Sony E 16-55mm F2.8 and 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 Reviews
It’s been a long time considering the fact that Sony launched new lenses for its APS-C bodies, and the new 16-55 F2.8 G is a first-rate surprise. The lens’ zoom vary is equivalent to 24-82mm on a full-frame body and fills in a hole in Sony’s lineup which, up till now, has been usually comprised of slow kit zooms. The one exception is the Sony/Zeiss 16-70mm F4, which has a more versatile range but is a cease slower than the new 16-55.
Given its spec, it should not come as a massive surprise that the 16-55mm F2.8 is on the high-priced side, with an MSRP. The lenses most comparable to this one are the Canon EF-S 17-55mm F2.8, but not as wide) and Fujifilm 16-55mm F2.8.
Specifications of Sony Alpha 16-55mm F2.8 G Standard Zoom APS-C Lens
The 16-55mm F2.8 G has a whole of 17 elements, including two aspherical, two superior aspherical and three ED (extra-low dispersion) lenses. It has 9 rounded aperture blades, which Sony (naturally) says produces beautiful bokeh. Sony uses a Nano AR coating to limit ghosting and flare, and the front component has a fluorine coating to repel oil and water. Speaking of water, the 16-55 F2.8 is dust and moisture resistant.
Sony uses an ‘XD’ linear motor to drive the focusing group, which is the identical type of motor found its greater high priced G Master lenses. The lens can focal point down to 0.33m (1.1ft), with a maximum magnification of 0.66x. The guide focal point ring has a linear response, which videographers will appreciate.
As you can see from the above photo, the 16-55mm is remarkably compact for a fast zoom, even one for crop-sensor cameras. At wide-angle, the lens is 10cm (3.9″) long and it doesn’t extend that much farther at full telephoto (Sony does not publish the actual length). It weighs in at 494g (1.1lbs), which is more than 100 grams lighter than the Canon EF-S 17-55mm F2.8.
Just under the ‘G’ is the focus hold button – its function can be customized on the camera. Over to the right is the AF/MF switch.
Going long: the Sony E 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS
Sony also announced a lens for the wildlife photographers out there, in the form of the 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS. The lens has an equivalent focal length of 105-525mm when mounted on an APS-C body, which is an incredibly versatile range, though its slow maximum aperture range makes this lens best suited for shooting outdoors. For those wondering if they can stretch the focal length out even further using a teleconverter, the answer is ‘no’.
The 70-350 has a total of 19 elements, which include 1 aspherical and 3 ED lenses. As with the 16-55, the 70-350 uses an XD linear motor to quietly drive the focusing group. There are 7 circular aperture blades on the 70-350.
Image stabilization is a must on lenses like these, and the 70-350 has it, though Sony doesn’t publish any estimates on how many stops of shake reduction the lens offers.
Specifications of Sony Alpha 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS
Despite its focal length, the 70-350 is remarkably compact. When collapsed it’s 142mm (5.6″) long and is of reasonable length even at full telephoto. It weighs in at just 625g (1.4lbs). The lens is resistant to dust and moisture.
As with the 16-55, the 70-350 has a customizable focus hold button and an AF/MF switch. There’s also a switch for turning OSS (Sony-speak for image stabilization) on and off, and a zoom lock switch that’s not visible in this photo.
After a long drought, it’s nice to see Sony releasing APS-C lenses again, especially given the rate at which they still release a6000-series bodies. While everyone likes a relatively compact superzoom lens, it’s great that Sony finally released a fast lens that can serve as a nice replacement to the slow, plasticky kit lenses that often come bundled.
You can view photos from both of these lenses in our a6100 and a6600 galleries (filter by lens to find them on the desktop version of our site). We’ll have dedicated lens galleries when the 16-55 and 70-350 are in our hands in the not-too-distant future.
In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts about these new lenses in the comments below.