Sony FE PZ 16-35mm f/4 G - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published August 2022


When it comes to camera gear, hybrid is the new black - thus, cameras and lenses should be aligned to both photographic and video work. Sony listened and released the Sony FE PZ 16-35mm f/4 G. You may wonder a little bit about the paper specs of this new lens. After all, they are almost identical to the Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS, one of the earliest full format E-mount lenses. Both lenses are also in the same price league at $1200 (Sony) and $1000 (Zeiss), respectively. Sony may not admit it yet, but it's realistic to assume that the Zeiss lens will be phased out soon - alongside the Zeiss partnership, it seems. Sony hasn't released any Zeiss-branded lens in quite a while.

You could make an argument that the Sony lens has been optimized for video, whereas the Zeiss is the one for photographers. However, in real life, this isn't really something to worry about. While the super smooth PZ=power zoom may not be mechanically coupled, the zoom action is almost seamless when used in a conventional way. Besides the zoom ring, there's also a zoom rocker. Some Sony cameras do also support camera-controlled zooming. Another video-centric feature is a de-clicking option for the aperture ring via a dedicated switch - plus an aperture lock switch. And finally, there is also an additional, customizable focus-hold button. Besides having a moderate focus breathing, the lens is also compatible with Sony's Breathing Compensation function in select Alpha cameras. As the name implies, this is a G-class lens - targeting semi-professional use (BTW, even when ignoring the wealth of options, we think that having three lens classes is a major differentiator of the Sony ecosystem). The lens is super lightweight at just 353g, yet the build quality is really good thanks to high-quality plastics for the lens body based on a metal mount - combined with a dust- and moisture-resistant design. A petal-shaped lens hood is part of the package.

Besides the four (!) XD motors for the power zoom mechanism, there are two more driving the quick and silent AF. Manual focusing works, of course, by-wire, thus you are driving the focus via these two XD motors as well in this case. A "missing" feature of the lens is an optical image stabilizer (like on the older Zeiss lens). Given the fact that most Sony cameras feature an in-body IS, this is certainly forgivable - and better for the long-term centering quality of the optical system.

Optical construction13 elements in 12 groups inc. 2x AA, 1x aspherical, 1x Super ED, 1x ED elements
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.28-0.24m (max. magnification 1:4.3)
Filter size72mm
Hoodpetal-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Other featuresCustomisable focus-hold button, aperture declick, aperture ring, aperture lock, power zoom, fluorine coating, dust/moisture resistant design
MountSony FE

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