Sony FE 16-25mm F2.8 G Review

June 4, 2024 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


Sony's latest new announcement for 2024 is - wait for it - yet another wide-angle zoom, with the FE 16-25mm F2.8 G (SEL1625G) joining the increasingly crowded roster of such lenses.

This is officially the most compact and lightest Sony wide-angle zoom with a fast maximum aperture of F2.8, though, so it does at least have a unique selling point that warrants its release.

Nay-sayers may quickly point out that 25mm is a pretty short maximum focal length for this kind of lens, but it does at least start at 16mm, and therefore covers the three classic prime focal lengths of 16mm, 20mm and 24mm in a single fast lens.

It produces some nice bokeh effects thanks to the almost circular 11-blade iris diaphragm and chromatic aberrations are almost non-existent. Even the close-up performance is pretty good, especially at the telephoto end, which adds to the lens' versatility.

There are two significant caveats with the image quality, though, which distract somewhat from this lens. Vignetting is pretty obvious, especially at 16mm and especially in the Raw files.

Secondly, there's an incredible amount of correction that is being applied in-camera to remove barrel distortion, at 16mm in particular. If you shoot JPEG, you won't notice this at all as you can't actually turn off the distortion correction setting, but it's all too apparent when you open a RAW file in any software that doesn't have the correct lens profile in place.

Auto-focusing proved to be satisfyingly quick on the Sony Alpha A7C II that we tested the lens with, and it offers a near silent experience that will suit movie shooters and candid street photographers alike.

Build quality is very good, despite the lightweight hybrid plastic and metal design, and this lens is also very usefully weather-proof thanks to seals around all the buttons and switches and a rubber gasket around the lens mount.

The aperture ring is a very welcome inclusion, especially as it can be de-clicked for video and also locked into place, and with a focus hold button and an AF/MF switch, this is a well featured lens.

Between them, Sony and the other third-party lens manufactures offer an extensive choice of E-mount wide-angle zoom lenses. Almost none of them can rival the diminutive size of this new optic, though, with the notable exception of the even lighter Tamron 20-40mm F/2.8 Di III VXD, which admittedly doesn't offer such a wide view.

The Sigma 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN and the Tamron 17-28mm F2.8 Di III RXD are probably the Sony 16-25mm's main rivals, costing significantly less whilst offering slightly similar image quality, albeit with fewer features.

A new wide-angle zoom may not have been the lens that everyone was waiting for, but at least this one offers something notably different to the norm, rather than just being an updated version of an existing lens. It also makes the perfect partner to the Sony FE 24-50mm F2.8 G which was released alongside it.

If you're prepared to trade some telephoto reach in exchange for a fast F2.8 aperture in a compact and lightweight design and you don't mind the amount of in-camera processing, then the new FE 16-25mm F2.8 G (SEL2450G) is worth considering.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 3.5