Sony’s FE 16-35mm f2.8 G Master is a wide zoom for its e-mount mirrorless cameras, and corrected for use on full-frame bodies. Announced in May 2017, it completes a ‘trinity’ of Sony’s G Master lenses with f2.8 focal ratios, joining the earlier FE 24-70mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8. It also becomes the fifth G Master lens to date, with the remaining two being the FE 85mm f1.4 GM and FE 100-400mm GM.
Like the other G Master lenses, the FE 16-35mm f2.8 GM aims for both high resolution across the entire zoom, focusing and aperture ranges, as well as attractive out-of-focus rendering, or bokeh. It measures 88.5×121.6mm, weighs 680g, has an 82mm filter thread and a 28cm closest focusing distance. The 16 element / 13 group optical design includes two XA (extreme aspherical) and three further aspherical elements to minimize distortion, spherical and coma aberrations, while avoiding onion rings in blurred sections. Meanwhile, Nano AR coating minimizes flare and ghosting.
The FE 16-35mm f2.8 GM also becomes Sony’s second lens, after the FE 100-400mm GM, to feature a floating focus mechanism which shifts two groups of elements simultaneously. This allows the lens to delivery very high resolution throughout its focusing range, even close-up, while also reducing focus breathing and achieving a weight 110g lighter than Canon’s equivalent EF 16-35mm f2.8L III USM. Both groups are also driven by Direct Drive SSMs for fast, quiet and smooth focusing. Finally, the front element has a fluorine coating, the body is weather-sealed, and there’s a focus hold button which can be customized within the camera. The Sony FE 16-35mm f2.8 GM is expected in August for $2200 and ahead of my review I’ve been shooting with a final-production sample on A7r II and A9 bodies; scroll down for my first sample images.