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Lens Review: Is The New Sony 20mm f/1.8 G Lens A Perfect Astro Lens?

Photographer Autumn Schrock (@autpops) had the chance to test out the new Sony 20mm f/1.8 G lens during her recent travels to Norway. Right away the Alpha Collective member determined that this wider, faster lens would be perfect for her work, “From the very first shutter press and image review on the back of my Sony α7R III, I knew this would quickly become a lens that I would adore. The 20mm focal length is simply perfect for astrophotography and expansive vistas.” She shared more of her thoughts in her full review of the new lens.

"From the very first shutter press and image review on the back of my Sony α7R III, I knew this would quickly become a lens that I would adore." – Autumn Schrock (@autpops) on the new Sony 20mm f/1.8 G lens

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Sony α7R III. Sony 20mm f/1.8 G.

Size/Weight

“This is a compact lens; it’s one of the lightest 20mm lenses on the market, which makes its portability uncontested. As a petite female who travels frequently, I’m always on the hunt for lightweight everything and anything.”

Build Quality

“Like all Sony lenses, the build feels absolutely solid. While it’s very lightweight, it doesn’t feel cheap or easily breakable. Much like the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM, it features an aperture ring with 1/3 of a stop delineations. As a tactile person who loves the feeling of clicking things into place, I actually greatly prefer aperture rings. If you’d rather adjust the aperture via the dials or allow the camera to automatically adjust it in auto shooting modes, you can choose “A” (automatic) on the aperture ring. There is a Click toggle for the aperture ring, which turns the clicking off to create smooth transitions between apertures. This is a paramount feature for video projects or when you need to shoot in silence. A programmable focus hold button is also on the side that allows you to program different functions for quick access — a useful function that often goes unused.”

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Sony α7R III. Sony 20mm f/1.8 G.

Optics & Autofocus

“Wide angle lenses aren’t typically regarded as needing the same speed as wildlife or action-oriented lenses, such as the Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS or Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS, but this new 20mm features a similar focusing system as these impressive telephoto lenses which will greatly enhance wide angle sports photography like mountain biking and climbing.”

Image Quality

“There is not much to complain about here honestly. After pixel-peeping on a computer, I can 100% confirm that this is a wicked sharp lens from center to corners, more than I would expect from a G lens. The sharpness of this bad boy wide open at f/1.8 rivals G Master quality, which I was not expecting in any regard...”

“Straight out of camera the images have great contrast with accurate colors. The dynamic range and detail in the shadows is incredible and made editing low-light photos much more enjoyable.”

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Sony α7R III. Sony 20mm f/1.8 G.

Verdict

“This lens is a wide angle jack of all trades. What’s not to like? It’s wide enough for astrophotography, but not too wide for portraits or sports. If you want to shoot many different types of photography, this is a great place to start. It is light, compact, sharp with minimal aberrations, and has the feel of a high quality piece of glass at a fraction of the cost. I have loved shooting with this lens and look forward to many more nights under the stars with it on my camera. I fully expect it to take over much of the work of my Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM during the Milky Way season that’s rapidly approaching here in the Northern Hemisphere and am relieved to remove several pounds off my shoulders.”

Read Autumn’s full review and see more sample images here.

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