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Which Wide-Angle Lens to Use on a New Sony A7III?

Published: 30/07/2018
By: larry

Steven in New Jersey says:

I've been standing at the edge since before the new A7III came out and I'm now I'm almost ready to buy one. I'm checking Amazon every day for inventory but I have one question. It's a big money jump. Assuming the A7III body, I am considering the Sony 16-35mm Vario-Tessar or the Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG II HSM Lens. The Sigma is about $300 or $400 less but I'd love to hear from those who use these setups.

The research I've done suggests that the top 3 choices for wide-angle zoom lenses for the A7III are:

  1. Sony FE 16-35 f/2.8 GM - $2,198 USD
  2. Sony FE 12-24 f/4 G - $1,698 USD
  3. Sony Zeiss FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS - $1,348 USD

Yes, the Sigma lens you refer to will work but you've got to spend another $250 for an adapter so that choice would nearly cost as much as #3 above. Another reason for getting a native Sony lens is, the A7III has software in it to do all the lens corrections in camera. You wouldn't have to do those corrections in Lightroom or Photoshop.

I'm sure there are others out there that have first-hand experience with making this lens choice.

10 comments on “Which Wide-Angle Lens to Use on a New Sony A7III?”

  1. Steven, re: I’m checking Amazon every day..........

    GREAT care is needed with Amazon or for that matter any online shop offering anything including the kitchen sink. One doesn't always receive a NEW product but a return which has been in someone else's hands. I myself have received such a product which I sent straight back. A colleague of mine ordered a LEE filter set. He had to spend a very long time cleaning these before he could use them. I use LEE myself and no way would they send products out in such a condition. As for buying a camera or lens on Amazon - NO WAY!! You are better off going to a reputable camera dealer. OK, it may cost you a dollar more but the extra price is well with it thus ensuring you get NEW UNUSED equipment. In addition you don't have the hassle sending it back.
    If a reputable camera dealer does get a return then they will offer this complete with a guarantee as used equipment.

    One final point, our equipment is tax deductible so why risk getting secondhand goods?

  2. When the new Nikon APC 10-20 came out I pre-ordered from Amazon and was pleased with the service. My serial # on the lens is very low but I will heed your warning and inspect it carefully. How reputable is a NY based company who doesn't even have the ability to answer phones in the U.S anymore?

  3. Steven...Don't limit yourself to Amazon, and I say that as a Prime customer. I buy a lot of things there, but given a choice, not camera or lens. Remember, prices are controlled by the manufacturer so "factory authorized" will be the same everywhere. If lower, probably gray market. Sometimes dealers will give special deals to get around it, like B&H and Adorama will have 4% rebates for future purchases, but they still have to charge the manufacturer's price. Best Buy even gets into it with their free "My Best Buy" as all purchases qualify for the the basic rebate, and $1500 bumps it into the mid-range, where the top level and 6% back hits at $3500. Just don't go too far over $3500 as the excess doesn't carry over Jan 1 for a head start repeating the next year. On the A7III, it is too early for B&H or Adorama to offer the rebate like they do on the A7RIII and A9. I personally use the FE 16-35 f4 for real estate, as well as a walk around. It is a great little lens. While Best Buy can pick up or ship to store. Amazon always goes to my home. B&H have no problem re-directing to UPS Store a mile from home with "My UPS" where ALL packages have to be signed for - even if not otherwise required. Adorama's shipping policy prohibits re-direcing and either sits at my front door, or I have to make special re-delivery request if signature required. Guess who my preference is!

  4. Steven, I am currently using the Sony Zeiss FE 16-35mm Vario-Tessar and the Sony FE 16-35 f/2.8 GM. Both are great lenses, but the GM lens is overkill for real estate because it really shines at larger apertures. For real estate, I'm going for higher depth of field and sharpness (almost always shoot at F8), so I don't recommend springing for the GM over the Zeiss. However, I don't know anything about the Sigma lens. I generally avoid using non-native lenses because I've had mixed success in the past with autofocus capabilities and it introduces another possible point of failure in my system. When I started out, I used a less expensive, non-native lens, and I was disappointed with the lens quality. If it were me, I'd spend the extra $ on the Zeiss FE 16-35 Vario-Tessar.

  5. While I agree with the sentiments above about buying a camera in store, it's not out of fear for receiving a faulty product. Amazon is solid and if something is off, they almost always make it right. When you spend a lot of money on an important item, it's nice to have a professional there to walk you through the options, answer questions on the spot, and provide the opportunity to actually see and handle the item. Do this with your camera equipment, it's worth the time. Also, when buying a wide angle lens for RE photography, you can skip the extra cost associated with a f/2.8 aperture, f/4 is totally fine, you're typically shooting somewhere between f/8 - f/16. If you decide to grab a more diverse focal length (24-70 or some variation) it's valuable to pay up for the f/2.8 as you'll likely use that same lens for other areas of photography that can benefit from the shallow depth of field obtained with the wide aperture.

  6. I have both the 16-35 4, and the 12-24 4, they are both excellent lenses. The 16-35 4 is my staple, pretty much perfect for most homes. The 12-24 4 works great too, but it naturally vignettes, so it requires more steps in LR, and you just about have to apply lens correction before you do anything else in LR, because the vignette correction radically changes how you set the exposure level overall. It's not the order I usually work in, but if you do the vignette last, you have to redo the exposure slider on every frame.

    The 12-24 is my goto video lens though, since switching to video gives you a different usable focal length then stills, perhaps a 5-10% crop.

  7. @Larry Gray, if you have or get a PO Box, you can sign up (free) with them to receive packages from other services so you don't have stuff sitting on your door step. The post office puts a card in your box to notify you they are holding a package or the keys to a parcel locker if they have one. You use the post offices physical address along with your box number, ie: 123 main st. #1234, which is also useful when companies won't ship to a PO Box or can't (UPS, FedEx). I don't have anything delivered to the house and haven't for years.

  8. "Another reason for getting a native Sony lens is, the A7III has software in it to do all the lens corrections in camera." If you use a lens mount adapter with electronic couplings and a modern Canon-mount electronic lens, the lens information will be relayed to the image file and and any processing software will be able to use this info to apply the necessary lens profile corrections. I believe that it works the same with other modern lenses by other manufacturers. I use a variety of Canon lenses on Sony A7 series cameras via an adapter. This is a major advantage of using a mirrorless camera. Regarding lens profile corrections, I believe the only strong reason to have this done in the camera is when shooting jpegs. When shooting RAW, I believe it does not matter, except for lenses that are recently released and for which the various RAW processors do not yet have a lens profile.

  9. I see B & H has a few in stock so I wanted to share this with my fellow NJ Photographers and I'm sure a few other states have this. No sales tax is required on cameras in NJ if you are using them professionally to manufacture something else.
    Business Purchases
    The purchase, lease, or rental of cameras, lenses, filters, tripods, processing equipment, and lighting
    equipment used by a professional photographer is exempt from New Jersey Sales Tax as equipment
    used directly and primarily in the production of tangible personal property. Under the manufacturing
    exemption, replacement parts with a useful life greater than one year are also entitled to an exemption.
    In addition, chemicals for processing film are exempt from Sales Tax under the catalyst exemption.
    Purchases of qualified equipment and processing chemicals may be made with a completed Exempt
    Use Certificate (Form ST-4) or Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement Certificate of Exemption
    (Form ST-SST). The purchaser must complete all fields on the exemption certificate in order to claim
    the exemption. Purchases of replacement parts with a useful life of one year or less and supplies,
    however, are taxable. See N.J.S.A. 54:32B-8.13(a) and N.J.S.A. 54:32B-8.20.
    Film that, after processing, becomes positive photographs (such as slides, transparencies, and “instant”
    contact prints) that are transferred to the customer and become the property of the customer may be
    purchased without paying Sales Tax. In this case, the film is being purchased for resale and the
    photographer gives the supplier a completed New Jersey Resale Certificate (Form ST-3) or
    Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement Certificate of Exemption (Form ST-SST). Purchases of
    flash bulbs, camera batteries, and like supplies are subject to Sales Tax, including film that produces a
    negative image that must then be developed into a photograph.
    Retail Sales
    Sales of portraits, photographs, motion pictures, slides, frames, photograph albums, picture postcards,
    and brochures are subject to Sales Tax as sales of tangible personal property.
    Newspapers and Periodicals
    Sales of photographs in newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and other publications are taxable.
    However, sales or licenses to use photos as advertising in newspapers or periodicals are specifically
    exempt from Sales Tax. The photographer must get a completed Exempt Use Certificate (Form ST-4)
    or Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement Certificate of Exemption (Form ST-SST) from the
    customer when photos are sold for use in newspaper or magazine advertising.
    Sales for Resale
    When services and photographs are purchased by a customer who intends to resell the photos, the
    photographer is not required to collect Sales Tax as long as the purchaser provides a completed resale
    Publication ANJ–2 About New Jersey Taxes: Professional Photographers
    Rev. 5/17
    When purchasing supplies and equipment specifically as inventory for resale, the photographer may
    give a completed New Jersey Resale Certificate (Form ST-3) or Streamlined Sales and Use Tax
    Agreement Certificate of Exemption (Form ST-SST) to the supplier and not pay Sales Tax. Supplies
    removed from inventory for the photographer’s personal use are subject to Use Tax. Use Tax is
    remitted to the State on the monthly Sales Tax remittance (Form ST-51) or quarterly Sales Tax return
    (Form ST-50). For more information on Use Tax, see publication ANJ-7, Use Tax in New Jersey.
    Electronic Transmission
    If a photograph is either scanned, taken with a digital camera, or computer-generated and then
    transmitted solely by email or other form of electronic transmission, the transaction is treated as the
    sale of intangible property, which is not subject to tax.

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