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Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS Lens Available for Pre-Order NOW ($11,998 from B&H Photo | Amazon) This wide aperture super telephoto lens weighs in at just 6.4 pounds, making it the lightest lens in its class by two pounds. Weight of the lens is also redistributed to the back so it balances nicely on a monopod or handheld, making tracking subjects and panning easier.
Ideal for sports, wildlife, and nature photographers. The fast 2.8 aperture provides great depth of field control for isolating subjects as well as maximizing performance for low-light shooting situations. Three fluorite elements reduce chromatic aberration and one ED element further increases performance and image quality by reducing flare and ghosting while shooting in harsh conditions.
Sony’s XD Linear Motor autofocus system, which quickly and quietly tracks subjects across the frame even while shooting at high speeds. Furthermore, Optical SteadyShot can combine with in-body stabilization to provide 5-axis stabilization.
Video shooters will also be pleased to find power focus functionality, which provides smooth, even focus while shooting movies. The magnesium-alloy body of this lens is also weather sealed to protect against dirt, dust, and moisture while shooting in adverse conditions. Its rotating tripod collar provides maximum functionality with tripods or monopods.
Sony Finally Makes a FE 400mm 2.8 it’s a BEAUT!
Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS (Order from B&H Photo | Amazon) is the lightest, sharpest and fastest focusing four-hundred-two-eight ever made thanks to ground-breaking lens design featuring XD Linear Focus!
Previously the most obvious advantage of mirrorless camera systems were smaller camera bodies, but with this lens, the advantage shifts to advances in lens design never realized by ANY current DSLR lens.
XD Linear Focus
Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS uses XD Linear Focus actuators for the fastest AF of any super telephoto lens to date.
Why is linear focus faster than conventional rotational focus? To picture how rotational focus works, imagine unscrewing a jar lid. The distance you must turn the cap is 5X the linear distance of travel to simply pull the cap off.
Rotational helical focus worked for a century of manual focus lens design with a few notable exceptions that employed rear-group rack focus such as Canon FD 600mm f/4.5 & FD 800mm f/5.6L lenses.
DSLR AF lenses (and most mirrorless lenses) are designed using rotational focus actuators.
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens bucked conventional design by pairing a linear focus actuator in the rear of the lens with a conventional rotational actuator in the front.
Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS took the technology a step further by eliminating rotational focus altogether in favor of dual linear focus actuators.
Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS raises the bar with a single XD Linear Focus actuator that moves the focusing lens elements FIVE TIMES FASTER than rotational actuators used in SSM DSLR lenses. This allows the FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS to track focus on the eyes of a moving subject at up to 20 frames per second. This simply not possible with any current DSLR lens design.
The FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS is the world’s lightest 400 2.8 by TWO pounds! In fact it’s much closer to the weight of 300 2.8s than any other 400 2.8s.
Add in a camera body and Sony a9 + FE 400 2.8 GM OSS is a whopping FOUR POUNDS LIGHTER (1.812 kilograms) than a Canon 1DX II + 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM combo!
The FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS features 23 Elements in 17 Groups including three Fluorite lens elements and one ED glass element to virtually eliminate both axial and lateral chromatic aberrations while maintaining corner-to-corner sharpness.
While most 400 2.8s are incredibly front-heavy, moving the AF groups to the rear – not front – of the lens allows front lens element sits five full inches of…air… Because of this, the lens balances at the focus ring – not in front of it. Coupled with the two pounds of weight it’s shed compared to the competition – it feels more like a 300 2.8 than a 400!
Magnesium alloy construction provides durability to hold up to heavy use yet it’s light weight helps trim two pounds from the weight of competing lenses.
Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM and AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR are excellent lenses – among the best lenses Canon & Nikon ever made. But they simply don’t match the corner-to-corner sharpness of Sony’s FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS:
Teleconverters Add Versatility
Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS Lens Control Panel on the left side
Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS Lens Foot features one 3/8″-16 and two 1/4″-20 threads
The Lens Includes a Drop-In Filter Holder that accepts 40.5mm ND and other filter types, as well as the optional VF-DCPL1 Drop-in Circular Polarizing Filter. The VF-DCPL1 filter can be rotated to achieve desired polarization while installed in the lens.
The fitted foam filled case includes cut-outs for FE 1.4X & 2X teleconverters
Price and Availability
Best-in-class doesn’t come cheap. Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS is available for pre-order for $11,998 from B&H Photo | Amazon). The first lenses are expected to arrive in the USA in September 2018.
Testing was done using Sony a9 with Beta Firmware 2.10 which adds full 20 FPS AF support for the Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS Lens. (Sony a9 fw update 3.00 will be released today.)
Sony a9 firmware 3.00 adds a couple new settings:
Menu > Camera Settings 2 > Custom Operation 2 > Function Ring (Lens) > Power Focus / APS-C S35 /Full Frame Select
Power Focus allows smooth focus pulls for video. Still shooters should ignore this setting an instead choose APS-C S35 /Full Frame Select which allows you to toggle between Fullframe and APS-C Crops by rotating the Function Ring just below the focus hold button.
Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS Lens Function Ring is just below the focus hold buttons.
Menu > Setup 7 > Write Serial Number > On
Turning this setting on will write the camera serial number into the EXIF which is very handy if you own more than one of the same camera bodies and one is acting up.
Sony a9 | Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS + Sony FE 1.4X TC | 1/640 | F4 | ISO 400 (Click to View Larger)
Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS focuses down to 8.86 feet. Add a FE 1.4X TC and this is what you get.
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 …
More Test Images
- • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
• Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
• One XA Element, Two Aspherical Elements
• Four ED Elements, Two Super ED Elements
• Nano AR Coating and Fluorine Coating
• Linear SSM Focus System
• Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
• Internal Focus, Focus Range Limiter
• Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
• Eleven-Blade Circular Diaphragm