Reviews |Sirui Sniper 16mm review

Sirui Sniper 16mm review

Sniper 16mm offers a wide-angled perspective backed with a huge f/1.2 aperture.

Sirui Sniper 16mm

Our Verdict

Sirui has expanded its range of Sniper APS-C lenses with this latest addition. It offers an ultra-wide angle of 16mm and a large f/1.2 aperture, perfect for low-light and creative video and still photography. I was lucky enough to get an early review sample of the lens in the E mount for Sony cameras and have been impressed by its compact build.

What makes the Sniper range different from most other budget lenses is the design, with all lenses in the range having been built to the same dimensions. This means that when they are swapped and changed for another focal length in the range, any matte boxes, filters, or other kit can stay in play. In still photography, this is just a nice touch, but where those other bits of kit are commonly used for filmmaking, that can and does make a huge difference in the ease of use of this lens set. As a 16mm lens, there are some signs of distortion at the edges, but this is so limited due to the APS-C crop factor that increases that focal length to 24mm in 35mm terms.

As with the other lenses I’ve tested in the range, there is some sharpness fall-off towards the edge of the frame, which all gives the images the Sniper look. Overall, this lens offers great value, particularly for videographers and photographers who prioritize wide-angle shots with beautiful bokeh and solid build quality.

What is the Sirui Sniper 16mm Lens?

The Sirui Sniper 16mm lens is designed for APS-C format cameras. It offers an ultra-wide-angle perspective with a 1.5x crop factor, which, in 35mm terms, gives you a 24mm equivalent focal length, making it wide but not overly so. Traditionally, a 24mm would be an ideal length for landscapes, so this is an ideal lens to test on a break to Portcothern in Cornwall.

As it stands, this lens is part of Sirui’s Sniper series. I’ve already looked at the Z fit 23mm, 33mm, and 56mm and found that those lenses were solid performers with high-quality construction and, most importantly, affordability. What makes this lens and the rest of the range stand out is that huge maximum aperture of f/1.2. Primarily, this means that these lenses, including this new 16mm, excel in low-light conditions as plenty of light can flood through the lens. The effect of that f/1.2 aperture also creates a stunningly shallow depth of field.

When it comes to use, this lens is suitable for both photography and videography, making it a great solution for hybrid shooters who need a versatile lens. Added to the standard reasons for buying a 16mm is the fact that this is part of a very solid range of truly interchangeable lenses, which will make it even more appealing to videographers.

Sirui Sniper 16mm

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Focal Length: 16mm
Lens Format Coverage: APS-C
Aperture: F1.2-F16
Lens Structure: 12 Elements in 11 Groups
Aperture Blade: 11
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.2m
Filter Thread: M58*0.75
Rotation Angle of the Focus Ring: 360°
Lens Mount: E/X/Z
Length: E Mount: 92.5 mm, X Mount: 92.2 mm, Z Mount: 94.2 mm
Weight: E Mount: 399 g, X Mount: 398 g, Z Mount: 405 g

Build and Handling

The Sirui Sniper 16mm lens features the same high-quality build as the rest of the range, and this new 16mm release is available in Ceramic White, Carbon Fiber, and Aluminum Alloy. In this test, I’ve looked at the Aluminum Alloy version of the lens. Again, the form factor of the lens matches the rest of the range, with the compact design being the same dimensions as the other lenses in the Sniper series. As previously mentioned, this just helps to ensure easy integration with various rigs and matte boxes.

While the lens is well made, it is relatively lightweight, which makes it easy to handle and a great partner for typically small APS-C bodies like the A6000 range. One of the design features that stand out is the large, knurled focus ring offering smooth and precise control, which is, of course, essential for both photographers and videographers. The width of this ring also makes it easy to attach a belt ring for follow-focus.

Again, as with the rest of the range, the lens features a 58mm filter thread, so filters and matte boxes can easily be transferred between lens options when needed.

Sirui Sniper 16mm


The Sirui Sniper 16mm lens features are closely related to the rest of the Sniper range. Primarily, it’s worth noting that the lens is designed for APS-C-sized sensors and, throughout the test, was primarily used on a Sony A7 IV and double-checked on the A6700.

The f/1.2 aperture is huge in lens terms, with lenses that offer this aperture also commanding a high price. Here, with the Sniper range having been designed to be affordable, this APS-C f/1.2 lens is far cheaper, yet the fact that its maximum aperture is that value is no less impressive.

The f/1.2 maximum aperture allows for exceptional low-light performance and will also help maximize the effects of bokeh. The lens structure, consisting of 12 elements in 11 groups, has been designed to emphasize this characteristic. The 11-blade aperture creates smooth bokeh, which can be seen in the specular highlights of the images.

Sirui Sniper 16mm

Another feature common with stills lenses is the 360° rotation angle for the focus ring. This enables easy operation but is less useful for videographers working with pull-focus systems.

The consistency in the lenses’ dimensions and filter threads is a welcome addition, especially for video. However, photographers will also benefit, as filters will be consistent across the range, so one filter will fit all.


From the first images, it’s obvious that the Sirui Sniper 16mm lens is capable of capturing exceptionally high-quality images with excellent centre sharpness and minimal distortion. However, some edge distortion is noticeable due to its ultra-wide-angle nature. The f/1.2 aperture is the big feature here. In lower light conditions it significantly boosts what you can do in low-light shooting situations, making it ideal for indoor and evening photography. The specular highlights created by light will enable you to create a shallow depth of field around your subjects with a decent bokeh effect in the background.

When mounted on the Sony A7 IV, albeit a full-frame camera shooting in APS-C mode, the 16mm lens performs well with the 24mm equivalent focal length, minimizing distortion, although there is some softness towards the edges of the frame. Compared to the rest of the Sniper series, the 16mm offers an ideal solution for landscapes, but with that f/1.2 aperture, it equally does well for atmospheric portraits where the wide field of view can be fully utilized.

While the lenses are relatively cheap with a slant towards video, the entire line does offer autofocus. On the Nikon system that I tried with the 23mm, 33mm, and 56mm lenses, the autofocus system is generally good. However, on that camera, a good contrast edge is generally needed for the lens to fix on focus in lower light conditions. However, with the 56mm and 33mm lenses, which are more suited for portraiture, the 16 mm wide angle is perfect for landscape, architecture, and street photography, where there are usually plenty of contrast edges for the camera and lens combo to anchor to. On the A6700, the AF on the 16mm is much the same as that on the Z50 with the rest of the range, and the larger A7 IV does see a slight boost in speed. These lenses are fast to focus but need to be more accurate with the speed and accuracy that you get with Sony’s ranges.

Sirui Sniper 16mm

When it comes to image quality in normal lighting conditions, the lens delivers vibrant and sharp images with minimal chromatic aberration. However, the edge-to-edge sharpness can vary, and stopping down to f/5.6 or f/8 significantly improves overall image clarity, reducing the softness at the peripheries that can occur at wider apertures. This mirrors the performance characteristics observed in the 23mm and 33mm lenses, which also exhibit their sharpest results around these apertures.

Thanks to the STM motors, the 16mm lens provides smooth focus transitions and silent continuous autofocus motion for videography. As the lens is wide-angle, the need for large focus swings is often minimal, making it great for filming opening scenes.

Final Thoughts

The Sirui Sniper 16mm lens is an excellent addition to the APS-C lens range and offers plenty for both photographers and videographers. It has a wide-angle option, a high-quality build, and an impressive aperture range. The ultra-wide focal length and f/1.2 aperture make it ideal for creative and low-light photography, and in this price range, it truly offers something unique.

While the lens does exhibit some edge distortion and focus breathing, these issues are minor compared to its overall performance and value. For photographers and videographers looking for a versatile, high-quality wide-angle lens, the Sirui Sniper 16mm is an excellent choice for APS-C systems.