The evolution of mirrorless technology has played a pivotal role in downsizing both camera bodies and lenses. This has been one reason for experienced photographers to switch from DSLRs. The appeal of compact and lightweight equipment is particularly resonant among those who carry cameras throughout the day; street and travel photographers being prime examples. And having smaller lenses also helps in staying unobtrusive when out and about. Among these compact options, pancake lenses stand out for their exceptional portability. For Sony mirrorless camera users seeking a broader selection of such lenses, there’s promising news on the horizon. Changes may be underway, suggesting a potential expansion in the range of lens options for Sony’s mirrorless camera enthusiasts.
Sony only has a pancake lens in its E-mount range; nothing yet in the FE mount. I consider them the pioneers in serious, competitive mirrorless technology. So it’s surprising to see that in a decade of producing full-frame mirrorless cameras, they haven’t released a proper pancake lens. Their 24mm f2.8 G (seen above) is undoubtedly on the smaller side, but it can hardly be called a pancake. However a new report suggests that expectant fans might not have to wait too long to add one to their camera bag.
What Does The Report Say
SonyAddict recently spilled the beans on Sony filing patents for a pair of pancake lenses: one at 26mm f2.8 and the other at 27mm f2.8. It’s noticeably odd to see patents for two prime lenses with such similar fields of view. Taking a closer look at the patents, we can see the little details that set these lenses apart. It’s like Sony’s way of spicing up their lens collection, offering photographers more options to explore.
Filed under patent P2023172781, this lens will undoubtedly become much sought after, especially by street photographers. Coming in at just under 41mm (1.61 inches), this lens is around 5mm (0.2 in) shorter than the current Sony 24mm f2.8G lens. Pair this with the beautiful Sony a7C (seen below), and you’ll have a fantastic street and landscape photography combination.
The 26mm f2.8, if the lens turns out to be released with the dimensions mentioned in the patent, would be only 2/3rd the size of the 55mm seen in the image above.
The 27mm f2.8 lens mentioned in the report is slightly longer, at around 48mm. This is much closer to the 45mm of the Sony 24mm FE 2.8, making it noticeably bulkier than the 26mm listed in the patent. This makes sense for Sony to release two lenses with similar focal lengths but with apparent differences in size. Much like the Nikon Z 26mm F2.8 pancake and the larger Z 28mm f2.8 lens. The larger lens is sure to be less expensive, making it more affordable.
A Super Replacement For Your Smartphone Camera
Most smartphone cameras usually have a wide-angle lens (not ultrawide) between 26mm and 28mm. For those who don’t always prefer the image quality of the phone’s camera, this lens is the perfect excuse to not whip out your phone whenever you see a capture-worthy scene in front of you. Leave your phone inside your pocket and stick to the superior image results that a dedicated ILC will provide. I’m still not sold on Sony’s statement about smartphones overtaking dedicated cameras in 2024, by the way.
What Else Is Coming Up
Aside from these wide-angle primes, we also see three other lens details in the patent. Two of these are prime lenses – a 50mm f1.4 and a 14mm/15mm f1.8 lens in all likelihood. The third looks to be a 16-35mm f2.8 lens. 2024 looks to be an exciting year for Sony photographers looking for more choices in the wide-angle department.
The lead image for this article is a screenshot from Sonyaddict.com