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Cameras are shrinking, but lenses, particularly zooms, are growing. It’s common to use a mirrorless camera with a compact body and a large standard zoom, which can feel unbalanced.

Sony’s Compact Lens Designs

Sony is focusing on more compact lens designs. They’re not compromising on performance, but trading a bit of focal length or zoom range for smaller, lighter, and possibly cheaper lenses.

Sony

The Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G

The Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G is a prime example. It has the same constant f/2.8 maximum aperture as Sony’s top FE 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II lens. But it’s in a smaller, lighter design that’s also over half the price.

Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G
Sony

The G Lenses

Sony’s regular ‘G’ lenses are now so advanced, both optically and physically, and in AF technology, that it’s hard to see a difference. They don’t have the premium G Master label, but they’re still impressive.

Focal Range Compromise

The FE 16-25mm F2.8 G’s compromise is its focal range. Most lenses in this category are 16-35mm zooms, but this lens stops at 25mm. It covers the same ultra-wide angles but is less versatile for a more general semi-wide angle of view.

Limited Zoom Range

On paper, the FE 16-25mm F2.8 G has a limited 1.6x zoom range. But in practice, that may be all you need in an ultra-wide zoom. You’ll often be shooting in this narrow focal range, whether it’s landscapes, architecture, or interiors.

Size Saving vs Focal Range

Is the size saving worth losing the extra focal range? Maybe. The FE 16-25mm F2.8 G is smaller and lighter than a regular 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, but it’s not exactly small. It felt quite large on a Sony A7C II, but it would balance nicely on a regular A7 body.

Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G
Sony

SONY FE 16-25MM F2.8 G REVIEW: COST AND AVAILABILITY

As of now, the Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G is available for pre-order, with stock expected around May 10th. So, it’s likely available from major retailers by the time you read this. The price in the US is roughly $1,198, in the UK it’s £1,249, and in Australia, it’s AU$2,189. While not exactly a budget lens, it’s significantly less expensive than Sony’s other f/2.8 ultra-wide G Master zooms.

This lens offers great value for a brand-name product with a complex optical design, quick and quiet dual linear AF motors, and top-notch external controls. It’s also weather-resistant with a front element coated with fluorine to resist oil, grease, and water.

Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G
Sony

SONY FE 16-25MM F2.8 G: STRUCTURE REVIEW

Sony has not skimped on the build quality or controls of this lens. It uses ‘engineering plastics’ to reduce weight, but the finish is top-notch. The aperture control ring is also high-quality, with firm clicks between each 1/3 aperture setting and a strong detent at f/22 for auto aperture control.

For video shooting and changing aperture settings during filming, a Click On/Off switch on the bottom allows for silent, step-less aperture adjustment.

The focus is incredibly fast and quiet. This is where you’ll see the biggest difference between Sony’s newer in-house lenses and cheaper third-party options. There’s a slightly rigid AF/MF switch on the barrel, and in manual focus mode, the focus ring at the front of the lens feels a bit light but provides progressive and precise focus control.

This lens is compatible with Sony’s focus breathing compensation mode, depending on the camera you’re using. The focused breathing doesn’t seem particularly strong, though objects do appear to grow somewhat smaller as they go out of focus.

Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G
Sony

Another notable feature is the FE 16-25mm F2.8 G’s compact front element that doesn’t protrude, making it possible to attach regular filters. It has a common 67mm filter thread, so you may not need to buy any large filters specifically for this lens.

Focusing is fully internal, and while there is a slight change in length as you zoom from one end of the range to the other, it’s only a few millimeters. So, if you’re balancing a gimbal, you probably only need to do it once and not keep adjusting it for different zoom settings.

The limitations of this lens’s focal range are clear, but its build quality, handling, features, and performance are a pleasant surprise. It certainly feels like you’re getting good value for your money.

Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G
Sony

SONY FE 16-25MM F2.8 G: SHOULD YOU INVEST?

Consider buying if… You’re in the market for a compact, top-notch ultra-wide zoom. This lens may seem to lack in focal range on paper, but it aligns well with a regular standard zoom in practice. It’s not overly large or costly, and it performs excellently.

You require a superior, ultra-wide video lens. The Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G has numerous advantages, including fast and quiet AF, seamless aperture control, ideal gimbal balance, and focus breathing compensation if needed.

You’re also using a standard zoom. The zoom range maxes out at 25mm, which is exactly where standard zooms begin, so you’re not losing any focal lengths.

Think twice if… You’re seeking a single versatile travel lens. A regular 16-35mm zoom suffices for classic street photography at full zoom, but the 16-25mm falls a bit short, meaning you might need two lenses instead of one.

You’re only interested in ultra-compact lenses. The Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G is compact, but not extremely so. If you’re after truly small lenses, consider the Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G, 40mm F2.5 G, and 50mm F2.5 G primes.

You require extreme viewing angles. The 16mm widest focal length of this lens doesn’t offer the widest view. If you need extreme angles for architecture, astro, or interiors, a 12-24mm or 14-24mm alternative will provide a wider view.

Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G
Sony

Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G scores reviews table:

AspectScore out of 100
Build Quality90
Image Quality95
Autofocus92
Handling88
Value for Money85
Overall Performance90

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