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on 7 January 2011
This converter is designed for use with the 16mm f/2.8 lens for the Sony NEX cameras. It attaches to the front of the lens through a bayonet attachment which is hardly noticeable on the lens, and clicks into place, to prevent incorrect mounting and eliminate any danger of it being mis-aligned or turned while in use.

To my amazement, the first results with this converter show that images have higher resolution WITH the converter than when the 16mm lens is used without it. This shows that the lens and the converter were clearly designed with a view to being used together. Images produced with the converter in place are sharper and appear more contrasty, although this may just be a consequence of the increased sharpness, which in turn may in part be caused by the greater depth of field when the converter is in place.

In evaluating the need, or otherwise, for the converter, it must be borne in mind that the NEX 3 & 5 cameras have an APS-C-sized sensor. For those used to thinking in 35mm "full-frame" film camera terms, when mounted on the NEX, the 16mm lens on its own therefore provides coverage equivalent to a 24mm lens on a 35mm-format camera - nowhere near as wide as one may have thought. Adding this converter, which has a focal-length reduction factor of 0.75×, the resultant actual focal length is 12mm, equivalent to an 18mm lens on a full-frame 35mm-format camera. By any definition, this is a very wide-angle lens.

So, resolution, contrast and colour are excellent. What about chromatic aberrations and distortion? With the 16mm lens on its own, chromatic aberration (colour fringeing) is extremely low. In this respect, the 16mm lens is excellent. Adding the VCL-ECU1 does not result in ANY increase in chromatic aberration. Because of the resolution referred to above, it actually looks LOWER than when the lens is used on its own, and as the two components have been designed to work together, this may in fact be the case.

As regards distortion, there is some barrel distortion with the 16mm lens when used on its own. However, this is so low that it is unlikely to be noticed in real-life pictures unless there are straight lines very near the edges. It is easily correctable with standard software. Adding this converter results in a small increase in distortion, which appears as slight barrel distortion along the long edges of the frame. If you have rectangular shapes near the corner, you may observe that the image also appears to be pulled out slightly into the corners. Correcting for both of these distortions in software is not going to be easy. (If it were, one must presume that the lens designers would have corrected for it at the design stage.)

However, with most interior shots - with lots of vertical lines from walls, furniture, etc - in a real-life situation this very slight distortion is almost certainly not going to be noticed. With such a wide-angle lens, you are more likely to get standard perspective distortion (for instance, converging verticals), which is not a lens fault but a consequence of composition. If you want better than this, you will probably shoot - on a tripod! - with a top-end digital SLR with a wide-angle lens that will cost probably ten times the cost of this converter.

These results were much better than those seen on the web with the only picture that I could find that had apparently been taken with this converter. I assume that it must have been taken with a prototype version of the converter, which was subsequently improved. (We have certainly had to wait for it to become available!)

In normal interior shooting conditions, no vignetting (darkening of the corners) is noticeable with this converter in place. This is a remarkable result. Tests outdoors with a clear blue sky (not yet carried out), may show some variation in brightness, which one would expect to improve with stopping down of the lens.

The instructions warn that if the lens-converter combination is used with the tiny attachable flash, the converter may cast a shadow on part of the image. I have not tested this yet, but doubt if the flash would provide adequate coverage for such a wide angle anyway (nor would most flashes with most cameras).

The converter is supplied in a very smart, round, zip-up hard case that should provide excellent protection when it is off the camera. The petal-shaped lens hood or shade is an integral part of the lens, and front and rear caps are provided.

If you are shooting with a NEX 3 or 5 (or thinking of getting one), the combination of the 16mm lens and this converter will give superb wide-angle shooting, for interiors and cityscapes (with the limitations indicated above), landscapes, etc. Combined with the tiny camera body, this makes a superb back-up wide-angle outfit for people with very demanding expectations of image quality. For some people it will also be a superb main (or only) outfit - although these people are likely also to find a need for a longer lens (probably the excellent 18-55mm "standard" lens) for much general photography.

This converter has great build quality and optically is much better than expected. It is unreservedly recommended.
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on 18 February 2014
This adapter is actually made for the SEL18f28 "as if you don't know by now!"

Many people have asked "on the net" will this fit the SEL20f28?
It dose in fact fit nicely on the SEL20f28,
ok it won't give the same wide angle as on the 18f28, but wow what an add on.
I have not noticed any degradation by using on the SEL20f18 and I did look for it.

Se my review for the SEL20f28.
Update March 2017
It fits the Sony SEL35F18 with no noticeable errors or distortion,
converting the SEL35F18 to 26.26mm.
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on 4 April 2012
Now that the price has come down I was more inlined to purchase this attachment. I am really pleased to say that the comments mase by several other reviewers regarding the improvement of image quality are absolutely true. I was surprised by this but pleasantly so. Although I specifically bought the lens for landscape shots it is also quite fun to use in closer environments; not quite a fisheye lens but you can deliberately accentuate the distortion for some good effects. The only serious criticism I have is that because of the integral lens cowl there is no means of attaching a filter, even a basic polariser which I would like to do for landscape shots. I will update performance after my visit to the Grand Canyon.
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on 22 July 2013
I bought this together with the fisheye lens for my Sony Nex 3. Both of them attach to the front of the F16 pancake lens which I already had. (You need to have this before you get the fisheye or the ultra wide). I'm a letting agent and need the wide angled lens to get the whole room in. I recently took photos of the same property I had previously done with the 16mm pancake, and the ultra wide got significantly more of the room in the photo. A real help to me for my business and a great find. Well done Sony for doing these, but why so little advertising about them? Several high street stores did not stock them and I only found out about them whilst doing an internet search when I had some time to spare. Definitely recommended. Be great for scenic shots too. Someone said the front bit cast a shadow over the photo but I didn't find this. Really pleased with this product.

Further to my earlier review above, I have to say that the front bit DOES cast a shadow on some of my photos. This is actually really annoying. I'm not sure you can't remove the front bit, or even rotate it. You are stuck with it in the position it is. So I do have some photos of rooms with a shadow in bottom half. Sony, please do something about this, that front bit should be detachable.
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on 22 July 2011
Made to fit the 16mm pancake lens this takes a wide angle lens to an extra wide angle. It does not show any edge curl or blue tinge. It must have been developed at the same time as the 16mm lens. An excellent addition to the NEX-5 camera. Got to be the best £100 I have spent recently. Well worth the 5 stars. Even the lens case it comes in is excellent Sony quality. I can't wait for more E mount lenses.
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on 4 August 2012
I would expect to have to pay more for a Sony branded product of this quality and would certainly rate this as a bargain. It is a fantastic piece of kit, brilliant for landscape or cityscape work, group portraits or shooting interiors (we are due to move house soon and wanted to take some pictures of our current house - this lens really does give such a wider view of the rooms).

As others have commented, it feels like a really quality product, fits quickly and securely, and comes in a great semi-rigid zip up case for when not in use. I would say that this is an essential addition to your kit if you don't want to rely on kit lenses alone, and paired with the Sony 16mm prime lens (SEL16F28)you will be able to take some fantastic shots. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 22 October 2012
the 16mm lens doesn't add much on it's own over the 18-55mm kit lens, except for being more compact, but when you add the wide angle converter, it's very wide, equivalent to a 18mm on a 35mm. see this image of comparisons to make your own judgement [...]

NB: you cannot add the wide angle adapter to the 18-55mm kit lens (well you can, but the image is out of focus or cropped)
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on 11 August 2011
Nothing to add to the other excellent reviews - am far more likely to have this attached than not. I was initially worried that it might have a detrimental effect on image quality, but seems to enhance the result.If you enjoy wide angle and panoramic shots then don't hesitate.
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on 20 September 2011
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on 28 June 2013
This item is the perfect converter for panorama shots. Its quite practical and easy to use and as far as I can tell, there is no noise in the pictures one takes with it.
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