Sony’s FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS lens (Pre-Order for $1498 from B&H Photo | Amazon) becomes the fourth lens in Sony’s G Master lens line and it boasts a revolutionary lens design offering the smoothest bokeh ever. It’s also the world’s first true Smooth Transition Focus lens featuring Autofocus and Optical Stabilization.
The lens features an 11-blade circular aperture a APD Apodization lens element for lifelike rendering to eliminate bokeh distortion, Nono AR Coating to reduce ghost and flare and ED glass to suppress chromatic aberration.
The effect of the APD Apodization lens element is most pronounced at F2.8 and gradually diminishes until F8 where the lens operates like a normal 100mm lens – but if you’re after beautiful bokeh, I don’t have to tell you that you’ll want to shoot wide open…
What this lens is not…and what it is…
The Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS lens is not a low-light lens to shoot in near darkness. If you need a F1.4 lens you should buy a Sony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master. However if you’re opening the lens to F1.4 just to blow the background out of focus, you’ll get prettier backgrounds with the FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS at F2.8 along with more of your subject in focus.
If you’re looking for swirly bokeh, or cat’s eye bokeh, or soap bubble bokeh that scream for attention – this is not the lens. However, if you’re looking for a 100mm fullframe lens that offers the smoothest and most natural bokeh – keep reading…
The Greater the Apodization Lens Light Loss – The Better the Bokeh
Among the four APD Apodization Lenses on the market, Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS has the greatest light loss – with a T-stop a full two stops below the rated max F-Stop. BUT this is NOT a bad thing. It means the FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS has the strongest APD Apodization effect. In other words – it has the Best Bokeh. Bear in mind that most lenses on the market have of T-stop between 1/3 – 1/2 stop less than their rated max F-stop.
Once you get to F8 and below, the Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS operates like a standard telephoto lens with no additional T-stop compensation.
Bokeh Comparisons to Standard 100mm F2.8 Lenses
If you’re asking yourself “why” would you want such a lens – the answer is in the background – as in the area you didn’t focus upon. While many lenses in Sony’s line up produce extremely sharp in-focus areas, the Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS quite simply produces the most natural out-of-focus bokeh of any lens ever made. Here’s a comparison with a standard 100mm F2.8 (non-APD) lens:
Close Focus to 1:4 Magnification
While not a macro, the Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS has a close-focus switch that shifts a lens element for added close-focus range down to 0.57 meters for 1:4 magnification as shown in the images below.
I found that the Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS paired extremely well with the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM for a day of walking and shooting. I’ve always found 70 to 85mm a bit too close together. I much prefer the jump from 70 to 100mm …