Sony has announced an updated version of its premium large-aperture full-frame wideangle zoom, alongside the compact-bodied A7C II and A7CR cameras. Compared to its six-year-old predecessor, the new Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II promises improved optics and additional controls in a smaller and lighter design. At $2300 / £2400, it’ll command a premium of $100 / £400 over the older lens’s current price, which also means it’s competitive with Canon and Nikon’s pro-spec f/2.8 ultrawide zooms.

Optically the lens employs 15 elements in 12 groups, with a whole host of special elements to suppress aberrations. An 11-blade diaphragm provides settings down to f/22, controlled by an aperture ring on the barrel that clicks in one-third stop increments. Alternatively, the ring to be switched to clickless operation. There’s also an A position on the aperture ring that passes control to a dial on the camera body.

Four XD linear motors promise fast, silent autofocus, with a minimum focus distance of 22cm providing 0.32x magnification. Sony says the lens supports continuous AF while shooting either still images at 30fps, or 4K video at 120fps. Two AF stop buttons are provided for use in portrait and landscape format shooting, whose function can be reassigned from the camera body.

Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II with hood on Sony Alpha A7R IV

Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II with hood installed, mounted on the Sony Alpha A7R IV. Credit: Andy Westlake

The lens measures 111.5mm in length by 87.8mm in diameter and weighs in at 547g. This makes it a centimetre shorter than its predecessor and 133g lighter. But it still boasts dust and moisture-resistant construction, along with a water and oil-repellent coating on the front glass. The filter thread is 82mm. Like the Sony A7C II and A7R C, the lens is due to be in the shops in September 2023.

Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II: Full specifications

  • Price:  $2300 / £2400
  • Filter Diameter:  82mm
  • Lens Elements:  15 (3 XA, 1 aspheric, 2 ED glass, 1 ED asph, 1 super ED)
  • Groups:  12
  • Diaphragm blades:  11
  • Aperture:  f/2.8 – f/22
  • Minimum focus:  22cm
  • Maximum magnification:  0.32x
  • Length:  111.5mm
  • Diameter:  87.8mm
  • Weight:  547g
  • Lens Mount:  Sony E
  • Included accessories:  Caps, hood

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