New Lenses from Sony

Sony’s high-end mirrorless line has been wildly successful and they recently jumped Nikon for the #2 spot in market share for interchangeable lens cameras. They also have plans to invest more than $9 billion in camera sensors over the next few years. There is no question that Sony is turning into one of the biggest and best camera manufactures on the planet.  

A big announcement came from Sony this week, one that many had been anxiously awaiting. Sony announced two new telephoto lenses for its mirrorless full-frame FE lens lineup: the 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS and the 600mm f/4 G.

Sony has produced maybe the best wildlife/action/sports camera in the Sony A9. But up until now, the longest reach you could get with a native Sony lens was 400mm, and the longest prime available was the Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM FE OSS. A big missing piece was native reach up to 600mm, and a prime at 600mm. Well, the wait is over and Sony users can expect these two new super telephotos to begin shipping later this summer. Both of these lenses are compatible with Sony’s 1.4x and 2.0x converters as well, thus focal lengths of 840mm and 1200mm are now achievable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS Lens – $12,998.00
Product Specifications

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/4 to f/22
  • ED, Fluorite, and Aspherical Elements
  • Nano AR and Fluorine Coatings
  • Extreme Dynamic Linear AF Motors
  • Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • Internal Focus; Focus Range Limiter
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Fixed, Rotating Tripod Collar
  • Eleven-Blade Circular Diaphragm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This lens has to be one of the most anticipated from Sony, and it seems to deliver. Fast focus, great resolution, incredible bokeh, and lightweight (for a prime), what more could you ask for.

It measures in at 6.44 by 17.67 inches and weighs 6.70 lbs with the tripod mount, making it the lightest 600mm f/4 prime in its class. It features 24 elements in 18 groups, including 1 XA elements, 2 ED elements, and 3 fluorite elements. It uses 11 aperture blades.

This lens should have excellent autofocus. Two XD (extreme dynamic) linear motors provide fast, accurate autofocus, and consistent tracking. Sony’s 400mm f/2.8 has been lauded for its autofocus capabilities, and this lens should be no different, perhaps even better.

The 600mm f/4 also features a newly designed large extreme aspherical (XA) element, which delivers superb image quality and bokeh. This is a perfectly engineered lens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The G Master optical design typically implores three fluorite elements to reduce chromatic aberration, which can be problematic in telephoto lenses. This lens also adds a large XA (extreme aspherical) element is to eliminate what Sony calls ‘onion-ring bokeh’. Every manufactured lens is individually calibrated to attain the perfect balance between quality and bokeh.

Of course, this lens is weatherproofed too. A dust- and moisture-resistant design provides reliability for use in harsh environments (rain, sand, salt, etc.). The front lens element also features a fluorine coating that repels water, oil, and other substances. Many elements of the lens are reinforced with magnesium alloy, ensuring the highest level of mechanical durability and reliability.

The lens is priced at $12,998.00, which is appropriate for a 600mm f/4 prime. It will be available for preorder immediately and hopefully, start shipping this summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS – $1,998.00
Product Specifications

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/5.6-6.3 to f/32-36
  • 5 ED Elements & 1 Aspherical Element
  • Nano AR Coating and Fluorine Coating
  • Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF Motor
  • Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • Zoom Torque Adjustment Ring
  • Internal Focus; Focus Range Limiter
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Eleven-Blade Circular Diaphragm

While the 600mm f/4 is a great option for professionals and those seeking the greatest possible image quality, the 200-600mm f/5.4-6.3 slots in as a great budget option for enthusiasts and semi-professionals. Although Sigma and Tamron have offerings at a similar range, this native lens will focus better and has some significant differences that should make it an improvement over the 3rd party lenses. It should also be a great option for Sony APS-C models, where it covers an equivalent focal range of 300-900mm. Like the 600mm f/4, this lens is also compatible with Sony’s 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters.

The biggest standout feature of this lens versus comparable options is the internal zoom and focusing. This means that the lens does not extend as you zoom. That is a big plus in terms of weather sealing and durability. This lens should be bulletproof.

The lens measures in at 4.38 by 12.51 inches and weighs 4.6 pounds. That might not seem very light, but it is really good for a high-quality lens offering a range up to 600mm. Paired with a Sony mirrorless body, it should be a very portable and mobile setup.

The lens was engineered with five ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements and one aspherical element, this is a new design from Sony, which they state will offer superb resolution and image quality throughout the zoom range. The aspherical element suppresses spherical aberration and distortion, while the ED glass elements minimize chromatic aberration that can be a problem at super-telephoto focal lengths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is relatively affordable for a superzoom telephoto at $1,998.00. It is not cheap, but much less expensive than purchasing a 400mm or 600mm prime lens. It is actually cheaper than the current 100-400mm zoom offered by Sony. This should be a great performer for you wildlife photographers out there, obviously quality will not be as great as the 600mm f/4, but you will save $10,000 and have a great focal range at your disposal.

Summary
This is a really exciting release for Sony. Their cameras have been pushing the boundaries, and the Sony A9 especially is an absolute beast when it comes to wildlife photography. I really think it could be the best wildlife/action camera body on the market. The only flaw in the system was the lack of super primes and superzooms. The Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS and FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS now fill that void and this release has to worry Canon and Nikon.

It really is amazing what Sony has been able to do since entering the digital camera market. These lenses are both two great options. It is hard to go wrong with the 600mm f/4, as I am almost sure reviews will prove this lens to be the sharpest 600mm prime available…but of course price has to be a consideration. The 200-600 f/5.6-6.3 will be easier on the budget and should have excellent image quality as well.

If you are shooting with a Sony, drop us a comment if you are considering purchasing either of these lenses. Either lens should be a great addition to your wildlife gear setup.

Matt Meisenheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin.  His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special.  Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image. Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world. As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals. You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com

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