Sony FE 16-35mm f4 Zeiss lens Review

Preface

The more I got into landscape and architecture photography, the more I found myself having to take a lot of steps back, and more often than I like, having to make the compromise of not fitting the overall picture into the frame – this essentially means you’re looking at a different picture. Therefore I took the dive and bought my first wide angle lens.

Introduction

As mentioned in my Sony FE 28-70mm 3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens review, the range of FE lenses available is quite limited (and still is the case at the time of writing this article).

The only wide angle option available for the FE-mount is the FE16-35mm F4. Though, you can look at third-party wide angle primes, which has four main drawbacks;

  • manual focus only
  • no image stabilisation (though, not as a big drawback for newer Mark 2 A7 series cameras with in-body stabilisation)
  • they’re prime lenses (i.e. fixed at a single focal length)
  • Weather-sealing

Package Contents

Given the price of the lens and the fact that Sony has surprised me with the amount of extra goodies included with their products in the past. I was a bit disappointed to find only the bare minimum came with this lens.

  • FE16-35mm F4 ZA OSS lens
  • Lens Hood
  • Lens Leather Pouch
  • Front and Rear lens cap
  • Standard Documentation

Design

The lens is a product from the joint partnership between Sony and Zeiss, therefore, the lens has two logos on it. Apart from this, the design of the lens looks similar to other FE lenses, with nice wide focus and zoom rings.

To understand what this extra Zeiss logo on the lens means, read the blog post: Sony and ZEISS: What photographers should know about the partnership on the Zeiss blog.

Build Quality

Undeniably this is by far my favourite feature about the lens. Plastic lenses are nice to carry around due to its light-weight, but let’s face it. Plastic lenses do not give you the same kind of grip a metal lens does.

The only let down in the build quality department is the bundled plastic lens hood. If it weren’t for the plastic lens hood, I would have given the build quality full marks.

Performance

OK. With all the aesthetics out of the way, only the most important aspect of a lens is left – its performance.

So, does the lens perform? If you are looking for technical data, etc. I suggest you read the DxO Mark article: Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS lens review: Welcome addition to the range.

However, if you’re after a user’s perspective. Then, the answer is a clear yes.

The lens fulfills the two functions I need it to; capture the overall/complete picture and the photos need to sharp even at F4.

Conclusion

Overall I’m happy with the purchase and have no hesitation in recommending the lens to others. However, due to the high price tag, only purchase the lens if you know landscape and/or architecture is your style of photographer, not for the sake of getting a lens with a Zeiss logo on it. You’re better off getting a proper/real Zeiss lens (a lens from either the Loxia or Batis series of lenses).

Sample Photos

Product Photos

Figure 1. Box packaging lens came in.
Figure 2. Lens box open showing lens carrying pouch wrapped inside bubble wrap with instruction manual on top.
Figure 3. Leather lens carry pouch sitting on top of a copy of the big issue with computer keyboard in background.
Figure 4. Peeking inside the leather carry pouch with lense inside.
Figure 5. Lense with lens cap on sitting next to lens hood on top of a copy of the big issue magazine.
Figure 6. Lense attached to a7S sitting on desk with computer keyboard and lens box in background.

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