Good news Sony camera fans. The 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens we knew the company was launching finally has specs and pricing. And on both fronts, the lens, which is key to Sony penetrating the pro sports market, surprises.
First, let’s get the price out of the way. It’s $12,000, making it more expensive than its Nikon and Canon competition. Preorders kick off Friday, and everyone knows the usual suspects of retailers. Here’s the B&H link for those who can’t wait.
Its price is surprising in that Sony has been pricing aggressively of late to grab more market share. Thankfully Sony is showing off when it comes to the specs of the lens.
The headline spec from the Sony 400mm f/2.8 is it coming in at just over six pounds. While that sounds pretty damn hefty, it’s two pounds lighter than its Canon or Nikon equivalent. Now attaching the three lenses to their equivalent flagship bodies, Sony comes in four pounds lighter than its rivals. Is that worth the extra thousand (Nikon) or two (Canon) dollars? The combination of OSS (lens) and IBIS (camera body) allows for some shots without a tripod or monopod. It’s still heavy after a bit, so you’ll want one or the other.
Another headline spec which dovetails out from the weight is Sony balancing the lens elements towards the center/body. Contrast that design with the normal front-heavy lenses in this focal length. It’s a nice touch considering Sony mirrorless cameras are already light and bigger lenses immediately throw off any semblance of balance.
The size of the lens means new AF motors. Here’s the relevant text from Sony’s announcement:
To best take advantage of the rapidly evolving shooting and focusing speeds of Sony’s latest cameras, the FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS lens features two newly developed high-speed XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors that drive the lens’ focus group, achieving up to a 5x improvement in moving-subject tracking performance. These motors are supported by specially developed motion algorithms to minimize lag and instability and control noise levels, resulting in exceptionally quick, accurate and quiet autofocus performance. This allows the lens to capture dynamic, fast moving athletes or wildlife with ease.
It wouldn’t be a product announcement without a video:
Sound off below on what you think of the pricing and the specs of Sony’s new lens. Shaving off two pounds is one hell of a coup for the company as it targets the pro sports market. Will it be enough to convert Canon and Nikon shooters? Maybe not, but it will damn sure pressure both companies to adopt similar designs and transition to more balanced lenses in the future.