Sony announced the “FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II” G Master-line lens. This is a large aperture wide-angle zoom lens, and is scheduled to be released on September 22, 2023. The lens is 35mm full-frame compatible for Sony E-mount cameras. The estimated MSRP is around $2399.
The FE 70-200 in the G-master line was released in 2021, and the FE 24-70 GM II was released last year. The 16-35 is slotted in to fill the void between the two in the market line, and the remaining lenses will still be produced for at least 6 years.
The 16-35GM first model was an excellent lens, and was well received for its resolution, bokeh, AF, and optical performance. The new II type is about 20% smaller and lighter than 680g, achieving about 547g.
LEFT: FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II weighing about 547g. RIGHT: FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM weighing about 680g. 2nd Generation lens is 20% lighter
Compared to the first model, the resolution performance of the FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II has been improved in terms of “screen peripheral resolution,” “control of chromatic aberration,” “reduction of ghost flare,” and “close-up shooting performance.” The resolution is excellent in the first model, but the II type has improved resolution and contrast, especially in the screen periphery, from the center of the screen. As for chromatic aberration, the first model sometimes showed a slight purple blur, but the II model achieves high image quality even in backlit scenes.
The first-generation model had a close-up performance of 0.28m and a maximum shooting magnification of 0.19x, but the II type achieved a close-up performance of 0.22m over the entire zoom range and a maximum shooting magnification of 0.32x. For example, it is possible to flexibly respond to compositions that emphasize perspective by getting closer to the subject, expanding the range of expression.
For video producers, the FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II supports breathing and vibration suppression. The II type is the latest design, suppressing breathing and focus shift during focusing. It also minimizes fluctuations in angle of view and shaking, enabling smooth image expression. It achieves high compatibility with active mode and dynamic active mode, enabling stable video shooting with reduced camera shake.
The autofocus feature is equipped with four powerful “XD linear motors” in the actuator. As a result, autofocus speed is approximately twice as fast as previous models. When used in combination with α1, the lens can deliver high-speed continuous shooting performance of up to 30 frames per second.
It is also characterized by the small range of zoom movement between wide and telephoto. The first model had a 14mm change in overall length, but the FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II model has a change in overall length of 8mm, which suppresses the change in the center of gravity. Users can take pictures without any adjustment when using the gimbal.
Finally, the highlight of the FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II is its compact size and light weight. The total weight of the three first generation Daisangen was approximately 3,046g, while the total weight of the three Type II was 2,287g. The weight is reduced by 759g, which is equivalent to the weight of one body. This new product is a must-see for video users and still image users who always carry multiple lenses with them.
This table shows the differences in specs between the FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II (middle) and the original (right)