If you’ve been a long-time reader of this site, you’ll know that I really enjoy picking up these cheap little chinese lenses and testing them out on my Sony a6000.
Some of these budget lenses are actually pretty good, most are complete crap, while some are just decidedly OK, like this Neewer 32mm F1.6. Coming in at less than $50 and sporting a rather unusual (32mm) focal length, this little lens could be a decent budget option for some photographers. Read on below.
Looking for just a quick summary before jumping in?
- Incredibly small
- Really lackluster image quality
- Budget way to test a new focal length
Size & Weight: incredibly compact.
As with most manual focus lenses, the Neewer 32mm F1.6 is just absolutely tiny. Clocking in at only 1.38 inches (3.5cm) long, it barely protrudes on a small body such as the Sony a6000. I was even able to pocket it with relative ease. In terms of weight, it stays slim as well, coming in at 5.8oz (165g). This isn’t quite as light as some other lenses we’ve reviewed, but it’s still extremely minimal.
Build Quality: visually appealing with poor quality control.
Personally, I’m a big fan of how a lot of these budget lenses look, and the Neewer 32mm F1.6 is no exception. It’s very small, but the metal material combined with the vibrant numbers/text makes for a rather classy and, dare I say, premium looking aesthetic.
Good looks aside though, some other reviewers on Amazon claimed quality defects, from stuck focusing rings to the lens just falling apart altogether. For myself, I found my aperture ring didn’t seem to be super accurate, but besides that, I had no other problems.
Image Quality: acceptable for certain situations.
As for image quality, if you’ve ever used one of these ultra-budget lenses before, you’ll know that shooting wide open is practically useless. The Neewer 32mm F1.6 was certainly no exception. Center sharpness was awful until you started to stop down, seeming to peak around F8 (at least I think, as my aperture ring seemed inaccurate). Corner sharpness is another story, it’s just terrible. Even at F8, everything was pretty soft, and you need to push to F16 until you start to see acceptable results.
With all that being said, the bokeh actually looked great and made for some solid subject isolation. I definitely wouldn’t ever use this lens for landscapes. As for optical quirks, the lens handled distortion and chromatic aberrations quite well, but flared like crazy in brighter situations.
Focusing & Ergonomics
As for focusing, the Neewer 32mm F1.6, as stated earlier, is entirely manual focus. If you’ve never tried it before and are interested in learning more, consider checking out our complete guide on manual focus for Sony cameras. I actually found the focusing ring to be pretty accurate and nice to use. However, it should be noted that for some reason this lens struggles with infinity focus, once again making it a very poor choice for anything further than a few meters away.
The aperture ring, like I mentioned earlier, seemed a bit inaccurate. As for handling and ergonomics, the small size of the lens felt well balanced with my a6000, and I really can’t complain about the overall feel.
My Final Thoughts: it’s not the greatest, but for $42 you can’t go wrong.
Before we get any further, I would just like to point out that Neewer does make a slightly more expensive, but much better alternative: the Neewer 35mm F1.7. Consider reading our review on it.
That being said, despite the incredibly awful corners, the center sharpness (when stopped down) and bokeh actually look really nice. If you’re just looking for a fun or extremely budget lens, the Neewer 32mm F1.6 is certainly usable for casual portraits, close-ups and other situations where the corners don’t matter as much.
For such a low price, you can’t really go wrong, and if it’s absolutely unbearable, that’s what return policies are for! If you’re interested in checking it out, I’ve included purchase links below. Thanks for reading and let me know how it turns out for you! 🙂
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