Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens – Hands-On First Impressions

The recently announced Sony Alpha A7II (ILCEA7M2) and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens showed up the night before last and I could not be more excited!! This is the most killer combo for landscape, street, and urban style photography in my opinion. I love that style of photography and often use HDR as well. Lately I’ve been using my Canon 17-40mm L lens on my Sony A7r via the metabones III lens adapter (See Here), but using a native lens is so much better! It’s lightning fast focus really makes me want this lens more than any other full frame e-mount at the moment. Although I also want the FE 55mm f/1.8 lens, don’t get me wrong…

Compared to my Metabones and 17-40mm combo, the SEL1635z lens fits better, is more ergonomic to use, and lets face it, looks better mounted as well πŸ™‚

If you want a complete breakdown of the new A7II, check out this article I posted earlier in the week (Click Here)

So lets take a look at the goods shall we?

So here is the Sony A7 II full frame mirrorless camera with the Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens mounted up all snug. I did record an open box style video, but it did not come out to my satisfaction, so I took some camera porn style photos in the Lab instead.

I’m drooling also guys, so don’t feel that bad….

Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens
Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens
Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens
Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens
Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens
Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

Loving the new larger grip, shutter, and built-in dial. It’s pointer finger heaven and better than the previous generation in my opinion.

Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens
Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

New port doors on the cameras left side open down and are rubberized plastic. It is definitely easier to getΒ  the usb cable in with this design, but the doors don’t feel as good as the metal ones. A trade-off I suppose and they are otherwise working good so far.

User experience is one of those things that is underrated by a lot of reviewers. For example; having an easier time getting the usb cable in and out might seam like no big deal ,but it’s actually huge in my opinion considering how my times you have to do it.

Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens
Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

First Impressions

The A7II full frame mirrorless camera is heavier than the previous generation for sure! I noticed this immediately when I took it out of the box and was surprised honestly. Clearly the larger form factor, and full magnesium chassis added some heft to this camera and it is worth noting.
Build quality feels great and I like the slightly textured finish as apposed to the smooth finish of the previous generation.

The larger grip is excellent as expected, and the new shutter position is a huge improvement ergonomically as well.

The new slimmer front and rear control dials work really well and have nice amount of dampening and space between notches. It’s easier to go from one notch to the next without going three clicks for example. I often go further than I want when using the A7r dials, but these don’t have that problem. They are closer to the actually camera body though, so if wearing gloves they may be a bit harder to use.

The bottom of the camera has been completely re-designed and is much better! The bottom flat area of the camera is almost 1/2 of an inch thicker front to back. This is a huge improvement and means your tri-pod plate will get full contact on the bottom of the camera. My Gitzo quick release plate hangs over the back a lot on my A7r. Basically, this means you can mount a heavier lens on with more confidence without the camera chassis flexing or anything. I would estimate the mount point is about 50% stronger with this new design based on how my tri-pod plate fits and how it feels when mounted. Awesome job Sony and thanks for addressing this “weak” point for lack of a better word.
Much more to come…..

 A Few Sample Photos

I took a few snapshots while on the road at work yesterday and this morning I had to run to the store quick πŸ˜‰ All these images are jpegs saved out for the web via Lightroom 5 @ ~1000px, 75% Quality, Sharpening for web standard. 100% Crops of the center area is also provided for much easier detailed per pixel inspection.
Sony Alpha A7II (ILCEA7M2) and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

Click Images for Higher Resolution Versions!

Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 16mm, f/8, 1/800sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 16mm, f/8, 1/800sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 16mm, f/8, 1/800sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
100% Crop – Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 16mm, f/8, 1/800sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

A chairlift with sun in background.

Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 35mm, f/16, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 35mm, f/16, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 35mm, f/16, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
100% Crop – Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 35mm, f/16, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

The chairlift cable.

Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 35mm, f/8, 1/60sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 35mm, f/8, 1/60sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 35mm, f/8, 1/60sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
100% Crop – Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 35mm, f/8, 1/60sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

My good friend Chopper just had a B-day last week! One the best dogs ever I tell ya and man does he love pets πŸ˜‰

Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 16mm, f/4, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 16mm, f/4, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 16mm, f/4, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg
100% Crop – Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 16mm, f/4, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg

Closing Remarks

Clearly the FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens is a must have I’m saying already! Killer at both 16mm and 35mm, plus rich color and great contrast. Thoughts?? The Sony Alpha A7II has a great shutter sound that I can’t wait to show you in the A7II vs A7R video I plan on making! IQ is very good, but the same as the A7 far as I can tell as expected. Usability is better due to the ergonomics in my opinion so far.

That is about it for now guys, but thank you very much for checking in and all the support with the product links and what not. It really helps this time of year and is a perfect way to say thanks for the killer content and friendly advice/ help whenever needed as best I can πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend and thanks again for stopping by,
Jay

Support Links:

Sony Alpha A7II @ BHPhoto | Amazon US
Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ BHPhoto | Amazon US

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