Hands on with new Sony wide-angle lenses
For the time being, Sony’s extraordinary forward momentum seems as though it is here to stay. We have not one – but two wide-angle lenses to further fill out the full-frame E-mount system for professional and enthusiast photographers. Let’s see what they have to offer.
Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM
Sony’s newest G Master lens is quite an accomplishment. The FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM is extraordinarily lightweight (especially in comparison to the competition), and yet, offers claimed weather sealing and an eleven bladed aperture; this results in gorgeous sunstars. Be sure to check out our gallery for the full view.
The Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM lens actually is at maximum size when zoomed out to 16mm, and is at its smallest when zoomed all the way in to 35mm, as shown here. Along with an emphasis on smooth bokeh (which is usually a lesser concern with a lens this wide, but hey, we’re not complaining), Sony claims that the corner-to-corner sharpness performance is impressive.
As seems to be par for the course for newer (high-end) Sony lenses, there is a fairly large 82mm front filter threat. Focus is internal, though, and the detachable hood has proven valuable for challenging lighting situations.
The rear of the lens features a gasket to seal against dust and moisture, which is a welcome addition considering the situations this workhorse lens may be exposed to. There should be no ‘onion ring’ bokeh due to a new manufacturing procedure that incorporates ‘XA’ (extreme aspheric) elements.
One of the major appeals of mirrorless camera systems has been the size and weight reduction they offer over more traditional rivals. With the new FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM, Sony has clearly taken this to heart. This lens is lightweight while still providing impressive optical performance.
The Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM will retail for $2200 US and will be available in August.
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G
The FE 12-24mm F4 G is a surprisingly compact lens given its specification. It is lightweight and balances extremely well on Sony mirrorless bodies; its size is even more impressive when you take into account its optical performance, which (at first blush, admittedly) seems to at least rival larger and heavier rivals from both mirrored and mirrorless camps alike.
Unlike the 16-35mm, the 12-24mm lens’ zooming happens without much notice; there is technically some external movement, but its limited and the built-in lens hood hides much of it. If you’re a landscape shooter that loves filters, you’ll need to look outside the screw-in market for this one – the bulbous front end will force users to look to other solutions.
As with its G Master brethren, the 12-24mm comes with a rear gasket to help seal against dust and moisture, though Sony is explicit that ‘weather sealing’ doesn’t mean ‘submersible.’ Well, that’s just no fun.
The Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G should offer pretty impressive optical performance at a decent price (especially considering how wide it is – a 12mm rectilinear lens is seriously wide), and will be available in July for $1700.