Sony FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G Review

May 10, 2022 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G is much smaller, lighter and cheaper than the flagship Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM, while the older Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35 mm F4 ZA OSS is also bigger and heavier with fewer controls, whilst being similarly priced.

Both of those lenses have traditional mechanical zoom lenses, though, which many photographers will prefer to the former's power zoom. Whilst the power zoom mechanism on the FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G is the best that we've ever used and will undoubtedly please videographers, it still doesn't rival the feel of a mechanical zoom for stills.

It might not be as fast as its flagship F2.8 sibling, but for many photographers the extra portability of the Sony 16-35mm F4 will be much more attractive, not to mention the significantly lower price tag.

Meanwhile the Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* is the only one of the three lenses to feature built-in optical stabilisation, something that owners of Sony's older camera bodies in particular will definitely appreciate.

The Sony FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G proved to be a great partner for the Sony Alpha A9 camera that we tested it with, forming a very compact, well-built, weather-proof system that delivers excellent image quality.

Optically, both the centre and edge sharpness are very high throughout all of its focal length range. Chromatic aberrations are almost completely absent, distortion is very well controlled, and flare is notably absent even when shooting directly into the sun. The only notable optical issue is some obvious vignetting at 16mm.

Sure, you don't get the faster maximum aperture of f/2.8 or the 11-blade aperture offered by the FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM and therefore the same shallow depth-of-field effects, but this lens is much smaller, lighter and crucially cheaper whilst offering a similar build quality and feature set.

Overall, the FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G is a better fit for videographers than photographers, who may not appreciate the slower, looser, unlabeled power zoom control which replaces the traditional mechanical zoom.

On the other hand, it's precisely that technological development which makes the FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G the smallest ultra-wide-angle zoom lens currently available for Sony Alpha full-frame cameras, so even photographers who only ever shoot stills should seriously consider this lens for its unique blend of portability, features and image quality.

4.5 stars

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