The new Sony FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G is more important than it looks

Sony is bringing a solid argument to the lens pricing discussion. Until yesterday, if you had to choose new glass for your camera, your decision was pretty straightforward: get the Sigma or Tamron and save a lot of money.

Things are different with the new 16-35mm f/4 lens Sony has just announced. Yes, it has the usual Sony price tag, but this time it brings more than better autofocus than the Sigma or Tamron alternatives.

The Sony FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G is packed to the gills with features. Try reading these in one breath: internal zoom, aperture ring that can be declicked, power zoom lever, custom function button, AF/MF switch, aperture lock switch, minimal focus breathing, all packed in a compact body that weighs just 353 grams.

And the price for all of these? $1200 before taxes. Some will point out the Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 is cheaper at $899 and also better in low light. Though both arguments are valid, the new FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G doesn’t address the same type of shooter. I have a feeling we’ll see it mounted mostly on a Sony A7SIII or on an FX-3.

The initial reviews are also pointing out the lens is great for pixel peepers and flaring is well controlled. Here’s one that’s not long:

I should also mention the two drawbacks: the lack of Optical Steady Shot and the distortion when shooting at 16mm. But these are easily fixed with an IBIS sensor and a lens profile.

So why is this more important than it looks? Apart from the features, it shows Sony is ready to refresh its oldest lenses. The original Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 was introduced in 2014. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony announced new 24-70mm f/4 G and 50mm f/1.4 G lenses in the near future. Can’t wait!

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