There’s something oddly fascinating about ultra-wide angle lenses.
I don’t know if it’s the way they capture the world, or the fact that they see more than we do with our own eyes, but every time I look at a landscape picture shot with an ultra-wide angle lens I get a unique feeling of wonder. In the right hands, these lenses are capable of magic.
My own hands are admittedly not as capable, and up until now my fascination with ultra-wide lenses hadn’t been strong enough to actually get me to use one regularly. Which is part of the problem here, because these lenses usually require patience and persistence. They’re not immediately natural to use the way standard lenses are, and they don’t seduce you with bokehlicious backgrounds the way telephoto lenses do. Instead, they just make everything look weird. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they’re an acquired taste, but they definitely take some getting used to.
To that end, I decided to take a serious dip in the ultra-wide angle waters for the first time a few weeks ago. I had a week-long trip to Lisbon coming up, where I knew there would be lots of wonderful landscapes to shoot. I felt like this would be a perfect opportunity to put my reservations to the test, so I decided to rent what is currently the only ultra-wide angle zoom lens for the Full Frame E-mount system: the Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS lens. As usual, it’s a mouthful. Also as usual, it’s a pretty darn good lens. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Before we go over this lens’s every nook and cranny, it’s fair to acknowledge that ten days of use — I ended up keeping it for an extra weekend — is probably not enough time to come up with a definitive take on a lens like this. Some areas like build quality and handling are pretty straightforward to review, whereas an in-depth take on image quality usually requires a few weeks of regular use. Having said that, I did take a considerable amount of pictures with this lens in a wide variety of situations, so I feel relatively confident about my ability to review it.
Still, I will try to refrain from making any grandiose claims in this review, letting the images speak for themselves instead. Should I fail to do so, please take any such claims with a grain of salt — but then again, you should always do that anyway.
Let’s get to it.
Build quality and ergonomics
Like every lens jointly released by Sony and Zeiss so far, the Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 lens is very well built. Being a Sony-Zeiss collaboration, the lens was designed by the two companies and then manufactured by Sony according to Carl Zeiss specifications. Lenses are then quality-checked by Zeiss to ensure certain design and performance parameters are met.
The lens shares many of its build and design features with other Sony-Zeiss lenses, like the excellent 55mm f/1.8 prime lens we reviewed here, but especially the 24-70mm f/4 zoom lens we reviewed here. If you’ve already read those reviews, much of what you’re about to read in this section will sound familiar.
The Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 lens sports an all-metal exterior, except for both lens caps and the lens hood, which are made of plastic. It is also weather sealed, being rated by Sony as “dust and moisture resistant”, just like the α7-series cameras. What this means in practice is that, while you probably shouldn’t take it out under torrential rain, or dip it in water — definitely don’t dip in water — it should be just fine to use under a light drizzle. Of course, having really solid weatherproofing built into the lens would have been even better, but in order for it to be actually useful, Sony would also need to implement it in their cameras.
The cosmetic appearance of the lens is quite minimalist, with lots of straight, clean lines and very little in the way of embellishments — much like the other Sony FE lenses. The lens sports the famous blue Zeiss badge on one side of the barrel, and the Sony logo on the opposite side. There’s no aperture ring on the lens, which also adds to the simple exterior.
Roughly half of the lens barrel is devoted to the focusing and zoom rings, which makes using the lens easier and more comfortable. Both of these rings are made of metal and have the same textured surface that improves the grip.
The focusing ring is the one located near the front element. Even though it’s the narrower of the two rings, it’s still wide enough. There’s barely any resistance to it though, especially in the beginning. It takes only the slightest effort to get the ring turning, although resistance does build up a bit once it’s moving. If you set your camera’s focus mode to DMF, you’ll need to be careful to avoid accidentally turning the ring and messing up your focus point.
The zoom ring is just like the focusing ring, albeit significantly wider. However, it offers quite a bit more resistance, which gives it a very solid and precise feel in actual use.
The lens barrel has markings along the zoom ring to indicate the most commonly used focal lengths: there are markings for 16mm, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. The separation between these appears to be linear, meaning you have the same precision at any point within the zoom range.
The lens extends physically in length as you zoom out, meaning it’s physically longer when you’re at the 16mm focal length than it is when zoomed in at 35mm. This is contrary to the way standard zooms like the 24-70mm f/4 usually work, for example.
The included lens hood is made of plastic, but it feels nice and solid, and can be reversed for easy storage. It locks into place with a reassuring click, and it takes quite a bit of force to unlock. Since my copy of the lens was a rental, it’s fair to assume the hood won’t loosen up much with time and usage. My own experience with other Sony Zeiss lenses supports this as well.
The included front cap is pretty big, just like the one on the 70-200mm f/4 lens. It has a front-clip mechanism that makes it easy to use, even when the lens hood is attached. Despite being made of plastic, it still provides more than enough protection, and stays firmly in place when attached.
The filter thread size is 72mm, which is currently one of the biggest sizes in use in the FE system, second only to the 77mm of some of the most recent G-Master lenses announced by Sony. Other FE lenses that use this same filter size include the Sony Zeiss FE 35mm f/1.4 Distagon, the newly-released Sony Zeiss FE 50mm f/1.4 Planar, and the aforementioned Sony 70-200mm f/4 G OSS zoom lens.
Finally, the lens mount is also made of metal, and in this case there’s no pinkish hue, unlike the 24-70mm f/4.
Overall, the build quality of this 16-35mm f/4 lens is top-notch, with very little to complain about. It weighs a reasonable 518 g (18.27 oz), which is roughly 100 g lighter than the equivalent Canon EF lens.
The Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 lens uses a focus-by-wire mechanism. That means the focusing ring is not mechanically linked to the focusing system, which is instead operated electronically. Manual focus users tend to prefer lenses with actual, mechanically coupled manual focus implementations, like the Zeiss Loxia line, but this lens still manages to offer an excellent MF experience thanks to the many focusing aids built into modern Sony cameras.
When used in combination with features like focus peaking and magnification, it’s pretty easy to nail focus every time with this lens, and with a bit of practice it’s entirely possible to obtain results that are even competitive with the AF system. This is especially true in low light scenarios, where the AF system tends to hunt a little bit. Besides, the increased depth of field that comes with a lens this wide — especially if you stop it down to f/8 — also helps in consistently achieving focus, to the point where I’d be perfectly happy to use this lens in MF mode at all times.
Turning the focusing ring is easy enough, perhaps even too easy sometimes. Due to the very slight resistance the ring offers, you may find yourself turning it accidentally sometimes if you’re not careful. The flip side of that is that you can make very fine adjustments with ease, so it’s not all bad news.
Most modern E-mount Sony cameras can be configured in DMF mode, meaning you can use the AF system to achieve general focus, then turn the focusing ring to achieve critical focus manually. In this mode, focus peaking is activated by default, but you can set the camera to use magnification instead, or both. This is a fantastic way to ensure you always focus exactly where you want to. With a maximum aperture of f/4, there’s usually enough depth of field that achieving critical focus is a breeze, but having the option to fine-tune it to such a degree is still great.
Finally, the lack of a depth-of-field scale and hard stops is unfortunate. You will need to keep an eye on the EVF or the LCD screen, which means this lens probably won’t cut it for those who like to use the zone focusing technique. For everyone else, though, the experience is pretty solid.
Autofocus performance is great in good light, as is typical with most FE lenses. Please note that AF performance is also dependent on the camera body, so your mileage may vary. This review was written based on the experience of using this lens on the Sony α7 II.
The 16-35mm f/4 lens achieves focus nearly instantaneously in any sort of scene, provided there are at least a few contrasty lines to help the AF system figure out where to focus. AF performance slows down a bit in dimmer conditions, as with most lenses, but remains usable in all but the darkest environments.
Focus accuracy is also excellent, although this is to be expected given the relatively modest maximum aperture of the lens — at f/4, there’s enough depth of field for focusing to be easy, especially at the ultra-wide angle focal range.
The minimum focus distance is rated as 28 cm, which is pretty good for an ultra-wide angle zoom lens like this. It’s still not Macro, but it’s definitely good enough.
By setting the camera to AF-C mode and with subject tracking turned on, the lens is able to accurately track moving subjects in most situations when used on a Sony α7 II camera. Tracking performance may vary slightly when used on different camera bodies, but it should remain good enough to track most subjects. Obviously, the wider depth of field that comes with the f/4 aperture and the wide angle range is of great help here, but the lens is still optimized for everyday scenes, not fast action or sports.
The 16-35mm f/4 lens is very quiet when focusing. I consider it silent for all practical purposes, including video recording.
Unfortunately, the lack of a clickless aperture ring keeps this lens from being truly great for video. That, and the fact it isn’t a parfocal or “true” zoom lens, so the focus point changes ever so slightly as you zoom in or out. The parfocal ability is usually irrelevant in lenses optimized for stills, but highly desired for video for obvious reasons. Being able to zoom in or out while maintaining your focus point is a huge benefit in moviemaking applications.
These two features, however, are considered niche by many, and therefore they are usually pretty expensive to get in a lens. At the end of the day, if you’re a videographer, fear not: it’s entirely possible to record excellent video with the 16-35mm f/4 lens as-is.
The 16-35mm f/4 lens uses Zeiss’ Vario-Tessar trademark. Tessar is an optical design created by German physicist Paul Rudolph in 1902. According to Wikipedia, the original Tessar design “comprises four elements in three groups, one positive crown glass element at the front, one negative flint glass element at the center and a negative plano-concave flint glass element cemented with a positive convex crown glass element at the rear.”
That’s little more than a history lesson, though, as modern lenses have nothing to do with the original Tessar design, other than the name. That said, it’s still a nice trademark today, which is why Zeiss continues to use it. Meanwhile, the actual 16-35mm f/4 lens has 12 elements in 10 groups, including one AA Element, four aspherical elements and three ED Elements.
Such a wealth of exotic glass is mostly due to the inherent difficulty in creating a stellar ultra-wide angle zoom lens, but is it enough to provide prime-caliber image quality? Let’s find out.
Unlike the much-maligned 24-70mm f/4, which notoriously suffers from weak corners at the 24mm end, the Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 turns in a very strong performance from a sharpness standpoint. The center is always nice and crisp regardless of focal length, and the corners are solid wide open and sharpen up nicely when stopping down to f/5.6. By f/8 the lens is very sharp across the entire frame at all focal lengths. Upon reaching f/16 diffraction starts to kick in though, and sharpness suffers a bit.
Like most zoom lenses, the 16-35mm f/4 is slightly weaker at both ends of its zoom range, with 16mm and specially 35mm being slightly less sharp, albeit still very good. Between 20mm and 30mm, there’s hardly anything to complain about with this lens.
In order to present real-world results, I have applied a moderate amount of sharpening to these images in Lightroom, and the built-in lens profile correction was also applied. No further edits were done. The white balance was set to auto in camera and not adjusted in Lightroom. This is what you can expect to get out of this lens with minimal post-production. If you shoot JPEG, remember that Sony cameras apply a similar amount of sharpening automatically.
All in all, this is a very solid lens that will produce results comparable to prime lenses of similar focal lengths, especially when stopped down. That being said, this is still a zoom lens and as such presents some compromises in other areas, as we’ll see in the following sections of this review.
Bokeh and depth of field
Bokeh is a term that refers to the aesthetic quality of the out of focus areas in an image, not the extent to which they’re out of focus. Some factors that typically affect the bokeh of a lens are the number and grouping of its optical elements, the number of aperture blades it has, and whether those blades are rounded.
The Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 lens has seven rounded aperture blades, but the main issue with the bokeh here is that there’s just not much of it to speak of. Being such a wide lens with a moderate maximum aperture, it’s pretty hard to achieve any amount of subject isolation with it, especially at the 16mm end, where most of your frame will be in focus regardless of the aperture used.
Having said that, what little bokeh you can get looks nice enough. It’s not the creamiest, but also not terribly busy. Let’s just say that bokeh shouldn’t be very high on your list of priorities if you’re looking at a lens like this.
Color rendition and contrast
In the era of Instagram, VSCO film and in-camera film emulation filters, most people are perfectly happy with applying a preset or selecting a filter and not doing much in the way of post-processing beyond that. As a result, native color rendition, contrast and rendering have become slightly less relevant than they used to be.
That said, there’s a reason many photographers continue to invest in high-end lenses. The rendering of some of these pieces of glass can be extremely unique, and sometimes it can be exactly what the images call for. It’s good to know that you can edit the files if you need to, but having a strong starting point is just as important.
It is here that the 16-35mm f/4 lens proudly displays its Zeiss heritage: color, contrast and clarity are all excellent. The famous Zeiss T* coating is definitely put to good use here.
In particular, I was very impressed with how the lens renders blues and greens. Contrast is also superb, and the lens seems to just paint landscapes in a palette that is incredibly vivid and rich. Since my goal was to use it primarily to shoot natural landscapes, things worked out just fine.
Vignetting is light falloff that occurs in the corners of an image, particularly at large apertures.
With the 16-35mm f/4, vignetting is virtually invisible most of the time in actual pictures thanks to the lens profile correction available in most RAW converters out there.
Without the lens profile, vignetting is moderate to severe at 16mm, and subtle at all other focal lengths.
Vignetting isn’t always an unwanted property though, and in fact many people enjoy the artistic effect it creates in some images. That said, the built-in lens profile in Lightroom can automatically correct vignetting at the click of a single button, making it a non-issue in real-world shooting.
Chromatic aberration and fringing
Chromatic aberration (CA) and color fringing refer to the lens’s ability to capture a full range of colors of visible light at the same point. Heavy chromatic aberration typically appears in the form of purple or green fringing around the more contrasty borders of an image.
This is about as contrasty as scene as you’re ever likely to encounter and as you can see, there’s just a small amount of chromatic aberration here. Furthermore, the lens profile does a pretty good job of cleaning it up, and you can also remove any residual color fringes manually in post production.
Ghosting and flare
Lens flare may occur when a bright light source is caught in the angle of view of the lens, in such a way that its light rays hit the front element of the lens directly. Those rays may then bounce off other elements or even the sensor itself, producing several artifacts along their path. Lens flare usually presents itself in the form of severe haze and a pronounced loss of contrast across the entire frame.
Modern Zeiss lenses use the famous T* coating, which ostensibly reduces ghosting and flare to a great degree. As such, resistance to flare is quite good with these lenses, although it is still possible to encounter it on occasion.
The 16-35mm f/4 lens has excellent resistance to flare, maintaining very good contrast levels even in difficult scenes. I always used it with the lens hood on, but I have serious doubts about whether the rather small hood made any actual difference. You can get the entire Sun in your frame and in most cases, the contrast loss will be minimal to non-existent. This is a remarkable performance.
That said, it’s still possible to encounter some minor ghosting occasionally, especially when you have a very bright light source near the edges of the frame. This is the worst I could get, and I had to go looking for it on purpose. Not once did I see a blurb like this on one of my pictures by accident.
Despite having rounded aperture blades, this lens creates magnificent sunstars at nearly every aperture. I had to keep playing with them because they’re just so much fun.
The Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 lens shows no visible distortion throughout most of its focal range with the automatic lens profile correction.
The Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 is very well corrected in software, but the lens itself suffers from strong barrel distortion at the 16mm end, some of which persists even after the lens profile is applied. It’s not quite pronounced enough to still be a problem after correction, though.
At all other focal lengths, distortion is subtle and the lens profile eliminates it completely. There’s a bit of barrel distortion at 20mm, which turns into pincushion distortion by 24mm and all the way to 35mm.
Now, there’s a difference between lens distortion — usually in the form of barrel or pincushion distortion — and shift, which causes vertical lines to converge towards or away from the center when the camera is not held perfectly level to the ground. That’s why buildings appear to bend in your pictures, because you’re pointing the camera up to get them to fit into the frame.
All lenses, including the Zeiss 16-35mm f/4, suffer from shift distortion, but it is more apparent at the wide angle end because that’s what people normally use to take pictures of buildings with lots of straight vertical lines. This effect is unavoidable and entirely caused by the laws of physics. When the subject plane — the building — is not parallel to the image plane — the sensor — then vertical lines converge because they are projected onto a non-parallel surface.
Shift can still be corrected in post production at the cost of some resolution and image area, but it isn’t a fault of the lens. If you don’t want to see converging vertical lines in your images, your best option is to ensure your camera is level, or to use a tilt-shift lens, which can shift its imaging plane relative to the sensor to compensate for this effect.
Additionally, if you shoot at close distances at the wide angle end, you’ll experience perspective distortion. This is also normal and unavoidable, but it is something to be aware of when using this lens. If you don’t want your subjects to appear distorted when shooting with a wide angle lens, be careful and try to keep a safe distance from them.
Real world usage and image samples
Let me start this section by saying I’m no landscape photographer, and my previous experience shooting with ultra-wide lenses is not exactly extensive. For some reason, I’m more drawn towards the standard and short telephoto ranges, and the wider end of the focal range has always felt a little strange and unpredictable to me.
I’ve always felt curious about it though, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to rent this lens for a recent trip I took to Portugal. I knew I’d be visiting Lisbon and the surrounding regions, where there are lots of gorgeous natural landscapes, and I was curious to see what I could do with a wider lens. Also, my existing 24-70mm f/4 lens is rather weak at the 24mm end, so I was curious to see just what I was missing there.
Naturally, when I first got my hands on this lens, I couldn’t resist the urge to take the obligatory picture of my feet, which instantly made me feel like an NBA player. Perspective will play those tricks on you.
Now, once that was done with, it was time to actually shoot with the lens, and the process was far from intuitive. Getting used to an ultra-wide angle lens takes time, and in my case it took at least 2-3 days before I managed to capture a few shots I didn’t feel were completely horrible. At some point along the ten days I spent with this lens, though, things started to make sense. It’s as if a new perspective had awakened inside my head, and I slowly started getting the hang of it.
You see, one of the most difficult things to handle when shooting with a lens like this is shift. The wider you go, the more pronounced this effect will be, and with a lens as wide as 16mm, even the slightest tilt of the camera will mess with your vertical lines.
You can of course correct shift in post production, to some extent, but the best course of action is often to try and get the minimum amount of distortion in camera. One way to do that is by raising the camera up as much as possible without tilting it, and then cropping the lower part of your frame as needed. That way, if your lens is wide enough, you can get away with shooting almost anything while applying only a moderate amount of software corrections to your images.
Once I got used to shooting this way, I started getting some images I actually loved with the Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 lens. Technically, I have no complaints whatsoever about the lens in real-world usage: image quality was always excellent, and the built-in lens profile almost completely eliminates distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration.
Moreover, the classic Zeiss color, contrast and pop made images look great straight out of camera, which considerably reduced the need for elaborate editing on many of the shots. Blues are gorgeous, greens are lush, and there’s a rich texture to the images that I love. In fact, for the first time ever, most of the pictures shown throughout this review are straight out of camera, with only the lens profile applied and the camera profile set to vivid. It’s that good.
Regarding its focal range, I was surprised to see that the majority of the pictures I shot were at the 16mm end, although I guess it makes sense because I was trying to test how wide I could go while still feeling in control of the composition. Were I to keep this lens, my guess is that once the novelty wore off, I would do the bulk of my shooting between 20mm and 30mm, which is where the lens performs best.
I also shot nearly all pictures at f/8, but this wasn’t nearly as surprising. After all, when you’re shooting landscapes, maintaining high corner-to-corner sharpness is definitely a priority. Having said that, the few images that I shot at f/4 were still perfectly usable, and I got remarkably few clunkers out of the lens in my time with it. The built-in Optical SteadyShot (Sony’s marketing term for image stabilization) was a huge help in keeping the aperture down to f/8, and it allowed me to shoot most of the pictures hand-held while still maintaining moderate ISO values. You don’t see many stabilized lenses this wide, but I for one was definitely glad to have it.
Furthermore, I realized that sometimes I would prefer to shoot with a slightly longer focal length and stitch several pictures together to create a panorama, instead of just zooming out to 16mm to capture everything in a single shot. This is of course a matter of personal preference, but it’s just the way I found myself wanting to shoot with this lens and the results were, for the most part, great. You can see for yourself: all the panoramas in this review are up on Flickr at full resolution.
Finally, autofocus was quick and accurate enough to shoot in all situations, even at the bottom of a well — literally. Sure, it hunted a bit but it still locked focus just fine, and in good light it was simply stellar. I took plenty of shots from a moving tram and the lens always kept up with me no matter what I tried. This may not be a sports lens — definitely not — but it was still quite impressive.
All in all, the 16-35mm f/4 lens is a pleasure to use: handling is excellent, size and weight are just right, and it’s even weather sealed. If you’re looking for one lens that can cover the entire wide-angle range, this should certainly be very near the top of your list.
Room for improvemement
These are some of the areas where the Sony Zeiss FE 16-35mm f/4 lens should perform better:
A faster f/2.8 maximum aperture. This is clearly too much to ask for at this price point — after all, the corresponding Canon and Sony A-mount lenses are all considerably more expensive. At the time of this review’s publication (early September 2016), Photokina is just around the corner, and the rumor sites are hinting strongly at the possibility that Sony will release a 16-35mm f/2.8 G-Master lens to complete the lineup of fast zoom lenses for the system. If having that extra stop of light is absolutely a must for you, I’d wait it out.
Tougher weather sealing. There’s a bit of a controversy going on with Sony lenses when it comes to weather sealing. Sony only advertises them as being “dust and moisture resistant”, while other companies flat out state that their lenses are weather sealed. This has led many to assume that Sony’s technology is somehow less effective. For what it’s worth, I’ve used all of my Sony FE lenses in the rain, and I’ve never had any problems. Of course, there are no guarantees so do it only at your own risk. In any case, Sony should be a lot more straightforward about this: either come out and say that the lenses are actually weather sealed, or make them so.
Display focal length information in real time. This has probably more to do with the camera than the lens, but it still applies. When you’re trying to achieve repeatable results, it’s important to know the precise focal length you’re shooting with. The fact that Sony α7-series cameras don’t display this information in the EVF or the rear LCD is baffling. There’s no good reason to omit it, so don’t.
Aperture ring with clickless aperture option for video. A nice feature that would surely be appreciated by video enthusiasts, as well as by fans of the manual shooting experience of old. We’ve started to see this on more and more Sony lenses lately, but only at the extreme high-end. It would be nice to have this feature trickle down the lineup over time.
Parfocal ability for video. This is definitely a high-end niche feature aimed solely at videographers, but if it can be done without increasing the price by much, it’d definitely be nice to have.
There’s not much in the way of alternatives when it comes to ultra-wide angle zooms for the FE system. In fact, this lens is currently your only choice, although if the rumors are correct, that may soon change. However, even if Sony releases the 16-35mm f/2.8 G-Master lens soon, I’d expect it to be priced well north of $2,000, which would place it in an entirely separate category.
Adapting lenses is also not a particularly compelling choice in this focal range, so the usual DSLR options are a no-go. The FE system is quite picky when it comes to wide lenses, and some of those options perform rather poorly on Sony cameras: you get soft corners at all apertures, not to mention slow and unreliable AF performance with nearly all adapters. Generally speaking, when it comes to zoom lenses, especially wide angle ones, your best bet is to go with a native lens first.
That leaves primes. While Sony hasn’t released any ultra-wide angle primes yet, there are plenty of excellent choices available from Zeiss, some of which easily match or even exceed the optical quality of this 16-35mm f/4 lens. Lenses like the 18mm f/2.8 Batis, 21mm f/2.8 Loxia and 25mm f/2 Batis are all fantastic, not to mention better corrected and one to two stops faster. If you think you can live with just one focal length, you can’t go wrong with any of these.
Living with the Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 lens for ten days was an interesting experience. While I readily admit this is nowhere enough time to master a lens like this, it was a very challenging period, and I learned a lot about myself in the process.
If I was a landscape photographer, I would definitely want to own a lens in this focal range. I’m not sure that means a zoom lens, though. Most of the pictures I shot over these ten days I could have easily shot with a wide prime instead, and I could always turn to stitching panoramas together for the few instances where the prime wouldn’t have been wide enough — which, in the case of the 18mm Batis, for example, would be almost never.
At the end of the day, zoom lenses give you the benefit of flexibility, and to me that means being able to use the same lens to shoot landscapes, everyday scenes on the streets, and even the occasional portrait. I was technically able to do all those with this lens, but there’s no denying it was a bit of a stretch. Part of that will be due to my own inexperience with wide lenses, I’m sure, but I can’t quite shake the feeling that the 24-70mm range is just much better suited to my particular style, especially for travel purposes.
That leaves me in a bit of a pickle, because this 16-35mm f/4 is clearly better than my existing 24-70mm f/4 lens, but I’m just not convinced the gap in image quality is enough to justify the tradeoff in focal range. I definitely get more value and enjoyment out of the 35-70mm range than I do out of the 16-24mm, which are the two ranges where these lenses differ. Of course, your mileage may vary.
My own personal quibbles aside, the Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 remains a truly great lens, and it definitely has a place in the FE system. If you want a superb wide angle zoom for your α7-series camera, there’s no need to wait until the rumored G-Master version is released: this f/4 lens is optically great, stabilized, relatively compact, and produces stunning images. It delivers on every one of the promises of mirrorless technology, and it does so in style. What else is there to ask for?