Sony Intros 2 Wide-Angle E-Mount Zoom Lenses: 16-35mm F/2.8 GM and 12-24mm F/4 G (Sample Images)

A small earthquake didn’t stop Sony from unveiling two new wide-angle zooms in their ever-expanding line of full-frame E-mount lenses at a press event today in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. Shutterbug was on hand to test out the new Sony glass, which includes a fast FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM wide-angle zoom and an FE 12-24mm f/4 G ultra-wide zoom.

Designed to deliver superb corner-to-corner sharpness, both lenses are dust and moisture resistant and are particularly compact and lightweight for their class. While in Santa Barbara for the launch we had an opportunity to shoot with both lenses on the new Sony A9 mirrorless camera, and we definitely came away impressed.

Sony FE 16-35mm F/2.8 GM Lens

The large aperture FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM zoom joins Sony’s flagship G Master series, using the company’s most advanced technologies and build quality that are the hallmark of this premium lens line. Sony’s goal with this new wide-angle zoom was to create a lens that is not only compact and lightweight (24 oz.), but offers a unique combination of high resolution, unsurpassed sharpness, and beautiful bokeh.

Ideal for landscape photography, the new Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 delivers fast and precise autofocus when shooting moving subjects thanks to a design that utilizes two direct-drive focusing lens groups for swift and nearly silent AF.  The sophisticated optical design utilizes 16 elements in 13 groups. Five aspherical elements and Sony’s Nano AR coating contribute to maximum sharpness, contrast and color rendition while minimizing flare and chromatic aberration.

Shot with the new Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM at 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 125. ©Ron Leach

The new Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM delivers beautiful background defocusing thanks to its 11-blade aperture and an XA (extreme aspherical) front element that is the largest Sony has ever produced. In addition to being sealed against dust and moisture, the new wide-angle has a fluorine coating on the front element to resist contaminants. The lens is expected to be available in August for $2,200.

Sony FE 12-24mm F/4 G Lens

The compact and lightweight (20 oz.) ultra-wide FE 12-24mm F/4 G zoom delivers unique effects for everything from landscape photography to dramatic up-close sport action shooting like the cyclists we captured flying around on a half pip overlooking the ocean. This lens uses four aspherical elements as part of its 17-element/13-group optical design. And while the 12-24mm f/4 zoom doesn’t carry the coveted G Master designation, we were very impressed with its resolution and edge-to-edge sharpness at all apertures.


Shot with the new Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G at 1/400 sec, f/6.3, ISO 80. ©Ron Leach


Autofocus performance with the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G  is fast and precise thanks to its internal supersonic AF mechanism, and there’s a customizable focus-hold button on the side. This lens is also dust and moisture resistant and is currently Sony’s widest full-frame E-mount lens. Availability is expected in July with a price of $1,700.

You can find more about both new Sony lens on the Sony Alpha Universe website. As for the earthquake, it barely measured 4.0 on the Richter scale, and having lived through several big ones in the past we simply continued eating dinner.