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Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

See my Sony mirrorless wish list.

Sony’s long-rumored announcement of the the about about $2198 16-35mm f/2.8 GM fills out a hole in the Sony lens line that is important to many pros.

Along with the FE 12-24mm f/4 G and the FE 24-70/2.8 GM and FE 85/1.4 GM and 100/2.8 STF GM and other GM and ZA lenses, I would now say that the Sony lens line is now more attractive than Canon or Nikon for the vast majority of photographers.

Sony has now dealt the last in a series of competitive blows to Canon and Nikon with the completed lens line. The new Sony A9 and a presumed Sony A7R II successor will nail the coffin shut for so many users—there is now little point for considering a DSLR given the Sony camera features and lens line. The long end and specialized niches like tilt/shift means little in this context; the super tele and sports world is a niche market and largely irrelevant to market share and the ability to remain viable and cover R&D expenses—that takes volume and market share, and declining market share is going to make it very tough on CaNikon.

The use of 7 special elements, a fast aperture of f/2.8, and and all-new design for mirrorless holds out great promise for performance.

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • 2 Extra-Low Dispersion Elements
  • 3 Aspherical and 2 XA Elements
  • Nano AR and Fluorine Coatings
  • Two Direct Drive SSM AF Groups
  • Focus Hold Button, AF/MF Switch
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Eleven-Blade Circular Diaphragm

As per Sony, the lens ticks off all the key boxes, and more:

  • High corner-to-corner resolution — Uncompromised optical design achieves extremely high corner-to-corner resolution and contrast for landscape, architecture, and other expansive subjects.
  • Resolution and bokeh raised to new heights — This lens features two Sony XA (extreme aspherical) elements with 0.01 micron surface precision. Distortion that tends to occur in wide-angle zoom lenses is meticulously controlled, as are astigmatism and field curvature. Unattractive onion-ring bokeh is effectively suppressed by XA (extreme aspherical) elements so that smooth, beautiful bokeh is achieved in out-of-focus areas.
  • Optimum resolution at any focal length — Consistently high resolution is achieved from infinity to the closest focusing distance. This lens employs a floating focus mechanism with two independently driven lens groups. This system helps to reduce all types of aberration to minimum levels and thereby maintain sharp, high-resolution rendering from infinity focus for landscapes, for example, all the way down to close focus for portraits and similar subjects.
  • A perfect balance of resolution and bokeh — An advanced optical design that includes two Sony XA (extreme aspherical) elements achieves outstanding resolution, low distortion, and smooth, beautiful bokeh.
  • Gorgeous background bokeh — Shoot close at F2.8 to capture sharp subjects with dynamic, painterly backgrounds consisting of delightfully smooth bokeh.
  • 11 blades enhance bokeh beauty — Sony's original 11-blade circular aperture contributes to even greater bokeh quality. Design and materials have been revised to maintain a round shape, and strict circularity standards are applied to ensure that the full beauty of the lens's bokeh is achieved without compromise.
  • Light and compact for high mobility — Class-leading size and weight reductions make this 680-gram lens an ideal match for compact E-mount bodies, providing an eminently portable, easily manageable system.
  • Fast, precise autofocus — Two DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) systems employing original Sony piezoelectric motors directly drive two focus groups in a floating focus configuration. The focus groups are positioned with high precision for the highest possible focus accuracy. DDSSM is quiet too, making it ideal for shooting movies as well as stills.
  • Smooth, versatile operation — A focus hold button, manual focus ring, AF/MF switch, and other controls provide versatile fingertip operation. The focus hold button can be customized via a body menu that allows a variety of functions to be assigned to the button to match the user's needs.
  • Fluorine coated front element — The lens's front element features a fluorine coating that helps to prevent fingerprints on the lens and stop dirt from sticking, and makes it easier to wipe away any dirt and fingerprints that do appear on the lens surface.
  • High reliability in harsh conditions — The overall design of this lens is dust and moisture resistant for extra protection and reliable operation in challenging environments. Shoot with confidence in light rain or windy conditions.
Optical design of Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

A 1-year limited is limited, and seems inappropriate for this level of lens. When will Sony step up to the plate with a credible warranty, like Nikon (1 year + 4 year extension upon registration = 5 years)? It is one missing piece of the pro puzzle.

Specifications for Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM
Focal length: 16-35mm
Aperture range: f/2.8 - f/22
Focusing range: 11.02 in / 28 cm
Angle of view: 107° - 63°
Number of elements/groups: 16 elements in 13 groups
2 ELD Elements, 3 aspherical, 2 XA
Nano AR and Fluorine Coatings
Diaphragm: 11, rounded circular aperture
Magnification: 0.62X = 1:1.6
Filter thread: 82mm
Weight, nominal: 1.5 lb / 680g
Weight (as weighed): TBD
Dimensions: 3.48 x 4.79 in 88.5 x 121.6 mm
Street price: about $2198
Supplied with: ALC-F82S 82mm Front Lens Cap
ALC-R1EM Rear Lens Cap ALC-SH149 Lens Hood
Limited 1-Year Warranty


Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

A fast and flexible wide-angle zoom, the FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Lens from Sony is a wide-angle zoom designed for full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras. Distinguished by its constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, this lens offers consistent performance throughout the zoom range and benefits working in low-light conditions.

The optical design incorporates two extra-low dispersion elements to reduce chromatic aberrations along with two XA elements and three aspherical elements, which significantly controls spherical aberrations for a high degree of image sharpness and clarity. Additionally, a Nano AR coating has been applied to limit ghosting and lens flare for increased contrast and color fidelity when working in strong lighting conditions.

Complementing the optical assets, this lens is also notable for its inclusion of an 11-blade circular diaphragm to produce smooth, soft-edged bokeh with selective focus imagery. For controlling focus, two Direct Drive SSM AF groups are employed that are quick and quiet, and also lend more responsive control for manual focus operation. The lens also sports a dust- and moisture-sealed design to support shooting in inclement conditions and a dedicated focus hold button and AF/MF switch.

  • As part of Sony's esteemed G Master series, this lens is designed to achieve notably high resolution and sharpness through the correction of a wide variety of spherical and chromatic aberrations. Additionally, these lenses feature robust and intuitive-to-handle physical designs to benefit both photography and cine applications.
  • Wide-angle zoom designed for full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras, this lens is also compatible with APS-C models where it provides a 24-52.5mm equivalent focal length range.
  • Constant f/2.8 maximum aperture offers consistent performance throughout the zoom range for working in difficult lighting conditions.
  • Two XA (extreme aspherical) elements and three aspherical elements are incorporated into the optical design, which feature superior surface precision for effective control over astigmatism, field curvature, coma, and other spherical aberrations.
  • Two extra-low dispersion elements are featured in the lens design and help to reduce chromatic aberrations and color fringing for improved clarity and color neutrality.
  • A Nano AR Coating has been applied to reduce surface reflections, flare, and ghosting for increased contrast and color rendering in strong lighting conditions.
  • Rounded 11-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality when employing selective focus techniques.
  • Two Direct Drive SSM (DDSSM) autofocus groups offer quick, quiet, and precise focusing performance that is ideal for both stills and video applications.
  • Dust- and moisture-sealed design better permits working in inclement conditions and rubberized control rings benefit handling in colder temperatures. Additionally, the front element has a fluorine coating to guard against fingerprints and dust from adhering to it.
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