One of our readers, Callum, asked me about the angle of view of the Sony 28mm f2 FE compared to the 35mm f2.8 Sonnar. As some of you may know, the Sony Zeiss 35mm Sonnar is slightly longer than most 35mm lenses (in the region of 36-36.5mm at a guess). The 28mm f2 FE is supposed to be a 28mm lens after distortion correction, so what about before correction? These questions make it quite difficult to get a feel for the lens spacing that this pairing would constitute. This this is especially relevant considering the fact that there is also a 25mm Zeiss Batis to consider. Certainly, if the 28mm f2 FE is more like 26mm without correction and the 35mm Sonnar actually a 36+mm, then there is more of a spacing than the bare numbers would suggest.
I have therefore shot a very quick comparison using two different types of scene to allow you to see the difference in visual terms. Each trio of images will be presented with the 35mm f2.8 Sonnar first, then the corrected 28mm f2 FE, then finally the 28mm uncorrected.
Distant scene. The tree on the far bank is plumb centre. Use the houses and small white moored boats on the left for comparison.
Now for the more ‘dynamic scene’ that is more typical of how wide angle lenses are used in closer proximity. I focused on the same spot for all three images. Look at the leftmost tree and count the vertical branches. Also check out the top left corner and look at the trees and shaded house.
I did not do a formal resolution comparison, but I feel my various comments in previous threads were nicely represented: both are very sharp lenses, but at middle apertures the 28mm takes the prize. No matter the distance, there are no curvature issues that could make an appearance. The Sony FE 28mm f2 is a truly remarkable lens if you can live with the distortion. If you’re shooting landscapes, I suspect you’ll rarely correct it. Uncorrected, it is one of the sharpest lenses across the field I have ever used. Corrected, it is just a hair short of ‘absolutely stunning’ in the extreme corners and only turns in an ‘extremely good’ performance. It’s the best wide angle lens I have bought for twice its price. The fact that it is 50% cheaper than the 35mm Sonnar is quite something.
I hope this helps!