Sony introduced some hot new wide-angle lenses today! For travel and landscape photographers these lenses should be an absolute dream. Here’s what you need to know:
FE 16-35mm f2.8 GM
Sony’s G Master series of lenses are supposed to represent the best of the best in image quality, durability, and OMGness (the last part my paraphrase). I own two G Master lenses (the 70-200 f2.8 and the 24-70 f2.8) and rented another (the 85mm f1.4) for my Dallas Altitude project, and the reputation is well-deserved: these lenses are phenomenal. Sony currently has a 16-35 wide-angle lens (which I also own) which has spent a lot of time on my camera, but it’s only a max aperture of f4. It’s a great lens, don’t get me wrong, but it lacks some of the optical coatings that would otherwise help it compete with similar lenses from Canon and Nikon. The new G Master lens solves that. It makes no apologies and (my prediction) will deliver great images designed for Sony cameras with higher-megapixel sensors like the a7rII.
The new Sony lens will compete on price and quality but will lead the pack when it comes to weight. The shorter flange distance of the Sony mirrorless cameras gives them more flexibility when coming up with lens designs (since they don’t have to worry about the space needed for a mirror). The comparable Canon weighs 100g more than this new Sony. The weight doesn’t really bother me too much but it does for some, it’s good that Sony is still trying to keep weight down where possible (especially when putting these new lenses on smaller camera bodies).
The 16-35mm G Master will ship in August and is priced at $2198. It’s an expensive lens, no doubt, but the comparable Canon is $1999 so it’s at least in line with the competition.
Sony FE 12-24 f4 G
So Sony has the G Master designation for the top of the line pro lenses. For all you G’s out there who ain’t masters quite yet they have the Still Expensive G series of lenses. I own the 90mm G series f2.8 Macro lens, for example, and lurve it very much (it may be my favorite Sony lens, in fact). G series lenses are very high quality indeed, so don’t be ashamed if you’re not quite at the G Master level (my photography definitely isn’t to that level I just spend too much dang money on this stuff).
Sony also announced a new G series 12-24mm super mega ultra wide angle today. I was super excited to see this bit of info cross my desk, as it means Sony responded to the competition again. Canon has an 11-24mm super wide-angle and Nikon has a 14-24mm super wide angle. Sony needed something wider than 16mm for its full-frame sensors, and this does it. This should be a huge get for any landscape photographers (and some will use it for astrophotography no doubt) for an absolutely crazy field of view. One bit of critique is that this lens will have a bulbous front element (meaning the glass sticks out further than the lens casing) so filters will be harder to affix to the front of it but I imagine someone will 3D print a filter holder (like others have done for similar lenses). While it’d certainly be nice to have this lens in an f2.8 variety, it just isn’t necessary for what I’d use the lens for (plus it would at least double the price). This lens will also be very very light, at only 565 grams.
The 12-24mm f4 will come out in July and is priced at $1698.
Am I getting either of them?
Wellllllllllll yes. I will almost certainly get the 12-24mm. It’s not cheap, but here’s my logic. I currently have quite a bit of overlap between 24mm and 35mm in my kit. My Canon 24mm tilt-shift lens is much better at 24mm than my Sony 16-35 is. My 24-70 G Master lens is also better from 24-35mm than my Sony 16-35. Sooo my idea is that by selling my existing 16-35mm f4 (anyone want it? $1000 is what I’m thinking) I’ll end up with good quality from 12-23.9mm with the new Sony that was announced, master-level quality at 24mm from the Canon tilt shift, and then great quality from the 24-70 G Master above 24mm. It basically gets rid of the overlap and gives me new flexibility from 12-16mm. I doubt I’ll need 12mm very often but hey, you never know I guess.
What do you think? Which of these are you more excited about and do you plan on getting either of them?