Colby Brown was one of many photographers who celebrated the announcement and release of the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM lens earlier this year. Atop his recent review of the lens, Brown notes that it was an addition to Sony's ever-expanding lens lineup that he had eagerly anticipated. "While Sony has been working hard to continuously put out impressive lenses over the last few years, one of the most requested pieces of glass has been a fast ultra wide, especially for landscape and astro-photographers. So when the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM was announced, it wasn’t really surprising to see just how excited everyone was that this lens was finally coming out."
Landscape photographers in particular often refer to a Holy Trinity of zoom lenses that form the core of their kit: 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm. The introduction of the 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master gives Sony shooters a Holy Trinity of f/2.8 lenses in the G Master line. And it gives photographers who have been on the fence about moving to the Sony system another compelling reason to do so. Brown explains, "With the 16-35 f/2.8 GM, Sony now has firmly established their “Holy Trinity” of zoom lenses in both f/2.8 & f/4 for the 16-35, 24-70 and 70-200. This makes it easier for many Canon & Nikon users looking to switch as Sony’s GM line of lenses continues to represent some of the best lenses in the market."
Brown's reviews are always highly detailed and this one is no exception. Here are some of the highlights of his deep dive into this new 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master lens:
Image quality is, of course, at the heart of any lens. Brown describes his experience with the 16-35-mm f/2.8 G Master, "After shooting thousands of images with this lens I can testify that it is an incredibly sharp lens. Details look crisp, contrast is great and there is no denying how impressive the sharpness, especially when used in tandem with the Sony α7R II." He also addresses corner sharpness at the wide end which is important in any wide-angle optic, "...at 16mm the Sony 16-35 f/2.8 GM is an incredible sharp lens…corner to corner."
"The rubberized focus/zoom rings feel good to the touch and the rest of the exterior is what you have probably come to expect from Sony’s GM line of top end glass." Brown also mentions the moisture-sealed design of the lens, a feature that's especially valuable to him as a landscape photographer who frequently finds himself shooting at the fringes of bad weather. "I can tell you from experience that I had this lens (and my α7R II) literally soaking wet to the point that it was dripping with water multiple times while in Iceland this summer and I didn’t have a single issue. No condensation ever entered the camera or lens/glass elements. I often work in fairly remote and challenging locations around the globe, so weather sealing is actually a pretty big deal for the work I do."
In The Field
Brown's review is based on more that an afternoon shooting in a neighborhood park. He took the lens into the field and used it extensively in Iceland. That kind of use gives his overall evaluation particular significance and weight. "After using the Sony 16-35 f/2.8 GM this summer in Iceland and finally getting my own copy just before I published this review, I think it is safe to say that Sony really knocked it out of the park with this lens. In a fairly small and not too heavy of a body, they managed to pack in a ton of optical quality into this lens. Not only it is incredibly sharp corner to corner, but the images that come out of this lens are simply gorgeous. Between the bokeh, contrast and texture detail…there is a lot to love."
Read Colby Brown's entire review and see a gallery of images taken with the 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master lens on his website at colbybrownphotography.com