide-angle options, the Sony Sonnar T 24mm f / 1.8 ZA boasts its impeccable optics.
* when preparing the article, materials from the resource dpreview.com were used.