Sony Lens G-Master Comparison 16-35 vs. 24-70 2.8

August 12, 2021

Sony 16-35 2.8 G-Master vs. Sony 24-70 G-Master Lens Comparison & Review.

I’ve owned both the Sony 24-70 G Master and the Sony 16-35 G-master wide angle lens for quite some time now.

Every day I go out to shoot I'm asking myself, "do I choose the Sony G-Master 16-35 or the 24-70?"  Which one is the best value? Do they produce the same results for image quality? Which do I prefer to actually carry?  Reddit has a thread where people have asked more about what owners prefer, as does DP Reviews and you can pixel peep here to see lots of side by side photos of the two G-Master Zoom lenses.

I'm not going to pixel peep, I'm just going to point out some things I've learned after extensive use of both of these lenses.

Screen Shot 2020 06 30 at 6.37.25 PM
16-35 2.8 Sony G-Master
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ezgif 4 ee9763423bde
Screen Shot 2020 06 30 at 6.38.28 PM 1
24-70 2.8 Sony G-Master

Sony 24-70 vs. 16-35 2.8 G Master Lenses on the Sony A7III

If you could only buy one lens, and you wanted to have an equal portion of video and photo performance, which lens would be better to purchase? Is the Sony 24-70 2.8 G-Master better than the 16-35 2.8 G-Master?  Which one is the one you should consider buying?

I’m shooting in the Sony A7iii, and I also own the Sony 6400 (no comment)

16-35 vs 24-70 G-Master Comparison

Here's some things I've come to realize after heavily using both of these Sony Alpha Lenses.

#1 - 16-35 ND Filter Problems

If you want to keep your aperture low, and still abide by the 180 shutter rule, you'll need to limit the light coming into the camera.  

Shooting the 16-35 at 2.8 in bright daylight isn’t easy. 

Here’s the main problem:

If you shoot wider than 20mm, you will get really bad vignetting.

Screen Shot 2020 06 30 at 8.36.13 PM
Screen Shot 2020 06 30 at 8.36.13 PM

Both the 16-35 and the 24-70 have an 82MM thread size, so that's awesome if you own both.  But the moment you try to use stronger ND filters on the wider spectrum, you'll notice that the corners get dark and your footage is pretty much unusable.  There's some techniques to fix this in post, but I really don't ever want to spend my time doing that.

The bottom line is that one problem with the Sony 16-35 2.8 G-Master is that stronger ND filters just don't work.  

3 ND Filters I've been Trying on the 16-35 & 24-70 G-Masters:

tiffen w82nd18 82mm neutral density 1 8 885214

Tiffen 82mm Water White Glass ND 1.8 Filter (6-Stop) found here. This is too dark and produces strong vignetting on the 16-35, but works well with the 24-70.

Tiffen 82VND 82mm Variable Neutral Density 821128

Tiffen Variable ND here.  This is even more touchy on the wide angles, and creates the "X" very easily.

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Promaster ND here.  This .6 ND filter I had purchased a long time ago works quite well with both lenses, this is good at wide angles.

Conclusion about filters:

I haven't purchased anything more expensive than the $180 Tifeens, so maybe some of the higher end, really dark ND's will work and not create dark corners, but I'm skeptical.

Bottom Line:  you'll struggle to shoot wide open in the sun (hahaha, no duh)!

The 24-70 works with all of my ND filters and I have very few problems.

#2 - 16-35 Distortion

Obviously, to get the zoom and the wide angle some engineering feats had to be accomplished, and distortion is one of them.

The 16-35 will obviously have distortion outside of the center of the shot, but that's to be expected.  The tradeoff you make for the distortion is environmental perspective that's really great.

16mm with the 16-35MM G-Master Examples:

sony g master 16 35 brave carrot
sony g master 16-35 at 16mm
Screen Shot 2020 06 30 at 8.26.19 PM
This photo shows the distortion from the 16-35MM Sony G-Master, at it's widest settings.

Examples of the 24-70 Distortion

sony 24 70 g master distortion comparision 16 35mm vs 24 70
Here's the 24-70 G-Master at 24mm
Screen Shot 2020 06 30 at 8.41.37 PM
Screen Shot 2020 06 30 at 8.41.37 PM

You get distortion at 16MM, but that's to be expected with the one-two punch of width and versatility.

Macro & Minimum Focus Distance of the 16-35 vs 24-70 G-Master

Here's the bottom line, the 16-35 G-Master's minimum focal distance is 11'' or 28CM.  

The Minimum focal distance fo the 24-70 is 1.25' or 38 CM

The 16-35MM can get pretty close to things, and is more macro than the 24-70.

This puppy can get really close to things, and in video mode, you can even pop the camera to super 35mm mode and get really close. I love the Macro photography of this 16-35 lens, and when it's in video mode, it's fun to get up-close texture, or even those wide shots that show foreground elements and bokeh in the background.

35 MM with the 16-35 G-Master
DSC4047 3
Zoomed way in to show texture.

The bottom line is that the minimum focus distance provides you with the abilty to get relatively close to your subject, particularly when compared to the 24-70 G-Master.

Dramatic vs. Versatile

I've come to the conclusion that if I had one lens, I'd probably make it the 24-70MM, just because it's fool proof. It's a giant tank of a lens, but it just always seems to take beautiful photos and videos, minimizing distortion or vignetting, and allowing me the most amount of flexibility.

what can I say, I just love placing things in the foreground of my subject, and then capturing some more dramatic skyline or sunset. I simply love the 16mm focal length.

16 35 sony g master brave carrot
16 35 sony g master brave carrot
16-35MM G-Master Sony - quick snapshot of my son in my office (being a stinker)
16-35mm Sony G-Master Texture in the sky and the ground, capturing the moment perfectly.

But 16mm is just so dramatic.

24-70 is Safe, Dependable & Solid - but less dramatic

I think the 24-70 is the safest option to get the most consistent photos and videos, but I just freaking geek out every time I use 16mm.  

Not only that, but the 35MM on the 16-35 is really quite nice for portraits and other street photography.

Something also needs to be said about the size of the 24-70, it's menacing.  It's very very large, which makes the mirrorless cameras incredibly unbalanced and kind of hard to use.  The 16-35 is also large, but you feel more balanced, and less like you're carrying a lens that HAPPENS to have a camera attached to it.

Gimbal Compatibility with the Sony 24-70 G-Master & 16-35 G-Master

I also love using gimbals whenever possible, and the 16mm looks very nice on a gimbal.

Not only that, but the smaller 16-35 fits nicer on most gimbals, while the 24-70 is ususally used as the example of "the really large lens that obviously isn't meant for a gimbal". Check out my review on

If I had to Choose Just One Between G-Master 16-35 and 24-70.....

So here's the bottom line, if I had to choose just one of these lenses, I think I'd opt for the 16-35MM because that low-light width, along with the 35mm flexibility, means I'm going to be able to use my feet and the lens to accomplish most shots, while being able to get the drama I've come to love with the 16mm.

If I want to obliterate the background, Maybe i'd recommend going with the 16-35 G-Master as your go-to lens, and then pick up the 85MM 1.8 so you can get the best of what you'd probably love about the 24-70 G-Master

I love these lenses, and I'm thrilled at the quality and dependability I've come to enjoy from the Sony G-Master Line.

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