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The fastest, toughest, and most compatible portable SSD ever with speeds up to 2800MB/s.

NEW! Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II

Looks like arrival around October 1st from B&H, awkward as I am already likely to be on the road photographing. But I will be reviewing the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II as a priority this fall.

Replacing the June 2017 Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM, the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II arrives in September 2023 having been slimmed down to 20% lighter and 10% smaller.

  • f/2.8 to f/22
  • Fast Wide-Angle Zoom
  • 20% Lighter, 10% Smaller than Previous
  • Four XD Linear AF Motors, Floating Focus
  • Aperture De-Click and Lock Switches
  • Zoom Smoothness Switch
  • XA and Super ED Elements
  • Fluorine Coating
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction

Better ?

Overall, the new design is obviously “better”... for which purposes?

The “II” lens has a heavy emphasis on video-centric features. And who can blame Sony for going for the hotter video market.

But consider that the (sibling lens) 24-70 II is problematic for landscape photography. Which is why I would not consider it for that. Still, I hold out some hope of a 16-35 II lens design that is better for landscape than its predecessor.

Another issue for some is that 16-35mm is an awkward fit vs the superlative Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM. Since I’d much rather shoot the Voigtlander FE 35mm f/2 APO at 35mm, the 16-35mm doesn’t fit neatly anywhere. Also, the 12-24mm has extremely low distortion in the 16-20mm range, right where the 16-35mm will likely fare poorly. A video-centric likely means strong distortion from 16mm to 20mm with the 16-35mm.

Field tests will say if the new 16-35mm is actually better for landscape—maybe not. It might be a design which has been compromised for still photography. For example, a razor-sharp central area accompanied by increased outer-zone field curvature and focus shift that together make getting uniform sharpness across the frame problematic for landscape photography and similar. However, Sony has put a lot of special lens elements into this lens and maybe it will all work out to be better in every way. Still, the heavy emphasis on video-centric features does not make me optimistic.

Note well that “Focus breathing, focus shift, and axial shift during zooming have all been minimized...” speaks to zooming. Parfocal behvior is completely different from optical focus shift with stopping down. It’s all video-centric.

OTOH, lower focus breathing is a modest benefit for focus stacking. If only Sony would fix their broken focus bracketing feature too.


IMO, a 1-year limited warranty is pathetic for this class of lens. Nikon offers a 10-year (ten years!) warranty on its "S" line—10 (ten) times longer. Nil value vs real value.

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: 15 elements in 12 groups
1 Super ED extra low dispersion
2 ED
5 aspherical including 3 extreme aspherical
Diaphragm: 11, rounded
Magnification: 0.32X = 1:3.125
Filter thread: 82mm
Weight, nominal: 1.2 lb = 547g
Weight (as weighed): TBD
Dimensions: 3.5 x 4.4in = in 87.8 x 111.5 mm
Street price: about $2298
Supplied with: ALC-F82S 82mm Front Lens Cap
ALC-R1EM Rear Lens Cap
ALC-SH149 Lens Hood
Padded Case with Strap
Limited 1-Year Manufacturer Warranty


Combining G Master performance with the lightest and smallest form factor in its class, Sony rounds out its trinity of f/2.8 G Master zoom lenses with its latest wide-angle offering for video and stills shooters, the FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Lens, which boasts a variety of optical, focusing, and handling upgrades.

Designed to rival the primes, this zoom's optics have been revamped to provide even greater resolution, clarity, and bokeh quality.

  • Bright f/2.8 constant aperture allows users to capture images in dim lighting conditions and with a shallow depth of field.
  • One Super ED (extra-low dispersion) and Two ED elements effectively suppress chromatic aberrations and color fringing for greater clarity and color fidelity.
  • Five aspherical elements, including three extreme aspherical elements (XA), minimize spherical aberrations, distortion, and also reduce 'onion ring' bokeh.

Faster focusing performance, improved close-up shooting, and enhanced control are all benefits of the redesigned focusing system.

  • Four XD (extreme dynamic) linear motors contribute to greatly improved focusing performance, compared to the DDSSM system of the predecessor, including faster, quieter, and more precise AF that's ideal for both video and stills.
  • Faster AF means improved focusing when working with fast-moving subjects; support is available for shooting at up to 30 fps, full AF is maintained even when shooting stopped down, and focus tracking is possible even when changing the zoom position.
  • Floating focusing mechanism helps maintain image quality throughout the focusing range, which is especially important considering the impressive close-up performance of this lens: minimum focusing distance of 8.6" and a maximum magnification of 0.32x across the entire zoom range.
  • Internal focusing design promotes snappier, more responsive focusing performance and maintains the same center of gravity during lens extension and retraction.

Improved Control and Video Capabilities

Just as camera design has grown to appeal to both photo and video shooters, this lens has also been updated with a series and attributes that specifically appeal to video shooters' needs.

Focus breathing, focus shift, and axial shift during zooming have all been minimized to prevent unwanted movements and angle of view variations for greater compositional accuracy during recording.

Supports the Breathing Compensation function in select cine-line and Alpha cameras

Linear Response MF provides natural, intuitive manual focus control.

Manual aperture ring can be de-clicked for silent operation and the zoom smoothness can be adjusted depending on the desired torque.

Compact, Lightweight, and Robust Design

The smallest and lightest f/2.8 wide-angle zoom in its class, this lens doesn't lose sight of its professional attributes and remains a weather-sealed, durable lens for use in trying working conditions.

  • Approximately 20% lighter and 10% smaller than its predecessor, this zoom is a highly portable and versatile option for a huge variety of shooting applications.
  • Now fit with a manual aperture ring, tactile exposure control is possible. This ring can be de-clicked for smooth and silent iris pulls or it can be locked in the 'A' position for camera-based aperture switching.
  • Two programmable focus hold buttons and a focus mode switch for intuitive focus control.
  • Hybrid construction uses both metal and plastic components to maximize both durability and a low weight design.
  • Dust and moisture-resistant design includes rubber gaskets at each seam and a rubber ring sealing the lens mount for ensured use when working in inclement weather conditions.
  • Front lens element has a fluorine coating that repels water, oil, and other contaminants and makes the lens easier to clean.
  • Included lens hood has been redesigned to complement the lens' sleek design by reducing both its diameter and length.

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