A Beginner's Day Out with the Sony FE 16-25mm f2.8 G Lens

The Sony FE 16-25mm f2.8 G is an ultra-wide angle lens great for landscapes, architecture, and cityscape photography. Designed for maximum light intake, versatile shooting and use in hybrid content creation, this zoom lens is built for experimentation

Unleashing endless creative possibilities, this 16-25mm lens offers a versatile focal range that covers most wide-angle needs. This lens ensures you can capture everything from expansive landscapes and towering buildings to intricate architectural details. The wide zoom range also allows for creative flexibility, making it ideal for both still photography and dynamic videography.

Keen to get out and about with this lens I took it to the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, was promptly told I needed a wristband to take ‘professional photos’, and proudly walked off newly baptised as a pro photographer. But hey, I got this nice image of the sign. 

Jazz sign


Ultra-wide use

To start this Sony 16-25mm f/2.8 g review off, what better way than to take a look at its standout feature: the wide-angle zoom?

Useful for exaggerating perspective as a landscape photography lens and fully capturing buildings in architectural shots. 

  • Queens hotel
  • Neptune's fountain

If I had to recommend this lens for one thing, it would be architecture photography, where the wide FOV gives the 16-25mm a unique ability to capture space. 

As a photographer who loves empty space, I personally enjoyed using the grid lines of the a7c ii's HUD to frame a subject in the centre of my shot, while leaving the other grids free of motion or distraction. This ability to capture space helps complement and contrast the subject, pulling the observers' gaze towards your chosen focal point and producing a clean-looking image. This gave some beautiful shots that really draw the eye to the subject, enhanced again by the lens' wide angle. 

    • Street
    • Flower

While the distortion is clear at the edges of the images, for me this doesn’t detract from the focal point and, particularly in vertical shots, emphasises perspective and centre pull from the shots. And with the increase in portrait-oriented images for social media content, this lens is sure to leave your followers with some breathtaking shots to look at. 

Seen as complementary to the 24-50mm, the 16-25mm wide-angle zoom lens captures the wider end of a standard 16-50 zoom, benefiting from a more dramatised framing and enhanced light intake. Get creative with your shots. Sure people might give you odd looks when you crouch down to photograph through a railing or stand way too close to a building to possibly capture the whole thing, but you’re a creative photographer now, it comes with the territory. 

  • Busker
  • Corner architecture

Sharp, quick and snappy AF

While the 16mm end of the zoom gives some vignetting, I can see this lens being a favourite for a documentary style of photography or the on-the-go street photographer. Its quick autofocus comes out in tight spaces and lively shots, as well as when your unknowing subject is walking out of the frame and you need to get that quick shot. Plus, it being a full frame lens means you have plenty of image to work with if you need to crop in post. Though situational, I also think this lens would be well suited for busier events or wedding shots, handling multiple subjects in the frame with ease. 

Street photography


Up-close and personal

An impressive minimum focus distance of just 0.17 metres, allows you to get up close and personal with your subjects.

    • Macro drink
    • Macro neon

The sharp subject and beautiful bokeh make for a winning combination. The lens’ ability to produce incredibly sharp images, particularly in its centre where your subject’s finer details are likely to be while giving dreamy out-of-focus backgrounds, makes it ideal for macro photography. 


Bright!

Another highlight for me was the sheer amount of light taken in by the lens. Admittedly I was shooting on a beautiful sunny day, but the wide angle really allowed a full scope for street photography that let me capture colours with a great level of vibrancy. 

Even shooting with a lens hood on to control the minimal flare I was encountering, the shots were just teeming with light. 

For low-light photography, the f2.8 is suitable for darker environments including indoor photography, where you have to make the most of the natural light available from a window. Whether you're shooting in daylight or low light conditions, the constant f/2.8 aperture guarantees consistent exposure and stunningly shallow depth of field. 

    • Skylight
    • Indoors

Let's get physical

Convenience meets performance with this lightweight and compact G lens. Weighing just 409g, it's an excellent choice for on-the-go photographers and videographers who need to travel light. 

The mechanics of the camera offer a customisable button on the side, an AF-MF switch, an aperture ring that can be set to a clickable or de-clickable function, and weather sealing around the mount. 

The button and switch give you complete control over your shooting experience, working in unison with the smooth and responsive rings for precise adjustments on the fly.


Video

The wide-angle and smooth-to-operate zoom ring makes this hybrid lens great for compact video work. Capable of producing steady cinematics in near-silence or fast-paced content, this full-frame G lens is the perfect companion for creators who juggle both photography and videography. The focusing works well for fast shooting and slow-motion video capture; useful in any scenario. 

Its wide angle of view is excellent for capturing everything in one shot, while the constant f/2.8 aperture provides consistent exposure throughout the zoom range. The lens is also designed to minimise focus breathing, ensuring seamless and professional-quality video.


All in all

While the spot of the best Sony lens for landscapes probably still goes to the Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II Lens, this 16-25mm is a great, and cheaper, option for those wider-angle shots. 

So what more can I say other than if you’re an architectural or landscape photographer with a hybrid workflow, add this versatile and powerful lens to your kit. You won’t be disappointed. 


What to know more?

Take a closer look at Sony FE 16-25mm f2.8 G Lens


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  • By James Spires
  • 23 May 2024

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