Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Wide Angle Zoom Lens
The next-gen Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Wide Angle Zoom Lens features even better image quality than the original, refined video features, faster AF thanks to four XD linear motors and a 20% lighter design.
- Second-get upgrades for a smaller, lighter and significantly better lens than the original in virtually every respect
- Evolved image quality provided by a new optical formula, which delivers high resolution into the corners of the frame
- Fast, quiet and near instant focus from four XD Linear Motors keeps up with 30fps burst shooting and 4K at 120p
- Refined for video creators, with optically reduced focus breathing, focus breathing compensation and de-click aperture ring
- New lens coatings, control buttons and legendary G Master performance in the third holy trinity lens to be updated
Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Wide Angle Zoom Lens (SEL1635GM2) Summary
In order to meet the evolving needs of content creators, Sony has developed the next generation Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Wide Angle Zoom Lens. This is the third full-frame G Master Sony mirrorless lens to be updated, providing significant image quality and performance enhancements for photographers and video creators who shoot with mirrorless Alpha cameras.
While the original lens was revered for delivering excellent sharpness and resolution, the new model promises even better image quality, faster focusing, better handling, and a 20% lighter design.
It achieves this through an optical formula that includes two XA lenses amongst other special elements, which render more advanced chromatic aberration correction. Four XD linear motors ensure the zoom lens is agile, and it is capable of delivering tenacious tracking when combined with advanced AF found in newer Sony camera bodies.
Moviemakers and hybrid creators also benefit from second-generation Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II lens features, which include reduced focus breathing, a small centre of gravity shift and optimised in-body stabilisation.
With these updated capabilities, the new 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II zoom is ideal for everything from vlogging and video recording to landscapes, cityscapes and street photography, amongst many more genres.
Key Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Features
- Updated both inside and out with a second generation design
- Evolved image quality with high resolution right into the corners
- Reduced chromatic aberration across the zoom range
- Fast AF powered by four XD Linear Motors
- Shorter and 20% lighter thanks to a floating mechanism
- Improved control and reliability
- Ideal for video with a gimbal stabiliser friendly design and reduced focus breathing
- Effective stabilisation when combined with in-camera Active / Dynamic modes
- Nano AR Coating II reduces flare and ghosting
- Fluorine coated front element
- Dust and moisture resistant design
- 11-bladed circular aperture
- 0.22m minimum focus distance (across the whole zoom) and higher 0.32x magnification
- Comprehensive lens controls and customisable options
Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Lens in More Detail
Evolved image quality
Manufacturing has advanced since the original FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM lens was released back in 2017 and this improved manufacturing technology allows for a more flexible aspherical shape in the newer Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Lens. The end result is improved image quality with higher resolution and detail, which reduces unwanted artefacts to satisfy even the most demanding professional users.
The new optical formula includes 15 lens elements arranged into 12 groups, which provide excellent resolution and sharpness right into the corners of the frame. The optical design includes the following special lens elements:
- One aspherical element minimises aberrations
- One Super ED (extra-low dispersion) glass suppress chromatic aberrations
- Three XA (Extreme aspherical) lenses effectively minimise aberrations
- One ED Aspherical element surpasses chromatic and spherical aberrations simultaneously
- Two ED glass (extra-low dispersion) fourth suppress chromatic aberrations
On top of these the lens utilises an internal focusing and floating focusing design, for greater responsiveness and a more compact, lightweight design.
When compared to the original, the new SEL1635GM2 improves image quality in four key areas, with corner resolution, chromatic aberration control, flare and ghosting as well as close-up performance. These are extremely beneficial, particularly when shooting backlit scenes and other subjects where chromatic aberration is likely to occur.
Nano AR Coating II is responsible for reducing internal reflections for clearer, crisper results. This has even enabled Sony to reduce the size of the new lens hood, which is included in the box.
Improved close-up performance and magnification
Along with improved image quality, the next-gen Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Wide Angle Zoom Lens features a floating focus mechanism for closer minimum focusing of just 0.22m across the entire zoom range. Along with the 11-bladed circular aperture, this provides softer out of focus areas and improved images when you want to separate your subject, such as when recording videos or vlogging.
What’s more, magnification has been increased to 0.32x (vs 0.19x) for frame-filling subjects and even more dynamic compositions.
Next level autofocus
In keeping with the second generation Sony FE 70-200mm F/2.8 GM II OSS and FE 24-70mm F/2.8 GM II Lens, Sony has included four XD Linear Motors in the FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II, for near instant and completely silent focus capabilities. These enable the lens to track at 30fps photos and 4K at 120p video, maximising flagship performance of cameras like the Sony A1.
The XD Linear Motors provide fast, precise AF with excellent response, even at the minimum focus distance.
Refined for moviemaking
In order to satisfy the growth of hybrid content creation and moviemaking, the 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II lens has optically reduced focus breathing. The lens also supports breathing compensation, which is available in mirrorless cameras such as the A7 IV and ZV-E1, as well as the FX3 and FX30, and other Sony pro video cameras.
When recording video handheld, the mark II Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II lens capitalises on Active / Dynamic mode image stabilisation found in newer camera bodies. This is highly effective at the ultra wide end of the zoom range, with excellent image stabilisation performance, even when walking and shooting.
Other improvements for video creators include an aperture ring with de-click function, which provides silent exposure changes which won’t be picked up by any microphone. You can also shoot with the lens mounted on a gimbal stabiliser without needing to rebalance when zooming thanks to a centre of gravity, which remains virtually unchanged,
Lightweight and incredibly portable
The Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Wide Angle Zoom Lens is the smallest and lightest zoom lens in its class, which is ideal for photographers who travel and hike to their destinations in order to tell their story. It’s also the smallest and lightest lens in the esteemed holy trinity, which spans the 24-70 GM II and 70-200 GM II updated earlier.
It is approximately 20% lighter than its predecessor at just 547g and measures 111.5mm long, which is 10mm shorter. However, Sony has maintained the 82mm filter thread in order for users to continue using the same lens filters, filter systems and threaded accessories from the first gen.
Excellent control and handling
A design review has inspired Sony to improve control and useability of the SEL1635GM2, and controls now include:
- Zoom ring
- Aperture click switch (1/3-step click stops or without click stops)
- Aperture ring with f-stop engravings
- Focus ring with linear response MF and fine linear focusing
- Two focus hold buttons which can be customised in the camera menus
- Focus mode switch (MF/AF)
- Iris lock switch prevents accidental changes
Built for demanding situations
Sony G master lenses offer the highest build quality for demanding field work and the 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II boasts a silicone rubber gaskets and seam seals throughout. The front lens element is also fluorine coated to repel water, oil and other contaminants, whilst making it easier to clean.
Lastly, the new lens hood design is smaller and lighter thanks to improvements in contrast from the Nano AR Coating II, making it more manageable in any situation.
What’s in the box
- Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Lens
- Petal shape, bayonet type Lens Hood VX9548
- Lens cap
Sony 16-35mm GM II Lens Samples
Sony A7CR with Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II @35mm. Exposure: 1/1600sec. f/5.6. ISO 800
Sony A7CR with Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II @35mm. Exposure: 1/1600sec. f/5.6. ISO 800
Sony A7CR with Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II @35mm. Exposure: 1/500sec. f/8. ISO 320
Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Lens Specifications
35mm full frame
35mm equivalent focal-length (APS-C) (mm)
Lens construction (groups-elements)
Angle of view (35mm)
Angle of view (APS-C)
Aperture range (F)
f/2.8 - f/22
Number of aperture blades
Minimum focus distance (m)
0.22m across the entire range
Maximum magnification ratio (x)
Filter diameter (mm)
Petal shape, bayonet type
Dimensions dia. x length (mm)
87.8 x 111.5
Weight (approx.) (g)
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Although we’ve been expecting the second generation wide angle zoom lens from Sony’s Holy Trinity to be updated, we didn’t anticipate it to be as quite as refined as the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II Wide Angle Zoom Lens turns out to be. Sony has pulled out all of the stops with the new generation update, and rightly so, as it’s a critical and highly popular focal width for many photographers and content creators.
With an ultra wide to slightly wide 16-35mm range, this is perfect for all sorts of subjects, although the lens is perhaps often most associated with landscapes and cityscapes. However, with the upgrades come new creative opportunities and the 2nd generation is now a brilliant option for vlogging and video content, thanks to improvements to focus breathing, focus speed and a significantly lower weight.
These improvements will also be welcome for photographers who hike and travel to their destinations, as will the evolved image quality, which the lens brings. This is noticeable with both surpassed chromatic aberration as well as higher resolving power across the frame. This should keep even the most demanding users happy, even when shooting with the 61MP Sony A7R V and other high-res cameras in the line-up.
If you’re considering upgrading from the original model it’s safe to say the second generation is better in every way, and for newcomers considering this lens it’s worth every penny if you love shooting epic scenery, majestic cityscapes, vlogs and cinematic content.
Why not grab a free quote to trade-in old lenses or unwanted camera gear and use the cash to offset against this new zoom lens.
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