Sony’s FE 16-35mm f2.Eight G Grasp is an ultra-wide zoom for its e-mount mirrorless cameras, and corrected to be used on full-frame our bodies. Introduced in Might 2017, it accomplished a ‘trinity’ of Sony’s G Grasp lenses with f2.Eight focal ratios, becoming a member of the sooner FE 24-70mm f2.Eight and 70-200mm f2.8. The FE 16-35mm f2.Eight GM additionally turned Sony’s second lens, after the FE 100-400mm GM, to characteristic a floating focus mechanism which shifts two teams of components concurrently. This could permit the lens to supply very excessive decision all through its focusing vary, even close-up, whereas additionally decreasing focus respiration. Each teams are additionally pushed by Direct Drive SSMs for quick, quiet and easy focusing. Lastly, the entrance aspect has a fluorine coating, the physique is weather-sealed, and there’s a spotlight maintain button which may be custom-made inside the digital camera. In the meantime, Nano AR coating ought to decrease flare and ghosting.
To search out out whether or not the Sony FE 16-35mm f2.Eight GM rightfully earns a suggestion I examined it on the 42MP Sony A7R II physique and in contrast it towards the Tamron 17-28mm f2.Eight Di III. So when you’re planning to get a relentless f2.Eight aperture wide-angle zoom lens on your full-frame Sony mirrorless physique, you’ve come to the fitting place!
Details from the catalog
As standard I’ll take a look on the technical information of the Sony FE 16-35mm f2.Eight GM (“Sony GM” for brief) first. I’ve rated the options with a [+] (or [++]), when it’s higher than common and even cutting-edge, a  if it’s normal or simply common, and [-] if there’s a drawback. For comparability I exploit the Tamron 17-28mm f2.Eight Di III (“Tamron”) and the Sony FE 16-35mm f4.Zero ZA OSS (“Sony ZA”).
Dimension (diameter x size): 89 x 121mm (3.5 x 4.8in.) plus 23mm for the lens hood which is 107mm in diameter. Zooming again to 16mm focal size extends the lens one other 14mm to a complete size of 158mm together with lens hood. That’s fairly lengthy. The Tamron is way smaller at 73 x 99mm + 25mm lens hood and doesn’t change its size whereas zooming. The Sony ZA is 78 x 99mm with out lens hood. 
Weight: 680g (24.Zero oz.) plus 31g for the lens hood. The Tamron is lighter at 420g + 22g lens hood, the Sony ZA is 518g + 31g lens hood. 
Optics: 16 components (together with 2 particular dispersion and 5 aspherical components) in 13 teams, a fairly complicated design. The Tamron has 13/11 components/teams just like the Sony ZA (12/10). [+]
Closest focus distance is 0.26m (10.2in.) with a magnification of 1:4.Eight at 35mm focal size utilizing guide focus. That is fairly helpful however you’ve a working distance of solely 12cm (4.7in.). A magnification of 1:10 is achieved at 0.46m (1.5ft.) giving a working distance of 0.30m (1.0ft.) with lens hood connected. The Tamron goes all the way down to 1:4.Three at 17mm focal size however has an excellent shorter working distance of solely 6cm. The Sony ZA achieves most magnification of 1:5.Three at 0.28m. [+]
Filter-thread: 82mm. The Tamron makes use of 67mm filters that are a lot smaller and cheaper. The Sony ZA has a 72mm filter-thread. 
Picture stabilization: The lens itself affords no optical stabilization similar to the Tamron. However trendy Sony our bodies present built-in sensor-shift stabilization over 5 axis. The Sony ZA has its personal optical stabilization. 
Auto focus: Sure. Guide-focus override is by merely turning the main focus ring. The main focus ring has a linear gearing with a throw of 140 levels which permits for exact guide focus and easy focus pulling for videographers. The Sony GM additionally has a further focus maintain button which may be custom-made inside the digital camera. The Tamron has non-linear gearing. [+]
Covers full body or smaller. Identical with the competitors. [+]
Value: a whopping 2340 EUR (incl. 19% VAT) / 2200 USD. The Tamron is listed at lower than half the worth (1000 EUR / 900 USD) however then it additionally has a smaller zoom-range. In the meantime the Sony ZA with its f4.Zero focal ratio prices 1050 EUR / 1350 USD. 
Comes with a pleasant padded lens case however with out strap. The lens hood is included, reversible for transport, and has a lock to forestall it from by chance falling off. The Sony ZA additionally has a pleasant lens case, the Tamron comes with out pouch/strap. [+]
Aperture ring: No, similar to the Tamron and Sony ZA. 
Sealing: sure, a rubber grommet on the lens-mount plus additional weather-sealing all through the development and fluorine coating on the entrance lens for simpler cleansing. Much like the Tamron and Sony ZA. [+]
The rating within the “features-department” is 0[-]/6/6[+]. The lens has a really helpful zoom-range at a relentless f2.Eight focal ratio and good climate sealing. The main focus maintain button, lockable lens hood, and good lens case are welcome options too. However then the lens additionally prices a fairly penny.
There is no such thing as a precise match for the Sony FE 16-35mm f2.Eight GM. You both have to choose a distinct zoom-range or go for a smaller focal ratio:
- Tamron has the 17-28mm f2.Eight Di III from 2019 for 1000 EUR / 900 USD. It’s small, and light-weight however provides up 20% attain on the lengthy finish: the Tamron’s narrowest angle of view is 75 levels versus 63 levels of the Sony GM (see comparability of protection beneath). For extra particulars take a look at my Tamron 17-28mm f2.Eight Di III evaluate.
- When you don’t want a focal ratio of f2.Eight Sony additionally affords the stabilized FE 16-35mm f4.Zero ZA OSS promoting for 1050 EUR / 1350 USD.
An ultra-wide angle zoom lens may be an alternate when you can provide up some attain on the lengthy finish or just complement it with a typical 24-70mm f2.Eight zoom:
- The Sigma Artwork 14-24mm f2.Eight DG DN is an authentic mirrorless design for E-mount which ought to quickly be obtainable (1530 EUR / 1400 USD). It’s the largest (85x131mm) and heaviest (795g) different. This lens is to not be mistaken for the Sigma Artwork 14-24mm f2.Eight DG HSM, a DSLR design from 2018 which is way bulkier and heavier nonetheless.
- Go even wider with Sony’s FE 12-24mm f4.Zero GM from 2017 (1700 EUR/USD). The lens is 87x117mm and weighs 565g. For extra info and pattern photos take a look at Gordon’s Sony FE 12-24mm f4G evaluate thus far.
With each ultra-wide angle zoom lenses you lose 11mm (30%) attain on the lengthy finish in comparison with the Sony GM. However for that you simply achieve 7 levels (Sigma 14-24mm) resp. 15 levels (Sony 12-24mm) angle of view on the quick finish. And that additional protection may be very seen. Bear in mind although that because of the bulbous entrance aspect each ultra-wide zooms can not use normal filters.
Right here is the angle of view that the Sony FE 16-35mm f2.Eight GM covers with its 2.2x zoom:
The Tamron 17-28mm f2.Eight Di III captures a visibly smaller vary with its 1.6x zoom:
Focus and zoom
Focus accuracy and repeatability is vital to constantly produce sharp photographs. Repeatability (the accuracy of deal with the identical topic after repeated focus-acquisition) of this lens at 35mm focal size is just not so good: Reikan FoCal measured solely 94.8% with a transparent distinction in decision of about 10% with the lens hitting the (focus-) mark constantly higher when coming from farther away. See the next 100% crops when specializing in the FoCal goal at 1.6m distance:
On the left is a typical end result when the lens was coming from 10m focus distance, on the fitting when it got here from 0.8m. I additionally encountered this impact underneath real-life capturing circumstances however it could be a singular downside of my copy. At 35mm focal size the lens focuses rapidly in round 0.6 sec from infinity to 0.46m (1:10 magnification).
The zoom ring turns by 65 levels and has a 19mm huge rubber floor with a superb grip. It isn’t too stiff and may be operated with one finger. The main focus ring is 16mm huge and is positioned on the front-end of the lens. It strikes very easily and might simply be operated with one finger.
AF-operation of the Sony GM is inaudible from the surface and while you document video with the built-in microphone. As you pull focus, you’ll discover some focus respiration: the picture turns into rather less magnified at nearer focusing distances. When I adjusted the main focus from infinity to 0.46m (1:10 magnification) at 35mm focal size, I measured a 5% lower in magnification. The identical take a look at at 16mm focal size did solely produce a 2% lower. So focus respiration of the Sony GM may not be too annoying when recording video however the Tamron 17-28mm f2.Eight Di III has even much less.
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