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Sony Goes Wide with FE 16-35mm f/2.8 and 12-24mm f/4 Lenses

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After tackling the normal-to-telephoto arena for most of its recent lens releases, Sony is going wide with today’s announcement of the FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM and FE 12-24mm f/4 G for full-frame E-mount cameras. The star of the show is clearly the latest G Master release, which completes the f/2.8 trifecta, when paired with the 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses. On the other hand, the 12-24mm offers a great ultra-wide perspective with its ability to reach all the way down to just 12mm.

First, the lens that many of you have been waiting for is the FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM. As a member of the G Master line, it aims to provide extreme resolution and smooth bokeh. It manages to achieve optical excellence through a design that incorporates two extreme aspherical (XA), three aspherical, and two extra-low dispersion elements. Combine this with the fast and constant f/2.8 aperture and the eleven-bladed diaphragm, and you have the high sharpness and creamy bokeh that the G Master series promises.

FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

Optics aren’t quite everything with this lens, as it offers excellent tactile control in the form of rubberized zoom and focus rings, an AF/MF switch, and a programmable focus hold button. Autofocus is also quite responsive and fast with a Direct Drive Super Sonic wave AF Motor (DDSSM) that uses two autofocus groups to improve performance. Additionally, the lens is dust- and moisture resistant, has a fluorine coating on the front element, and will accept 82mm filters.

For those more dedicated to ultra-wide angle imaging, Sony has developed the FE 12-24mm f/4 G Lens. This lens attempts to provide an extremely wide perspective while remaining compact and lightweight. It also is a member of the G series, where it promises excellent sharpness across the entire frame, something critical for this style of imaging. The lens design also combats aberrations and flaring by using four aspherical elements, one Super ED element, and three ED elements, as well as a Nano AR coating. And, it has a constant f/4 aperture for consistent performance throughout the zoom range.

FE 12-24mm f/4 G

Operation is meant to be fast and responsive, much like the 16-35mm GM, as it uses a Direct Drive Super Sonic wave Motor (DDSSM) for autofocus. It also has an AF/MF switch and a programmable focus hold button on the side for quickly accessing commonly used settings. A seven-blade circular diaphragm further assists with overall image quality by creating smooth, natural bokeh. Additionally, it is dust- and moisture resistant and weighs just 1.25 lb.

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i have had a camera in my hands for over 20 years I am happy to see Sony is now a leader that people compare other pro cameras / lens to.

i have several new G lens and find them to be top proffesional quality they are committed to makijg top quality lens something Tamron and others never have been.

funny how people now talk about them along side Cannon / Nikon

watch them grow

Not a traveler But my bag maybe a little lighter now with only a FE 12-24mm and SEL24240. When I get the A7rm2 will not need IS anyway! I never call glass cheap just because the price is lower it is all quality (ever use Canon or Nikon film glass from the 70's, quality)!! For 12-18mm I use the SEL1018 in Full Frame mode (remove light shield to get 18mm), a little soft at the edge and noisey at the bottom corners where vignetting normally is but all has work around in post but I do night and Milky Way's with it no problem and unless pixel peeping very little coma at 30 sec. or star trailing. But to have a true Full Frame 12mm f/4, on par with the Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 and zoom to 24mm and no adapters. The test for this lens is indoors in a room, does it fall some on both sides on your side of the room (the 10mm does) and are walls striaght up (when the camera is level) next a shot at stars (not charts) to see coma (doves) at the 42 second (500 rule) and the 30 second in aperature mode. Anyone can do a landscape but at 12mm it is not about getting it all in, it is about the framing - a 100 ft leafless tree with a sunset behind standing 15-20 yards, up close to a statue in a dome room with artwork the unknown view the peripheral vison view you see also from ear to ear, is it clean and sharp at the edge as it is in the center. Does 1.4 to 2.8 give you that I know 5.6 does and I look at photos using 2.8 but shot at f/8 for side to side and close clarity. So I think this will be a WINNER.

As important as these lenses are to increase the Sony footprint in the fullframe mirrorless line-up and as much as it improves their capability to attack the leaders in professional photography equipment - it re-inforces my understanding that Sony clearly seems to categorize their APS-C lineup as "low-end" and the fullframes as "professional" and handles all their lens development accordingly. Any (lighter, more affordable) 2.8 Zooms or 1.4 primes for the Sony APS-C format? Nada. Samyang manual focus only. And most likely nothing to ever come from Sony. Having been a Minolta/Sony addict since the Minolta 7D I recently converted to Fujifilm - most of their APS-C lineup is fast, relatively compact or if not so, weather-sealed: 1.4 for primes, 2.8 for Zooms all over the place. The few vintage manual lenses I might want to use also work there. Although considered expensive by many the Fuji lenses built and image quality is totally outstanding in most cases and the total price tag still half of a decent Sony system with the available fast Sony/Zeiss glass. What killed Sony for me was the increasingly messed up menu system, reaching a peak with the 6300 and no hope for an update to ever come out. Sorry, not willing to invest into a 6500 to fix it. I sold my 6300 almost unused. As a hobbyist photographer and APS-C addict for size, weight and cost of good glass I nowadays consider Fujifilm as having the best overall offering. Sony has nice APS-C mirrorless cameras but for fast glass there's only expensive and heavy fullframe options - what sense does this make?

I couldnt agree with you more, and to make matters worse the sony full frame E-mount is a flawed mount that was originally designed for APSC but has be subverted for full frame use. Just ask yourself why sigma and tamron dont make emount glass, it's too hard and too expensive for them. I also think sony would have been better off leaving the E-mount for APSC and developing fast lenses for that format and they should have designed an entirely new lens mount for full frame. But they have invested too much now and to swap mounts now would be suicide and they know it!!! The a9 was their last chance to kill off the e-mount for full frame and they blew it.

Jeff wrote:

I couldnt agree with you more, and to make matters worse the sony full frame E-mount is a flawed mount that was originally designed for APSC but has be subverted for full frame use. Just ask yourself why sigma and tamron dont make emount glass, it's too hard and too expensive for them. I also think sony would have been better off leaving the E-mount for APSC and developing fast lenses for that format and they should have designed an entirely new lens mount for full frame. But they have invested too much now and to swap mounts now would be suicide and they know it!!! The a9 was their last chance to kill off the e-mount for full frame and they blew it.

^^^^ Time to call out the sourceless whaaambulance for this post. ^^^^

Uh... The comparable Canon lens goes "all the way down" to 11mm. Whose "all the way down" is more "all the way"?

Please note that a constant aperture does not mean "consistent performance".

Hi William,

Canon's is more "all the way" for sure, and that 11-24mm is a great lens. But in terms of full-frame E-mount lenses the new 12-24mm is the widest native option from Sony. As for the constant aperture, true, it may not guarantee consistent performance, but the operation and illumination is defniitely more consistent as compared to variable aperture lenses.

Believe it or not there is even a wider Sony E mount Voigtlander 10mm and at only f5.6 BUT talks to camera with lens info for correct lens correction infoe for post processing. Yes all manual BUT does a great job with lit com towers 20 miles apart straight up and able to capture a Milky Way shot with little if no coma or streaking stars at 50 secs. Also for cave shots (with no tripod), ultra wide and every thing straight up and down and sharp at the edge. I know I could never afford it but a 10-24mm f/2.8 with IS/AF is maybe way to much to ask!!! 

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