Sony on Wednesday unveiled two new wide-angle zooms for its full-frame E-Mount mirrorless cameras. Both are decidedly high-end optics, but the $2,200 FE 16-35mm F2.8 G Master takes the top spot, while the $1,700 FE 12-24mm F4 G offers the widest-ever perspective on a Sony full-frame mirrorless body — and a slightly more affordable option. These lenses help round out the FE ecosystem, which until now had lacked a professional wide-angle option.
As the first wide-angle G Master lens, the FE 16-35mm F2.8 joins the 24-70mm F2.8 GM and 70-200mm F2.8 GM to round out the lineup of high quality, fast-aperture zooms. Sony has crammed as much optical and electronic tech into it as they could. It contains five aspherical elements, including the largest Extreme Aspherical (XA) front element that Sony has ever produced. It also has two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements, Nano AR coating, and an 11-blade aperture for circular bokeh at any f-stop.
Powering the lens are two Direct Drive SSM focusing motors which move a floating focusing system. Sony claims autofocus performance isn’t just fast, but also quiet, making the 16-35mm a good choice for video in addition to still photography. It is also fully weather sealed, so it will be a good complement to second-generation A7-series cameras and the upcoming A9. The 16-35mm range is suitable for a variety of subjects, from landscapes, to sports and events, to portraits.
The FE 12-24mm F4 may not be after quite the same customer, but its specifications still look very good on paper. It is built around four aspherical elements, three ED elements, and one Super ED element to minimize chromatic aberration and maintain sharpness across the frame. The 12-24mm’s main focus is on portability, and is both shorter and lighter than the 16-35mm despite the wider field of view. It offers a single Direct Drive SSM focusing motor and is also sealed against dust and moisture.
With an f/4 maximum aperture, it won’t have the low light capabilities of the 16-35, but it should otherwise make for a great landscape lens. At 12mm, this isn’t just the widest full-frame Sony E-Mount lens, it is one of the widest non-fisheye lenses on the market for any system.
Both of these new lenses should further increase the appeal of the E-Mount system to professional photographers who have yet to take a serious look at Sony. The company claims that it now produces lenses spanning 12mm all the way to 800mm (with teleconverters) for E-Mount cameras, matching the versatility of more established brands like Canon and Nikon.