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Two Sony zooms offer a wider view for your photography

Create: 05/27/2017 - 13:06
Sony G Master 16-35mm and G 12-24mm


  • Both zooms are for full-frame bodies and can be used with APS-C cameras
  • 16-35mm is a G Master lens, while the 12-24mm is a G lens

Sony is going wide with its newest lenses for full-frame E-mount cameras.

The f/2.8 G Master 16-35mm and f/4.0 12-24mm lenses represent two approaches in the wide-angle zoom category.

While both are intended for Sony’s full-frame A7 and A9 mirrorless cameras, they also can be mounted to its bodies with APS-C sensors. Factoring in the 1.5X crop, the 16-35mm becomes a 24-52.5mm, while the 12-24mm becomes an 18-36mm.

Neither lens has built-in image stabilization, which isn’t unusual for wide-angle offerings. Both are dust- and moisture-resistant.

Each has a barrel-mounted button for holding the focus and a slide switch for auto and manual focus.

FE f/2.8 16-35mm GM, US$2,199.99

This is a G Master lens, which puts it at the top of the heap, and it is Sony’s first wide-angle G Master lens.

The maximum aperture of f/2.8 is constant through the zoom range. There are 16 elements in 13 groups. There are five aspherical elements, including two “extreme aspherical” lenses, including the front element. Additionally, there are two extra low-dispersion elements in the design.

The aperture is formed by 11 blades, and Sony says it’s a circular opening at all settings, which contributes to smooth bokeh.

The 16-35mm zoom uses two Direct Drive SuperSonic Motors for focusing the lens, which Sony says is fast and quiet, making it useful for those who shoot video.

The buyer receives a petal-shaped lens shade, front and rear caps and a lens case.

The zoom accepts 82mm-thread filters. It is 3.5 x 4.8 inches (88.5 x 121.6mm) and weighs 24 ounces (680 grams).

The G Master 16-35mm lens is expected to be available in August 2017.

FE f/4.0 12-24mm G, US$1,699.99

Sony is calling this G lens a compact ultra wide-angle zoom, although at 3.5 x 4.6 inches (88.9 x 116.8mm) and 20 ounces (565 grams), it isn’t that much smaller or lighter than the 16-35mm lens.

The 12-24mm uses 17 elements in 13 groups and includes four aspherical elements, three low-dispersion and one extra low-dispersion elements.

The lens uses a single Direct Drive SuperSonic Motor for focusing.

Seven blades form the aperture, and the maximum aperture of f/4.0 is constant across the zoom range. Because of the bulbous front element, it isn’t possible to attach a filter. The petal-shaped lens shade is integrated into the lens.

The buyer gets front and rear caps plus a lens case. The front cap is unusual, because it fits over the petal-shaped lens shade, covering the shade’s cutouts so that the front of the lens is protected from dust or moisture getting to the front element while the cap is in place.

Sony expects the G 12-24mm lens to begin shipping in July 2017.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.